Old Caran d’Ache pencils

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Every once in a while, I find something in my office that I can’t believe I still own… this time, it was a box of Caran d’Ache colored pencils from 1991, a commemorative set that was created in honor of the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation. I can’t remember if it was a present from my father (who often traveled to Europe for conferences) or something I acquired on a trip to see my German relatives (I think we may have gone for Christmas that year).

I do remember thinking that these pencils were way too special for everyday use — I was 12 or 13 when I got them — so they’re in great condition now, though the case is a bit dinged and scratched. The wood, which I’m guessing is cedar, also smells amazing. The only thing I’m puzzled by is the painting on the front of the box, which depicts a medieval battle scene that in retrospect is perhaps a bit gruesome for product that’s sold to children?

Though it obviously didn’t phase me at the time.

10 thoughts on “Old Caran d’Ache pencils

  1. I see that I’m about 9 years late in the conversation, but I have the same tin. I got them in the states at an art store for some art college nearby. I remember the cashier telling me to pick up a tin for myself because they would be “worth something someday”. I never really believed that, but the tin was a good price (green sticker price tag on the back still says $6.00!) and I liked the idea of carrying around some basic good product colored pencils for emergency inspiration.

    It has been a constant companion of mine, and amazingly, everything is in decent shape regardless. I’ve not even gone through even half of the pencils which surprises me for as much as I touted the tin on various trips. I guess I always used my prismacolors more…at home that is. As much as I’ve always loved the idea of being an artist so keenly apt to stop what I was doing and romantically sketch the inspired sight before me during travels, that’s never really occurred. Kinda can’t do that when on a train or automobile- everything passes by too fast. And not being the driver means no stopping for art breaks.

    Now knowing that it’s very much is a collectors item, I’ll take better care of it. I’m happy to have read your blog entry here about it because I never knew what was going on in the lovely illustration nor the history behind the tin. Would like to know the artist’s name. I think it’s on the back of the tin, but the language is not my native tongue.

    Anyway, Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Great find! Not gruesome at all. They could just as easily be conducting a training exercise. I am quite certain that 7-10 years old kids would just dig it anyway.

  3. Those are lovely, and I don’t think the picture is too gruesome for kids at all — I loved old battle stories when I was a young girl.

  4. Oh nein! The scene depicts battles of the Great Expansion of perhaps, Morgarten? Or maybe it was a battle between one of the 20+ cantons before the establishment of the Swiss Federal States. Nevertheless, a good example of shading on that image, and if the child was like myself, I tried to copy what was on the cover to see how close I could get to duplicating it.

    Nice find!

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