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#1 Cryptos

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 20:34

Well it had to happen I guess. In my  early enthusiasm to get a couple fo vintage pens I picked up what I thought was a good deal on an Eversharp Symphony (Loewy cap, burgundy body), and Eversharp Skyline (GF cap, burgundy body), and an Esterbrook LJ in black with the Bell System imprint. All three have been at the restorers and the bill is now in and I am left gasping for breath. No reflection on the restorer I hasten to add.

 

What an absolute waste of time and money for me. I will have to do penance for this.

 

:(


Edited by Cryptos, 31 July 2014 - 10:12.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing,

spring comes,

and the grass grows by itself.

 


#2 gweimer1

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 20:44

I feel your pain.  The Parker 51 I got last was a good deal ($60 for a pen/pencil set), but the pen was completely clogged, and I'm not willing to risk damaging the pen.  $35 later, I have a great pen, but not as good a deal.  It's never the retail part of life where the money lies - it's in the service and supplies end of it.



#3 watch_art

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 21:01

When buying old pens that may not work - a good rule of thumb is to add $20-40 for repairs to get a realistic idea of price.  Learning to repair your own pens is good, too.  When I first got into pens I did my own sacs and stuff, and learned to do nib work by reading what's on the web.  If a pen is cracked all to hell or broken in some way that it will need a professional repair job, I skip it.


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#4 Cryptos

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 21:11

@watch_art, unfortunately that is excellent advice far too late! I had bought these pens in the very early days of my enthusiasm... you know, lots of fire and no knowledge! Further to that none of the supplies for repair are available in my country so even that route is severely compromised. The only option I have is to hope for the best or send stuff overseas for repair.

 

The practical upshot of this is that I am really wary of anything on Ebay now and have resorted to a "trust no seller on Ebay" position. If I ever buy any more vintage pens - and Lady Luck grants me a small fund to do so - it will be from people with actual non-Ebay reputations. Either that or I just give the whole thing up.

 

Added to this I just had an email from Renaissance Art trying to stiff me for an extra $12 on top of the $10 that I paid for shipping of their 'Free' refillable passoprt leather journal (the offer that was posted on this forum somewhere). I had thought for $10, a reasonable shipping cost for a small package, it was worth trying out their product. Seems like the world outside US borders does not exist for them unless it's waving money. Not generally impressed with people renegeing on an offer like that.

 

All in all, I am having a very, very depressing morning.

 

 

EDIT: HOLD UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE


Edited by Cryptos, 30 July 2014 - 21:23.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing,

spring comes,

and the grass grows by itself.

 


#5 watch_art

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 21:28

I understand.

 

As for shipping international - where makes a huge difference.  A 10oz pack could be $10 to one place, and $20 to another.

Shipped USPS to the Phillipines might be $15, but switching to fedex is about $120.


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#6 Cryptos

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 21:38

That's very true. In general a small package costs about $12 from the US to New Zealand. So, anything significantly above that immediately raises the alarm for me. With Renaissance Art the offer, if I remember it correctly, said one free journal and free USPS shipping in the US. When I placed my order for the free journal I knew that it would flag me as being outside the US and so when it added $10 for shipping I assumed that was the actual cost of shipping from there to here. this morning's email said I could go ahead if I want to pay an additional $12. So what was the $10 for?

 

Why people cannot be fair and transparent in their behaviour baffles me. I don't think badly of people if they screw up, but I do if they try to hide it.


Sitting quietly, doing nothing,

spring comes,

and the grass grows by itself.

 


#7 kestrel

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:38

@watch_art, unfortunately that is excellent advice far too late! I had bought these pens in the very early days of my enthusiasm... you know, lots of fire and no knowledge! Further to that none of the supplies for repair are available in my country so even that route is severely compromised. The only option I have is to hope for the best or send stuff overseas for repair.

 

The practical upshot of this is that I am really wary of anything on Ebay now and have resorted to a "trust no seller on Ebay" position. If I ever buy any more vintage pens - and Lady Luck grants me a small fund to do so - it will be from people with actual non-Ebay reputations. Either that or I just give the whole thing up.

 

Added to this I just had an email from Renaissance Art trying to stiff me for an extra $12 on top of the $10 that I paid for shipping of their 'Free' refillable passoprt leather journal (the offer that was posted on this forum somewhere). I had thought for $10, a reasonable shipping cost for a small package, it was worth trying out their product. Seems like the world outside US borders does not exist for them unless it's waving money. Not generally impressed with people renegeing on an offer like that.

 

All in all, I am having a very, very depressing morning.

 

 

EDIT: HOLD UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

eBay requires due care but there are some superb sellers.  I am sure others can chime in with additions but I am very impressed with Sandy101rock and Speerbob.  Both place a lot of value on customer service and sending you exactly what you pay for.  Speerbob sells modern pens too but usually has a nice selection of vintage.  Happy hunting.


