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Victorian Sterling Silver Pencil

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Pencils68 of 111Victorian Silver & Topaz PencilSolid 15ct Gold Propelling Pencil
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Posted 5 years ago


(51 items)

This is again from my extensive collection of 18th, 19th & Early 20th century Writing and Drawing Equipment: This is an excellent example of an un-named, unmarked, unremarkable and standard Victorian Silver Propelling Pencil. It has an octagonal, fluted body. Each concave face of the body is decorated with two different but complementary and alternating styles of hand engraving.

The tip is marked with “VS” which indicates the type of original leads required. This is obviously not a Sampson Mordan example (One of top English Silversmiths specialising in pencils and pens. See my other posts for his history), but he published the protocol (and gained a Patent) for lead sizing:

In his “ Directions For Use”, which was ADOPTED & USED by many other makers (including the mystery maker of this particular pencil):
The Directions say; “The V.S (very soft) is largest.........Very black for deep shading”.

I have measured the Lead that was insitu, and it is 1.49mm which correlates to the accepted 1.5mm (nominal modern equivalent) size for this (VS) type of lead.

See Photo .4 of my Collectors Weekly post for the Lead Specifications that pertain to all tip MARKED propelling pencils out of England:

Note: The “V” of “V.S” is stamped slightly out of place but this in no way affects the pencils value or charm. There are no Assay Hallmarks but that is not entirely unusual with pencils of this period. The pencil has tested as silver. However; as is the norm, this does not extend to the internal mechanism that was always made from harder wearing metals.

The Pencil is 90 mm long when closed, and 118 mm when extended. It weighs 11.3 grams. As far as the condition of this pencil goes; there is some slight deformation from use and its age, along the slide slot in the body. There is smoothing and blurring of some details from decades of respectful handling and cleaning by the user/s. This also is often present in these antique and used pencils, and does not detract from it, but should always be taken into consideration when assessing these beautiful and tactile items.

The “Seal” finial is the real “jewel in the crown” with this particular pencil, I have never seen it's like, in what is essentially a "middle of the road" propelling pencil: The finial cap itself, unscrews for lead storage and is set with this visually perfect, facet cut, sky blue Topaz of 8mm diameter. This stunning, palest of blue, Topaz reflects and refracts the light beautifully. Because of the cut of this gemstone, it is unlikely it was actually meant to carry an engraved seal monogram, it is purely decorative, and it certainly stands out in my collection, or any collection, as one of the best "everyday"* pencils.

*I use this term loosely, because the everyday propelling pencil was invariably made from non-precious metal like brass or from bone, even wood (when it could perhaps be termed "Treen")

As ever; thank you for looking, and I hope you enjoyed it!


  1. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Thank you for your most kind note to us all yesterday! You are truly kind, sir, and I cannot imagine a CW without you now.
  2. Hems303 Hems303, 5 years ago
    Cheers miKKo, thats a really kind thing to say, and thanks for the "love it". I feel that CW is an entity that the more you put in, the more you get out. A nicer bunch of people I haven't met in a long long while.

    I must admit to being a bit perplexed even at a loss really, spoke to BELLIN68 and blunderbuss2 Re: scandinavian_pieces, who I'm sure you "know"....but they and all their posts, loves etc. seem to have vanished into the void (I hope not for good, as scandinavian_pieces was very supportive when I first joined CW! :(
  3. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Hi, Hems. It's not you - the 'disappearance' resulted from CW deleting her entire account, which action was undertaken by her request. Scandi has many responsibilities now and doesn't feel that she can participate in CW at this time. I can assure you that she has great respect for you, for your talents, for your knowledge. Yes, she is a wonderful soul. I will tell her that you asked after her. I know that it will mean a lot to her.
  4. Hems303 Hems303, 5 years ago
    miKKo MANY THANKS! I only knew her from my recent joining of Collectors Weekly, and that she came from a very beautiful part of my own country. She was very encouraging to me and others and will be missed. I wish her well in all her endeavours. Pass on Rachel and my sincere best wishes and thanks for brightening up our hobby! Our thoughts and prayers are with her. I'm sure we all hope scandinavian_pieces may one day return to us here at CW!

    I was saving one of my very "special" pieces to post one day. I will now post my wife's much cherished "Spirit of Ecstasy" in "honour" of scandinavian_pieces.

    Bye for now; Steve
  5. Hems303 Hems303, 5 years ago
    Here's my "thank you" post to "Scandi":
  6. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
    Mikko, send my best regards. I don't know how to judge the quality of my posts without" scandi's" rating & comments.
  7. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Hello, Gentlemen! So good to read your kind comments! Hems, I immediately conveyed your Comment No. 2 to Scandi yesterday, and it pleased her greatly. I have been away for about 24 hours, and just saw your other comments, your new posting, and AR8Jason's and blunderbuss2's regards. I forwarded links to Scandi immediately. I am sure that she will delighted to receive them, and I thank you very much on her behalf.
  8. Hems303 Hems303, 5 years ago
    Thanks miKKo, much appreciated :)
  9. Hems303 Hems303, 5 years ago
    Thanks for the "Love it's" kerry10456, AR8Jason, walksoftly, vetraio50 and miKKoChristmas11!

    P.s. Had a nice email off Scandi, all is well!

  10. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
    Glad to hear that about Scandi & send my regards please.
  11. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Hello to AR8Jason and blunderbuss! Scandinavian Pieces thanks you for your very kind words and sends you in return her regards and best wishes!
  12. Hems303 Hems303, 4 years ago
    Here is a link to my CW Post dealing with Lead Refills for Antique propelling pencils, especially Mordan examples:

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