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How Far We Can Define A Pen As Vintage!

balance blue vintage 90s sheaffer

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136 replies to this topic

#21 Ron Z

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 01:42

When Sheaffer was closing the Ft Madison service center, their definition of "vintage" was anything made before 1982.  Pens made in the 1970s are now, or soon will be, 40 years old.  :o   As  much as I hate to say it, I think that qualifies as vintage.


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#22 jar

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 01:58

The problem is that terms like vintage have never been universally accepted.  In the world of cars, some states have passed legislation that by law defines vintage...for cars in that state.

 

It's been impossible so far for some uniform definition to be presented that can be accepted by consensus in the world of fountain pens. 

 

Until some legal entity, a State, Nation, Governing Board, accepted authority mandates some standard such thing will always just be fodder for arguments, discussion and derision.


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#23 inkstainedruth

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 02:36

This topic has come up before.  And I liked what someone said then: vintage was before 1960, when  the Parker 45 (which, IIRC, is the first c/c pen on the market.  So, the 45s I have are semi-vintage; ditto for the 80s and 90s eras of Pelikans.

Not sure how that works with models that were still in production at that benchmark, such as the late 51s (I have one from the early 1960s, but it's not a c/c model).  

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#24 Tootles

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 02:46

In the mind of this one, which admittedly is often a scary place full of surreal things, the term vintage (for pens and much else) means that an item relates to a particular epoch of style.  So, for example, art deco is a style that has a more or less defined epoch, and pens that are from that age tend to incorporate the stylistic elements of the day. Not always, and not always in obvious ways, but in general.



#25 Uncial

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 10:32

Posted by Spikey Mike:

If we go by the Ebay definition - anything over 3 minutes old is "vintage" as well as being "rare", "mint" and "classic".

 

 

I liked that  :)



#26 cobalt

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 10:53

EOC is approaching the word in a sensible way. Vintage best refers to something that is typical or representative of a period (e.g. vintage 30s etc.) and is more about a style than age. Antique is usually anything over 100 years old and this does apply to some pens, so can properly be used.

 

Ebay has encouraged conflation of the word 'vintage' with age, and perhaps one way to separate the real vintage pens from the just old and dodgy pens would to start using it properly as a pen community. Bad and poorly used language drives out proper usage, though, and we may be stuck with the term.

 

Vintage: typical of its type, easily confused with Classic, probably better to use year or period of manufacture for precision

Rare: not many made

Mint: in original condition as made regardless of age and could mean unused, but unused pens can often show wear

New old stock: pointless term, but apparently means someone got hold some of old stock which hadn't been sold. So is it 'mint'?

Classic differs little from Vintage, except it may best be described as referring to a period of time (the Classic era of the fountain pen, which obviously isn't today!)

 

In the following examples, see if the adding the word 'vintage' adds any value:

 

A mint 1942 Skyline blah blah

 

A used 1942 Skyline, classic design by Dreyfuss blah blah

 

A used 1942 Skyline, classic design, rare striped green/blue blah blah (fewer than 500 known to exist)

 

A mint 2005 Lamy Safari in dayGlo nagahyde blah blah

 

A used 2005 Lamy Safari, classic design, but well work nagahyde blah blah

 

A mint 2005 Lamy Safari, rare striped blue/green blah blah (fewer than 500 known to exist)


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#27 tragique

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 11:46

I consider vintage to be mostly pre-1960s, though I have a few Japanese pens from the 70s that I think border on being vintage.



#28 WireFox

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 14:15

In my part of the UK 'vintage' applied to non-consumables is usually taken to mean an item over 25 years old. It came from the days when vehicles over 25 years old were exempt from road tax thus 'vintage cars' These days exemption applies to cars over 40 years old (I think)...and they are sometimes called classic, whatever that means. So I would say a vintage pen is over 25 years old or is it 40 years. I am not sure what a classic pen would be.

