I think the reason I got this one so cheaply in an online auction was because from the photographs, it appeared to be broken. Truth be told, I thought it might be, too:
But the auction title was for a John Holland pencil, and it looked interesting enough to throw in a small bid that brought it home. The seller was right – it is in fact marked "John. Holland":
and as it turns out, it’s not broken at all. When you pull on the rear of the pencil, that tube that covers the point retracts, converting what looks like a broken pencil into a perfectly balanced little piece:
Although there’s a few dents in the point protector, it served its purpose well, and the pencil is in perfect shape:
And what’s left of the patent date is imprinted on the opposite side of the barrel:
It took a little bit of trial and error to figure out the exact date on there – it’s pretty worn. But after half a dozen tries, May 23, 1882 produced a Holland patent. Two, actually! The first one I found, number 258,299, was for a stylographic pen
But it was patent number 258,298 that proved to be the one for this pencil:
That’s an understatement, isn’t it?