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Swan Split Lever Spotted On Ebay


24 replies to this topic

#1 Greenie

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 00:13

Swan fans - I spotted a split lever for sale on ebay.

 

http://www.ebay.com/...016.m2518.l4276

 

These are often sold assuming they are broken.  I am 99% sure that it is fine and it is a split lever pen, given that it is a BHR with overlay and not all metal.

 

This one is engraved and has some plating loss. It would still make a nice example after a tiny polish and a sac.  The nib needs a tiny bit of straightening on the side.  No work that looks too difficult...

 

(I am a bit over my pen budget for the month and will only put in a pretty lowball bid.)



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#2 Cob

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 20:35

I would love to have a go - but what is the problem with the postage to England.  It states $35!  Outrageous.  Were I shipping a pen to the USA I would charge £8.50 - say $11.00 for signed for postage.  This is sheer greed.

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 11 December 2016 - 20:35.

fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#3 inkstainedruth

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 23:53

What is a split lever?  I'm not sure I've run across the term before.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


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#4 Greenie

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 01:32

International shipping from US:

Just did a little pricing. The first few tries, I only come up with $33.95.  

It takes quite a bit of fiddling with their web site to find the better option

 

First-Class Package International Service™**
Value of contents can not exceed $400.00
Other than rolls: Max. length 24", max length, height and depth (thickness) combined 36"
Rolls: Max. length 36". Max length and twice the diameter combined 42"
Varies by destination
$13.50
$13.50
 
So, not greed from the seller, but rather the crazy price promoted most by our postal service.  They make it hard to find the more typical rate.
 
I just sent a message to the seller to ask about the $13.50 rate to UK.


#5 Orpilorp

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 01:38

Ruth,

Go to Richard B's site to look up split lever. He has a good description in his longer article dealing with lever filling systems. But I still don't know if the pen in question is a true split lever or a broken pen.

#6 Greenie

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 01:40

Ruth

 

Here are some good pictures and an interesting article

http://oldfountainpe...fety-b5ob1.html

 

Also, see the bottom pen with the patent drawing alongside.

 

fpn_1481506666__split_lever_w_diagram.jp

 

Mabie Todd  had only eyedroppers before this model.  These split lever pens were made for only about one year, 1919. After that, a standard lever was used.  Frankly, this split lever does not work that well, and seems to be another attempt to get around the patents of others.  The look broken and are often sold that way.  They require no special restoration - just put in a sac like any other lever and pressure bar arrangement.



#7 peterg

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 12:11

Queried it on another item and the problem is that there is no insurance on it if USPS lose the pen in transit.



#8 inkstainedruth

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 20:02

Thanks guys.  I always know that when I ask a question about some really esoteric point there will be people who will have the answer. 

The description from the article in the link that Green provided makes it sound as if it was a system similar to on a counterbalance loom (in which when you depress treadles to raise specific harnesses, it automatically lowers the others, thus giving you a clean shed to run your shuttle of weft thread through).  

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#9 Vintagepens

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 21:10

That's not an early two-part lever -- it's a regular lever broken in two.

 

As for the First Class International (formerly Airmail) rate, the reason most sellers don't offer it, is that there is no tracking or proof of delivery. If the item gets lost or the recipient is dishonest, Paypal will reverse the payment with no recourse to the seller. First Class International can also take weeks to arrive, even though it usually is reasonably fast. 



#10 Empty_of_Clouds

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 21:27

That is not true, at least not wholly. USPS First Class International is tracked to a number of countries, but not all.

 

These are the countries that get it: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, France, Netherlands, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Israel and Brazil.


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#11 Greenie

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 03:43

That's not an early two-part lever -- it's a regular lever broken in two.

 

As for the First Class International (formerly Airmail) rate, the reason most sellers don't offer it, is that there is no tracking or proof of delivery. If the item gets lost or the recipient is dishonest, Paypal will reverse the payment with no recourse to the seller. First Class International can also take weeks to arrive, even though it usually is reasonably fast. 

