Excalibur Crown Pencils & Descendants
The Excalibur Crown-motif pencils are among my favorite Pentel pencils. Although all the pencils in it are in the front of the book, they are scattered over more than 200 pages. Since finding the first two Excalibur pencils (Images 12 & 13) in this article, I wanted to put together as coherent a timeline as I can determine.
This article tries to track the history of, and changes to, the Pentel Excalibur Crown pencils. I am not including any of the pens (other than as side notes) or any of the later Excalibur items, Sword or carved.
Let’s start this with what documentation we have. The oldest catalog I have access to that mentions this style pencil is the 1970 Japanese One-Sheet that was included with some pencils. This shows two pencils of this type, the first being a 0.3mm, and the second, a 0.5mm.
Image 01: 1970 Japanese One-Sheet – translation: “Sharp Silver / For Extra Fine Writing” – 0.3mm
Image 02: 1970 Japanese One-Sheet – translation: “Sharp Gold / Luxury Portable” – 0.5mm
As the translation for Image 01 states, it is a Sharp Silver, and the image reflects that. Image 02 translation says it is a Sharp Gold but looks to be drawn as a black pencil with lighter (gold?) accents and does not have bands on the cap.
The next occurrence comes from a Pentel of America brochure for the Excalibur pencil and pen set printed in 1971.
Image 03: Excalibur US Brochure 9/71
This brochure is for the silver 0.5mm P1007 and the R-10 pen in a Gift Set #EX-15. The brochure was included with this Gift Set.
Skipping ahead to the Japanese 1980 catalog, which appears to be a scan of 3-pages of the pencil section. Due to the low-res nature of these scans, I do not have any translations of any of this text.
Image 04: Japanese 1980 catalog – gold pencils – pencil shown is an SG15
Image 05: Japanese 1980 catalog – silver pencils
The full US catalogs that I have (1979, 1982, 1984 and 1985) all show the same Excalibur pencils, but do not have any of the SG pencils. The 1985 catalog shows:
Image 06: Pentel of America 1985 catalog, pg. 5 Excalibur Pens and Pencils
Image 07: Pentel of America 1985 catalog, pg. 5 Excalibur Gift Sets
One thing to note, although they contain the same model pen and pencil (R10 & P1007), the EX12 Gift Set model number changed from the 1971 Excalibur Brochure (Image 03), where it was EX-15.
Because the 1984 Olympics were being held in the United States (Los Angeles, California), Pentel of America decided to release several pens and pencils tied into that event. Several different styles of pencils were released, but for this article, we are only concerned with the EX20WO set and the PX7-21WO pencil.
Image 08: Pentel of America 1984 catalog, pg. 5 EX20WO Excalibur Olympic Pen and Pencil Gift Set
Apparently, there were many of these sets released, as even today in 2023, you can still find these relatively cheap on auction sites.
Going back to the first appearance in the 1970 Japanese One-Sheet, we have the Sharp Silver 0.3mm (Image 01) and the Sharp Gold 0.5mm (Image 02). These have now been confidently identified as the following two pencils:
Image 09: Unmarked SG33 (SV)
I came across some pictures of Pentel Excalibur and SG pencils from a collector who is no longer with us, Germ of the Pencils11 blog (bit.ly/Excal11). One of these pencils appears to be an unmarked silver pencil that is probably the pencil from the Japanese 1970 One-Sheet (see Image 01). Aside from the external differences from the SG33 (see Image 21) (no text below the clip, the early clip with vertical type Pentel, the stylized “P”, and the early eraser cap), the internals have a major difference that links them back to the 60’s design where the lead reservoir screws into the front of the grip with larger diameter threads than those that screw the tip on.
Image 10: Differences between internal Unmarked SG33 and “3” SG33
Image 11: SG (Sharp Gold)
I found out about the above pencil in an auction that I subsequently won. According to the box, it is a Sharp Gold (SG) and the shipping box says to come see Pentel at EXPO70. This is more than likely the pencil from the Japanese 1970 One-Sheet (Image 02). It has no markings below the clip, like the SG33 (Image 09), and is longer than all other SG pencils by about 7mm. Other differences include the smooth eraser cap and the single piece tip (no pressed in pipe).
Soon after this, the Excalibur pencils seem to split into 3 different lines: the Crown-motif Excalibur pencils, the SG pencils, and the Scepter pencils.
The first appearance of actual Excalibur Crown pencils has been identified on websites, and now in the hands of collectors.
Image 12: First Silver Excalibur / P1007
Image 13: First Black Excalibur / SG7
But in neither case, did we have model numbers, and in previous Pentel ID Books they were identified as Unknown Model 11 & Unknown Model 08. To get to how these were identified, let’s look at the model numbers of the more modern (circa 79-85 US Catalogs) Excaliburs.
First off, you need to know that in Japan, these were all 0.5mm, and in the US, they were 0.7mm, so they had different model numbers, but I never understood where these numbers came from for the US models (except the Gold Excalibur).
This is the brushed silver Excalibur with black print.
Image 14: PX20 (0.5mm), P1007 (0.7mm)
Both versions of this pencil also came in boxed sets with the R10 Rolling Writer pen. The Japanese set with the PX20 and the R10 was PRX20. The US set with the P1007 and the R10 is EX12 (see Image 07).
This is the brushed gold Excalibur with black print.
Image 15: PX21 (0.5mm), PX7-21 (0.7mm)
The PX7‐21 is the only 0.7mm Excalibur where you can see where the model number came from, taking the PX21 and sticking the “7‐“, for 0.7mm, in the middle. This also seems to indicate that these two pencils came out at the same time, which also makes sense, as there was not a known all gold Excalibur before this.
