Organizing by category

Personally, a big part of the enjoyment of my collection is how I arrange them for my own viewing. Since I’m currently building some elements for display, I’d be curious to know how you all group your pencils together.
By manufacturer? By intended purpose? By colorway?


I store mine in art art storage cases I got off Amazon, sorted by manufacturer.

U.S. Art Supply 10 Drawer Wood Artist Supply Storage Box - Pastels, Pencils, Pens, Markers, Brushes
I organize by manufacturer, then by model (mostly)

Here is my Ohto drawer


When I started, I didn’t have enough examples from any one brand. So I stored them by color and type: drafting versus non-drafting, silver theme, black theme, etc.

After a couple years, I got into the groove and had several pen rolls, one for blue MPs, one for green, one for clear colors etc.

Then I got into double-knocks, and designs with Smash-type bellows knocks. Then I had a whole bunch of MPs with plastic lattice grid grips… all steel models etc etc

So the collection is organised in a hybrid manner now.


I store my pencils to maintain a balance of value. Since I put them in pouches, I try to balance the amount of total value that is in a pouch. If I lose or something happens to one of the bags, the loss is not that big.


I organize primarily by type—drafting, hybrid, executive—and then secondarily by age, model number, or stylistic similarities.


My method of organization is not very well defined and I don’t have set up for display.

I’ve got 4 “locations” generally defined. 1st is a fire resistant safe, where my most prized and expensive pencils are located. 2nd is a shallow dresser drawer dedicated to writing instruments. For the most part, organized by brand if there’s sufficient quantity, clustered and stacked in original boxes whenever possible. I then have a few different cheap metal spring-lid sunglasses cases holding a variety of mixed pencils. 3rd is another dresser drawer that’s very deep and it has some stacked pencils with boxes and then bubble wrap bags filled with them. That drawer is the “unorganized/unknown” pencil cache, first stage of pencils I plan to sell. And lastly is a few plastic pencil holding cases on my desk that contain pencils from the “deep drawer” that are 1 step away from being placed up for sale.

My struggle is deciding what to keep and what to let go. I definitely have some cemented for permanent keeping. But then there are others I consider “2nd tier” where I plan to hold onto one pristine NOS example, and possibly a backup, while any nice duplicates are to be let go. I used to sell fairly regularly on eBay, but I’ve found some eBay practices a bit discouraging, so I stopped (one of them being a rather high fee rate).


Display you say? More like access for me.

Way back, late aughts, I had a few pen/pencils that mostly remained in their boxes.

I had gone on to collect a few more here and there and now it was getting a little more unruly. Rather than go into the drawer in my desk and rustle one up to use I came up with, at least in my opinion, is a rather ingenious idea, modified from something I had read about, somewhere. It seems bartenders in higher-end lounges and such were concocting libations in test tubes and then pouring them into the requisite glass for presentation and quaffing.

So I grabbed this idea and turned it on its head, or rather on its side. I located a medical supply company in Louisiana USA, ordered a few dozen test tubes in two different lengths and diameters, plus foam holders, I then cut to foam to fit the rectangle in the cubby hole in my desk. If an instrument was to short for the tube I stuffed some extra foam at the end so that they all, pretty much, stick out the same amount.

Over the years the collection has remained pretty much intact, save for the Tombow España I just acquired a couple of weeks ago. A couple had to retire back to the desk drawer and a few were sold off to fund grails.

They’re now arranged mostly by maker in proximity to each other. I think these are going to be the final twenty-four but one never knows, does one?

The Magnificent Seven via DMP and Pencil Paul are all there. Can you spot them?


A novel solution, for sure!


It is an eternal struggle for many collectors indeed.


I like your tailor-made solution! It is a convenient access in front of you.

I like your Tizio floor lamp too. It can offer good illumination for your writing surface!

Chaos, total chaos. I’m working hard to get control of my collection, but its a monumental task. Eventually I will build map case style cabinets similar to Riley’s cabinet, only bigger and several of them.

In the meantime, trying to get them separated into cardboard boxes by manufacturer, but in the case of the Pentels, I need quick ability to reference the ones I own vs the ones I see for auction so I don’t duplicate purchases (this has been a real issue). Currently, I have my Pentels in pencil sleeves in boxes and chinese ‘to go’ containers (40 large containers for $35 on AMZ) . Using Jimmy’s Pentel catalog, I have broke that list into 66 sections with several models assigned to each ‘section’ container. In the case of my most prolific Pentel model collections, i.e. Smash, PG100X, P20X, etc, shipping boxes are required for those. It’s a pitiful but working system lol.


Oh, 2 MB Agatha Christie?

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No, no.

I bought the complete set, matching serial numbers, blah, blah, blah, back in 1993. Then, with the FP, I signed two disastrously horrible personal services contracts, back to back. That FP was bad mojo. Had to go. And indeed it did to fund a watch purchase.

So the two you see are the matching serial number BP and MP. Never, ever to be sold.

Thanks for noticing 2nd_astronaut!


In a couple of drawers there are vintage collectible pencils that I really like, almost all NOS. There the pencils whose color fades in sunlight (Micrograph) are placed in a second black box. I hardly ever use them, I don’t show them to others, I don’t take them out, I only think about them on torrential rainy nights, as I settle into my chair, looking out the window. They will be bequeathed to the droids of the future.

