Vintage Sakura sliding sleeve pencil

I got this as part of a lot and didn’t expect much. But, it is actually pretty nice. It has a sliding sleeve and grooves along the body that are painted. It is not clear to me that it is etched or machined. at about 122mm in length it is also short. It has a solid all metal construction. Clicking the button results in an odd piston sound. I am not sure if i want to add it to my pocket carry, keep it in the collection, or find a new home for it


I have ton of Sakuras (including this one), and I think they’re pretty underrated! Between the Slide Sharps, Create Sharps, and Rolletas, their executive/hybrid pencil lineup is both unique and diverse.

IMO, the only reason Sakura isn’t more highly regarded is because they never produced anything that could be considered part of the “hi mecha” lineage.


That’s really nice. I would keep it. I’m starting to have a thing for pieces with vertical stripes.


I don’t know exactly what you understand by “hi mecha” lineage, but a sakura (ats matic 3000) is probably the pencil with most buy offers in my collection. free matic is similar category I guess (don’t have it).


I started this “thing” some years ago :-). however, I miss many striped pencils: sailor has one, diverse Pilot variants (clutch mechanisms, different colors).


I’m really getting to have a thing for the etched look. This is regardless of weather it is really etched or not. How do you tell?


I forgot about the ATS-3000 and the FreeMatic, as both are so rare that I pretty much never think about them.

There’s also the Archi, and all 3 of these pencils qualify as “hi mecha,” so I am mistaken—Sakura definitely has some premium pencils that command high prices in secondary markets.

I don’t know exactly what you understand by “hi mecha” lineage

How can someone have a collection like yours and not know what “hi mecha” means? :joy:

It’s a Japanese term referring to any mechanical pencil with “elevated” features like automatic lead advancement, stainless steel grips with etching (usually paired with double knock functionality), lead advance adjustment (Ohto ProMecha, Staedtler REG, etc), or even finger-based knocking (Mitsubishi Hi-Uni 3050ff).

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This particular specimen is not etched; the barrel is aluminum, and the black stripes are silkscreened on.

You really just need to look closely at the pictures to tell if something is etched, but there are some pretty obvious tells once you know what you’re looking for:

  • Stainless steel can be etched easily, but aluminum is much trickier to get right without damaging the metal. Therefore, the first sign a pencil might be etched is the material.

  • Next, each manufacturer had its own entries into the “etched” niche, and it helps to know who did what (since the landscape is pretty finite in this case):

    • Pilot — The H-1505 executive and the Stainless Steel Elite are the most well-known etched Pilots, but there are plenty of other noteworthy models besides these. The vaunted H-200X, H-300X, and H-5005 all have etched stainless steel grips, and the aforementioned H-1505 even came in different axis lengths and colors. Beyond these pencils, Pilot even released super-rare etched designs with red, blue, and black paint infill; these typically go for $150+ on secondary markets.

    • Platinum — Within their executive lineup, Platinum has a sub-series known as the Riviere. A few of these models have etched stainless steel bodies, while other models have painted aluminum barrels. The general rule of thumb with Platinum is that if the entire body is etched, then it’s stainless, but if it’s just the barrel (above the grip), then it’s probably just silkscreened aluminum.

    • Sailor — Sailor has a wonderful etched stainless steel executive with a sliding sleeve that is very similar to both the Platinum Riviere and Pilot Elite.

    • Mitsubishi — While most manufacturers sold executive-style etched pencils, Mitsubishi offered etched stainless steel pencils within its drafting lineup. Specifically the Super Uni in 0.3 and 0.5mm, though these only have etching in the grip area (as opposed to having cuts that run the length of the barrel).

    • Newman — Most American collectors are unfamiliar with Newman’s extensive catalog, but they probably have more etched pencils than anyone other than Pilot. The signature etched Newman is the yellow and black “lattice” pattern, and this is actually found on at least 4 different pencil styles (3 executives and 1 drafting in 0.3 and 0.5). Also, Newman has higher-end diplomat-style pencils that feature intricate finishes like hairline, etched, diamondized, etc.

    • Sakura — You’ll find a few examples of etched barrels within its extensive Slide Sharp and Create Sharp collections. In my experience, these are all fantastic pencils!

    • Ohto — Though they barely have any history in the executive space, Ohto produced perhaps the most sought-after etched pencil of all time (model name/number unknown). You might see this pencil come up for sale once or twice a year, and it’s guaranteed to sell for ¥25,000 or more.

It’s sort of interesting that Pentel, Staedtler, and rOtring never really seemed to bother with etched designs. I haven’t found any from Colleen or Zebra, either.

But without question, etched designs are certainly among the most sought-after specimens for top collectors!


Thanks for the survey. I have so many questions.

There are no etched aluminum pencils? Only Stainless steel pencils can be etched?

Silk screening is an additive process while etching is a subtractive process. Even with painting the net result is subtractive, right? If I have a pencil and it is printed on the surface, it is not etched. That seems obvious. But given a pencil which looks like there has been some subtractive process applied, how do you determine if it is etched or if some other process was used?

Isn’t the grip of the early versions of the Pentel Mechanica (MEC) etched? How do we tell?

There are some terms that I am not completely understand how you are using. Could you describe:

Some exist, but not many (for the reasons I listed above).

If there is no depth—aka no grooves—then the stripes are silkscreened. (I honestly don’t understand the confusion here; grooves are grooves, and paint on the barrel is paint on the barrel. Massive difference from my perspective.)

Yes, the Mechanica grips are etched. The etching on the 0.3 is painted, but the etching on the 0.5 is not.

This is by no means “standard industry terminology.”

I simply refer to fat-barreled executives as “diplomat style” since Diplomat made fat-barreled executive pencils.

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Don’t forget ZEBRA… I have a ‘FX’ 2000 yen model in pinstripe etched stainless steel :slight_smile:


I really didn’t know :-D. I related the term only to Pentel Mechanica, since it often appears in auctions with them.

I was aware of the different grips, but not of the different manufacturing of them …

In the etched collection you can add to the Ohto Egyptian the Sailor Egyptian, similar rareness & price (stratospheric) category :wink:

PS I think there are etched Zebra Sharbos. There are definitely patterned ones, but I am not sure if etched.
PPS What about Kokuyo PS-3? Is that one etched?

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You and @drifand are totally right about the Zebras—I even have an etched Sharbo and the FX ¥2000 pencil but forgot about them :joy:

And you nailed it—the Egyptian pencils from Ohto and Sailor draw huge interest at auction.

Finally, I had never seen an etched Kokuyo PS-3 before your post, but I looked it up, and damn if it’s not a gorgeous pencil!


Doesn’t that seem rather high, given that this isn’t an automatic pencil? The winner… is “2f4”, who has actually won at least one before.


They are quite rare and sought after. Prices were above 200k JPY at one point. The recent deluge of ~1-2 Freematics/week has brought the prices down to this point.


Also an important inclusion in any discussion about high end Sakuras - the Two in One. You can twist the barrell to select between sliding and fixed sleeve. It’s a wonderful pencil!


That’s a beauty! Congrats :slight_smile:


I agree. That clip is really nifty, with the mini-drum tip.

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I found a Sakura in my collection. The pipe sleeve doesn’t retract easily and the whole thing is a little stiff. Would someone like it for the cost of shipping?

(Oops just realized how old this thread is)

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I’m here to share two brochures of the slide sharp series, and of course, many other products in this series are not listed here.