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Lamy Safari


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30 replies to this topic

#1 KingJoe

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 17:11

I know these are asked about to death, but I figured one more review can't hurt.


1. First Impressions - 4/5

My trip to the pen shop to buy my very first "real" FP had been with the intention of buying a bottle of P.R. Blue Suede and a Lamy Safari. On the way to the register, I was drawn to the sale case where I picked out a Libelle Vortex instead (review coming soon under separate cover). I was at work carrying my pen from my office to that of a coworker nearby when I dropped the Libelle. Thankfully, it was not damaged, but I decided to go back and get a "knock-around" pen for the office. Here's where the Lamy comes in. It's light, unobtrusive, doesn't draw undue attention to itself, and by most accounts is a great pen. I planned to get either a Vista or yellow Safari, but those were only in-stock in Medium nibs, and I had my heart set on a fine nib, so I ended up with a Charcoal Safari. The pen came in a simple cardboard box with a small slip of paper giving the company's contact info, and a Lamy blue cartridge. I also the converter (not included with the pen, about $5) to go with it and a bottle of WM Havana.


2. Appearance & Finish - 5/5

I'll give the pen a 5/5 here. It does not look like a high-class lacquered metal pen, but it's not supposed to. Everything lines up evenly and the plastic exterior seems tough enough to handle most anything I would throw at it (intentionally or not). The pen is fairly slim all the way, so it handles my normal mode of carry (clipped to my 3-button golf/polo shirts, horizontal, just below the last button, pen barrel inside the shirt, clip outside). The double-pronged clip looks a bit "big" compared the the slim pen, but functionally I'm glad it's built the way it is (more on that below). It was well-finished, no obvious defects at first glance or after several weeks of playing with it.


3. Design/ Size/Weight- 4/5

The design of the pen is "different." I won't go into great detail as 98% of you are probably familiar with it's design from pictures, if nothing else. The pen is very light with the converter fully loaded. The clip is strong and heavy (-weight and -duty). On weekends, I normally clip my EDC pen to a cargo pocket on cargo shorts or to my jeans pocket. The clip handles all types of fabric well, and seems no worse for the wear after several weeks of removing/replacing the pen 10-25 times a day. The pen has a click-cap. I would have preferred a "twistie," but I have yet to have the pen fall from the clip inside my shirt leaving a large spot of Havana or anything. The cap clicks lightly and easily, but it is a crisp, responsive click. You know the cap is fully seated.

The nib-section has two flat-spots on the grip. Probably good for beginners/students, but my fingers are a bit large to fit comfortably on this section. If a round option were available, I would have gladly taken that in a heartbeat. I'm used to pens with larger diameters, and that combined with the shape of the grip left me with a crampy hand after one journal page (5x8") for the first few days. That seems to be subsiding, now, though it does creep back now and again. That's why I give the pen a 4/5 here.


4. Nib Design & Performance- 5/5

The charcoal Safari comes with a black steel nib. I chose the fine-nib version for my needs. I use a wide range of paper quality througout the day (high quality journal paper, cheap recycled note pads, post-its, medium quality legal pad, and copy paper of all grades). I used WM Havana for several days before trying PR Avacado, WM Florida Blue, and Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black. The nib is somewhat scratchy with Havana and Avacado, writes like a dream (quite literally) on Florida Blue, though that is no surprise, and somewhere between scratchy and dreamy with Pelikan Black (closer to dreamy than scratchy). Nib creep is present with all inks tried, though it seems worst with Florida Blue, less so with the others. In no case is it a problem.

Depending on the ink and paper combination, I get anything from about a .5mm line to about a .9mm line. With Avacado I seem to get widely varying widths depending on paper, and it seems to go wider than the others. Florida Blue and Pelikan Black seem more consistent (on the wider side, but not bad-.7-.8mm). I only used one converter full of Pelikan Black (because it was less saturated than I cared for, nothing to do with performance). The pen is always ready to write if it has been capped, regardless of orientation (nib-up, down, or sideways doesn't seem to matter, the feed seems to hold ink at the ready very well). If I set the pen down posted (or otherwise uncapped) for more than 2-3 minutes, it needs a bit of a line to get flow started with (in order of severity, worst to best) Avacado, Pelikan Black, Florida Blue, and Havana. The Havana seems to have this problem much less often than the others, and seems ready to write even after 5-10 minutes uncapped. The nib has started to smooth out nicely now, and the "scratchiness" seen out of the box with many of the inks is 85% gone now.


5. The Filling System- 5/5

This pen is a C/C. The cartridges are proprietary, so don't excpect to use your WM, Private Reserve, or other cartridges in this pen. I have strictly used the converter, so I can't testify about the cartridges. I can tell you the cartridges hold quite a lot of ink, and the converter holds about half as much. The converter still lasts me 2-5 days, on average. And I tend to fill at about 1/3 full, sometimes sooner. The converter is wonderful, easy to operate, smooth, problem free. There are two "notches" that snap into the pen ensuring positive, leak-free contact. Very thoughtful! It is a shame the converter doesn't come with the pen, especially when the cartridges are proprietary...though from Lamy's prospective that is probably exactly why they do that. If you don't want to buy their cartridges, you have to pay!


