Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ah . . . Now I Remember

Since we were talking about over-the-top clips, here’s another one. It’s just the top half, and I found it in one of Terry Mawhorter’s junk boxes:

I broke two rules when I bought it – I don’t buy unmarked things and I don’t buy parts unless I need it. But that clip was just so distinctive I decided to bring it home and poke around a bit to see what I could find out.

After a bit of searching, I sent out an S.O.S. to some pencil buddies to see what they thought, and Joe Nemecek answered the distress call in a manner I wasn’t expecting: "Don’t you remember?"

I had to confess that I didn’t. But after Joe reminded me, I did remember. And I remembered everything.

The year was . . . ok, so maybe I don’t remember everything. It was a few years ago at the Washington DC show. I was a little noncommittal about whether I was going to set up that year, and by the time I finally decided to do so, the tables in the regular area were sold out. Bob Johnson did accommodate me, by putting me and a few other last-minute stragglers in what used to be the old bar area in the hotel lobby.

Another last-minute straggler, set up just a couple doors down from me, was a fellow who had a collection of some 50 or 60 pens and pencils to sell. From what I remember, he wasn’t a regular dealer, just some guy that picked up this bunch from somewhere, didn’t know anything about them except what he read in a pre-bust price guide somewhere, and thought he’d try to sell them at a pen show.

I went though what he had during the feeding frenzy, and there were a few pencils in there that I liked, but there was a catch . . . the deal was all or nothing for one price, and it was a collector’s price, not a dealer’s price. That meant that there was a frenzy, but nobody was feeding. I circled back occasionally during the show to see if they’d decided to start parting things out, but the deal was always the same.

Then my old buddy Joe Nemecek stops by my table to show me what he picked up:

Of course, if I would have bought the whole lot, this one pencil would have been the reason why! As a loyal Ohioan, I can never resist the opportunity to pick up a nice John Holland pencil when I see one, since they were made in Cincinnati:

Apparently Joe was more persuasive than I had been! Over the years, Joe has from time to time reminded me of his great scoop, mostly because he feels kind of guilty about it. I keep telling him no worries, no problem, and I’m glad he got it – in fact, as this story indicates, I’d even forgotten all about the pencil he scored that day. But Joe can’t help it – he still beats himself up over it, worried that he might have offended me. After all, he really is the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back . . .

but not before he takes the pencil out of the pocket!

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