The title of the online auction was "Lot of 62 vintage mechanical pencils most have advertising" and there were three pictures: one showing the whole mess of 62, then one showing the top half of the heap and a third showing the bottom half of the heap. Sixty of them looked like the usual forties and fifties advertising pencils.
But then there were those last two . . .
When the package arrived, I hardly noticed there were sixty other pencils in those bags as I pawed through them like they were just more of the packaging. Eventually, I found the two that looked special, and yep, they sure were! Here’s the first one:
From the shape of it, I was thinking from that fuzzy picture that it might be an Autopoint or maybe a Realite. I was wrong (but right) on both counts:
It’s a Realpoint, Autopoint’s experimental subbrand! I was marveling just a couple weeks ago ("Keeping It Real," September 4) that the colors on Realpoints were very interesting, but this one is interesting not just because the color is particularly striking, but for what other company used that same celluloid:
That’s the Realpoint shown next to a Sheaffer Balance pencil. The celluloid, Roger Wooten tells me, was called "Code (N) Blue," although collectors sometimes refer to it as either "blue/black" or even Sheaffer's "clown" pattern. Sheaffer used this celluloid briefly between 1932 and around 1934. This isn’t the first time that I’ve found that Sheaffer celluloid turning up on another brand, though. Here’s the Rite-Rite "torpedo" pencil shown on page 127 of The Catalogue added to the mix:
The condition on the Rite Rite isn’t the best, but as I’m fond of saying, if you don’t like it, go try and find another one!
Which brings us very neatly to the other spectacular pencil to come out of that lot of 62, one that I’ll show you tomorrow . . .