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Advice On Potential Purchase? Eternal & Garnet Lizard

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7 replies to this topic

#1 rny

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 01:58

Hello!

 

I popped into Pen Friend in the Burlington Arcade in London today for a quick repair (the collar on my dad's old Sonnet had given up the ghost) and became thoroughly distracted, what with there being 40% off everything as they're closing down on Friday.

 

My eye was caught by a lovely Swan Eternal in red (which I failed to note the model number of) and Garnet Lizard. Both seem to be in nice condition and write well. Pictures below. 

 

The original label prices are a little steep for my tastes, but the pens are lovely and with the discount it's more tempting. The Eternal is £690 and the Lizard £597. 

 

I'm rather new to pen collecting and was hoping some kind soul on here could tell me if either is a good purchase!

 

Many thanks. :)

 

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#2 Greenie

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 05:07

Both are beautiful pens, but the prices are way too high.  I will give you my two cents.  You can expect to pay higher prices than my opinion below to get pens that are restored, retail, and in a shop where you can try the pen first. My estimates are ebay prices, so there is always some chance in it for those lower prices.

 

First, the lizard:

I have a bit of a collection of Swan lizard patterns. They are never inexpensive. Always beautiful. But probably not daily writers. Very prone to splitting.

The single narrow band is a bit of a mystery to me. Mine have double bands (except for some rarer deluxe banding pens).

If it is a 3xx/89 (size 3 nib), retail restored might be closer to $200-$300 (prior to the exchange rate changing so favorably for Americans)

vs a 2xx/89 (number 2 nib) $150 - $200

I have a #3 with an extremely rare banding pattern and paid closer to 300 GBP for that last May. 

 

The Mottled hard rubber is a Swan Eternal, and the nib should be marked as such. With these, the value goes up quite a bit for larger nib sizes. Looks a 4 on the nib, which is the smaller size (still a big nice pen).  But really, a 44 ETN mottled is more like a $150 pen, $200 max if really minty.

 

Even if you pay a 50% premium for a nice retail shop and the ability to hold the pens and try them out, those prices are really not reasonable in my opinion.



#3 MarcShiman

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 07:36

Agree with Greenie. I could wholesale these pens to this shop and make quite a healthy profit. 

 

I'm sort of amused that they are advertising the Eternal nib as flexible. Its barely semi-flex judging by the writing sample. 

 

If you truly find these pens attractive, come and explore the world of Mabie Todd. There are some amazing pens in the catalog, and typically in the $200 price range.


Please join the Mabie Todd Swan project where I am trying to sort out the undocumented mess that is American Mabie Todd's from the 1930's. The last pens that MT seemed to advertise were the "Eternal" pens, and then the company put out a wide range of different styles, shapes, sizes and filling systems before eventually closing up shop. I invite you to post your pictures of your American pens

The Mabie Todd Swan Project


#4 Cob

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 08:58

Yes, I agree with Marc & Greenie in all respects. 

 

And especially like Marc am amazed at the use of the word "flexible" - especially in connexion with an Eternal; these are renowned for being the very opposite and certainly are in my experience.

 

Here's an example of a Swan with a flexible nib; this one would be described as "full flex" but is not what people call a "Noodler" - extreme flexibility.

 

fpn_1476988181__writing_sample.jpg

 

It's a fact that like sex, flex sells!

 

Best of luck

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 24 January 2017 - 08:58.

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


#5 rny

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 10:12

Morning,

 

Thank you all for your very helpful advice! I had thought they were a bit pricey, but figured it was worth checking. 

 

To clarify my background scribbles, it's the Lizard that I wrote 'flexible nib' with. I don't think my handwriting style ever really makes much of flexible nibs, but I could feel a little flex to it. I didn't take any photos of the nib for details, though. 

 

My test of the Eternal is barely visible in the bottom-right corner of the last photo. It is a number 4 nib, as suggested. 

 

I'll leave these in the shop based on your advice, but I may treat myself to a Visconti Van Gogh that I fancied at £120, which seems as cheap as I'm likely to find. 

 

Thanks, Sarah



#6 Greenie

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 01:33

Good price on the Van Gogh....

 

If you find these Swans to be beautiful, and you don't mind spending the same for vintage as the new Visconti, there are many wonderful pens to be had.  

 

Cob can guide you to Mabie Todd vendors in or near London.



#7 butchixanhdo

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 08:45

Yes, I agree with Marc & Greenie in all respects. 

 

And especially like Marc am amazed at the use of the word "flexible" - especially in connexion with an Eternal; these are renowned for being the very opposite and certainly are in my experience.

 

Here's an example of a Swan with a flexible nib; this one would be described as "full flex" but is not what people call a "Noodler" - extreme flexibility.

 

fpn_1476988181__writing_sample.jpg

 

It's a fact that like sex, flex sells!

 

Best of luck

 

Cob

 

 

 

This one look awesome, Cob. Is the nib a little italic? 



#8 Cob

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 20:23

 

 

 

This one look awesome, Cob. Is the nib a little italic? 

Yes it was a nice pen - I wish I hadn't sold it; needs must however.  I do remember I paid £28 for it; it was the colour of café latté! I had to work hard to get it back to "bitter chocolate"!  cannot remember for sure but I think it was just a standard nib, maybe with just a touch of "stub" about it.  A lot of that is the way I hold the pen and use the flex of the nib.

 

Best wishes,

 

Cob


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




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