I am embarking on the journey of having a 149 refurbished, and I would like to share my story as it happens with all of you. Hopefully you will feel better about your good pen buying decisions and maybe even cheer on the successful rehab of an old pen. As they say, let’s begin at the beginning…
Thanks to this forum and all the lovely vintage pen photos, I decided I want to get my hands on a silver rings, celluloid 149. The fool that I am, of course, I did not want to just pay the good folks at Penboard.de for a near mint condition pen. Instead one night, while paying for an eBay auction win on my phone (lovely Danitrio Genkai limited production pen), I looked at my saved searches and saw a just listed 149 silver rings with a seemingly reasonable price and a “best offer” option. I quickly looked at all the pictures and read the description pretty carefully. The pen looked “well loved” but was only used by one person since new. I would say it was heavily used, but I thought to myself that these pens are workhorses, and it could probably be brought back to life. Since I am a glutton for punishment and Christmas was coming, I put in what I thought was a fair offer and hoped it might be too low to get the pen.
Now at this point in the story you should be asking yourself, “Who is foolish enough to buy a pen that will be hard to refurbish just looking at pictures on a mobile phone?” Apparently I am. After a little back and forth on the price, the seller and I came to an agreement and the deal was done. That night I was digging around on FPN and I found a thread where I think someone was discussing the pen I bought a few months ago. The consensus was that then pen was one to avoid. Unfortunately, I did not have the links or pictures to confirm one way or the other if this was the pen I just bought. I tried to convince myself the pen was going to be fine. Instead I just lay in bed wondering how big of a mistake I made.
The next day at work I went to eBay and looked at the photos of my pen on my nice monitor. Oh (bleep)… the cap looked worse than I thought with discoloration around the star and the nib definitely was missing a tip. The gouges on the pen seemed deeper on my computer in the light of day. Now I wondered if the piston worked or I would have to add that to the list of reasons not to impulse buy a vintage pen. This disappointment was followed by another FPN search where I learned you cannot “refresh” the color of celluloid once it has changed. You certainly can buff the black off the body, but apparently not blacken the cap. Well, nothing to do now but wait for the pen. Thank goodness the seller was willing to accept returns. At least I had an out if needed.
Christmas break came and I was on holiday for two weeks for the first time in 17 years. The pen was going to be delivered while I was away. In the mean time I contacted some of the usual suspects in the restoration game and asked some initial questions. As you can guess, responses were along the line of “it depends” when it came to refurb estimates. Some were optimistic of success, others probably more realistic with a bigger forecast cost. Still no certainty.
Once I returned to the office there was a nice little stack of “me presents” I had purchased - mostly ink and the like. And there was THE BOX. Waiting for me to be disappointed or relieved. I decided to wait until afternoon to open it. No reason to be downtrodden at work if the pen was a mess. The time eventually came and I dove into the box to fetch the well packed pen. Once freed from the wrapping, I was struck by two feelings… “Boy that cap looks terrible” and “I like the way this pen fees in my hands.”
You have read long enough. Here are some of the pictures of the pen as it arrived.
Here was my quick inventory of the initial pluses:
- Masterpiece edition
- Ski slope feed looked good
- Model and nib markings on cone
- Rings still pretty tight
The bad news:
- Did you see the color of the cap? Yikes!
- Cap is a little too tight. Hello shrinkage.
- What is that inside the cap? A bad repair? A tropical disease?
- Don’t nibs need a tip?
- There seems to be some type of gouge brail on the section.