In a wooden box there are collectible pencils, vintage and current, which I like a lot, but not as much as the ones in the drawers. Ballograf, Parker, Nero, Safari, Kerry CDT. I use them sometimes. Maybe I could consider selling or trading some.

Collectibles P200’s are in a dedicated case, and a handful of them here and there. A 1971 P205A that Nimrodd gave me I use daily and it is always close by.

In a plush soft case that Elton gave me there are several vintage Pilot. In another soft case an S3 of each color of the current ones, the most difficult to find were the pink and the light transparent blue.

Pencils everywhere, a small desktop display where there are current pencils that I use to draw, a soft case with pencils of various kinds that I don’t know where to put them, a cardboard box with pencils that I bought to resell and that I have to publish on eBay. I’ve posted 3, a plastic box with about 40 $2 pencils, etc. Various boxes of loose sets around (Custom 74 set, Rotring set).


Ah, I THOUGHT I’d saw what looked to be snakes on the back end of those two black MB’s… Agatha Christie! Good eye @2nd_astronaut

Gorgeous collection, Wildpony. Is the V472 Tecnic pair a BP and MP?
Where’d you source your Espana? I’m still craving to get one eventually.

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Hi @cytherian!

Yes, the V472 Tecnic pair are BP & MP.

And I don’t know why I went there, but I hopped over to and found the España on Yahoo Auctions. It was just dumb luck. I was the only bidder.



Hey Elliot,

Nice on the Tecnic pair. I wish I’d made an effort to pick up at least the MP some 10 years back when I’d learned of the v472, but at that time it just didn’t grab me enough.
Was the España a low prompt-buy discovery? Or had the auction just slipped under the radar somehow, like wrong category or misnamed?

Btw, have to ask… are you simply a fan of the Porsche 911, or is there one in your garage? I couldn’t help but notice the magazine/newspaper photo on your wall. :wink:



Ah Gary,

My my, you have good eyes! I’ll get to that in a second.

I had been on the hunt for the España for years, years! The V472 pair was bad enough; finding that MP was a real chore. And the Mano was another slog.

On my actual birthday last November I was with my wife, daughter and her husband up in Santa Ynez Valley when an España mp was due to close on the 'bay. I bid and bid and bid, way up over what I should have been willing to pay and then gave up. It went for a whole lot more than that. Then just for s**ts & giggles I wandered over to buyee a few weeks ago. As I said, I don’t know why I did that. The España was a BP not an MP like I wanted but at that point I just wanted to have at least one of them and there were no bids and just two days left to go. So I sat patiently and watched. I don’t read Japanese so I ca’t say if it was wrong category or misnamed (though I think it did read “Espana”). Very early the Sunday morning it was ending I placed a bid somewhat higher than the opening number. And no one else bid! I was shocked, shocked I say. I paid minimal shipping and it showed up a couple of weeks later, in great condition. (I see that peeps have been commenting on customs/duties charges but I had none, no other paperwork to fill out and no hassles. Maybe I’m just lucky.)

Now, back to the Porsche. What you see is neither a magazine nor newspaper photo on my wall. That is a photo (on a t-shirt) taken of my beloved 1996 Midnight Blue Metallic 993 (last air-cooled 911) at Willow Springs International Raceway, with me behind the wheel (in the helmet). As part of the day of racing, one could buy a t-shirt with the photo on it. And that was probably in 1997, maybe 1998. In the intervening years the shirt got a lot of wear. But rather than retire the shirt (toss it) I cut out the picture and mounted it in the picture frame to forever remind me of that car. (I sold it in 2001 to pay for my daughter’s first year at NYU. Never regretted it.) And that was my second 911. I bought a 1973 1/2 911T in 1978. I kept that one until 1996 when I bought the 993. Here’s a shot of both of them in the garage at one point -

I hope this answers your questions.



Great story, Elliot. Santa Barbara is such a beautiful part of California. I’m definitely more of a Northern Coast guy. I spent nearly 4 years up in Cupertino.

Yeah, I’d be happy with the Espana BP. The body is essentially identical between the BP and MP, aside from the lead tip nose cone peeking out. I hope to pick up either one someday. Still on the hunt!

The 993 is such a beauty. I really don’t like the design path Porsche took with the 996. And as I anticipated, the round/oval headlamps came back years later. I came SO CLOSE to buying a 911 SC. But it had high miles, with a very decent body. I was petrified of the possible mechanical repair/maintenance costs involved. So I passed and took the easy route with a '99 Miata in British Racing Green. Loved that car, despite being underpowered. I replaced it with an Audi TTQR. That’s a real sleeper car. Fantastic handling.

Anyway, sorry you had to sell the 993. How’d you like it compared to the 911T? 18 years of ownership is a nice long haul. Was it a primary driver for a time?


Hey Gary,

Yes, I did love that 993. And I’m glad I pulled the trigger when I did because I agree with you, after that Porsches just got bigger and not a whole lot prettier. Plus they went water-cooled. Not good, imo.

The Audi TTQR is fantabulous!

Not sorry I sold the 993. It went to a very good cause. Besides, it was a very week-end car. When I sold it almost five years later I think it had around 7000 miles on it. The 911T was a very different car. Besides no a/c and roll-up windows it had a lot less power than the 993. I installed a 5-point racing harness in the back right jump seat for my daughter, who was born in 1983. She hated riding back there! But in the end, I loved that car as well. Gee, I had it for 18 years. That has to say something.