Top 10 Most Expensive Pencils of All Time


Though writing has existed for thousands of years (looking at you, Mesopotamian scribes), the pencil is a relatively modern invention that only dates back to the late 1700s. This writing tool is one of the most affordable in the world, often costing less than pens and markers. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t high-priced pencils available to discerning scribblers!

The most expensive pencil of all time is the Fabergé Silver and Enamel Pencil. This enamel-covered slide pencil sold for £18,500 ($38,295) in 2007. It was created sometime in the early 1900s and features a sapphire push mechanism and a precious silver loop handle.

Whether you’d like to take notes using the most extravagant and expensive pencil or are curious about how pricey these writing instruments can get, this ranking will guide you through the costliest pencils ever made!

Here Are the Top 10 Most Expensive Pencils of All Time:

  1. Fabergé Silver and Enamel Pencil – $38,295
  2. Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil – $12,800
  3. Abraham Lincoln’s Wooden Pencil – $11,875
  4. Fabergé Three-Colour Enamel Propelling Pencil – $11,250
  5. Cartier Gold Mechanical Pencil – $11,246
  6. Apollo 15 Mechanical Pencil – $5,000
  7. Antique Solid Gold Propelling Pencil – $4,375
  8. Butler & Co. Gold Propelling Pencil – $2,500
  9. Cartier Calendar Pencil – $1,636
  10. Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil Anniversary Edition – $525

10. Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil Anniversary Edition – $525

photo source: Graf von Faber-Castell

Nearly every professional artist, especially those specializing in sketching, owns a few Faber-Castell products. Though they’re much pricier than generic-brand art supplies and writing utensils, Faber-Castell items are high-quality and long-lasting, making them natural go-tos for passionate creatives.

The Perfect Pencil Anniversary Edition is one such product. It features a jade-encrusted pencil tip cap, a sleek black body, and an impressive $525 price tag.

If you’d like to make some calculations (in the most ostentatious way possible), you could pair this pencil with one of the world’s most expensive calculators! But supplies are limited, so if you’d like to add this quality pencil to your desktop pencil cup, you might want to act sooner rather than later.

Why It’s Expensive

This commemorative pencil is pricey because of its uniqueness (created to celebrate the 260th anniversary of the Faber-Castell brand) and high-value materials (primarily the jade stone in the tip cap). The Faber-Castell brand name also boosts the base price, as this brand is internationally-recognized for creating some of the best art and writing supplies.

9. Cartier Calendar Pencil – $1,636

photo source: Christie’s

Have you ever seen a pencil that doubles as a calendar? If not, feast your eyes upon the Cartier Calendar Pencil!

This tiny golden pencil features adjustable rings that allow you to adjust the day of the week (Monday to Sunday) and the numerical date (1 to 31), making it a handy and unique writing tool with multiple purposes.

But finding a for-sale version might prove challenging. They’re scarce and valuable, with one selling for £1,000 (about $1,636) at an auction in 2011.

Why It’s Expensive

The main factor boosting this minute pencil’s value is the fact that it’s a unique Cartier item. Because Cartier is a beloved and respected luxury brand, buyers are far more willing to shell out big bucks on Cartier-brand products, including golden pencils.

8. Butler & Co. Gold Propelling Pencil – $2,500

photo source: Bonhams

Though mechanical pencils technically date back to the 1800s, modern versions didn’t arise until the 1940s and 1950s. Before this time, spring-loaded, refillable pencils were called propelling pencils (due to their ability to propel lead toward the writing tip).

One of the first propelling pencils ever made, a Butler & Co. pencil made of gold, sold for $2,500 in 2014. But its age and precious metal body aren’t the main reasons it’s so pricey.

Though the Butler & Co. Gold Propelling Pencil might not be as valuable as the most expensive crown jewels, it has unique ties to British royalty. These connections are partially responsible for its sales price.

Why It’s Expensive

This gold mechanical pencil was a gift from Queen Victoria, one of the most well-known British monarchs of the last several centuries. It even includes a handwritten note to the original owner, a mysterious Mr. Chenue (potentially a descendant of André Chenue).

7. Antique Solid Gold Propelling Pencil – $4,375

photo source: Sotheby’s

Though mechanical pencils technically date back to the late 1800s, modern versions didn’t arise until the 1940s and 1950s. Before this time, spring-loaded, refillable pencils were called propelling pencils (due to their ability to propel lead toward the writing tip).

But few of these early mechanical pencils were made of precious metals like gold or silver. And yet this Antique Solid Gold Propelling Pencil, which dates back to 1926, is a notable exception.

Made of solid gold and featuring the iconic Art-Deco-Style Montblanc brand logo, it’s hardly surprising that this precursor to the modern mechanical pencil sold for $4,375 when it went to auction in 2015!

