I have recently started collecting vintage (and some more recent) fountain pens. I have snagged some Waterman, Montblanc, and Parkers. The prices on the Montblanc and Parker pens seem very predictable, almost as if the price is established by formula.
Waterman Vintage pens seem to vary wildly, depending upon the time of day, and which way the wind is blowing. I have tried to figure out what colors are common, and which are harder to find. I have tried to train my eyes on how to tell the colors apart, depending upon the level of fading it has had. There are clearly some nib preferences which are showing in the prices, with the more plyable flex nibs garnering better prices.
The silver clad versions of the pens are very odd. Many times they are going for scarcely more than a faded and mismatched celluloid-only verson of the same pen (and in a common color no less). Other times, I see the seller demanding prices for sterling overlays pens which make me wonder if it is silver plated over gold (humor attempted).
Even after reviewing thousands of listings today, the focus has only slightly improved. But I did find a few which showed obvious signs they wanted to come home to me. I have been told that one of the reference books has prices which are highly dated, and not to be relied upon.
Even the most basic question eludes me. General numbers in the industry indicate the sale of fountain pens have seen a gentle increase of the past few years. Is the same true of vintage pens? Or is it a case that older guys who want the vintage pens are dying off, and creating a glut on the used market for vintage pens... I clearly have no reference for this, as I am new to this game. If anyone could share their opinion or view on these questions, it would be greatly appreciated. For the moment, I am a bit stumped, and don't know if I am getting great deals, or playing a rube.