 

We will certainly find out when it arrives in my mailbox. But I really have no doubt about what this pen is. The first two pics are my split lever pens. And the third picture has a traditional lever swan in the middle slot. Note the different location of the pivot/C clip for the lever. A traditional lever would break much closer to the end of the lever.  The fourth picture is from the auction, rotated and resized to compare to my Swans.

 

fpn_1482032559__split_levers___02.jpg fpn_1482032550__split_levers___01.jpgfpn_1482032828__split_levers___03.jpg

fpn_1482033088__split_levers___04.jpg


Edited by Greenie, 18 December 2016 - 03:52.


#12 Cob

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 10:42

This is fascinating; what an extraordinary system; thanks Greenie for the elucidation.

 

On Swan lever-filling systems in general I do like the system with the long lever and the floating pressure bar that MT used in the 1920s although not exclusively - I have seen SF230s both with long levers and short (i.e. J-bar pens).  The 1930s lever pens - at least the English ones - used J-bars.  Then after the war, the "long lever" system re-appeared on the 3xxx range - that is the ones without the curious brass thread idea.

 

As far as the postage issue goes.  If I sell a pen to a foreign buyer I charge £8.50 regardless of the country.  For that I get signed and tracked service to most countries (Taiwan and Australia are exceptions - there are others) and the package's contents are insured for up to £50.  For another £2 or so I can get insurance for up to around £200.  When the item is valuable I bear the cost of this myself.

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 18 December 2016 - 10:43.

fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#13 Goudy

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 13:31

That is not true, at least not wholly. USPS First Class International is tracked to a number of countries, but not all.

 

These are the countries that get it: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, France, Netherlands, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Israel and Brazil.

 

 

Here's the USPS webpage about it: https://about.usps.c...ne-tracking.htm

 

A lot of US eBay sellers don't seem to be aware of this. Or perhaps eBay make it too complicated to specify different shipping options for different foreign destinations. First Class International normally takes about 10 days US to UK. I can track it on the USPS website then get more detailed tracking on royalmail.com when it enters the UK. The tracking will show as "delivered" when it arrives, which should be sufficient proof in an eBay dispute.


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#14 peterg

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 11:00

Would have given you more of a run for your money Greenie, but I had to discount my bid against the cost of postage.

I think the problem with First Class is the lack of insurance cover if the item goes missing.



#15 Goudy

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 11:26

If insurance cover is the main reason for using Priority, US sellers can buy shipping insurance for a fraction of the prices USPS charge. For that particular pen, for a UK destination, U-PIC charge $1.60 for insurance.


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#16 Vintagepens

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 22:47

I certainly hope you are right on the lever identification!

 

Just from personal experience, First Class International can be a huge hassle for the seller. The package will almost always arrive -- loss isn't really a big issue -- but long delays are not rare, and many eBay buyers will file a complaint if a package doesn't get there in exactly the time span estimated by the USPS. 

 

And looking at the Paypal page on Seller Protection, note that First Class International is specifically stated to be ineligible (https://www.paypal.c...ller-protection), because, "the receipt only shows the address the order was delivered to – not the customer's address" (doesn't make sense to me, but that's what Paypal says).


Edited by Vintagepens, 20 December 2016 - 22:49.


#17 Greenie

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 05:49

The pen was a nice split lever Mabie Todd.

 

For reasons that will be explained later, expect an update in a few weeks.



#18 Empty_of_Clouds

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 09:43


Just from personal experience, First Class International can be a huge hassle for the seller. The package will almost always arrive -- loss isn't really a big issue -- but long delays are not rare, and many eBay buyers will file a complaint if a package doesn't get there in exactly the time span estimated by the USPS.

 

In my personal experience long delays are more common with other forms of postage.  USPS First Class Int. has been the only consistent performer for me over the last two and a half years.


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#19 Vintagepens

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 20:45

Is that as a sender or as a recipient? 

Postal service varies widely from country to country.

 

 

 

In my personal experience long delays are more common with other forms of postage.  USPS First Class Int. has been the only consistent performer for me over the last two and a half years.



#20 pen2paper

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Posted 25 December 2016 - 00:20

Can barely wait to read the report Greenie!

Glad for you and us...

This is a why this study forum exists. 



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