Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Silent Underbidder

There was plenty of good stuff at the pen (and pencil) auction at the Triangle Pen Show in Raliegh, this year, but Joe Nemecek and I only had eyes for one lot:

This is a complete set of Parker "Bridge" pencil stands, as mint as they get with their stickers and original boxes. Ordinarily the set would be equipped with red and black pencils to match the suits, but according to the story behind this set, it came from a Parker salesman who was interested in showing off more colors than just the boring red and black ones. Besides, who’s going to complain about getting a yellow one instead?

and that marine green one is no slouch, either!

Joe and I spent a lot of time stewing about this set. It was the last lot in the auction, and both of us were worried about having a bank-busting price for the last lot of the night! After we talked about it, we agreed that Joe should be the one to have it. Joe has a spectacular collection of Parker vest pocket pencils to begin with (the photo on page 112 of The Catalogue is from Joe’s collection, not mine), and let’s face it . . . Joe likes Parker pencils better than I do!

But Joe, as I mentioned earlier, is a worrier. He didn’t believe me no matter how many times I told him I wanted him to bid on it, and he was feeling that it wasn’t fair that he should have two of these sets if I wanted one.

What? Two sets?

Turns out over the last few years, Joe has managed to put together another set of these uber-rare bases, and although he didn’t have the boxes they came in, as meticulous as Joe is about his purchases he made sure all of his were otherwise in beautiful shape, with all of their paint and luster intact. So we decided that if Joe won, he would sell me his set – that would give him more money with which to bid on this group, and guilt-free!

So as the auction started, Joe was on pins and needles throughout, waiting for that last lot, and I was free to play and pick up a couple of other things since I wasn’t saving up for it. If Joe had dropped out bidding, I would have jumped in, but he never did -- and he got it for much less than both of us expected he’d have to pay. So here at the DC show, he brought his other set with him, and yesterday we finished our deal:

Joe wanted to make sure that I got at least one vest pocket for each one of the bases, and since I was interested in filling out the range of colors in my collection, I wasn’t too concerned that there weren’t two red and two black ones, although I’ll probably find some in the future to make it 100 percent cricket.  I'm in no hurry, though, especially when one is in mandarin yellow and another is in burgundy and black!

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