When we last left the story of Eversharp’s "ladies’ purse pencils" and "clasp pencils," I left you with this:
And the unsatisfying comment that there’s a bluish one out there called "Canton Pearl." I’ve been searching for one for more than a decade now.
As if on cue, a grouping of pencils shows up in an online auction not two weeks later, and right in the middle of the picture was this:
Sitting like a diamond in a pile of pea gravel was a Canton Pearl purse pencil. There were a couple other nice pencils in the lot to drive up the price, so I’m not sure anyone else picked up on what this one was. If they did, the price I paid is a significant indicator of how rare and desirable Canton pearl pencils are – I ended up paying more than a hundred bucks for the lot, and this one had a broken clip:
Luckily, by coincidence I had gone for another example in this series on a lark, hoping that this Kashmir pearl example would be the larger size model - it turned out to be an exact duplicate, but for the mere ten bucks it cost me, in these circumstances a clip transplant makes a lot of sense:
The clip is secured in the cap by a small flathead screw that threads directly into the celluloid, and that’s one of the reasons these are so rare. This construction, combined with the ultra-fragile nature of these plastics, is a lethal combination. After I remove the screw, the best way to pull the clip out is by inserting a toothpick under the clip right where it enters the barrel and work it straight out. I was lucky that the Canton pearl one had enough of the metal still sticking out that I was able to pull it with a pair of pliers.
The donor clip is very, VERY carefully eased into the slot. Drop the screw in, give the screwdriver a couple GENTLE twists – not too tight because you will shatter the plastic – and . . .
I’ve been waiting for this picture for a long, long time . . .