Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm Feeling a Little Bit Exposed

A couple weeks ago, Janet and I decided to stop by the Springfield Antique Show at at the Clark County Fairgrounds. The cold, drizzly weather had most of the outdoor vendors covering up their wares with tarps, so we spent most of our time browsing around inside. I didn’t find much indoors, but by the time we started wandering back to the parking lot to leave, the weather had eased a bit and a few brave dealers had uncovered their tables – including the one who had this on his table:

What makes this one is the exposed eraser. Although the usual solid-color Sheaffer utility pencils always have them, they are quite a rarity on the Balance line:

But that wasn’t what really had me excited about this one. All the other examples of these I’ve been able to find were in brown or green, and I’d never seen one in grey pearl before:

Note also that all three of the ones I’d turned up before this one have plain clips and some pretty wide cap bands - I think Matt McColm told me the trim matched the Sheaffer "Statesman" pens and pencils. And there’s a couple other things to notice about these, too. Note that while my grey pearl example has "Sheaffer’s" on the clip, the clips on all three of these are plain. And as for the imprints, here’s these three close up:

The example with the smooth lower barrel is marked with a generic Sheaffer imprint, while the two with ribbed lower barrels have a "300" imprint, denoted that they sold for $3.00. As for the grey pearl example, it has a simple bead band on the lower barrel, and the imprint is adjusted accordingly:

"150," for a buck and a half.  Seventy years or so later, I paid exactly twice that to pull it out of a junk dealer’s box of leftovers, but I hardly think that’s an accurate measure of the pencil’s appreciation. At least, I certainly appreciate it much more than that!
Update (from Daniel Kirchheimer):

"The gold-banded Sheaffer pencils are the Statesman Utility II; the striated Gray Pearl example is a Cadet Utility II. There’s also a similar model to the Cadet but with gold-colored trim at $2.50; because this pencil matches multiple pen models, it had multiple names – Sovereign, Admiral, and Craftsman Utility II. Now, if you wanted a pencil to match one of those pens in striated Gray Pearl (which would have chrome trim), it too would have chrome trim, not gold, so Sheaffer might actually sell you the Cadet Utility II (the one you have) and charge you $2.50! There is actually precedent for this…"


Greg Proctor said...


It took a sharp eye to catch that one as the eraser is worn almost flat1 also in my experience in collecting Sheaffer Tucaways, the gray striped pearl is a hard color to find. Good wrok!

Jon Rosen said...

In the Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel Deluxe, the gray striped pearl also seems to be the most difficult color to find (it was available in green striped, gray striped and black versions).