Are there any contemporary pencils available today that are of the same build quality as the Hi-Uni, H2003, or Mechanica, etc.? i.e. Pencils that today would be considered “high-end” or “luxury” pieces that one day may actually increase in value. I’d really like for my kids to clear out my desk after I’m gone and find some treasure. Any suggestions (or avoidances)?
Modern pieces I think will be quite valuable in 20 years:
- All Kaweco Special variants
- Pilot S20
- Pilot S30
- Pilot Automac
- Pentel Orenznero, Orenz AT, and select Orenz variants
- Meister by POINT
- Staedtler 925 variants
- rOtring 600 color variants
- Platinum Pro•Use 171 variants
- Kuru Toga Dive variants
- Manufactum Druckbleistift
- Spoke Design pencils, but especially Spoke 4 variants
The above, and also maybe
• Retro 51 Hexomatic
• Wörther Slight
I have a majority of these, so that makes me feel good being an inexperienced /dilettante collector. A couple of these are completely new to me, specifically the Meister by POINT, and the Wörther Slight. Lovely looking pencils.
Thanks for the info!
If you really want to get into heirloom, and have the cash, buy some mechanical pencils from luxury brands that make them as companions to fountain pens. But those aren’t drafting pencils.
But increase of value is hit-or-miss, and relative. For instance, Pelikan made some gorgeous “tortoise shell” barrel styled fountain pens 100 years ago that have gone up dramatically in value. Oddly enough, their ballpoint and mechanical pencil companions didn’t experience nearly the same boost for a long time. Some have gone up now, but not nearly as much as the matching fountain pens.
I’d say a lot of this will come down to scale. And that brings you to the indie shops. IJ Instruments, Spoke Design, Big Idea Design… don’t have nearly the kind of production numbers as mainstream writing instrument makers. Who knows how long they’ll be around making them? A one person indie shop is vulnerable. A person passes away before their time, or, a life change causes them to close up shop. The value of what they made WILL go up. Yet, a guy like Lindsay Wilson (IJ Instruments) is very young and his passion for turning out pencils may go for many decades into the future. If he decides to retire any particular models, they will go up.
I wouldn’t focus so much on intended heirloom value. Just collect what you enjoy.
Case in point, I picked up a bit of an oddity. Diplomat is a German brand that has been around for 100 years. They came up with a design that really caught my eye, back in 2005. It’s the Aero. I bought one and I absolutely love it. It’s SO well made. It’s rather heavy… so not ideal for long writing sessions, but I do find it ergonomic. And I also find that holding something of beautiful design in my hands “warms” my mood, elevates creativity.
Diplomat is still making these. Who knows what the production numbers are. I don’t know if their value will go up much once discontinued. But I think they’re just beautifully done, especially the capless ones (ballpoint, mechanical pencil), where the Zeppelin shape is maintained (unlike the capped rollerball or fountain pen).
“Just collect what you enjoy” - probably the best advice yet.
Agreed – there are some beautiful pens out there – too many lol
That Diplomat is amazing looking – I see why you like it.
My list would be something like
- (Already discontinued) Pilot Automac
- Pentel Orenz Nero
- Uni Kuru Toga Dive
- CDT Kerry
- Tombow Zoom C1
- (Already discontinued) Pilot Fumi Raku
Luckily I was able to get my hands on NOS black and silver Automacs. That Pilot Fumi Raki is very nice looking! Thank you.
I believe we need at least two factors from the three below for a pencil to have a high value in the future:
- The pencil is not produced anymore.
- The pencil has a high quality and is well regarded.
- Innovative mechanism.
Considering these points, the first that comes to my mind is the Pilot Automac. Copies in new condition with the box rarely appear for sale. When they appear, the value has gradually increased. Another one is the Kuru Toga Dive, the stock of them runs out pretty fast and they are already very expensive.
I also believe if Pentel ends the production of the Orenz Nero its value will sky rocket. The design is beautiful and the quality is superb. I don’t think the same holds for the AT version. The quality is subpar compared to the Nero and there is the problem of the pressing mark on the side of the pencil.
Due to their great quality the same analysis applies to Rotring 600 and Platinum Pro-Use 171. For the Rotring 600 we have the example of the yellow color, it had high values for a while after the launch, but we had a new production and the values dropped.
Boutique pencils already command a high price tag and are hard to find. For example, it is impossible to find new copies of old versions of Spoke (1, 2, 3 and 5). The only way is when new stock is placed on the site.
How does one get their hands on a Manufactum in the US? I have been wanting an Aluminum and a Black for a while but they won’t ship to me directly.
Gotta have a homey in Europe ship it to you after Manufactum ships to them.
Anyone ever use https://shipgerman.com ?
looks like a proxy service.
Anyone stateside want to split w me?
I’m in Berlin. If you send ‘em to me, I can forward them on to you. (Although I would totally get it if you’d prefer to use a proxy rather than a random stranger on the internet
Thanks Stu. I’m at the gym and then running some errands but I’ll DM you when i get settled later this afternoon
Proxies I’ve checked that service Germany are expensive… and make it unfeasible to buy them. Someone wrote to Cult Pens about their pencils and they’re going to contact Manufactum. They might be rigid and refuse, but there’s always a chance they could see an opportunity.
Thanks a lot for offering this opportunity, Stu. How’s the shipping costs from Berlin to the USA? I’m perplexed by shipping costs from Germany, as I’ve seen some very reasonable and some obscenely high. I guess it depends upon how close the shipper is to a major city?
Anyway, if there’s enough interest, maybe we can pool together. I’d be up for 2 of them.
TBH I haven’t shipped anything to the States recently, but pencils aren’t exactly heavy or bulky ( even if you bundle multiple ones together). The cheapest option would be about 18 euros according to DHL, but that’s without tracking or insurance - I’d reccomend including both of those, which seems it would be 48ish bucks (see screenshot).
Assuming a person buys 2 pencils each, that box would probably allow for at least 5 people’s orders. I can’t say what the import fees for you guys would be, but shipping from Japan to the States for a value of less than 800 dollars incurs no customs fee from what I remember, so it’s probably similar for German shipments when they land in the US. (Don‘t quote me on this, though).
So if a couple of you order around the same time, we could combine everything and you could split the shipping cost multiple ways and it would work out to be pretty affordable (even if that
means the receiver needs to ship everyone else’s stuff to them once the box is states-side.
No rush; I’m not moving anytime soon
Edit: cleaning up some grammar
That’s very generous of you.
I’d be interested in getting in on that.
Maybe 1-3 of us bundle together and you ship it to one of us? Then he/she ships to the others?
We could each PayPal you individually and just split the shipping, insurance etc.
I was wondering about VAT taxes etc.
Maybe we can return the favor?
Ah, the wonderful things about Germany is that the VAT/taxes are included in the display price, so the prices on the website are what you pay (+ an extra 5 euro for local shipping if I recall correctly).
I think Justin wants in on it too, so there are already 2 of you - maybe Gary and Chris too, not sure yet.
No need to return the favour happy to help
I definitely want to get in on that action for sure.
Count me in as well