Why It’s Expensive

This propelling pencil is literally worth its weight in gold, but its age significantly boosts its value, as it’s considered an antique.

6. Apollo 15 Mechanical Pencil – $5,000

photo source: Sotheby’s

Becoming an astronaut is one of the most common childhood dreams, but few ever earn a spot on a space mission. Still, you can own a small part of NASA history by acquiring an item that’s been to space, like the Apollo 15 Mechanical Pencil.

Now, on the surface, there’s nothing particularly noticeable about this silver-colored mechanical pencil. It’s made of metal, has a small inscription, and dates back to the late 1960s.

But this pencil accompanied the Apollo 15 crew as they traveled and landed on the moon. As such, it’s one of the few space-going pencils ever offered at an auction. It sold for $5,000 in 2017.

Why It’s Expensive

Any item that’s traveled into space and returned to Earth is bound to be expensive. After all, space missions are carefully planned, and only the most necessary items are brought along for the ride.

These items hardly ever end up in public auctions, so they’re rare commodities that tend to garner tons of attention. This increased demand almost always results in increased prices.

5. Cartier Gold Mechanical Pencil – $11,246

photo source: Sotheby’s

Though the Cartier Calendar Pencil can help you remember the date and day of the week, it’s not much help telling the time. On the other hand, the Cartier Gold Mechanical Pencil can help you remain punctual, though it won’t help you remember the day’s date.

The price difference for this trade-off? Only about $10,000!

Of course, this pencil is slightly more ornate than the calendar version. For example, it’s far larger, meaning it’s instantly worth more due to its yellow gold content. It also comes with an elegant monogrammed pencil case that, despite its age, is in excellent condition.

Why It’s Expensive

This unique Cartier pencil sold for $11,240 in 2014, making it far pricier than any other Cartier-brand pencil. It’s likely more valuable due to its uniqueness and gold content.

4. Fabergé Three-Colour Enamel Propelling Pencil – $11,250

photo source: Sotheby’s

When you hear “Fabergé,” you likely think about the expensive Fabergé eggs and their decorative exteriors. But Fabergé doesn’t only create opulent egg-shaped trinkets!

This brand has also released many practical (yet luxurious) household items, including pencils. The Fabergé Three-Colour Enamel Propelling Pencil is one of the rarest and priciest, selling for $11,250 at an auction in 2019.

A predecessor to the mechanical pencil, propelling pencils were a rarity when this item was made (sometime between 1908 and 1917). But unlike many other Fabergé items created during this period, this enamel propelling pencil wasn’t gifted to Russian royalty.

Instead, it was presented as a gift to British royalty, making it an entirely irreplaceable and historically significant item.

Why It’s Expensive

There are three primary reasons why the Fabergé Three-Colour Enamel Propelling Pencil sold for thousands of dollars:

  • It’s a Fabergé item
  • It’s made of precious materials
  • It’s one of the last luxury pencils made before the fall of the Romanov Dynasty

These qualities make the pencil an extravagant and historically significant item. It’s equally attractive to wealthy buyers and museum curators, generating demand that few other pencils could only dream of—if pencils could dream, that is!

3. Abraham Lincoln’s Wooden Pencil – $11,875

photo source: Bonhams

Though President Abraham Lincoln died more than a century ago, his legacy lives on in many notable ways. Apart from other history-making presidents like George Washington and Andrew Jackson, Lincoln is one of the most discussed and celebrated US presidents, in no small part thanks to his role in the Civil War.

So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the late president’s effects, including his clothing and desk items, can sell for jaw-droppingly high prices.

Abraham Lincoln’s Wooden Pencil is an excellent example, fetching $11,875 when it went to auction in 2014. Hopefully, the buyer has decided to preserve this national treasure for future generations to enjoy!

Why It’s Expensive

There’s a laundry list of reasons why this antique pencil is so valuable. Firstly, it’s crucial to note that pencils were still comparatively novel items during Lincoln’s presidency, with the first US-made versions appearing only 50 years before his death.

As such, this pencil is a rare example of early American manufacturing!

But the true aspect that makes this pencil an irreplaceable treasure is that it might have been the last pencil Lincoln ever used. Though this thought is a bit morbid, it adds a unique significance to an otherwise plain wooden pencil, making it a valuable item.

2. Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil – $12,800

photo source: Graf von Faber-Castell

The stylish Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil, priced at $12,800, is perfectly sized to fit into your backpack or purse. And because it comes with a handy diamond-encrusted cap, you can safely let it roll around in the most expensive backpacks without worrying about the inside of your bag becoming a graphite-covered mess.

Though this pencil isn’t refillable like mechanical or propeller pencils, it still has some value, even after the graphite is completely depleted. That’s because this pencil features a white gold ferrule (the piece that attaches the eraser to the wood body) and gold eraser and pencil tip caps.

