Mitsubishi Hi-Uni is perhaps the most expensive vintage lineup in MP history

Mitsubishi’s Hi-Uni drafting series is the elevated version of what I consider to be the most basic style of drafting pencil—a metal knurled grip with a different material on the rest of the barrel.

The Hi-Uni series is noteworthy for at least 4 reasons:

  • All models were originally sold with protective caps
  • Some models had a unique, finger-press lead advance mechanism (ff)
  • Lead size indicator on the first stepdown section of the nose cone
  • “CARBO” color variants that created interesting barrel patinas that would change based on sun exposure (I’ve seen red and blue versions; unsure of any others)

The ff and CARBO were elevated features found on pricier models. Also, I think each base sub-model (2050, 3050, 3050ff, 5050, 5050ff) was only produced in 0.3 and 0.5mm variants.

At this point, scoring any Hi-Uni model for under $250 is an unlikely proposition. And a CARBO or ff variant will probably set you back at least $500.

But a red CARBO 5050ff? How deep are your pockets? :grin:

This places the Hi-Uni series in a stratosphere only occupied by a few other noteworthy MP families:

  • Pilot H-1000+ — considered by many to be the epitome of “hi mecha” and the most grand MP family of them all (includes 100X, 210X, 200X, 300X, 5005)
  • Tombow Variable — the most expensive MP family with a 0.4mm variant
  • Faber-Castell TK-matic and alphamatic — classic hi mecha designs with robust materials and ultra-premium color variants
  • Pentel Mechanica — oldest and most venerable; we’re not having this discussion without the Mechanica’s existence

Outside of these 5 families, there’s only a smattering of pencils that can claim $200+ per piece.

In fact, I’d argue the existence of these 5 families is precisely why so many other rare pencils have skyrocketed in value. For example:

  • Why do people pay $150+ for Newman drafting pencils that exhibit basic “hi mecha” design traits?

  • Why is the Platinum Angle (with chevron grip) priced and treated as a hi mecha equivalent?

  • Why are cool riffs on hi mecha themes—such as the Pilot Sprinter or Pilot Pro-tex—so sought after by collectors?

Bottom line?

Given enough time, anything hi mecha or hi mecha adjacent is going to be worth a lot of money.

Just look at the Pilot Automac, which now fetches $60+ per specimen when it retailed for half that less than one year ago.

From the current “modern” generation of pencils, only the Pentel Orenznero will reach stratospheric valuations like those that will undoubtedly be seen by the Automac.

And all because they are part of the hi mecha lineage that well and truly drives this entire secondhand market.


Great writeup and I can’t argue with what you’re saying. In the last two years, we’ve seen prices nearly double for a lot of pieces, even pieces that aren’t in your 5 families mentioned above.

Along those lines, it’s really fun to think about what current pieces will be desirable vintage items in 20+ years. I agree, the Nero will be one of those.


Nothing more I can add except some notes on the model numbers I cribbed off a one page advertisement scan:

  • Hi-uni5-5050 ff-matic uni-carbo
  • Hi-uni3-5050 ff-matic uni-carbo
  • Hi-uni5-3050 uni-carbo
  • Hi-uni3-3050 uni-carbo
  • M5-3051FF ff-matic aluminium
  • M3-3051FF ff-matic aluminium
  • Hi-uni5-2050 aluminium
  • Hi-uni3-2050 aluminium

This scan was tweeted by Mitsubishi Uni’s official account some time ago… :drooling_face:


Absolutely incredible! This is what I’ve been wanting to see for over a year—whatever is in that catalog is pure gold and is also key to better understanding the Mitsubishi lineup.

From your scan, the uniX-1051 is the series I most want to complete in the near-term. I don’t have any pieces from it currently, and I just lost out on a rare 0.5 specimen with orange-red ring.


I missed this thread …

The scan is interesting. But I don’t understand it :smiley:
For 2050 we have two lead sizes and two colors, ok. For 3051 the shown 3 colors, also ok. But why did they depict three (black) pencils for the 3050 and one for 5050?

So for me it is still unclear, which colors exist for the carbon variants?

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M5- and M3-5050 are carbon body models with ff-matic. Black only.

3050 is carbon with normal lead advance and comes in Red, Blue and Grey according to the text. Perhaps it is a very slight tint in reality, thus the difficulty in print reproduction.

5051 is ff-matic but using aluminum for the body, so that allows for different colors of Black, Purple and Silver.

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That might be the explanation. Auction photos of 3050 often look not so good, but in reality they look much better (at least my one :wink: ). Probably Mitsubishi didn’t want to have the kind of washed-out-look on their poster.

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