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#1 Stephen-I-am

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 21:25

I just "won" (funny how they make it sound like you won the lottery or something) a 1948 Parker "51" steel cap blue diamond clip vacumatic fountain pen, medium(ish) nib.

I have a very small collection at the moment (Pelikan M200, Lamy 2000, and Namiki VP), and thought it would be nice to have something a bit vintage. The price was $41, and it needs a new sac but otherwise is mint. I guess the seller makes a living by going to estate sales and then using ebay ...

Anyway, if anyone would like to share some information on this pen, I'd be interested in hearing it. I hope I made a good purchase for my first vintage pen.

Stephen
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#2 DrPJM1

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 23:15

http://parker51.com/
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#3 nmb

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 23:21

Stephen, let me be the first among many to tell you that you got the BEST vintage pen for your first one. The price is about right, getting it re-sacced will probably run you $25 and you'll be using it for the next 50 years happily alongside your other pens (which form a quite nice bunch themselves). Richard Binder has a good profile on the Parker 51 (his personal favorite pen) in the "Reference Info" section of his site and quick turnaround on this pretty basic repair can be had at Pentiques or The PenDen. Watch yourself though, they say that Parker 51s are quite addictive and you can't have just one :)

#4 Glenn-SC

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 23:40

Very nice pen!
I have a handful and thay all write very well.
None of mine (and I have soem older than yours) have needed to be resacked.
I have a new SE and it writes great too!
Congratulations. (and on the Lamy and VP, too)

#5 Bill Smith

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 23:44

Welcome to the dark side, 51's are addictive pens.

Bill
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#6 Richard

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 01:00

nmb said it, really, the "51" is the best pen of them all. (Note to the new "51" collector: Always put quotation marks around "51" except when you're talking about the modern 51 SE -- these are the ways Parker trademarked the names.)

Blue Cedar rules. If you've been around here any length of time at all, you've seen my postings with pix of my Blue Cedar "51". It's gone through something of a metamorphosis: when I got it, it was a single-jewel pen with Lustraloy cap whose clip has no Bue Diamond:

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But I've always liked double-jewel pens better, so when the chance to convert my pen popped up, I took it:

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But my ultimum desideratum in the pen world has always been a Blue Cedar with a sterling cap. While I haven't allowed that Lustraloy cap to escape, I've set it aside in favor of this cap:

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This pen is one of the twelve "51"s in my collection, and my collection is small. You have taken the first step toward total assimilation. Welcome!
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#7 Tricia

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 01:23

My blue "51" will soon be home! Just received a note from Barbara Binder that it and my MB are ready to return. :D What a great b'day present! (The blue one has a companion pencil that's been lonely for a long time.)

I have another "51" - a black one that I bought off the green board - that is probably my 2nd favorite writer. It was my fave until I got my Sheherazade. :P

Now the hard part - what to fill that gorgeous blue with? Maybe Noodler's Blue-Black? PR's Black Magic Blue? Maybe order some Diamine Prussian Blue just for it? Oh, the agony... :lol:
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#8 Glenn-SC

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 01:33

Here's an original Cedar Blue, double jewel (bottom is Al), Sterling Cap, Blue Diamond, no date stamp.
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A (sort of) matching pencil and a new SE!

#9 Richard

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 02:49

Now the hard part - what to fill that gorgeous blue with?

My advice is to avoid heavily saturated "boutique" inks like Noodler's, PR, or Levenger.
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#10 Tricia

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 03:46

My advice is to avoid heavily saturated "boutique" inks like Noodler's, PR, or Levenger.


So that leaves the Diamine Prussian? Would Aurora Blue be all right? That is a beautiful blue, imo. Or Waterman violet? I love deep rich colors, so I might need to buy a couple more bottles of a less saturated ink (awww, darn :D ).

What's a good dark blue (that's not Noodler's, PR, or Levenger)?
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#11 rak

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 03:59

Congratulations on your new acquisition. My first vintage pen was a Pelikan 140. My second vintage pen was an aerometric 51. Just like others have mentioned, I really like writing with the 51 and use it everyday. And yes, I think I am addicted to the 51 since I am already thinking about which model should be my next 51.