 

HM Revenue & Customs consider a classic car to be a vehicle that is worth more than £15,000 and is over 15 years old so perhaps a classic pen should be defined as a writing implement that is worth more than £150 and over 15 years old :-D

 

Of course there are many classic pens that are nowhere near worth £150 but are certainly classics in my opinion so the precursor becomes all important: Design classic or period classic for instance. The Parker 25 is certainly a period classic. There is also a category that we may term kitsch which in other areas of collecting is becoming a highly sought after label. I suppose most of the cheap over the top glitzy Jinhao type pens would fall into that category ;-) None of this is easy to define though; some will see the Al Star as kitsch and some as a design classic but these days both terms seem to be interchangeable :-)

 

In the end it is down to taste and to a certain extent current trends. Gold plated pens; once suggestive of a 'bit of class' can now look kitsch to many whereas well designed plastic pens are often (rightly) considered as tasteful and desirable. 


Edited by WireFox, 30 December 2015 - 14:17.


#29 Charles Rice

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 14:28

To me, a vintage pen is one that was manufactured back in the days when fountain pens were the common pen that everyone used, not the "luxury" item that they are today.  In other words, a vintage fountain  pen was made before the ball point took over.  Where the exact cut off date is, I can't say, but I'd put it in the mid 50s. 



#30 Ursus

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 15:39

 

The problem is that terms like vintage have never been universally accepted.  In the world of cars, some states have passed legislation that by law defines vintage...for cars in that state.

I just hate when legislators do things like that!



#31 Ursus

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 15:43

 

To me, a vintage pen is one that was manufactured back in the days when fountain pens were the common pen that everyone used, not the "luxury" item that they are today.  In other words, a vintage fountain  pen was made before the ball point took over.  Where the exact cut off date is, I can't say, but I'd put it in the mid 50s. 

 

In other words, fountain pens are vintage if they are made before the p-point epidemy that made all fountain pens made ever since look vintage (compared to the b-point). :rolleyes:


Edited by Ursus, 30 December 2015 - 15:44.


#32 gary

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 16:12

I settled that issue long ago and even include it right above my avatar to educate and inform.
 
"A Vintage Pen has to be older than me."


Me too, which makes it a moving target, and a sad day when the date is carved in stone.

gary

#33 Ron Z

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 16:33

That's the problem.  The pen community is getting older, and are becoming "vintage" themselves.  If my dad who is now 86 applied that standard, an Oversize Balance plunger filler would not be vintage.  If I applied that, then a Sheaffer Snorkel would not be vintage, nor would a Valient Autograph.  I consider an Imperial Compact to be vintage.  Classic sort of a gray area, modern anything made in the last 25 years.  Sheaffers cutoff of 1982 was back in 2008, which means that the pens were more than 25 years old.  I suspect that today it would be more like 1989 or 1990.

 

There was a time when a car had to be 25 years old to be considered vintage or "antique."  I think that's a good standard, and those of us who don't like the fact that we are older than that just have to live with it.


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#34 Charles Rice

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 18:17

OK, let's settle this once and for all.  This will be the last - and I mean last - thread on this subject.

 

Vintage  -  Any pen make before 11:17 AM (Central USA/Canada Time Zone), March 17th, 1957

 

(Or whatever definition you decide upon) 



#35 Manalto

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 18:30

Works for me. Good luck with compliance.


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#36 H1N

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 10:06

That's the problem.  The pen community is getting older, and are becoming "vintage" themselves.  If my dad who is now 86 applied that standard, an Oversize Balance plunger filler would not be vintage.  If I applied that, then a Sheaffer Snorkel would not be vintage, nor would a Valient Autograph.  I consider an Imperial Compact to be vintage.  Classic sort of a gray area, modern anything made in the last 25 years.  Sheaffers cutoff of 1982 was back in 2008, which means that the pens were more than 25 years old.  I suspect that today it would be more like 1989 or 1990.

 

There was a time when a car had to be 25 years old to be considered vintage or "antique."  I think that's a good standard, and those of us who don't like the fact that we are older than that just have to live with it.

