Saturday, March 16, 2013

Neck and Neck

On the way back from dinner at the Baltimore Show, Rick Krantz had just one thing on his mind: the turquoise and bronze Chilton set that was going to be in the evening’s pen auction. "It will be mine," he said with an air of confidence and authority. I believed him.

Cliff Harrington, on the other hand, had other ideas. Part of me wanted to call out to Cliff, "Hey! Let him have it! He’s been talking about that thing all night!" But that wouldn’t be right – first, because I was working in the auction behind the tables putting lots with the correct bidder numbers. But more importantly – the whole idea of an auction is that the person who is willing to pay more than anyone else in the room wins.

And this time, it wasn’t Rick.

When the hammer fell and Cliff was the victor, I thought maybe I’d approach Cliff and see if I could talk him into splitting up the set and selling me the pencil. But blast it if Joe Nemecek didn’t have the same idea, and since he was runway boy, strutting stuff down the aisle for viewing, he was the early bird to the worm hunt this time. Cliff ended up selling Joe the pencil and Rick Krantz the pen, for what amounted to the price he paid for the set.

After all, as Cliff put it, he’s had four or five of these. So everyone ended up happy that night: the seller got a fair price for the set, Cliff got to win the auction but didn’t end up having to pay for it, Joe got the pencil and Rick got the pen.

And as for me, I’m content to have pictures of the pencil:

This example has the bulbous "Long Island" top, typical of the Chiltons made after the company moved from Boston to Long Island. The trim is in perfect condition:

And that color just goes on for days . . . it’s the same turquoise celluloid found on some Waterman Patricians

Joe was quite the happy camper. Friday night during our photo shoot he brought a couple other Chiltons to show off. He had this woodgrain example, similar to the one I’ve got pictured in The Catalogue:

But his has an unusual treatment on the top that mine doesn’t have:

And then there’s this one. At first I didn’t believe it was a Chilton, since it is identical to a Cross Alwrite:

But there’s the Chilton imprint, plain as day on the gold filled cap:

With all these new additions to Joe’s collection, he commented that he now has more Chilton pencils than I’ve got – he’ll admit to a bit of a competitive streak when it comes to comparing our collections. By his count, after he’d counted up the number of Chiltons in my last article and added up his, including the new turquoise example he thought he had three more than I’ve got.

Well, not quite . . . since that article ran, I’ve made a couple other purchases:

I got the top example, a Boston Chilton, from Don Haupt at the Philadelphia show. The other two came to me by Pearce Jarvis, who emailed me right after the Chilton article ran to let me know he had a couple other examples he’d part with. The middle one is a Long Island Chilton like Joe’s turquoise example.

The bottom one is really interesting. It shares the middle joint profile of the later Wingflow pencils, but it clearly has a Long Island style clip and was made from Long Island plastic. Looks like Chilton may have jumped to the middle joint design a little earlier than the introduction of the Wingflow.

So, "Harrington Maneuver" notwithstanding, it looks like a tie!

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