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Are These Vintage Pens Valuable?

parker swan vintage

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12 replies to this topic

#1 Artemis200


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Posted 04 July 2020 - 12:20

Hi all! Im a vague fountain pen fan but I dont have a lot of technical knowledge. Weve found two old pens which have been passed down from my grandparents, one Swan and one Parker. Both are in working condition as far as I can see, although need a bit of TLC. Not sure of the age but probably mid-19th Century.

The Swan is plain black with gold banding, Swan 2 14ct gold nib. Labelled Swan Self-Filler, Mabie Todd and Co Ltd, Made in England.

The Parker is black with copper-y shell-looking inlay. Nib is gold in colour but not sure of the material.

Any information on these pens and whether theyd be worth anything would be great! Thank you so much.

Will try to attach some photos!

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Edited by Artemis200, 04 July 2020 - 12:23.

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#2 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 19:32

I don't know the value of your heritage pens..........for repair in the long run it don't really matter if your pens are run of the mill. They were good enough for Gramps when he was young. It could well be you have good to great nibs.


I looked at buying a Swan for some 3 months in Swan had a great range of flexes in it's nibs, from nail all the way out to superflex,  before finding a no name German pen for a cheap price. I live in Germany.

A decade and more ago....'flexi' was a much bigger foggy word back then...stretching some four flex rates of today's definitions.  All I knew was some to many of the Swan pens were 'flexi' and more flexible than semi-flex.


Do go to other European brands on the com and ask there if no good answer to price comes up.


Don't know English made Parkers but I have a '50's  English made Jr. Duofold with a semi-flex nib. That was when in America all Parker's were made as nails...the semi-nail P-75 came later.


So it is quite possible you have real nice nibs. And even faster today if one uses Noodler inks. Reputable repairmen say that! I take their word and save money and heartbreak. There are more than enough non supersaturated inks in the world.

You will have to have those pens re-sacked....the rubber sacs die after 30-40 years.

I once had a good fistfull of lever/sac pens but got into piston pens. Lever pens are the fastest pen to reload, and are light and nimble, posted with the great balance demanded by the buyer  in days of yore. I still have three or four.


There is a gold polish cloth that is not very expensive for the nibs.

One should see if there is any writing on the pen bodies.


One will be able to finger polish the brass and body, with using only your fingers....no cloth and some Semi-Chrome or a light chrome polish. Do not use a cloth to put the polish on and tape over the names on the pen bodies. Polish two-four tjmes and buff off with a flannel cloth.

Until recently when everyone bought cheap Chinese pens instead of cheap vintage pens, polish threads were quite common.


Once a bit polished up, your heritage pens will look much better, and getting them re-sacked is cheap..........if handy you could do it your self, there is enough instruction how to do that here on the com in old threads, but I don't really think it's worth gathering the material for just two pens, that you do not want to break one it belonged to your grandfolks.

Clean, re-sac and think good thoughts of your ancestors, could still be good to show and leave to your grandkids. 

Don't worry about the worth.....they probably won't buy you a proper hangover.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,


The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.




#3 pen lady

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 21:12

No, as the previous poster says, not hugely valuable, and, it looks to me as if that's just a Parker cap, I don't think it's a Parker pen. The only lever fillers they made didn't look like that. Sadly, that automatically brings the value down even more. It would be fun to get them into working order though. They are both from the late 1920's - early 30's I'd say. Try to find someone in the UK to fix them up for you, it shouldn't be too expensive.  


Best of luck.


Edited after a better look at the pictures.

Edited by pen lady, 04 July 2020 - 21:15.

#4 inkstainedruth


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Posted 05 July 2020 - 00:26

I have no idea what the monetary value of the pens would be.  But as family heirlooms?  As far as I'm concerned, they're PRICELESS.  

I would kill to still have the pen/pencil combo that had been my grandfather's.  No idea what it was, other than it was blue and had been his.  I found it on top of my dad's dresser after my grandfather died.  It could have been some third-tier junker, for all I know -- I was eight, when my grandfather died, and thought that the lever was where you were supposed to put the leads for the pencil end.  My grandfather had been a professional musician but had to get out of the business because most o the people he knew had moved out to Hollywood and he didn't want to leave NYC; by the time my dad was in high school, in the early 1940s, the family had moved to the suburbs and my grandparents were managing a drugstore.  I'm still kicking myself, decades later, for having lost it.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


ETA: Is there any sort of imprint on the barrel of the pen with the Parker cap?  That might give people some leads.

Edited by inkstainedruth, 05 July 2020 - 00:27.

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

#5 corgicoupe



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Posted 05 July 2020 - 00:57

"I have no idea what the monetary value of the pens would be.  But as family heirlooms?  As far as I'm concerned, they're PRICELESS. 


