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REVIEW: AURORA 98 GL


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#1 Nikolaos

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 11:54

For some reason the Aurora 98 is not receiving the attention that it should for the past 3-4 years that I have been involved in the world of fountain pens. I think part of the reason is the fact that there are not so many pens floating around in the market. The 98 is the descendant of the 88 model which was introduced by Aurora in the 1940s and was trying to compete with the Parker 51 by introducing the hooded nib and the slip on metal cap.

The 98 was launched in the 1960s. Following the design guidelines of the period, the pen is slender, sleek and streamlined as opposed to the cigar shaped 88. It came both in piston and cartridge versions. The one i was lucky enough to buy last February is the piston version called the 98 GL (Grand Lusso). It is called the GL because of its solid (9K) gold cap, and of course other versions were available with rolled gold caps. It has a piston filling mechanism and Aurora marketed an extra feature called “Riserva Magica” to go along. According to the description a drop of ink was trapped in a compartment of the barrel that allowed for some extra writing once the ink had run out. Aurora still uses this feauture in its modern Optimas and 88s called it the “hidden reservoir”. The metal (brass) piston knob is very nicely tucked away into the barrel. To activate it you need to press the metal part in the back of the barrel and the full size piston knob appears. Once you fill the pen with ink you just press the knob back into the barrel until it safely clicks inside.

Even though I am not a huge fan of slender pens I must admit that this one is a very nice size that allows for comfortable writing. I don’t post my pens but even posted the pen is nicely balanced. The nib is also a hooded 14K one just like in the 88 model. There is a beautiful little ink view window accented in a gold plated window pane kind of design that look really impressive.
The nib is a nice flexible fine that allows for decent line variation. The ink flow is perfect and there are no skipping issues. The cap is a slip on type and is hallmarked appropriately for the solid gold version.

The pen measures 5.5 inches (14cm) in length.

I think that the 98 was a very well made pen and has nice little touches that show the care and attention to detail that went into designing it.

I hope you enjoy the review, it is my first one so my apologies if I left any vital information out. The ink view windows on both the 98 and the 88 are not clear because the pens are filled with ink.

Nikolaos

Attached Images

  • 98_1.JPG
  • 98_2.JPG
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  • 98_3.JPG

Edited by Nikolaos, 07 October 2007 - 07:56.


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#2 adair

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 13:07

Gorgeous! The piston mechanism also sounds very interesting.

If I understand correctly, though: Apart from the 98GL, the Aurora 88 in its original form also had a hooded nib? When did this change to the present-day standard nib?

#3 Phthalo

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 13:23

Excellent review Nikolaos!

It's always nice to see hidden gems revealed and reviewed - especially something as nifty as this.

Very stylish semi-split / keyhole-ish clip, and I LOVE that ink-view window... I don't think I've ever seen a nicer one. smile.gif


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#4 saintsimon

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 18:15

Just to add some info: the 98 was also made as a cartridge/converter FP in later years, of course with no window.

#5 blak000

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 20:14

QUOTE(Nikolaos @ Oct 6 2007, 04:54 AM) View Post
The 98 is the predecessor of the 88 model which was introduced by Aurora in the 1940s and was trying to compete with the Parker 51 by introducing the hooded nib and the slip on metal cap.

The 98 was launched in the 1960s.


Great review, but don't you mean "descendant"? Predecessor means the 98 came before the 88.
An empty can usually makes the loudest noise.

#6 jimg

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 06:06

I agree Nikolaos the Aurora 98“Riserva Magica” is a great pen although I do find it a little too slender for comfortable writing over a long period.

My personal favourite of the post-War Auroras is the "88P" which used the more modern robust clip like the 98, but retained the fatter "cigar" profile of the original Aurora 88.




#7 Nikolaos

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 07:56

thank you guys

Blak000 yes indeed i meant descendant , silly me! I will go ahead and edit that
Thanks for that correction
Nikolaos

#8 Shelley

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 01:38

What a beautiful pen - what is it like to use?
Lamy 2000-Lamy Vista-Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Tortoise Demonstrator-Pilot Vanishing Point Black Carbonesque-1947 Parker 51 Vacumatic Cedar Blue Double Jewel-Aurora Optima Black Chrome Cursive Italic-Waterman Hemisphere Metallic Blue-Sheaffer Targa-Conway Stewart CS475

#9 CharlieB

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 01:57

A very nice looking pen. I'm always intrigued by the fact that so much attention is paid to the Parker 51, while so little attention is paid to the Aurora 88 and 98 of the same era -- all three with hooded nibs. I suspect that Aurora copied Parker's design, but, if so, they sure did it with style!

