Our favourite count certainly knows how to to party like it’s 1761, but in terms of products celebrating Faber-Castell’s 250th anniversary there hasn’t been a lot. The anniversary pencils, discussed at pencil talk, seem to be the best products so far. Artists might like the set of coloured pencils, limited to 1761 boxes, and if you have a bit more money to spare the Elemento pens, released for the anniversary, might be just the thing for you, but they are out of reach for most of us.
Let’s have a look at Faber-Castell’s 222nd anniversary in 1983. Back then pencileers, molyvophiles1 and molyvologues2 had more than enough reason to celebrate. I wonder whether there was a corporate party for their business partners in 1983, too. Personally, I prefer nice anniversary products, but that’s rather selfish, Faber-Castell business partners will probably prefer the party.
Why is the 222nd anniversary so important? I don’t know. I certainly don’t know why there have been more exciting products back then than in the 250th anniversary year so far. In my experience people from German-speaking countries place more importance on Schnapszahlen (repdigits) than people from English-speaking countries. You might argue that a repdigit is not very important, but then a ’round number’ is actually not that exciting any more once you change to another positional notation3.
Faber-Castell released six different limited-edition tins for the Schnapszahl anniversary, featuring the following images: ‘The Nile Pencils’, ‘Railway Pencils’, ‘Aristocratic’, ‘The Caravan Pencils’, ‘Landscape Pencils’ and the picture with the jousting knights, previously discussed at pencil talk. Leadholder has more information about this picture – a mirrored version has been used on pencil tins in the early 20th century. The jousting knights image has also been used for a special box from the same year, containing one gross, i.e.12 dozen, Castell 9000 pencils and limited to 2000 boxes, and it has been used again in 2005 for a special tin commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Castell 9000.