The Sale of Obscene Pencils in Chance Cove

Mr. Samuel ROWE, the Justice of the Peace for Chance Cove, Trinity Bay, was a very unhappy man; it was March 1953 and he had just discovered that the depraved ways of the world had found there way to his home town.

He had discovered that the proprietor of the local shop Levi John SMITH had sold and had in stock several pencils which contained the model figure of a woman in the nude. To add insult to injury the offending pencils were being passed around the Salvation Army School.

The pencils were Eversharp pencils officially known as the Hidden Nude Figure Mechanical Pencil.

Mr. Rowe felt that matter was so serious that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) would have to be called. Within days the RCMP officers from “B” Division, Whitbourne detachment was on the case.

Their first stop was at the business premises of Levi John Smith where they discovered eleven of the Eversharp pencils had been purchased. Eight had been sold, the three that did not sell were immediately confiscated, and the search began for the missing pencils.

They were next to visit the Salvation Army School where they were informed that two of the pencils had been purchased by Garland and Maxwell Brace the children of Gordon and Elizabeth BRACE.

Garland was nowhere to be found but Maxwell met with the officer explaining in his statement on Friday 20th March 1953 “I went to Levi John Smith’s shop and while I was there noticed some Eversharp Pencils he had for sale I paid $1.25. These pencils contained a fluid and in this fluid as was a model of a woman in the nude …”

With the pencils and evidence in hand Levi John Smith was charged under section 207 (2) (a) of the criminal code with knowingly, without jurisdiction or excuse selling an obscene model pencil.

Levi John Smith’ s case made it before a magistrate where he was convicted and fined $50.00 or in default to serve 30 days in Her Majesty’s Penitentiary. He was also ordered to pay costs of the prosecution amount to $62.25 or in default to serve an additional 14 days.

The Eversharp pencils taken from the boys and retained as exhibits were destroyed on 12 October 1953 upon instruction from the presiding Magistrate.

A search for Philip AUBERBACH the travelling salesman who had initially sold the pencils to the shopkeeper in Chance Cove was declared liable to be charged if and when located in Newfoundland. He was never found.

Love to have one of these pens in our collection.

Recommended Archival Collection: The Rooms; Department of Justice GN 13/1/B Box 183 File #60