I tend to be “long winded” when I’m tired, and such is the case now.
But bear with me. I know that some people out there are interested in
how some pen dealers/collectors/repairmen think, so there may be some
shallow insight here for those individuals. I cannot completely reveal
all that could go with this in minute detail, it would be pages long.
The pictures from the first set of links are of a Parker you’ve
likely never seen before. It is a Parker 51 with a cap, that to my knowledge,
Parker never made, maybe I should say never made one like it. Possibly
they did make a couple prototypes, I am not aware of any (and should
have consulted Mike Fultz), but they would not have been like this
“51” cap. It is “unique”, and even if I, or anyone else, were to copy
this cap, they would, each and every one, be unique. Somehow similar, but
still unique unto themselves. They are peened, also! Some may prefer to
call metal work like this “hammered metal”. As a certain doctor
says, “I don’t insist”, that these were not made by Parker, and could
very possibly have been done by someone, somewhere, at some time. I have
never seen one.
The rest of the story is this; I had been thinking about making
hammered metal Parker 51 caps for years. I’ve always had an affinity
for hammered metal work. Mission style Arts and Crafts hammered copper,
nickel, sterling, and even back into antiquarian and ancient beaten
gold. There’s just something about it that clicks in my brain. I
suppose it is because there nothing else that looks like hand worked
metal, and I have always been attracted to craftsmanship, be it high
quality or primitive. Modern or ancient primitive, the artisans were
limited by their tools and the evolution of art, and many influences,
So it was the night before New Years Eve. McNeil’s kickin’ around his
workshop, digging through a tray of un-restored Parker 51’s and 51
parts. I needed a replacement ink collector, for a customer’s pen.
The one in his pen had been hot, or something, and the slit in the
collector had expanded, to the point it would no longer hold the nib
and feed in place securely. I saw a gold filled 51 cap, on a 1948
barrel, with a small, but very deep dent in it. I looked at the cap for
a minute and thought, “That dent is much too deep to get out. The
metal is stretched.” I looked the cap over and there wasn’t any brassing
on the cap.
I finished up the customer’s pen and went to work disassembling the 51
cap. I did some tests on the cap with a little hammering, using a ball
peen hammer (I need a real chasing hammer). I didn’t like the large
size of the dimples, so I went to a much smaller tool. I liked the
“look” and decided to continue with it. If it turned out badly or
strange, I figured I would just keep the cap on one of my personal
pens. If it turned out well, I’d sell the first one and do one for
myself soon enough. As it turned out, I was a bit surprised by the
outcome of the appearance and attractiveness of this cap.
So after beating up this old dented cap, that I felt was only salvable
by beating it up further, with several thousand taps, and several hours
of play… I mean work time, you can be the judge. BTW, I had to take a
break about every 10 to 15 minutes while working on this cap. Bending
over the workbench was over stressing my back muscles. This was no sit
down job. Yeah, I know! Get your violins out now……
I am well aware that it has been stated by pen collectors many times
that the hammered sterling silver Parker “51” caps are fakes, or some
kind of fraudulence has gone on with them. And I have little doubt that
has happened in some instances. That is not the case with me and my
work, and it would never be my intention to do anything of that nature.
And I know that some pen collectors “frown” on things like this being
done to old pens. I would rather liken it to and categorize the work as
customization of pen and a pen part that would have ended up in a parts
bin, never to see the light of day, otherwise. I am not the overseer of
our children’s children, and what they may do in the future I have no
control over, either in their honesty, dishonesty or ignorance.
Personally, I find some reasons for doing certain things to pens
acceptable, under some circumstances. You have to decide what lines can
be crossed and which cannot. I have reversed some ideas that I’ve had
in the past, but not many.
Nearly any monkey with a hammer could be taught to do this, and do it
well, I’m afraid. Anyone have a monkey for hire?
As I mentioned above the cap is free of brassing, but is it ever
dented!?! Sorry I had to throw that in there…… The clip is in
reasonably good condition, other than there are some miniscule marks
on the back of the clip ring, and one you can actually see with the
naked eye. I also noticed, when reviewing the pictures, that I should
have detailed the clip a little better. There are also very tiny marks
on the lower edge of the cap lip. The barrel is a ‘48, and has
Vacumatic fill system. The nib measured to be a Medium, by Parker
specifications, but just barely. You could call it a narrow medium
width or a fat fine. Yes, I do actually measure nib widths. The
thickness or thinness of a line a nib, on the borderline of two widths,
writes is a toss of the coin when it is inked. I am talking about rigid
nibs, for the most part. It has everything to do with the shape of the
tip, near mint or worn. The condition of the cap is decent, the
condition of the barrel is Excellent.
Price $325.00 post paid in the U.S. and Canada.
#2. 1948 Parker “51” in Cordovan brown, sterling silver cap, with
Diamond clip. The clip This one has a Vacumatic fill system. The gold
vermeil clip has some wear on the feathers. There are also some marks,
scratches, scrapes and very shallow peck marks in the top one quarter
of the cap. Yes, some were likely bite marks. They are not too
terrible, but do not show up well in my pictures. There are also two
marks on the hood, that were too deep to remove. The cap has most of
it’s original over-plating, so it has that satin finish look. Most of
the plating wear is right next to the clip. The blue diamond, on the
clip, has been repainted. I did it myself, with a VERY tiny paint gun!
Just kidding! I actually use round toothpicks. The nib is a smooth
writing Fine. The barrel is very nicely restored, inside and out. I
grade the overall condition as “User Grade” (which is much different
than some define the term), I’ll call it Very Good, considering the
marks on the cap. Very understated, yet elegant! ;-)
Price $150.00 post paid in the U.S. and Canada
~SOLD~ #3. 1942 -’45 Sheaffer’s Triumph in black. This is the model that has a
“short radius” clip and extremely wide cap band. The barrel is striped
vertically and has excellent clarity, with no ambering that I can
detect. It is a “rod fill” plunger type of filling system, also called
a Vacuum-fil. The nib is a smooth writing 2 tone Extra Fine 14K
Triumph. It has a couple of very shallow small dings towards the top
edge of the cap band. The clip has some brassing around the end, but it
is a gold vermeil clip, and is hard to see. The overall condition is
~SOLD~ 110.00 post paid
Prices are post paid in the U.S. and Canada, and will be
shipped with delivery confirmation and insurance. I also ship
internationally, if you pay the price difference between U.S. shipping
and international. It’s not a large difference in most cases.
The usual rules apply, the person sending the first e-mail on an item
~stating intent to purchase~ gets the item, don't assume the item has
been sold, they don't always sell immediately. I'll give you 3 days to
decide if you like the pen or not. I accept PayPal, check or money
order. All pens will be shipped U.S. Priority Mail with insurance and
delivery confirmation. I ship worldwide, so international customers are
I usually use vintage Sheaffer’s Skrip Washable Blue ink for the
writing samples. It is light colored and watery, darker inks would be
better suited to some of the pens I sell, but Skrip Washable Blue ink
is easier to flush out of pens than many other inks.
All pens have been restored inside and outside, nibs adjusted and
smoothened, when necessary, clips tightened, etc. I give a lot of
attention to minute details on a pen, that some would not notice. It's
just my own obsessive behavior, which is good for you, the buyer. The
pencils have been restored outside, and are in good working condition
unless stated otherwise. The pens are ink tested, so I know, and you
can be assured, that they are actually functioning properly. If you
would like, you can view my grading system on this page:
Vintage Pens For Writers And Collectors
Northwest Pen Works
Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
Edited by Michael McNeil, 27 January 2007 - 20:52.