I have been wanting to look at older pencils because, looking at pictures of some of them, I find them more appealing than most pencils nowadays. However, I have no clue where to start as there’s so many old products, and I don’t know how to find something I like or something valuable. Any tips? Also, if there are any more affordable vintage mechanical pencils you think will appreciate in value, what are they and why do you think so?
Hi! This was touched on in a previous thread: High-end contemporary pencil suggestions?
Sorry, my question may have been confusing. I believe that thread is more for pencils now that will appreciate in the future. I was moreso looking at older pencils from the 80’s to 2000’s and how to find a design I like and also how to find something that may appreciate in value. The appreciation part was covered I believe, but I still am uncertain how to find older pencils, as there are many models released, and little information about older ones online. Any tips on that, and figuring out what you like?
You best source would be eBay, or through a proxy service like Buyee which gives you access to several places, some of them are Yahoo Shopping, yahoo auctions, Mercari and others.
I asked basically the same question
Do you just look through the availiable catalog and figure out what to buy? If so, how do you figure out if something has a good price and determine whether it will be of value?
That’s the hard part (knowing the market value).
I’d start with just collecting the ones you like or that interest you.
There are several users here who have been collecting for years (present company not included) and they can help guide you. Just ask
The problem with trying to determine the actual “value” of an item referencing the prices on eBay, or any similar sites, is that you will always have speculators who will list something at 2 to 10 times the price hoping somebody will click on it. And it happens. I have noticed that what you find on eBay can be found up to 50% less through Buyee, but there are also costs (fees/shipping) to consider when making comparisons
I’d recommend the same approach that one should take as a new investor in the stock market. Spend a good amount of time observing the conversations here, on the subreddit, and all of the purchasing sites (eBay, Mercari, YJP, etc.) before you start buying.
I’d also recommend not falling for FOMO. There is no rush although it may feel like it. Take your time and you’ll start to pick up on what you like.
Most of us here have some kind of experience, oftentimes through childhood or college years, that drew us in to certain kinds of pieces. Those are the pieces that are the easiest to start understanding and collecting.
Note: I mentioned the stock market as an analogy but I do not recommend getting into this as an investment with the idea of items going up in value. That’s dangerous. Collect what you like.
I think your suggestion to just collect what interests me is probably much better than what I was going for, purely value. However, how do you find stuff that interests you?
The same way we find the types of food, music, art, and other things that interests us. Exposure and observation. You’ve already started.
From what I know so far, I like intriguing features, but also a nice build quality and premium feel. I like heavier pencils for sure, but not too heavy.
From what I have seen, the Pilot Automac is intriguing, but too expensive for my liking.
Browse around at the pictures here and on the mechanical pencils subreddit. If you see any that catch your eye, start there.
Some people may find a favorite model like the Pentel P200 and then try to collect all the various colors. Or maybe start with all the rOtring models.
Most models will from time to time have “limited editions” or special colors.
Or you may want to try to get all the versions of a particular model. For example the Steadtler 925.
Me, I started by looking for interesting features in mechanical pencils.
Edit: but as @Knockologist said, if you’re doing this for investment purposes, there are much better ways to make money. I think this hobby may actually make you go broke if you’re not careful lol.
(Photo is missing 925 77 Hexagonal)
Some beautiful pieces you have! I will definetly keep lurking around and finding stuff, thanks for the help from you and @Knockologist . I’m very new to the hobby, as you can tell. I only have my green p205 and 925-35 black, which are great, but I always loved the look of some older stuff I found here and on the subreddit.
Browse everything you can—Knockology, the subreddit, Twitter, eBay, Mercari Japan, etc—and figure out which pencils really catch your eye.
For me, the vintage stuff sticks out like a sore thumb, and it occupies about 99% of my interest in mechanical pencils. Modern stuff is cool, too, but it doesn’t hit nearly the same way as vintage pieces do, especially when you come across rare pieces you’ve never seen before.
I think value appreciation is less important than finding designs that interest YOU. By all means browse and absorb from enthusiast blogs. But never ever feel pressured to pick up a series just because someone else said it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
I started browsing /r/mechanicalpencils and see the pencils which I liked the design or features, from then on it was having money and finding them available (e.g. Pilot Automac). I don’t care about the price increasing in the future, since I don’t intend to sell most of my pencils. What makes me worry about a vintage model is they never appearing for sale again.
I would recommend to look at Reddit for photos of pearsonified‘s toolbox . This will give you a good overview on vintage pencils.
@pearsonified - how many years has it taken you to amass this collection? Simply amazing.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do if I ever end up collecting this many pencils. I like to look at my collection frequently, and I don’t know how I would be able to store or display this many. I’m picturing a wall of plastic tubes but then there is UV to worry about, so I get storing them in a secure place like a toolbox. And I guess if there is an emergency you can move your collection without worrying about damaging your pieces.
Believe it or not, it only took a little over two years to collect all these pieces. I was extremely diligent and price-sensitive in the beginning, and I scored a lot of great deals that would seem unfathomable now.
As I moved more and more into the longtail of the collection, I started paying a much higher price per pencil (but I also acquired nearly all of my hi-mecha pieces during this phase).
Once a collection gets larger than about 300 pencils, it becomes very difficult to display everything in a pleasant way. Many of the Japanese collectors I’ve seen simply don’t “honor” the less popular pieces, and they choose to display only their finest pieces in a flex to other collectors.
That’s never been my jam—most of my favorite pencils are not the wildly popular ones, and I wouldn’t feel right about my collection if I relegated a bunch of these pieces to second-tier status.
Given these constraints, I had to seek out a storage solution that would enable me to display as many pieces in one “shot” as possible. (I may have ~200 hi-mecha pieces, but I also have ~1500 other badass pencils that enrich the overall display.)
Also, even though The Toolbox™ probably seems like a massive display setup, it’s woefully inadequate for my collection. The best storage for MPs—by far—is an 8-drawer flat file.
Each drawer in a 42"x30" flat file can accommodate around 300 pieces, which is enough to dedicate an entire drawer to each manufacturer. Ultimately, I’ll end up moving my collection into something like this, assuming I can find a decent piece at a good price (these things tend to be crazy expensive, considering they aren’t really useful anymore).
For the “market price” of a model, to see if you’re not overpaying, you have to check other listings and at which price other people are purchasing. If a pencil usually sells at 30000 yen, don’t expect to get it much cheaper, and don’t pay too much over that. You can check those on mercari/buyee, aucfan etc.
As for whether a pencil will rise in value, we don’t know. That’s investment advice.
As for which pieces interest you. It is often said that “just buying things isn’t a hobby” and I agree. What makes collecting a hobby is everything that surounds it—the conversations, reading old posts, finding your likes and dislikes, gathering lost info… That’s what makes it fun.
Try to look at what you have and see which aspects of a pencil do you like, and search for pencils with those aspects but that are different from what you already got in some way. That way you can add variety to your collection and keep exploring what interests you.