Again, both pencils came in sets with the RX21 Rolling Writer pen. The Japanese version is the PRX21 and the US version is the EX20 (see Image 07).
This is the gloss black Excalibur with gold trim and print.
Image 16: PX22 (0.5mm), SG7 (0.7mm)
Both pencils came in sets with the RG10 Rolling Writer pen, with PRX22 being the Japanese 0.5mm version and the EX17 being the US 0.7mm version (see Image 07).
Now, it is easy to see that the Japanese model numbers were created sequentially (PX20, PX21 & PX22), but where did the US silver (P1007) and black (SG7) numbers come from? Neither I, nor any of the other pencil collectors I was in contact with had any idea.
Image 17: P1005
But in mid-April 2023 (less than a week before this is published), an auction went up on Yahoo Japan for a box of P1005 Excaliburs. Aside from being 0.5mm, they were identical to the first Silver Excalibur (Image 12), which made that model number P1007.
And everything starts to fall into place. The first US Excalibur was the Silver P1007 (non-SG version). This also made the first Black Excalibur, very likely, an SG7, where Pentel US, just tacked on a “7” to the 0.7mm version of the SG (Image 13).
This now tells us where Pentel USA got their model numbers from. The first Silver Excalibur / P1007 was replaced by the 0.7mm version of the PX20, but they kept the same model number. And the same thing probably happened with first Black Excalibur / SG7 with the 0.7mm version of the PX22; they kept the model number SG7.
It also explains the set number change from the 1971 Excalibur Brochure (Image 03): EX15 to the 1979-85 US catalogs (Image 07), where it is EX12. The P1007 design actually changed.
Image 18: P1007 (Version 2) “Excalibur”
Image 19: SG7 (Version 2) “Excalibur”
The two pencils above, P1007 (Version 2) & SG7 (Version 2), were pencils I received in Excalibur sets (with Excalibur marked pens). Being 0.7mm models, they are US versions and marked with a , but I wondered: 1) why they were not marked as Excaliburs, and 2) why I had never seen these model numbers before.
I have two of the SG7 pencils; one being the one in the photo above, and the other is part of a monogrammed set for The Mitsui Bank of California, which appears to have opened in 1972. I suspect that this Excalibur set was a give-away for either employees or high value customers. Either way, that gives us a rough date for both of these sets.
What I suspect is that Pentel USA had run out of the first Excaliburs, but Pentel Japan had not finished the design for the new Excalibur pencils (PX20 & PX22). Therefore they had a run of the SG15 and SG33 pencils made in 0.7mm and stamped with a “7” as a stop-gap, and was thus a very limited release.
The SG Pencils appear to be a descendant of the original Sharp Silver (Image 01) and Sharp Gold (Image 02) from the 1970 Japanese One-Sheet and have the same “gear-style” middle ring, plus the information below the clip, consisting of Pentel, then the stylized number representing the size, then below that, Japan, and nothing on the clip.
Thanks to the Oddball Excaliburs above, it appears that at least some of these started appearing, probably around 1972 and continued into the 1980’s.
This pencil is the same matt black with gold trim as the pencils in Image 11 & Image 13.
Image 20: SG15
The Japanese 1980 catalog (Image 04) lists this as the SG15 and I have seen it referenced this way elsewhere online. The sticker on the SG15 is from about 1976 to the early-80’s.
These pencils are all made of brushed aluminum.
Image 21: SG33 (SV) & SG35 (SV5)
I list these pencils as SG33 & SG35 because that is how I most commonly see them referenced online, and how most people would know them. But in the Japanese 1980 catalog (see Image 05) these appear to be the pencils that are listed there as SV and SV5. The SG33 is one of the most common SG pencils that I find on auction sites. I have found this pencil with the early smaller triangular sticker (pre‐76) to larger JIS triangular sticker up to the square sticker from the mid‐80’s.
I have not found these listed in any catalogs but find them listed under this part number online.
Image 22: SG45A Black, SG45C Blue, SG45E Brown and SG45D Green
This is the only model that requires the color code, as it is available in multiple colors, and as far as I have found, just these four colors. The stickers on these pencils are from pre-76 (small triangle sticker) to the early-80’s (large triangle sticker).
This pencil is listed in the 1980 Japanese catalog (see Image 04) as the SG65.
Image 23: SG65
Although, not as brilliant as the SG75, it is a brushed solid gold color.
The last of the SG pencils listed in the 1980 Japanese catalog (see Image 04).
Image 24: SG75
This is a gloss gold pencil with black pin stripes. I have been told that the striping on this is sometimes referred to as Tiger Stripes.
The first Silver Excalibur in Image 12, thanks to the ring in the middle, appears to be a direct ancestor of the Scepter pencils.
Image 25: Scepter Pencils, top to bottom; Silver Plated, Gold Plated and Sterling Silver
These pencils have dropped the Excalibur logo, and have the Pentel name on the clips, but not the stylized “P”. The Scepter line appears to have been discontinued after this run of pencils.
Image 26: Evolution of the Excalibur Crown Logo
Logo 1 – Simple line drawing of the Crown above the logo-style Pentel, stamped into the body of the pencil/pen. (source Early P1007 Excalibur)
Logo 2 – Outlined Crown above the logo-style Pentel, stamped into the body of the pencil/pen. (source R10 Excalibur Gen 1)
Logo 3 – Outlined Crown above Excalibur name, stamped into the body of the pencil/pen. Pentel stamped on the back of the pencil/pen. (source RG10 Excalibur Matt Black)
Logo 4 – Filled Crown above Excalibur name, printed on the body of the pencil/pen. Black fill on Silver and Gold, Gold fill on Gloss Black. (source Late P1007 Excalibur)
EDIT: Corrected photo for Image 13