Hello from one from Downunder, via the U of K, many, many years ago.
Fountain pennery isn't the most popular of subjects in Australia, well what can one expect from a country where the Quen's English is called 'Strine' as in "Emma Chiset" (How much is it.) Genuine Strine is quite rare though, and usually only heard at surf and bowling clubs. But it has made handwriting something of an unknown art - not a lost art - completely unknown, amongst a vast swathe of the population who stare at a fountain pen as if it's some weird container for illicit drugs or whatever.
I'm not sure what suddenly drew me to them again, maybe finding the mangled wreck of my old Parker 61 or trying to locate a refill for a Schaefer. I've had to order a couple from overseas on eBay - not one single source appeared in this country.
That, in turn, led me to increasingly lengthy surfing sessions and it wasn't long before I came across this group.
I've decided to acquire a Parker 51, the first 'proper' pen I ever used just to enjoy a trip down memory lane. taking a huge gulp, I'm also bent on owning a Montblanc, a name that I first came across in a John Le Carre novel. I was reminded of it years later when I actually visited the mountain itself.
However, before this happens I've been sidetracked by the interest displayed by my many in the oft-derided Chinese makes on eBay - to which I've been drawn. The comments of many members here have been fascinating, especially when followed up on eBay sites.
I've decided that buying a few might be a good idea before letting myself loose on a vintage Parker, let alone a Montblanc AND a few might be a suitable way of introducing my grandson (if not my son) to an art form which sadly he missed out on during his education.
So here's one immediate question from the newest member.
Several Chinese makes, highly regarded by members of this group, appear on eBay, but from different sources and at wildly different prices (although still cheap compared with the traditional brands.
My question is - should prudence dictate choosing the higher priced examples or are the apparent bargain basement offers really bargains - or lemons? I've been looking at brands like Wing Sung, Jinhao, Duke, Hero, the usual suspects in fact. I'm completely at a loss to know which site to buy from and wonder whether this group possesses a 'good guys' list?
It will be fascinating to find out. Now I'm off to re-read the superb history of Parker 51s. As proof positive of my knowledge base, until a week or so ago, I thought there was only one Parker 511 The learning curve has commenced!