Sunday, March 18, 2012

Another One that Got Away: Mabie Todd Stockbroker

When I think about this pencil, I hope that it still exists:

A fellow brought this by my table at The Ohio Show knowing that I would appreciate it but probably wouldn't buy it, and he was right in both respects.  This is one of the large, impressive "stockbroker pencils" made by Mabie Todd & Co., and in addition to being large and impressive, it's heavy and it is solid 14k gold.

This piece was simply flawless.  There wasn't a trace of wear on it, not a dent nor a scratch.  It dates from the mid 1920s, I should think.

I took the time to take a few pictures of this one because it is not only rare and beautiful, it is an endangered species.  With the price of gold skyrocketing as it has in the last year, pieces like this -- even as pristine as this one is -- are being scrapped for their gold content.   Unfortunately, this piece is worth more right now as a hunk of gold than it is as a pencil. 

The fact is, collectors aren't usually willing to pay much of a premium for gold content.   We didn't even discuss a price for this pencil, but I would imagine at the time the gold value in this pencil was around $1,200.00, maybe more (you'd have to tear it apart and separate the gold parts from the steel to know for sure how much is there).   If I had forked over that kind of cash for it -- a foolish move unless we tore it apart and destroyed it -- I would have had to pass on a whole bunch of less expensive pencils that, frankly, I find just as interesting. 

I'm hoping that the guy that showed me this still has it.  If he sold it, it makes me sick to think that this might have been melted down.

If you need to own gold, sure, you can find a lot of it in pencils and often times the gold value is overlooked at pen shows.  But please, if you have solid gold pieces of history like this one, just stick it in your safety deposit box.

As a pencil.

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