#12 RyanL27

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 04:09

My blue "51" will soon be home! Just received a note from Barbara Binder that it and my MB are ready to return.

This makes me miss my Midnight Blue Aero very much :( . It's spending the winter with Richard, but I'm sure it will be well worth the wait! In the meantime, I have my own Cedar Blue/Sterling cap to keep me company. Only problem is this one has a midnight blue section - I need to find a cedar blue section to complete this beauty.

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#13 saintsimon

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 04:15

So that leaves the Diamine Prussian? ...

Yes, the Diamine inks have great characteristics and are, in my experience, very easy to flush and clean out of a pen, when necesary.

So Diamine 'Prussian Blue', 'Presidential Blue' LE, 'Blue-Black' (and maybe 'Indigo') and 'Imperial Purple' should fit.

#14 JRodriguez

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 04:39

Great pen you got there. I have a couple of vacumatics and a couple of aero filler - I swore I would get just one! Enjoy!

#15 Stephen-I-am

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 07:17

It's nice to hear that the warm fuzzies I got from the purchase are shared. What to ink it with is indeed a good question. Maybe this is a good reason to track down some Diamine royal blue.

Here is a picture of the pen from the auction:

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#16 JimStrutton

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 09:38

It's nice to hear that the warm fuzzies I got from the purchase are shared. What to ink it with is indeed a good question. Maybe this is a good reason to track down some Diamine royal blue.

Here is a picture of the pen from the auction:

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Stephen

Welcome Stephen to the "51" addiction ;)

Now although your pen looks very nice, it does look lonely to me, surely it needs a companion ? :rolleyes:

What about a nice example of an Aero to go with it so that you can compare and contrast?

On the ink front, I use either Quink or Diamine in my "51"s. I do use more saturated ink in the Aeros sometimes, as they are easier to clean out.

Regards,

Jim
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#17 Richard

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 12:36

So that leaves the Diamine Prussian? Would Aurora Blue be all right? That is a beautiful blue, imo. Or Waterman violet?

Diamine is good. Aurora is okay. If you like the Aurora color but want Waterman, try mixing Waterman Florida Blue and Waterman Violet. I use a 50/50 mix, and it has a color halfway between Aurora Blue and Tanzanite. Someone told me recently that he mixes 3 Florida Blue to 1 Violet and gets a color almost exactly like Aurora Blue.
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#18 DWL

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 14:22

Welcome to the addiction! Like a lot of other folks have already said, becareful. "51's" are very addictive. Some would say much worse than crack...lol. I don't think you could have starter off with a better color or model for your first "51". There is just something about that deep rich Bluecedar color I really dig & like Richard I love a sterling cap on it too. I would love to find a hand hammered silver cap for mine. I think that would REALLY set it off.

Here are a couple of pics of my new Sergio Kullock "51" reproduction in sterling silver. I managed to work a trade with a bud of mine to get this one. It's one of the very few pens I've ever connected with the instant my hands touched it. Have to say I'm in love here.

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A close up of the pattern. MMMMMMMMM MMMMMM MMMMM! This pen is soooo nice.
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If you need someone to restore your "51" drop me an email at penman09242aol.com. I'll be happy to help out.

Dennis

#19 JimStrutton

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 15:42

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Dennis,

That is one terrific pen, I am a sucker for silver pens, just happen to have the silver caps though. That is a Super Flighter I reckon :D :D

What is about the Cedar Blue pens, with a silver cap they are something special.

As we are having a show and tell on "51"s here is the picture of my favorite Cedar Blue, a custom pen with copper rings and a polished silver cap made for me by Ralph Prather.

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It is sitting filled with Quink Permanent Blue on my desk today, never seems to drop out of my rotation :blink:

Jim
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#20 DWL

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 15:53

Jim,

Zounds that's a killer "51" as well. Love the effect the rings bring to it. Is your cap smooth unlined silver?

"What is about the Cedar Blue pens, with a silver cap they are something special"

Not so much special as they just really appeal to me.
I'm a Sterling fan in general. Pretty much all I wear is sterling, from my big chunky 4oz. bracelet, my necklace with turn of the century whistle or my family masonic ring from the 20's that I was given when I was raised to master mason 10 years ago, all sterling.
There is just something about the way it glows when it's developed a light patina that speaks to me. Not the polished super shiny look but the patina you get from daily wear/use. I just dig it.

