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Seeking Tips On Purchasing A First Parker 51

parker 51

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38 replies to this topic

#1 melissa59

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 00:08

As the title implies, I don't own a Parker 51 but would like to.

Any tips for making a first purchase?
Tips for buying one without seeing it in person? (ie: FleaBay / FeeBay)

 

I'm especially interested in knowing what to watch for, what questions to ask, what is considered a fair price, which version is easiest to clean, expected restoration cost, etc.
Others, those who are would be collectors, might also be interested in which colors, years, nibs are considered most collectible.


"You have to be willing to be very, very bad in this business if you're ever to be good. Only if you stand ready to make mistakes today can you hope to move ahead tomorrow."
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#2 JotterAddict62

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 00:39

Try an Aerometric P51 for your 1st P51. A good flushing and your good to go unless the breather tube is broken.

 

I'm cheap when it comes to buying Parkers here in Parkerland. My daily P51 Aero with a M nib was a $2 flea market find.



#3 pen lady

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 01:00

I agree, go with an aero-fill not a Vac for your fist pen.  If you fancy your chances with flea-markets or yard-sales keep your eyes open, you might get lucky and find a pen that just needs a good flush. If you are not that far from L.A. you might consider going to the Pen Show in Torrence in February.  You'll pay more for a pen there, but if you buy from a reputable dealer, you shouldn't have any problems.  You might also want to ask around in your family, 2 of the 51s in my collection were once owned by uncles.  Best of luck, happy hunting.



#4 como

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 14:14

The pen is very comfortable to hold and write, a work horse, quite available, and one of the most iconic pens. Just make sure that you really like hooded nibs, and the fact that they aren't known for being flexible. +1 on Aerometric filling.


Edited by como, 18 December 2019 - 14:15.


#5 Mongoosey

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 14:55

I would personally recommend a verified and reputable dealer, or make sure you can try it before buying it.

 

I tried purchasing a p51 from someone on FPN and the tipping was ground out of existence.  The person allowed me to return it, though if they didn't I would have filed a complaint on paypal anyways.

 

Then I tried getting one from a pen show that actually had proper tipping, the pen looked great, but it wouldn't write when the dealer filled it with ink.  He gave me a bogus excuse that p51's required pressure to write.



#6 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 16:10

Or... (and some of you may now wield your torches and pitchforks!) you could buy a Wing Sung 601 'vac' filler from Amazon, and get it within a couple days, to see whether you LIKE writing with hooded nibs.

My pair have never been out of service since I got them. Ink windows, too.

#7 Biber

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 17:06

Be patient. They pop up pretty regularly for reasonable prices in the FPN classifieds. 


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#8 Herrjaeger

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 17:14

Or... (and some of you may now wield your torches and pitchforks!) you could buy a Wing Sung 601 'vac' filler from Amazon, and get it within a couple days, to see whether you LIKE writing with hooded nibs.


+1 for this advice-a good way to get the hooded nib experience without worrying about whether the pen you’re buying is in good condition-not that every new pen is worry free, but you’re not risking much cash.

#9 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 17:16

+1 for this advice-a good way to get the hooded nib experience without worrying about whether the pen youre buying is in good condition-not that every new pen is worry free, but youre not risking much cash.



Yes...they were around $20, and I really like mine. AND I have a 51. These WS are my go-to pens now.

Edited by Sailor Kenshin, 18 December 2019 - 17:17.


#10 Glenn-SC

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 22:58

Or... (and some of you may now wield your torches and pitchforks!) you could buy a ....

 

 

Did ANYONE ask about buying a cheap clone?

Why do people always feel empowered to answer questions that no one asked?



#11 CS388

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 23:20

I would personally recommend a verified and reputable dealer, or make sure you can try it before buying it.

 

I tried purchasing a p51 from someone on FPN and the tipping was ground out of existence.  The person allowed me to return it, though if they didn't I would have filed a complaint on paypal anyways.

 

Then I tried getting one from a pen show that actually had proper tipping, the pen looked great, but it wouldn't write when the dealer filled it with ink.  He gave me a bogus excuse that p51's required pressure to write.

That's a shame, sorry to hear.

 

My own experience goes against that. I've bought numerous cheap/bargain 51's and they've all been good. They're very robust pens. I often pop into ebay and if I see one going for less than £20, I'll buy it - even though the last thing I actually need is another pen!