I agree with Ruth on this and wouldn't even worry about the extrinsic vale; the intrinsic value is the important thing.  I have my Dad's 1946 Parker 51 and it would be the last pen I would let go.

Baptiste knew how to make a short job long

For love of it. And yet not waste time either.

                                                         Robert Frost

#6 jchch1950


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Posted 05 July 2020 - 03:48

+1. Heirlooms  have no price .

#7 Paul-in-SF


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Posted 05 July 2020 - 04:19

The Swan may have a model number on the barrel, down at the end and inscribed around the barrel. If you can find that it will at least help you find out more about it in the Mabie Todd forum here. From the shape of the nib, it may be more or less flexible, if that matters to you. For regular use you would probably be mostly interested that it writes fairly smoothly and evenly, and gets good ink flow (doesn't skip or give you hard starts). 


The other pen is, as others have said, probably a combination of a cap from one pen and the rest from another pen, it would be unusual for a pen to have a colorful barrel like that with a plain black cap. Does the barrel have no inscription at all?


As for the nib, if you have any kind of magnifier available, you may be able to see part of the inscription on the nib, possibly 14K or 14 ct or 585, or 18K or 18 ct or 750. If you don't find at least one of those chances are it's not gold, they are nearly always hallmarked so that you can see it on an open nib like that. It may still be quite a nice nib if it's plated steel. Just soaking the nib and feed only (not the whole pen) in plain water with a drop of dish soap could dissolve a lot of the old ink and stuff that's on the nib, making it easier to identify. 


I wish you the best with both of these. My father had a fountain pen that he used in his law practice, and I have no idea what became of it, we didn't find it when he died. I would very much like to have it, even though I don't expect it was very expensive or fancy. 

Edited by Paul-in-SF, 05 July 2020 - 04:20.

#8 SchaumburgSwan



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Posted 05 July 2020 - 04:53



the Swan looks like a 6260 (1940's) to me.

Nothing special, just a good pen.

It's nib would need a closer look to see more.





#9 eachan


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Posted 05 July 2020 - 10:15

The Swan is worth about £60 - £70 in restored condition.  You can't tell whether a Swan nib is flexible by looking at it.  Very deceptive.  I've had beautifully long-tined nibs that are nails and short, high-shouldered No 1 nibs that are super-flexible.



#10 como


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Posted 05 July 2020 - 12:26

The pen with Parker cap looks like a British made Croxley pen. This model of Croxley (1947-1949) was very popular, with green marbled, brown marbled, red marbled, and plain black patterns. They are solid writers. The original nib should read: The Croxley Pen, A Dickinson Product. The cap should have the same matching arrow clip as the lever. Obvious wrong cap. Not particularly valuable but a good handsome pen.

Edited by como, 05 July 2020 - 12:27.

#11 Artemis200


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Posted 05 July 2020 - 17:43

Thank you all so much for the replies! Im astounded by how knowledgeable you all are and its been really helpful.

Ive cleaned up the pens a bit and had a better look at them. The pen with the Parker lid does look like a Croxley, as the previous poster said- the nid reads A Dickinson Product, 14ct gold.

As for the Swan, theres no number etc on the barrel so there might not be anything else to tell from looking at it!

To be clear, we just found these pens in my grandmothers house; neither she nor my mum can remember whose they were, though we suspect a great-great uncle. As such, theyre not really of sentimental value to any of us, and I have a lovely pen which was a gift from my parents which I use nearly all the time- so I thought that if these were pens that anyone else would want, theyd be better off being enjoyed by somebody else than sitting in a drawer with me!

#12 sandy101



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Posted 05 July 2020 - 20:26

Before you sell them on, you might want to dip the nibs into a bottle of ink and see how the write. 


If you have a vintage/flexible/semi flexible nib, you will have somethign that costs an awful lot to get on a modern pen today, and will be able to try some caligraphic techniques that you can't do so easily with a stiff nib. 


Selling one would probably pay for the restoration of the other. 


Also flex/semi-flex nibs nibs will increase their sale value by an extra £20-30.

Edited by sandy101, 05 July 2020 - 20:30.

#13 shalitha33


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Posted 08 July 2020 - 00:12

Do check the nibs before deciding to sell them. If you can , fill them rather than dipping. Both dickinson croxley nibs and especially swan nibs can be very deceiving when it comes to the shape of the nib (to decide if its flexy or not). Getting a modern nib thats on the same level as a vintage nib in terms of flex could cost a fair bit.

Sell them if you are 100% sure you don't like how they write. If you happen to have one with decent flex, then it is likely going to cost several times more to buy another one than what you would get form selling.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: parker, swan, vintage

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