Dennis

#21 JimStrutton

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 16:07

Dennis,

As you are probably aware, the lined silver caps do not always fare so well. Once they lose their plating it is the long road to the scrap bin for many. But Ralph takes them if they are not too dented and turns them into the polished delight you see in the picture.

I just give it a quick wipe with a silver polishing cloth once in a while to keep it bright.

Seems that certain colours and caps go well, all personal taste, but the Cedar/Silver works well as does India Black/Gold. I also have an English Teal Blue with a rolled silver cap that looks good too.

Still think your Silver Flighter is the business though. I am a silver freak, I have a number of silver Victorian pocket watches that I use with a silver Albert, a silver money clip, silver bookmark and various other silver items, napkin rings, silvered dial clocks, etc. etc. One thing I don't wear are rings though, silver or not, comes from being a sailor, rings and rope don't mix. Not that I spend 24/7 on my boat, not that I would not like too, but I just don't wear a ring so I don't need to remember to take it off :)

Jim
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#22 Stylo

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 18:21

If I ever buy a used pen, uhhmm I meant a vintage pen :P , it will be a Parker "51", but not because everyone claims it to be such a great pen. When I was a teen, I took over my mother's red "51" that she wasn't using anymore, but I somehow destroyed it :( . I can't remember whether I dropped it, cracked it, or flushed it with something I should not have used. I sometime still feel bad about it even though my mother couldn't care less about the pen. So that's why I might get one, perhaps even a red one :)

#23 JimStrutton

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 08:57

If I ever buy a used pen, uhhmm I meant a vintage pen :P , it will be a Parker "51", but not because everyone claims it to be such a great pen. When I was a teen, I took over my mother's red "51" that she wasn't using anymore, but I somehow destroyed it :( . I can't remember whether I dropped it, cracked it, or flushed it with something I should not have used. I sometime still feel bad about it even though my mother couldn't care less about the pen. So that's why I might get one, perhaps even a red one :)

Hi Stylo,

Destroying a "51" eh! 50 lashes with the cat o nine tails for you then :D

Seriously, if you still have the remains around I am sure that it could be fixed. I bought a whole bunch of "51"s on 'fleabay' last year. There was a black example with a cracked hood, bent nib and a GF cap that somebody had used for a hammer. I sent it off to my pen repair guy with some other pens, thinking he could use it for spares. Back came a note, "hey Jim I can fix that for you", he removed the dents from the cap, sorted the nib and put a replacement hood on it. Result, what I thought was a heap of spares is now a nice upscale user.

Anyway, you should get a "51", everybody needs one or two about. :rolleyes:

Jim
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#24 DWL

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 16:29

"As you are probably aware, the lined silver caps do not always fare so well. Once they lose their plating it is the long road to the scrap bin for many."

Yep, like many other 's I've seen my share of nasty looking lined sterling caps that have/are losing the plating. I never could think of a way to make them look much better w/o destroying the remnants of the plating or making it worse in geneal.

"But Ralph takes them if they are not too dented and turns them into the polished delight you see in the picture."

Thats just AWESOME! I REALLY need to get a lathe so i can try out some of the great projects i've been seeing over he past few months. I want to create works like this. I have so many ideas but just need the tools to get them in motion.

I have to ask, what does he charge for this? I dig that smooth look, very clean & elegant.


"Seems that certain colours and caps go well, all personal taste, but the Cedar/Silver works well as does India Black/Gold. I also have an English Teal Blue with a rolled silver cap that looks good too."

I couldn't agree with you any more than I do right now. Cedar/Silver & India Black/Gold are my all time 2 fav color/material combos with Cordovan Brown/lined gold as well. Well Mustard & the heritage caps are nice as is ANYTHING with an imperial cap....lol


"Still think your Silver Flighter is the business though."

Thanks again. I'm really proud of this one.

"I am a silver freak, I have a number of silver Victorian pocket watches that I use with a silver Albert, a silver money clip, silver bookmark and various other silver items, napkin rings, silvered dial clocks, etc. etc."