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#8 JotterAddict62

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 06:03

There are good sellers on ebay that are a FPN members.

You just need to make a list of trusted sellers.



#9 penmanila

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 06:41

I've followed the OP's travails on eBay from Day One and while I sympathize with his difficulties and painful lessons, I can't see how one's likely misjudgment of a situation should lead to a "trust no sellers on eBay" position, unless the goods were misrepresented as being in good working order. eBay feedbacks have been, for me, quite useful, and I'd much rather deal with an eBay seller with say a 98% score than someone off eBay I know nothing about. At least on eBay I can get my money back in cases of provable fraud. My friendly advice is, don't let these lessons sour you on eBay as a whole. I, too, live far away from the Western centers of commerce, so eBay is my only real hope of leveling the playing field--I just have to learn how best to play the game. Implicitly factoring in repair costs is part of that game. Learning how to do basic repairs (hardly rocket science; we order parts and supplies from overseas) also lowers costs and increases one's enjoyment of the hobby in the long run.
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#10 northlodge

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 07:23

That's very true. In general a small package costs about $12 from the US to New Zealand. So, anything significantly above that immediately raises the alarm for me. With Renaissance Art the offer, if I remember it correctly, said one free journal and free USPS shipping in the US. When I placed my order for the free journal I knew that it would flag me as being outside the US and so when it added $10 for shipping I assumed that was the actual cost of shipping from there to here. this morning's email said I could go ahead if I want to pay an additional $12. So what was the $10 for?

 

Why people cannot be fair and transparent in their behaviour baffles me. I don't think badly of people if they screw up, but I do if they try to hide it.

 

I suspect a tracked service from the US to NZ will be rather more than you quote, and ebay has sufficient rogue buyers to make many sellers want to use a tracked service. Yep, there are good and bad everywhere.

 

I rarely buy from ebay.com because of shipping costs from the US and Canada, which for overseas postage is somewhat higher than from European sellers. I would suggest you look at ebay (UK, France or Ireland), look for sellers that have more than one pen you are interested in, so as to combine postage, or look at other platforms in NZ (I read recently that a NZ collector was buying 3 or 4 conway stewart's per week locally)



#11 Cryptos

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 08:37

 

I've followed the OP's travails on eBay from Day One and while I sympathize with his difficulties and painful lessons, I can't see how one's likely misjudgment of a situation should lead to a "trust no sellers on eBay" position, unless the goods were misrepresented as being in good working order.

 

One pen was advertised as in excellent condition though unrestored. Totally untrue. If the seller had actually picked the pen up then the problems would have been evident. I cannot believe that he did not do this, and so I must conclude that it was a deliberate deception. Unfortunately for me I left it too late before I had a chance to send it for repair.

 

(I wrote more here but deleted it as it was not constructive)

 

All I can really say is that I wouldn't do it to anyone else. It saddens me that others do not feel the same.

 

Sorry Northlodge I am a one pen at a time buyer. Funding permitting. Every now and then a generous sponsor puts a few extra coins in my hat and I can get two pens. Doesn't happen often. The shipping though is a joke. Nothing has ever been lost (fingers crossed!) with First Class International to New Zealand. I always ask the seller and assume the risks. Most of the time (we're only talking small numbers over the last year or so) the sellers are accommodating, but sometimes it is nothing more than extortion. <shakes fist at Pitney Bowes>

 

For the last couple of months I had been searching high and low for a flex-nib pen at an affordable user-grade price. Nothing happening, though I did learn a lot from watching the auctions. In the end I just said to hell with it and bought the cheapest dip nib I could find. Problem solved!

 

 

EDIT:

 

There are good sellers on ebay that are a FPN members.

 

Apart from Bruce, Teri at Peyton St Pens, and Thomas Bickii, I am in the dark on any other FPN members selling on Ebay (though I have my suspicions on a couple of people). Perhaps a list would be permitted?

 

 

EDIT: Original situation now resolved, at least in part.


Edited by Cryptos, 31 July 2014 - 10:13.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing,

spring comes,

and the grass grows by itself.

 


#12 gweimer1

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 10:18

I got my first Parker 51 from Speerbob.  Great pen and great service.  Came packed to withstand a holocaust.



#13 Cryptos

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 10:33

I watched a Pilot Scholar on Speerbob's site for the longest time. In the end I could not reconcile how much the price had risen for such an unpopular pen in a little over a year ($30 to $50). In the end I didn't get it. Shame really as I rather liked the shape of the nib, almost a poor man's posting nib. Of course this says nothing about Bob's reputation for packaging (which is great from all reports).


Sitting quietly, doing nothing,

spring comes,

and the grass grows by itself.

