Friday, October 14, 2016

I Can't Remember To Whom I Owe the Apology

Now that Facebook has largely replaced the online forum as our means of sharing information within the collecting community, I’d like to make an observation about that phenomenon.

It sucks.

Sure, it’s easy . . . sure, it gives you a sense of validation as people “like” what you’ve said that’s more addictive than cocaine.  But this medium lacks any internal organization, other than the group in which something was posted – and some of the more annoying posters post the same thing in several groups (hey, I’ve got 12 notifications!  Oh wait . . . that’s just that guy posting two posts in six groups).

And just a week or so after something is posted, it scrolls into oblivion.

Some time ago, a member in one of the discussion groups in which I participate suggested that he had a Hicks, or an Edward Todd, or something within the familia pencilia, which had a riveted clip – and I jumped to a conclusion.  The pencil must have been repaired, I suggested.   Or maybe it wasn’t really a Hicks or Todd, but perhaps it was an Aikin Lambert, I offered.

The poster insisted that no, it wasn’t any of those things and it wasn’t repaired, but he or she did not post a picture which would have made the discussion more fruitful.  I’m hoping the “pshaw” I was thinking wasn’t audible.

Fast forward to the DC show, at which I saw Richard Fernandez.  Richard shared with me a photograph that was used in The Catalogue of a Hicks pencil in 14k gold:

At DC this year, Richard was ready to part with it, and he assumed I would be the buyer for it.  Yes, I have been known to buy a pencil or two at a pen show, but there were two things I didn’t like about it: first, it’s 14k and I hate buying gold (intrinsic value doesn’t interest me as much as historical value) and second, it’s pretty tiny in person – about three inches long.  Richard made a valiant sales effort, but I told him I was going to look around for a larger one.  Put it back there and let’s see if it grows a bit, I think I said.

The DC show presented three opportunities for me to buy collections, and I ended up buying all three that were offered to me.  The first was set up at a table in the far back corner on Friday – Joe Nemecek pulled me back there by the ear to have a look at it, and the collection had quite a few pieces that were interesting, and a greater amount of stuff that was kind of boring, really.  The price was what it was, something like $20 apiece for the plastic barreled pencils, $25 apiece for the “silver” stuff (silver colored, that is) and $30 each for the “gold” stuff (again, that’s gold colored).   He wanted to sell everything, but the price was his per unit price multiplied by the number of units.

Normally you can average this stuff out and figure out whether it makes sense, but this one was tricky because there were relatively few pieces I wanted for my collection, and those tended to be nearly all of the ones that beat the per unit price by a blue mile – meaning I’d be reselling all the stuff that tended towards the lower end of the per unit values.

About half an hour later, I’d paid him the perfect price for everything, which was a lot more than I wanted to pay and a lot less than he wanted to receive.  Larry Liebman watched as we negotiated, and he later said he had as much fun watching me negotiate that deal and then sort through everything to see what I’d bought as if he’d bought the collection himself.  I’ll have to remember that – maybe next time I can watch someone else buy a collection and save myself a buck or two!

But to get back to our story, as Larry and I were sorting through these, this one emerged from one of the trays of pencils:

In these circumstances, I actually was hoping that I’d bought some real gold, but while there were a couple 14k pieces in that collection, this unfortunately wasn’t one of them:

Note the nice Edward Todd hallmark, and that same ringed pattern you’d expect to see on a Hicks like Richard’s pencil, but it’s marked “gold plate.”  At the other end, though, is something leading me to offer an apology for that now nameless commenter on Facebook::

I guess the Hicks/Todd family does have members with riveted clips.  I stand conclusively corrected.

As a side note, once this one came out I decided to go back and harass Richard a bit by telling him I found a bigger one.  Larry Liebman and Joe Nemecek came with me, and since Joe likes small pencils, Richard’s pencil is now in Joe’s possession.  Larry suggested that we get a picture of the two pencils together, and Richard obliged:


Matt said...

Am I missing something? That sure looks like a riveted clip.

Jon Veley said...

I stand corrected twice -- "bolted" changed to "riveted" in the article Thanks-