The question I’m most frequently asked through this site is “What are my Blackwings worth?” My usual response is “I have no idea”, though I sometimes qualify that with what the current ‘going rate’ seems to be. But like any collectible item, a genuine Blackwing pencil is worth only as much as someone is willing to pay for it.
I follow eBay auctions from time to time, taking note of interesting examples as well as extremes in auction prices. But blog reader Natale has been collecting Blackwing auction data for the last two years, and has generously permitted me to post the results.†
Two-year prices in eBay/Etsy auctions for each Blackwing subtype, with the total number sold for each sample:
- BW1 – BW12 are the Blackwing subtypes as they appear in blackwingpages.com
- BW7ii is a variant of BW7 with a scalloped ferrule.
- Etsy represents a residual source, representing something like 2-3 % of the total. A couple of Blackwings come from brandnamepencils.com.
- The total number sold in 2012-2013 was 415 pc. and in 2013-2014 was 457 (the total is higher than the sum for each time span, because a number of pencils sold were not categorized owing to the low resolution or the low quality of pictures in some auctions).
- The largest number of Blackwings sold in a single auction is twenty one in Mar. 2013.‡
- The highest price realized is $975 for eighteen BW7 in Aug. 2014; the second price realized is $819 for eleven BW4 in Sep. 2014, and the third price is $570 for nineteen BW6 in Jan. 2013.
- The single highest price is $106 for a (sharpened) BW3 in Jul. 2014. The second highest price is $100 for an unsharpened BW1 sold from brandnamepencils.com in May 2014.
- The lowest price per pencil is as low as $6.33, paid for twelve BW8 in Feb. 2014 ($76).
- With the exception of BW7ii and BW8 (which seem to be outliers), the frequency analysis show a real Gaussian distribution among the subtypes sold each year, the peak being BW9 in 2012-13 and BW7 the following year (this is not surprising, being that they are the most recent types).
- Price analysis does not show any pattern except for a scattered increase in some cases.
- Prices are rounded e.g. from 21.51 to 22.50 = 22 . Prices are in US $.
† The author of this data is based in Europe, and as anyone who has searched international eBay sites knows, search results can often be omitted for any number of reasons. To that end there may be intermittent auctions that were not included, but this survey is by far the most detailed of its kind.
‡ There was an auction in July of 2013 for a half-gross (72) of Blackwing pencils listed at $2,500 with the “Make Offer” option available. The auction concluded successfully but the final amount is not known.
Special thanks to Natale for sharing this interesting research.