Your mileage may vary, of course.

 

I'd agree with going for an Aeromatic model, for your first 51.

And sure, try a Wing Sung, if you want (i've had some of those, too) - but, you're going to end up with a 51 at some point, so why not start off with one. Just don't spend hundreds on a rare colour variant and you'll be fine.

 

Good luck



#12 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 23:41

Did ANYONE ask about buying a cheap clone?
Why do people always feel empowered to answer questions that no one asked?


Why do people always feel empowered to argue?

#13 pajaro

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 00:29

In a forum, people do feel empowered to offer various options.  The WS pen I bought, a Parker 51 Vac imitation, cost a dollar.  Still, I would rather buy a 51 aerometric.  After you clean it up and flush it, you might make money if you sell it.  There are all the naysayers but this is a forum.  Lots of gadflies.  Isn't it great?


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#14 CraigR

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 01:25

My advice on buying a Parker 51 for the first time would be to look for an aerometric version from one of the reputable vintage pen traders here on FPN. Watch the forums and classifieds to learn about those who have been vetted by the members as being trustworthy and fair. Yes, you may be be able to buy a pen for less money on an auction site, flea market, or antique store, but I have always done well dealing with other FPN members. A few times, a pen turned out not to be what I really wanted and I had no problem either re-selling for about the same price as I had paid or the seller was willing to trade for another pen.

My favorite 51s are Vacumatics. I am well acquainted with the pen model and am able to service/repair them myself. I like the aerometric models too, but prefer the vacs.

 

I don't have any experience with the non-Parker hooded pens so I won't comment on them.


Edited by CraigR, 19 December 2019 - 04:23.

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#15 peroride

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 01:52

Aerometric for the win :-)

Another consideration is size: regular or shorter demi

I didn't know the difference and the one I got first: demi is my preferred size

More details at this great site:
http://www.parkerpen...t/parker51.html

As for buying, other than Classifieds with known posters

Speerbob and Ron Zorn from Main Street pens sell them from time to time and frequent FPN

#16 pajaro

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 05:32

I have bought a number of 51 aerometrics from ebay.  They are so resilient that worrying about reputable sellers isn't necessarily necessary., but you should learn what to look for.  I never really had any trouble, but I did have to put one back together.  However, spend more from a dealer if you are uncertain or afraid.  If you are buying a Vacumatic, send it off to be restored or buy a restored one. 


"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#17 WarrenB

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 12:25

I often pop into ebay and if I see one going for less than £20, I'll buy it


So that's where they all went...

31182132197_f921f7062d.jpg


#18 como

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 13:50

Indeed it would not be fair to try a Parker 51 knock-off and say, now I know I don’t like Parker 51.

#19 Biber

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 14:04

Yes...they were around $20, and I really like mine. AND I have a 51. These WS are my go-to pens now.

 

Re the WS clone of the 51 - how does it compare with a real 51 with regard to sturdiness and feel? I recently picked up a 51 and was quite struck by how sturdy in the hand the pen feels - much, much more than my 45 by comparison. 

 

For the longest time I resisted the 51 allure. I never cared for the hidden nib look and wasn't overly fond of the partially hooded look either. But a recent need for some retail therapy induced me to seriously consider a 51, if only to see what the hype was all about. As luck would have it there were several listed in the FPN classifieds and they were reasonably priced in my opinion, so I decided to take a chance. And the rest is history, consider me a convert! I may eventually try to pick up another or two. In the meantime I may look into the WS clones.          
 


"What? What's that? WHAT?!!! SPEAK UP, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!" - Ludwig van Beethoven.

#20 IThinkIHaveAProblem

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 15:02

Re the WS clone of the 51 - how does it compare with a real 51 with regard to sturdiness and feel? I recently picked up a 51 and was quite struck by how sturdy in the hand the pen feels - much, much more than my 45 by comparison. 


My four feel pretty good. My two demonstrators feel more Solid than my two double jewel models for some reason. None have the sheer quality of a real 51 but they are much less expensive than a real 51 and all of them are way better than a cheap hero 616 feels.

OP: buy an aerometric for your first 51. vacs are fun but also need more repair work and are more of a pain in the butt to clean (if you change inks often). Good luck and let us know what you end up with! :)
Just give me the Parker 51s and nobody needs to get hurt.





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