Every generation choose what  his vintage is, I guess no one can make a stable rule for that....
 
if the most of us love a kind of wine that was produced in 1998 much more than that one with no good taste produced in 1995, so we will ask for the 1998, make it rare then we will call it... off course (vintage wine),
while the older one is still available but no body want it and people will name it (non quality old stock)
 
time is relative, quality and rarity are a part of that combination (VINTAGE).
 
Hope my English works well

Edited by H1N, 31 December 2015 - 12:26.


#37 Ursus

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 14:13

 

There was a time when a car had to be 25 years old to be considered vintage or "antique."

 

With a computer it would be more like two years - although I have met people who actually collected computers. ;)



#38 Davjohn

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 15:41

I hope I don't overstep by weighing in, here.

In AZ, a car is Vintage if it's 50 years old. That means that a 1966 Corvette or Mustang, both models still in production, would be considered Vintage.

The Dictionary offers:
1. The best product from a particular manufacturing run.
2. An exceptionally fine example from the production of a good year.
3. The class of a dated object with reference to era of production or use: a hat; wine; car; cigar of last year's vintage.
4. Being of a specified production.
5. Representing the high quality of a past time: vintage cars; vintage wines; vintage movies.
6. Old-fashioned or obsolete.
7. Being the best of its kind.

And the Thesaurus offers:
Prime, Old, Classical, Classic, Choice, Best, Excellent, Rare, Select, Venerable.

I don't see a way to quantify "vintage" in regard to pens.
Price range: This would vary from brand to brand and person to person. A user would regard this very differently than a collector.
Age: This would vary depending upon production run, limited edition, commemoratives, how long it had been in production or how long has it been out of production. I have 2 brushed chrome Chinese pens made to commemorate the 2008 Beijing Olympics. By this definition, they would be vintage.
Brand: This would be very subjective. I've both read and heard reviews that put Lamys head and shoulders above certain Mont Blanc models. One recently called the Mont Blanc a cheap, plastic production pen. ({Gasp} Sacrilege.) Though I think he was trying to be funny.



#39 cobalt

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 16:51

This thread is dealing with an important issue actually. Folks often pay for imaccurately described products, partly because vendors deliberately 'bait' buyers with words that suggest value (mint, vintage, rare), partly because buyers don't have access to definitions that give them confidence, partly because buyers attach meanings to certain words that get used and inappropriately apply that meaning to a pen, and of course, partly that vendors just don't know how to describe something.

 

I'd opt for pens more than 50 years old as vintage, and more than 100 years old as antique. I'd reserve the word 'classic' for pens that have archetype value and I think there is some consensus that some pens are classics. This might help distinguish real value from artificial value such as companies reissuing look-alikes, and limited editions with artificial scarcity. Some things are expensive not for any other reason than good marketing; the products are bog standard.

 

As buyers we should expect to have the following information. I'd guess that as the pen gets older or of greater collector interest, the amount of required information and disclosure should rise in detail:

  • name of pen, type of pen, specific manufacturer's marks
  • year or period of manufacture
  • colour, material, manufacture information
  • nib (size, type and whether original),
  • photographs (in focus please) of whole pen, cap, barrel, filling mechanism in some way, and at least one good picture of the nib condition, Given that the filling mechanism is quite important, we should know if it is the one that came with the pen or has be retrofited with something else.
  • usability, e.g. one writing sample, unless pen is never inked or damaged; we should know if the pen writes.
  • statement of damage (not wear as such) such as scratches, cracks, chips that will be part of the pen as sold
  • repairs, refurbishment done (e.g. sac) by vendor (the vendor should say what they changed to the pen from the condition it was received in).
  • how they came by the pen would help

As a collector (but not of pens, at least not yet), good descriptions are important. But I also know that one can trick oneself into thinking a description is accurate because it describes what we want to buy, not what is actually on offer.


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#40 pajaro

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 19:38

I think any pen put on the market before the Parker 51 is vintage.  The 51, with its streamlined styling, is more modern looking than the open nib pens made after it, so it's hard to consider the 51 vintage where all the newer antique look pens are considered modern.


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