 


#14 betweenthelens

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 11:33

I must chime in here with respect to SpeerBob. I've bought two pens from him in the last year and both have been fairly priced, consistent with market value. He's a stellar seller with excellent communication skills and knowledge about the pens he sells.



#15 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 12:42

I watched a Pilot Scholar on Speerbob's site for the longest time. In the end I could not reconcile how much the price had risen for such an unpopular pen in a little over a year ($30 to $50). In the end I didn't get it. Shame really as I rather liked the shape of the nib, almost a poor man's posting nib. Of course this says nothing about Bob's reputation for packaging (which is great from all reports).

 

At least two year ago, Speerbob had NOS Parker 45 TXs for $50. (Octanium nib I THINK.)

 

I LOL'd saying to myself that $50 (2+ years ago) for a Parker 45 was Crazy Talk.  

 

I was wrng.

 

Today I would get down on my knees and Beg for a $50 NOS P-45 TX. 

 

For two years I looked for a Midnight Blue 51 Aero but I want the GF trim Lustraloy cap. I no could find.

 

But Bob could and did.  Honestly, it was a few more dollars than I had expected to pay but I'm a cheapskate and He found it pretty quickly when I couldn't find one At All. It's had a luscious Masuyama rounded CI nib in it for awhile now and is one of my Fab Four pens. (The 4 you grab when the house is on fire.)

 

Bob has also provided us in the past with very valuable 411 Intel on how to skate safely on the thin ice of dealing with the infamous Thai sellers. (With 

his Extensive knowledge of the area.)

 

Speerbob IS da man.  ;) 

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl



#16 Ron Z

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 12:44

There's a reason why I charge more for the pens that I sell.  They're restored and have a warranty.  OTOH, out of nearly 1000 pens sold over the last 7 or 8 years, I can count the number of returns on one hand, and that was usually because the pen just didn't suit the buyer.  There are also warranty, return and international shipping policies posted on the website - for a reason. 

 

International shipping can be a challenge, and the USPS keeps raising the rates.    International shipping saw a big jump in rates in the last year or two.  Even in the USA the cost has nearly doubled in the time we've been in business.


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#17 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 13:10

 

International shipping can be a challenge, and the USPS keeps raising the rates.    International shipping saw a big jump in rates in the last year or two.  Even in the USA the cost has nearly doubled in the time we've been in business.

 

Oh heyal yea-ugh. I believe just last years International increase More than doubled the prior cost.

 

That increase last year basically Killed the viability of being able to ship pens to borrowers overseas in The Esterbrook Loaner Progam. Thankfully we have a Few pens In Country overseas that can be borrowed but the rate increase was a Big hit.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl 



#18 migo984

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 13:59

Oh heyal yea-ugh. I believe just last years International increase More than doubled the prior cost.
 
That increase last year basically Killed the viability of being able to ship pens to borrowers overseas in The Esterbrook Loaner Progam. Thankfully we have a Few pens In Country overseas that can be borrowed but the rate increase was a Big hit.
 
Bruce in Ocala, Fl


Sorry to go off topic but your post reminded me to update my info for the Estie Loaner programme. I have 2 Esties with a choice of 4 nibs that I'm willing to loan out to UK (and maybe wider EU) FPN members. Shall I send you the details Bruce?

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#19 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 15:05

Please help me find some way to regain some organization to my list of which loaner where has what by posting it to the Loaner thread.

 

I have a pile of shambles to clean up...  :unsure:

 

And, Thank You!

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl



#20 LindaM

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 15:47

 With Renaissance Art the offer, if I remember it correctly, said one free journal and free USPS shipping in the US.

 

The deal was the notebook was free, but shipping was $10 in the US. I haven't gotten mine yet to know if it really warranted the $10 shipping (including packing materials) but I figured that if they saved a bit of the $10 to defray the cost of the notebooks, well whatever, it's still a good deal. What does NOT impress me with them is their saying that mine would ship by July 11th, then not shipping it until July 30th, and ignoring my emails after the 3 week mark asking for a status update. They took the money for the notebook immediately, yet didn't fill the order for 4 weeks. That was worrisome.

 

But $22 does seem rather high, although I've never shipped anything to New Zealand and so know nothing of what I'm talking about. :)



#21 CraigR

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 15:48

I guess the topic of quality sellers on Ebay has been one of the most popular here on FPN and other forums. There are a lot of very good and honest sellers out there. I have bought from them over the years - pens as well as Zippo lighters. The sellers I tend to buy from most often are well versed in fountain pens even if that is not their main business. I look at the other items the seller has or has had for sale. If they seem to be doing a brisk business in pens, have a stellar rating, fair prices, good photos and descriptions and will politely and helpfully answer questions, I'll buy from them.

