The high end Japanese pencils that interest me have quickly become a no-go zone… With the Germans at least I have some luck sometimes with Brazilian old stock for cheaper older models (POLY, Polo, Micro 775, ) or clueless Japanese sellers (a recent 925 95 auction ended at 62 USD).
Man! They was a good deal for someone.
I just completed getting every model from the 925 line. I have a 55 and 95 on the way as we speak.
Sadly I paid a lot more than that but it was a pristine NOS model.
I recommend trying to buy it from someone directly rather than via eBay and proxies even if it’s harder then you can get the person to write it off as a gift or undervalue the pencil in the declaration…
For any STAEDTLER pencil I recommend looking for damaged pieces (missing a tip, bent tip…) if you want a quick discount. STAEDTLER will send you a spare part free of charge if you email them on staedtler.de be aware that they may not have spares for the rarer models such as 777 75 or Retromatic… But for stuff like the 925 series, Micrograph, Microfix, it’s a given.
Like Stuart, I also crave pencils from the La Nave series by TOMBOW. The v472 Titan was known to me many years ago, but I wasn’t grabbed by it. I thought it interesting. The rear 3-hole circular collar looked like it mated to a stand of some kind where the pen (or pencil) would hang, like a desk pen. It looked heavy, so I figured it wouldn’t be that comfortable to use. More like a conversation piece. So I passed on it. I have vague recollections of possible purchase for considerably less than the going rate. I’d love to get an Espana or Mano. Still bugs me how I’d seen them around and just wasn’t “on fire” to shell out the extra $$ to buy, and now it’s like $$$$.
Exactly that. The MEC is easy to pull apart. There are many posts out there showing the differences of the internal slide-slot piece, but the grip itself can be transplanted. With the age of the original, there are many sun-damaged examples with discolored shafts, red lead degree windows that have turned pastel pink, etc. Doesn’t take much to locate a fresh (or even beat up) ‘late’ example and stick a first run grip on it for a quick sale at a hefty markup.
Thing is – even these franken-pencils become attractive when you consider the $500+++ territory for a full set of the original.
I have both the Protecs and the Priere. The Priere is inferior. There’s more plastic in the mechanism and it has an awkwardly tight angle for deployment/retraction. The Protecs feels like a very solid step above. It’s gorgeous.