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Parker 51 Special Vs Parker 51


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11 replies to this topic

#1 ReconNinja95

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 19:51

I've looked all over this site and haven't found a single topic on the differences between them. Does anyone know the difference and if the Special is worth it? Thanks for your help!
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#2 OldGriz

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 19:53

I've looked all over this site and haven't found a single topic on the differences between them. Does anyone know the difference and if the Special is worth it? Thanks for your help!


Read YOUR post about the Burgundy Special... the difference was pretty much well discussed there....
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#3 ReconNinja95

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 20:01

Ha i know but i thought it would be quite annoying for someone else to have to go to something completely different rather than to a topic completely dedicated to it. Also everyone on the other thread was confusing me more than I would have expected so I am also hoping for some information easier to understand than from an off topic conversation.

Edited by ReconNinja95, 28 August 2011 - 20:01.

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#4 OldGriz

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 20:24

Look at the following links

Richard Binder on the Parker 51 http://richardspens....profiles/51.htm
Ernesto Soler' site on the Parker 51... www.parker51.com
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That is Honor, and there are way too many people in This country who no longer understand it.

#5 burmeseboyz

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 01:53

Richard Binder on the Parker 51 http://richardspens....profiles/51.htm


OP, there's a subsection in the link just on your question. Basically, it's a cheaper version of a P51 with a steel nib and a flimsier filler. I don't have one, but I don't see why they won't be good pens. And if the nib is corroded or damaged for some reason, you could always swap out the old nib with a standard P51 nib. Ernesto has them and he's a great guy to deal with.
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#6 nxn96

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 15:23

While the Special was always the "economy model" of the "51" line, late in its time it picked up the gold nib and frosted Lustraloy cap of the standard models. I'm just guessing here, but I wonder if it wasn't a combination of factors that caused Parker to "upgrade" the Special: First, Parker's upgrade of the 21 line, the "Super 21", was much more like the "51" Special such that for many consumers, spending more for a Special vs. the new Super 21 didn't make economic sense. Second, by the time these changes took place, the "51" line had been in the marketplace for many years, and had been supplanted by the 61 as the flagship Parker pen line. Putting the gold nib on the Special provided an opportunity to sell more value into the "economy" model, while at the same time allowed Parker to narrow the range of the various "51" offerings.

The Special is a very high quality pen that deserves the "51" name. Some say that they actually prefer the Octanium nib over the 14k gold nibs on the standard "51"s. I've had a couple of Specials, but never really pursued them as it was always my sense that there was never much of a "discount" on Special prices vs. a standard model "51" with the gold nib and Lustraloy cap. Once again, that's just my opinion.

Hope this helps.

#7 OldGriz

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 15:27

While the Special was always the "economy model" of the "51" line, late in its time it picked up the gold nib and frosted Lustraloy cap of the standard models. I'm just guessing here, but I wonder if it wasn't a combination of factors that caused Parker to "upgrade" the Special: First, Parker's upgrade of the 21 line, the "Super 21", was much more like the "51" Special such that for many consumers, spending more for a Special vs. the new Super 21 didn't make economic sense. Second, by the time these changes took place, the "51" line had been in the marketplace for many years, and had been supplanted by the 61 as the flagship Parker pen line. Putting the gold nib on the Special provided an opportunity to sell more value into the "economy" model, while at the same time allowed Parker to narrow the range of the various "51" offerings.

The Special is a very high quality pen that deserves the "51" name. Some say that they actually prefer the Octanium nib over the 14k gold nibs on the standard "51"s. I've had a couple of Specials, but never really pursued them as it was always my sense that there was never much of a "discount" on Special prices vs. a standard model "51" with the gold nib and Lustraloy cap. Once again, that's just my opinion.

Hope this helps.


The highlighted text is incorrect.... gold nibs were occasionally placed on placed on 51 Specials WHEN there were no octanium nibs in stock and pens needed to be shipped.
They were not a standard nib on the later 51 Special....
The frosted lusterloy cap did appear about 1960
TomPosted Image
A veteran is someone who wrote a blank check Made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in This country who no longer understand it.

#8 ReconNinja95

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 20:23

Whats a "frosted lusterloy cap"? Also i gave in and finally bought one!!! That means that in a few days time im going to be a proud owner of my own "51"!!!!! I can't wait! Also I prefer stainless steel to gold for the reason that with the special's silver accents that "octanium" would probably look more at home.
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#9 OldGriz

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 20:24

Whats a "frosted lusterloy cap"? Also i gave in and finally bought one!!! That means that in a few days time im going to be a proud owner of my own "51"!!!!! I can't wait! Also I prefer stainless steel to gold for the reason that with the special's silver accents that "octanium" would probably look more at home.


Frosted means the cap has a brushed finish instead of a high polish finish
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A veteran is someone who wrote a blank check Made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in This country who no longer understand it.

#10 ReconNinja95

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 20:53

hmmm...I dont think the pen i bought had that. Does that mean that its older?
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#11 pajaro

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 21:02

hmmm...I dont think the pen i bought had that. Does that mean that its older?


Who knows? Insufficient data.

I think you might find that reading through the links mentioned might be a very enlightening experience.

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#12 nxn96

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 21:50

While the Special was always the "economy model" of the "51" line, late in its time it picked up the gold nib and frosted Lustraloy cap of the standard models. I'm just guessing here, but I wonder if it wasn't a combination of factors that caused Parker to "upgrade" the Special: First, Parker's upgrade of the 21 line, the "Super 21", was much more like the "51" Special such that for many consumers, spending more for a Special vs. the new Super 21 didn't make economic sense. Second, by the time these changes took place, the "51" line had been in the marketplace for many years, and had been supplanted by the 61 as the flagship Parker pen line. Putting the gold nib on the Special provided an opportunity to sell more value into the "economy" model, while at the same time allowed Parker to narrow the range of the various "51" offerings.

The Special is a very high quality pen that deserves the "51" name. Some say that they actually prefer the Octanium nib over the 14k gold nibs on the standard "51"s. I've had a couple of Specials, but never really pursued them as it was always my sense that there was never much of a "discount" on Special prices vs. a standard model "51" with the gold nib and Lustraloy cap. Once again, that's just my opinion.

Hope this helps.


The highlighted text is incorrect.... gold nibs were occasionally placed on placed on 51 Specials WHEN there were no octanium nibs in stock and pens needed to be shipped.
They were not a standard nib on the later 51 Special....
The frosted lusterloy cap did appear about 1960

Page 55 of the Parker "51" book states:

"After 1957, the Special was no longer advertised, but renamed the Standard, although the filler was still marked Special. In the early '60's, the shiny cap was discontinued and replaced with the Lustraloy Deluxe cap. The octanium nib and black jewel were retained. In the mid 60's the cap was changed again to matte frosted steel with a pearl jewel. The nib was now 14k gold but the filler sleeve was still imprinted with Special".

Granted, the pen was no longer advertised as a Special, but it was made and sold with a 14k nib and frosted cap and marked "51" Special on the filler. It was more than the occasional pairing of a 14k nib on a Special to balance inventories- as you state, but a decision to pair the gold nib with a Special filler. Perhaps Parker might have put a 14k nib on an earlier Special from time to time when production and demand needs demanded; I don't have the production records, so I can't say with your authority.

The point I wanted to make to the original post is that at some point there were "51"s regularly sold with Special on the filler and 14k nibs. Having run across about 10-12 or so over the past few years, I'll stick with what the Parker "51" book states.






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