This is my pencil sharpener collection, consisting of
souvenir sharpeners and any sharpener which I find to be particular
interesting, unusual, or just plain fun. I have over 600 sharpeners
in the collection (not including the collection of homemade ones) - which
is actually kind of small as pencil sharpener collections go,
but I still think it's a nice collection.
I'm currently in the process of creating a series of
paintings based on
the sharpeners in my collection.
Lark/Giraffe Brand Matched Sets
This is where most of my favorites can be found. Made in China, these
sets come in cute little boxes which are usually identified as either
Lark or Giraffe (not all of the sharpeners shown here
came in the original box, so I can't guarantee the provenance of them).
They appear to be made from some kind of Gypsum
or Plaster material. These include an All-Rooster Band, Ducks in Boats,
and a litter of Kittens playing the Accordion.
Other Matched Sets
Although most of my sharpeners are made in China, the matched set of
Chinese folk characters included here are the only ones which were
actually purchased in China (and then given to me as a gift).
The Golden Gate Bridge was the first sharpener in my collection.
I've always preferred tacky souvenirs which actually have some useful
function, and so a small, inexpensive pencil sharpener fit the
It wasn't until I began looking, however, that I
realized how unusual souvenir pencil sharpeners are.
Souvenir pencils are everywhere, but you'll rarely find sharpeners to
go with them.
Now that I collect, of course, I never
actually use the sharpeners for sharpening, but I could if I wanted to.
My largest category.
Specialty Sharpeners, Packaging and Displays
These include a battery operated chewing gorilla, a pull-string ladybug
sharpener, and a combination sharpener/paper shredder.
A few sharpeners made of ceramics or similar substances. These are usually
larger than most.
Mostly for soft drinks and candy.
Soft Plastic Figures
A purple gorilla, smiling banana,
bow-tied black bear and slice of
pizza are just some of the figures you'll find here.
I thought these were a great idea. Take a classic but useless kitschy
souvenir item and turn it into a kitschy but useful one. Speaking of
kitschy, the Library of Congress dome was given to me by
my wife Julie,
the Queen of Tacky.
Cartoon, Comic and other Characters
Would you believe five different kinds of Hello Kitty pencil
sharpeners in my collection (and many more which aren't)? No wonder Mickey Mouse is holding his head and rolling
The new ones of these are the types you're most likely to find in a
souvenir shop, even if they have little or nothing to do with the tourist
attraction associated with the shop.
I usually don't buy the new ones unless
frustrated at not having found any other sharpeners and don't want to
walk away empty-handed. The larger images at the top are of the older PlayMe
brand miniatures which were made in Spain.
I found this odd collection of home-made pencil sharpeners on eBay.
There was no explanation for it.
Some of them are very cleverly thought out and skillfully constructed;
others are as simple and stupid as a sharpener shoved into the mouth of a plastic fish.
There are a total of 68 sharpeners in the collection. My favorites are displayed here.
Pencil Sharpener Links
- Albert Girones claims to have 27,000 examples in his collection!
- Gemma has 5200 sharpeners in her collection.
- Johan and Anky have 450 die-cast miniatures and also sell them on-line.
- Puntenslijperclub publishes the magazine Puntgaaf
- Paul Johnson is now believed to have over 3200 specimens at his pencil sharpener museum in Ohio.
- The Early Office Museum has an excellent history of sharpeners
- Photos and commentary from a collector with 2800 sharpeners
- A German collector with quite a bit of information, but all in German
- A Chinese pencil sharpener blog
- Would you believe that Wikipedia has some information also?