The pencil tap cap also contains a few diamonds to make things even more lavish! But the luxury doesn’t end there.

While the average store-bought pencil might be made of spruce or pine, both of which are comparatively fast-growing trees, the Perfect Pencil is made of olive wood harvested from trees that are more than two centuries old.

Why It’s Expensive

Faber-Castell is well-known for producing high-quality writing utensils and art supplies, and the Perfect Pencil is only one of several high-priced items available from this brand. That said, it’s also the most expensive.

While you might spend a few hundred dollars to acquire other Faber-Castell pencils, the Perfect Pencil is more valuable thanks to its diamond-encrusted pencil cap, olive wood body, and 18-karat white gold elements.

1. Fabergé Silver and Enamel Pencil – $38,295

photo source: Sotheby’s

The most expensive pencil is the Fabergé Silver and Enamel Pencil. This decadent writing utensil sold for £18,500 (approximately $38,295) at a Sotheby’s auction in 2007, far exceeding the sales price of any pencil before and since.

Created sometime around the turn of the 20th century, this slide pencil is wholly unassuming. It features a red enamel body, a flat wood shaft, and a simple silver ring-shaped handle.

But the push mechanism that allows you to slide the pencil up and down is made of a dark blue oval-shaped sapphire, adding a noticeable richness that’s partially responsible for making this tool so costly.

Why It’s Expensive

By all accounts, this simple slide pencil should cost far less than the Fabergé Three-Colour Enamel Propelling Pencil.

After all, the Fabergé propelling pencil is refillable, while the slide pencil has a limited lifespan. And while the Fabergé Silver and Enamel Pencil features one precious metal and a single jewel, the propeller pencil is made of both gold and silver!

So, why is this simpler option the pricier one?

The answer may actually lie in its limited lifespan. After all, anyone who uses this slide pencil to write notes is instantly decreasing its worth. Though it might seem counterintuitive, this risk might make the Fabergé Silver and Enamel Pencil more desirable to discerning collectors.

Why Are Some Pencils So Expensive?

The average box of #2 pencils might only cost you about a dollar, so why do some pencils cost hundreds (or thousands)?

The answer varies, but most of the world’s priciest pencils have:

  • Pricey materials
  • Historical significance
  • Luxury branding

Let’s briefly explore these qualities to discover how they influence a pencil’s value. That way, you can confidently select high-priced pencils to add to your home office or private desk, even if your chosen writing tools aren’t included in this ranking.

Pricey Materials

The average dollar store pencil is made of soft pine and graphite. But those that command the highest prices feature much more extravagant materials, including precious metals (gold and silver) and valuable gemstones.

These materials alone could fetch impressive prices. But their worth skyrockets when they’re used to create a pencil, refillable or not! This is more true when the pencil in question has some historical significance.

Historical Significance

Almost anything can become a historically significant item if it’s old enough or if it has associations with significant historical figures. Several of the priciest pencils of all time are more than a century old, and a select few have ties to powerful men and women who changed the course of history.

Abraham Lincoln’s Pencil and the Butler & Co. Gold Propelling Pencil (a gift from Queen Victoria) are fantastic examples of pencils that have become prized historical artifacts.

However, luxurious materials and historical significance aren’t the only factors impacting pencil price. Branding, or more specifically, brand reputation, can be just as influential.

Luxury Branding

Cartier and Fabergé are some of the most well-known luxury brands in the world, and any items featuring these brand names can outsell standard brands found at your local department store.

40% of the world’s most expensive pencils come from these brands. And while these pencils might be made of precious or rare materials, the brands’ reputation is just as influential in terms of price and perceived value.

After all, brands like Fabergé and Cartier are internationally recognized for producing high-quality, long-lasting goods. So, a pencil from either retailer could last a lifetime (or several), making it a worthwhile investment for any writer looking to transform their journaling or note-taking into a more refined experience.

What’s the Most Expensive Pencil?

The most expensive pencil of all time is the Fabergé Silver and Enamel Pencil. This pencil sold for a remarkable £18,500 (about $38,295) in 2007, making it more expensive than impressive alternatives like Abraham Lincoln’s pencil and the mechanical pencil that traveled to space aboard the Apollo 15 mission.

Based solely on appearances, this pencil may not look like much. After all, it’s a pretty traditional slide pencil. But its age, coupled with its pricey silver parts and branding, help make it an expensive writing tool.

Check out these related articles to learn about the world’s priciest items!

Eric Lyons

Eric is a subject-matter expert on the world's most expensive luxuries and collectibles. He has explored thousands of luxuries and collectibles over the past few years and now brings them to readers around the world.

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