Collecting Things

When we're not sourcing that hard to come by shave soap or that rare straight razor we find our selves pursuing an activity or unique interest, let's hear what keeps us busy!

Re: Collecting Things

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:59 pm

Chrisvo wrote:Now that's a proper scuttle! Great find!

I always find that the bottom of these old scuttles have some black mold or dirt that cannot be removed with normal cleaners. Not that it hampers using them but it does detract from the look.

I remember as a kid we used to have a few more markets and antique stores around where I lived. Died down considerably with the introduction of online trading though with only the bigger, more touristy places remaining open. It's a pity, the hunt and interaction is half the fun..

Yes, the bottom of these old scuttles always have a bit discolouration. I suppose the online market does give the sellers a further reach, but as you say, the nothing like seeing a product live and speaking to the seller directly.


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Re: Collecting Things

Postby BLES » Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:28 am

Chrisvo wrote:Thanks RVT.

Here are some pictures of the pencil, casing and bullet.

PMBulletPencil.JPG

PMBulletPencil2.JPG


The under-side of the casing.

PMBulletPencil3.JPG


Nice find Chris. I see you’ve got one of the rare ones. These pencils originated on battlefields and were sold as souvenirs. The most commonly used casing used for them was those of the 303 rifles. South Africa played also a role in the history of these pencils. Especially when the British moved into Africa scavengers picked up these casing between the bodies on the battlefield and send them back to England to be cleaned after which they manufactured into cheap pencils to be sold as souvenirs to anybody who wanted a piece of the action.
The early models were made by inserting a pencil and propelling mechanism into the bullet casing. The user could advance the graphite in increments in a method similar to modern mechanical pencils.
The one you’ve got is from the next generation of bullet pencils which were included in Christmas care packages to soldiers from Her Royal Highness the Princess Mary in 1914. I believe that is what the “M” stands for. They were much simpler and contained no moving parts. As one can see in your photos they were essentially a short pencil stuck into a bullet casing. They were also smaller and ideal for carrying in a pocket on a battlefield. You’re quite lucky to have one and a half of them as you don’t find them that often. :thumbup:
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Re: Collecting Things

Postby Chrisvo » Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:08 pm

BLES wrote:
Nice find Chris. I see you’ve got one of the rare ones. These pencils originated on battlefields and were sold as souvenirs. The most commonly used casing used for them was those of the 303 rifles. South Africa played also a role in the history of these pencils. Especially when the British moved into Africa scavengers picked up these casing between the bodies on the battlefield and send them back to England to be cleaned after which they manufactured into cheap pencils to be sold as souvenirs to anybody who wanted a piece of the action.
The early models were made by inserting a pencil and propelling mechanism into the bullet casing. The user could advance the graphite in increments in a method similar to modern mechanical pencils.
The one you’ve got is from the next generation of bullet pencils which were included in Christmas care packages to soldiers from Her Royal Highness the Princess Mary in 1914. I believe that is what the “M” stands for. They were much simpler and contained no moving parts. As one can see in your photos they were essentially a short pencil stuck into a bullet casing. They were also smaller and ideal for carrying in a pocket on a battlefield. You’re quite lucky to have one and a half of them as you don’t find them that often. :thumbup:


Thanks BLES. Yep, essentially they started making the souvenirs during the Sudan and the Boer wars of the 1800s and 1900s I believe. My one seems to have seen its own action in WW1 as it has a few small dents and burn marks but otherwise is in excellent condition. I'll take another picture to show how they would have been used as a pencil. I also have five Princess Mary tins and all three different types of Boer war tins as well. None with chocolate left in them though. Which was fine for me as I use the tins to store my coins and was not willing to pay the ridiculous amounts of money a full tin would go for. We're talking R2000 and above...
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Re: Collecting Things

Postby AndreV » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:03 pm

Thanks for the write-ups Chrisvo and Bles. Very interesting reading.

I love war stories and looking at memorabilia.

The story behind this makes that find just so much more special!!!
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Re: Collecting Things

Postby Chrisvo » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:03 pm

As it always happens. When I've been searching for an item for a long time, I never find just one, they seem to come in batches so.. I found yet another Princess Mary bullet pencil, this time with its tin, the 1915 card from Princess Mary and the original cardboard in which the pencil was placed in the tin. Furthermore, this tin was kept by the soldier himself and the seller was selling his medals separately, he's keeping those aside for me once I EFT him the price.

Quite a discount because he decided to polish the medals, a big fat no-no if you want the real price something is worth. Never, ever clean an antique, coin or medal abrasively or with house hold cleaners. Just don't, it loses between 50-90% of its value depending on the damage done.

Anyway, I'll post the picture of the tin and its contents later today.
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Re: Collecting Things

Postby Chrisvo » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:35 pm

Some pictures of the tin, card, cardboard cut-out and pencils. Those with a keen eye will note that each pencil nib, casing and pencil are slightly different. As I've said before, these gift sets were made by different suppliers and thus even the "M" differs from pencil to pencil but the basic outlines given by the Fund were adhered to.

1914ChristmasTin.JPG

1914ChristmasTin2.JPG

1915 New Years Card.JPG

1915 New Years Card2.JPG

Pencils.JPG

Pencils2.JPG


The lacquer on the newer pencil is still in superb condition and thus makes it difficult for the camera to pick up the "M" monogram and crown. I tried to take a close-up picture to show it in more detail.

Pencil Monogram 'M'.JPG


A great find. Very happy with the condition.
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Re: Collecting Things

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:15 pm

Nice finds ChrisVo. Awesome part of history there.
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Re: Collecting Things

Postby Chrisvo » Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:55 am

Thanks RVT. I enjoy collecting these war tins and their different contents. They make great storage containers and they each have a story to tell having lived through a very turbulent time in history.
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