Often I buy at live auctions, in all you have to beat are the dealers who want at least 1/3 profit. There are at the auction houses I go to outside of MB's the other pens are cheaper on the whole than Germany E-bay, and I get a chance to check out the nib.
I take only my 10X loupe and my thumbnail. I only chase semi-flex and better. I expect old pens....vintage to need a very small tad of smoothing, getting rid of 'iridium' micro-corrosion or 'rust'. I can proof what flex it has on my thumbnail.
Going for Pen of the Week at the Auction House, is as bad as being a member of The Pen of the Week in the Mail Club.
You end up with pens you don't need, in they are "cheap".
Well I chase the nib first; flex and width, not the make or model. There are some 45 nib widths and flexes counting every other one as a stub/CI.
I find through my reading it is too easy to get all 51 versions of the P-51 and 48 of them will be nail nibs.
I don't have fun with nails.
Get your self a nail EF, and B. Try to find semi-vintage '90'-70's 'true' regular flex in M&F, before chasing semi-flex....then maxi-semi-flex and finally superflex. Do work your way up the flex ladder. If you buy a superflex too soon, you could be disappointed or ruin the nib due to inexperience and thinking it should do Olympic Splits.
One does have to learn to draw the letters before buying Superflex.
'True' regular flex (sometimes described as springy) is found in semi or vintage pens, in most modern pens are semi-nail instead of real regular flex, in they don't break/bend as easy, so the company don't have to repair as many.
Many who are new to fountain pens are Ham Fisted....I was.
Everyone says poor Mozart dead at only 36. None say poor Mendelson, dead at only 38. His family only allowed him to start at 20, but before, musicians use to come to the Mendelson garden to steal the music of Mendelson and his sister. A good artist also, can still buy prints of his famous Scottish drawings in Scotland.
www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany Info on Bock nibs
The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.
Pens/inks/paper on hold for a year....new addiction pocket watch chains.