Same here. I prefer silver anything to gold for the most part. One of my nonpen grail items is a pair of necklaces with a coin from both the 1715 Plate Fleet & one fron the Atocha. (major treasure hunting/metal detecting junkie here)

"One thing I don't wear are rings though, silver or not, comes from being a sailor, rings and rope don't mix. ......"

I know exactly what you mean. When I was very young, I lived next to a kind older gent. who was missing a finger for that very reason. A rope caught it when he was on his boat & off it came. (YYYEEEOOUUCCHHH!!!!!)


Have a great day everyone!
Dennis

#25 Richard

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 18:07

Cedar/Silver & India Black/Gold are my all time 2 fav color/material combos with Cordovan Brown/lined gold as well.

Funny you should mention my three favorite "51" color combos, and in the same order of preferencece, too. From my collection:

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If I ever run across a hammered sterling cap, I'll offer it to you first. The hammered look on silver leaves me cold. :)

The Empire cap rules, but I don't care for Mustard. This is a pen I restored about a month ago:

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There's a little tip envy here, the broad nib in that sucker was wicked nice when I'd realigned and smoothed it. <_<
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#26 Stylo

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 20:10

Destroying a "51" eh!  50 lashes with the cat o nine tails for you then  :D

Seriously, if you still have the remains around I am sure that it could be fixed.

We are talking about 22-25 years ago! :lol: But miracles do happen sometimes and I may one day discover it in some box. But I am not holding my breath for it :lol:

Btwy, it is only now that I did some poking around about sources for Parker "51s" and I found two sites: gopens and Rick Propas' Penguin, who both seem well established and well recognized vintage pen restorers/sellers. While I didn't have a chance to do any careful reading, I also discovered that there are all sorts of different models for the "51", including the demis that have a slightly shorter barrel.

Edited by Stylo, 17 February 2006 - 22:05.


#27 JimStrutton

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 20:13

Hi Dennis,

Don't know how much exactly Ralph would charge to do just the cap, I got the whole thing as a deal, I bought an unrestored Vac and he rebuilt it and made all the parts, I also traded him a GF cap for a Silver he had in stock, so best you ask him, he is going to LA I believe.

Hi Richard,

Re the hammered silver, it can look really good, but you just need it to develop the patina of old english, especially Commonwealth Silver, so that the high points are bright but the low points develop a tarnished sheen. Highly polished it just looks like 'why did you bother' I agree.

Just as a note to both of you Ralph Prather did mention to me that he was going to experiment with a hammered silver cap, don't know if he ever got there. He was really taken with Ernestos hammered copper cap and we did talk about it, but it went no further than that.

Jim
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#28 JimStrutton

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 20:25

Destroying a "51" eh!  50 lashes with the cat o nine tails for you then  :D

Seriously, if you still have the remains around I am sure that it could be fixed.

We are talking about 22-25 years ago! :lol: But miracles do happensometimes and I may one day discover it in some box. But I am not holding my breath for it :lol:

IBtwy, it is only now that I did some poking around about sources for Parker "51s" and I found two sites: gopens and Rick Propas' Penguin, who both seem well established and well recognized vintage pen restorers/sellers. While I didn't have a chance to do any careful reading, I also discovered that there are all sorts of different models for the "51", including the demis that have a slightly shorter barrel.

Hmmm, well I suppose if you rescue a few needy "51"s then you may be forgiven :P

Take a look at:

http://www.parker51.com/

and

http://www.wetinc.com/pens/

Both have loads of "51" stuff and pens for sale. I bought a "51" Flighter from Rick, he is a real gentleman, one of the good guys and I bought one from Ernesto on parker51.com too, another really helpfull guy. If you want more info on the range of "51"s then Richard's site has loads more stuff too. Now that Silver Flighter that Dennis has, that you just have to admire.

Jim
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#29 JimStrutton

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 20:29

There's a little tip envy here, the broad nib in that sucker was wicked nice when I'd realigned and smoothed it. <_<

ENVY ENVY ENVY

Jim
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#30 Stylo

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 22:15

Thanks a lot Jim. I had also stumbled on parker51.com, but not wetinc.com!

A question for anyone who is willing to answer it: when a "51" is listed as "never inked,", and if that is indeed true, how reliably can the seller (assuming an expert) claim that is is functional and that it won't need a restoration job after the first time I ink it?