Nikolaos, thank you for your review! Great photography, too.
CharlieB

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#10 Nikolaos

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 21:51

Hi Shelley! The pen is really fun to use. The nib is fine but really soft and with a lot of flex. It holds a lot of ink and there are no issues with the pen at all.

Charlie, thank you for your comments. I have to agree with you. A lot of attention is paid to the 51 while some others get little attention. I think the 51 was a great innovation and a fantastic pen. I have a few of them and really enjoy using them. I think Parker was just a bigger player in the market and had a larger share as well as wider distribution. That on top of the fact that the 51 was a true innovation made it such a huge success. Aurora still produced great pens. Both the 88 and the 98 are fantastic pens and if one is a fan of hooded or semi-hooded nibs then these pens should be in one's collection and rotation.

I am using both the 98 and the 88 this evening writing in a Moleskine and the experience is wonderful!

Thanks
Nikolaos

Edited by Nikolaos, 08 October 2007 - 21:53.


#11 gregoron

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 01:47

QUOTE(Nikolaos @ Oct 8 2007, 11:51 AM) View Post
Hi Shelley! The pen is really fun to use. The nib is fine but really soft and with a lot of flex. It holds a lot of ink and there are no issues with the pen at all.

Charlie, thank you for your comments. I have to agree with you. A lot of attention is paid to the 51 while some others get little attention. I think the 51 was a great innovation and a fantastic pen. I have a few of them and really enjoy using them. I think Parker was just a bigger player in the market and had a larger share as well as wider distribution. That on top of the fact that the 51 was a true innovation made it such a huge success. Aurora still produced great pens. Both the 88 and the 98 are fantastic pens and if one is a fan of hooded or semi-hooded nibs then these pens should be in one's collection and rotation.

I am using both the 98 and the 88 this evening writing in a Moleskine and the experience is wonderful!

Thanks
Nikolaos



Very informative review and a great pen. Thanks for pointing this out in a thread I started today (i.e. Lamy 2k look-alike). Any ideas where I can find vintage Aurora's like the 88 and 98 online?
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#12 diplomat

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 21:53

QUOTE(gregoron @ Nov 1 2007, 02:47 AM) View Post
Very informative review and a great pen. Thanks for pointing this out in a thread I started today (i.e. Lamy 2k look-alike). Any ideas where I can find vintage Aurora's like the 88 and 98 online?


The 88 is the best seller of all the italian FP. They sold more than 1 ml of it. Therefore is commonly found on ebay.
check this out: item n 130168745899 on ebay.
I purchased mine two weeks ago. It is a wonderful pen, excellent feeling in hands: heavy, balanced, solid. Wow! And now I'm chasing a 98. Smaller prices compared to the 88.

Ciao,

#13 MichaelFan

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 14:06

Hi,
Can you tell us what is the avg. price for a solid gold 98GL? Is 9 karat gold the top of the line? When did Aurora stop the production of 98?thanks!

Michael

#14 sirmartin

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 00:17

Interesting to read your review after so many years.
I am looking at buying a Aurora 98 but the version with a cartridge in brushed stainless steel. I am not that much a fan of all the gold.

Thanks,
Martin

#15 alexander_k

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 16:13

Many thanks for the review and for bringing this pen to wider attention. There are many great pens that are virtually unknown and the 98 has been a good successor to the 88. The Aurora nibs from that time are excellent and the overall pen design and construction quite appealing. I've kept only a few 88s from all the Auroras that have passed through my hands over the years for the simple reason that the 88s fit better in said hands. Otherwise they've all been a joy to have and to use.

#16 jslallar

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 06:10

Thank you for the review.

P51 were made and sold in the millions, 11 millions by one safe estimate, but figures of 20 and even 40 millions are qioted at times. Definitely the best seeling moderate to high end pen ever. Several design innovations and good ones at that made it what it is - the most collected pen.

On the other hand it is only in the US that the popualrity of Aurora has declined recently. In Europe it is still a popular make, and after having sold more than 5 -7 millions of the 88 family (http://www.iguanasel...-19-aurora.aspx) they can certainly be proud of their performance, which though not equal to P51, but not a bad figure in itself.

In short neither an unpopular design nor an unknown pen.
Enjoy your pens
Have a nice day
Junaid

#17 lowks

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 00:01

Can the backend be screwed out to reveal the inner piston unit ?






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