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Most people come back from trips to Switzerland with vacuum packed cheese or bars of local chocolate; I was taken by the four pencils shown here which I found in a little gallery shop in the old town above Montreux. Who knew there is such a thing as limited edition pencil sets?  And seeing as the cost of everything was so mad, these seemed like a good deal. And given Kark Lagerfeld wants $3,000 for his set of crayons and pens it now seems a real bargain.  Apparently this is the fifth such set of four.
The Swiss makers, Caran D’Ache, use different types of wood (Maple, Poplar, etc.) and even layers of metal to make the patterns, then parcel them up into boxes for suckers like me.  I was seriously tempted to stick them in a frame, but I’ve already got far too much stuff waiting for a turn on the wall, so have just gone ahead and used them.  After all it’ll bump up the value of the rest, as Bob Hite was rumoured to have said before he broke duplicate copies of his 78 rpm disc collection (I hope the story isn’t true!).

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