 

When I started buying, collecting and selling pens, I did not know what to ask. FPN forums were invaluable to me and still are in that regard. I love dealing with other FPNers - they are a very helpful and resourceful group. Dealing on Ebay requires some diligence and care. Often a deal that appears to be too good to be true isn't.

 

I have made mistakes when buying, usually my fault because I was rash in my decision, did not have sufficient information or thought I was scoring the deal of the century (greed?). Once in a while a pen was not as advertised but I have never had a seller who did not offer a discount or make it right. Yes, I compromised a few times. 

 

I am able to do most run of the mill restorations myself so when I buy a used pen I usually can calculate if it is worth buying and fixing it up. When I send a pen out to a restorer, I ask that they let me know the cost once they see the pen but before they start work. That way I am only out the cost of postage if the work is more extensive than I can afford or want to go through with. I may have misunderstood the OP's original comment, but it seems that the cost of repair/restoration of the pens was a surprise.

 

The cost of postage, especially with tracking and/or delivery confirmation has made mailing international very difficult. I like Priority Mail for domestic mail and currently also use it for International. Flat rate small box is about $19.50 for Priority Mail International. On a pen under $100, that is expensive. Plus, the tracking and delivery confirmation complications make it even more difficult to sell globally. 

 

Hope this wasn't a ramble.....

 

Craig


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#22 Sasha Royale

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 20:28

Please help me find some way to regain some organization to my list of which loaner where has what by posting it to the Loaner thread.

 

I have a pile of shambles to clean up...  :unsure:

 

And, Thank You!

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

 

Yeah, Bruce, 

Remember when FPN was just you, me, Jar, and one administrator ?  ESSO gasoline was $0.73 .  

Then, we attracted all these other people to fountain pens.  They inflated the membership and 

pen prices.  And, when did they let women into FPN ?  

 

I have a gift NOS Parker 51, my Dad's Parker 51, and four fully-restored Parker 51's.  Average 

price for restored pens were about $90.  That's what I am will to, my friends.  If you are not, then 

you may never get another P51.   :lticaptd:


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#23 KBeezie

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 23:29

If the pen doesn't say restored, I usually anticipate that I'm going to have to restore it with the cost being up towards 40$ more. Unless of course it's one of those ones that I feel I could restore myself (then the cost is more like $2-5 if the body/nib/feed already seems like it's in good shape but needs a new sac or j-bar etc). 

 

But I do feel your pain as far as going on a binge goes. 

 

I'm just waiting on a restore of a Parker 51 Vac in Grey... the barrel cracked, was about $30 more to get a new barrel. 


Edited by KBeezie, 31 July 2014 - 23:29.


#24 speerbob

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 17:45

I watched a Pilot Scholar on Speerbob's site for the longest time. In the end I could not reconcile how much the price had risen for such an unpopular pen in a little over a year ($30 to $50). In the end I didn't get it. Shame really as I rather liked the shape of the nib, almost a poor man's posting nib. Of course this says nothing about Bob's reputation for packaging (which is great from all reports).

Hi, The Scholar price went up because the last lot of them I bought cost me 50% more than in the past due to exchange rates and the fact that the supplier raised their prices.  To them the pens are just commodities and when prices go up they raise their price.  They don't care if it's new or old.  In the past I might have passed on a deal like that but at the time I had several people on a waiting list for the pen.  You called it unpopular but I have sold over 500 of them in the last 5 years so I wouldn't call that unpopular.  Cheers,  Bob


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#25 watch_art

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 18:14

Wow!  500. That's awesome.


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#26 hari317

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 18:22

I bought two Korean Scholars off Bob in February this year IIRC. The nib is nowhere near being a poor man's Posting nib. It is the usual Pilot Fine. It is a proper inset nib however. I had a problem with leakage with one of the converters, Bob agreed to send me a replacement along with my next order, this thread reminded me that I must place the order with Bob.  :)



#27 Cryptos

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 20:57

Sorry Bob, I wasn't criticizing you.

 

I was under the impression that it was an unpopular pen. Just look at how many reviews you can find - virtually none. I have seen none on Ebay other than yours. That you have sold 500+ is astonishing! Well, that's me learned. :)

 

There is one review on here, oops just checked it was from 2009, looks like I got my time frame all mixed up. $30 to $50 in 5 years is not so bad after all. My apologies again Bob, I wasn't casting aspersions really.

 

Still can't afford it though, and my focus had therefore changed. I got a 78G for $9 that performed well enough for my needs and to hell with aesthetics! ;)

 

Hari, I thought it looked a bit like a PO nib with its down-turned end. I am not saying it is a PO nib.


Edited by Cryptos, 01 August 2014 - 20:58.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing,

spring comes,

and the grass grows by itself.