6. Cost/Value- 5/5

I paid full MSRP at the only local Lamy dealer ($27.50), but the clerk who knew my from my previous purchase did include the converter at no charge. That brought their price about in-line with purchasing from a cheaper, online retailer and paying for the converter. When you add in shipping, I actually may have came out a dollar or two ahead by buying locally! For <$30 out-the-door, it's a bargain. Even if I had been forced to pay for the converter, I would have felt I got my money's worth. A box of some of today's nicer disposable gel-pens can easily run you $27.50, and this Safari will surely outlive a dozen gel-pens!


7. Overall Opinion/Conclusion- 4.5/5

If a round-grip were available, this pen would easily be a 5/5. As it is, I STILL plan to buy another Safari and a Vista, if that tells you anything. The pen was purchased as a knock-around for work, out and about, etc, leaving the "good" pens for journalling and writing letters. Instead, it had taken over as my favorite pen. In fact, I'll be getting others so I won't have to flush and fill so often. And perhaps a nice Medium or Broad to load with Polar Blue and use as a signature pen! This pen is a workhorse. If you walk in and compare fit/finish to new high-end Pelikan you're going to rate the Safari lower, of course. But in all that this pen does, it does it exceedingly well for what it is. Now if only they would make a round grip for the darn thing....

(Pictures left out for now...you all know what these look like. I may try to get a writing sample up if I can, though.)

Edited by KingJoe, 09 October 2007 - 17:16.


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#2 Chip

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 23:41

Nice review. These pens have got to be one of the best values for the money out there right now. They are rugged, write really well and are inexpensive enough that you don't worry about them. I've just ordered a Pelikano and a Pelikano Junior for comparison, but I won't be chucking the 5 Safaris I've got stashed all over and don't worry about. I've used the medium and broad nibs, but not the fine and extra fine.

#3 Shelley

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 02:06

Good review-no need for pictures, I could "see" the pen through your words.
Bang for buck these are hard pens to beat!
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

#4 schmittypods

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 03:36

Great review! I also am a big fan of Safari's.Be careful, I have seven now! If you really want to have some fun, try an italic nib, these are availible from many online stores like swisher pens, no affiliation, just a satisfied customer. The nibs are easy to change and provides some great line variation, like a caligraphy pen. If you search other Safari reviews you can see a great writing sample with the 1.1 nib. Enjoy your pens!
Best,
Michael

#5 Readymade

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 03:38

The fact that so many people bother to write reviews despite the large number already around, is in itself an indicator of how popular it is smile.gif
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#6 RayMan

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 03:59

Thanks for the excellent review. I'll add my two cents regarding your third criteria, in particular the grip design. I agree with your assessment, though for a slightly different reason. The grip is my only criticism of an otherwise all-around excellent pen. The three panel grip is uncomfortable for me as an overwriter. As I curve my hand around to point to the writing line, I can't avoid rotating the pen slightly to the left (I'm left-handed). It's impossible for me to comfortably adjust my grip on the pen while still keeping my fingers flat on the panels. I can bring the pen into proper rotation only by means of a slightly awkward grip. As you suggest, a round grip would be a great option for this pen. Nonetheless, although I probably wouldn't use a Safari for writing long passages (e.g., in a journal), it's not enough of a problem to get me to stop using this pen.
Regards,

Ray

#7 pvdiamon

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 15:43

I was using the Safari with an italic nib, and really liked until I had to do a lot of writing. For my grip, it somehow feels too narrow, and became uncomfortable. I don't have large hands, so I think it is the unusual shape.

John
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#8 blak000

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 00:13

If a round grip is what you want, you might want to consider getting the Lamy Studio. I own one, and it's definitely one of my favorite pens. Very nice to write with; I mainly write with the pen unposted, but, even posted, the pen's weight seems fine. Simple, yet stylish looking... and made for the rigors of everyday life. Get the stainless steel version, because it comes with a black, rubber grip. The others come with slippery, chrome grip.

Uses the exact same nib as the Lamy Safari, so already know how it writes.
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#9 RLTodd

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 00:28

My only nit on the Lamay Safari is the proprietary cartridge they went with. No complaint about its cartridge design only that it is difficult to obtain, always a mail order item. I would rate the pen higher if they had designed it for either the International (preferably long), Parker, or even Sheaffer cartridge. BTW, this is the same nit I have with Pilot, Sailor, and the "new & improved" Waterman.
YMMV

#10 sam

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 00:41

i like sleek modern looking pens...like the cross verve...
or old fashioned and classy...like an mb 149...
or really intricate and and delicate looking...like the mb & visconti skeletons...
or something really artsy and unique...like the cartier panthere...
but the first time i saw a lamy safari, it just didnt strike a cord...
maybe it's just too utilitarian?
anyways, after reading so many reviews of how good of a writer it is...
i should probably rethink my view on it wink.gif

#11 RayMan

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 01:44

QUOTE(blak000 @ Oct 10 2007, 08:13 PM) View Post
If a round grip is what you want, you might want to consider getting the Lamy Studio. I own one, and it's definitely one of my favorite pens. Very nice to write with; I mainly write with the pen unposted, but, even posted, the pen's weight seems fine. Simple, yet stylish looking... and made for the rigors of everyday life. Get the stainless steel version, because it comes with a black, rubber grip. The others come with slippery, chrome grip.

Uses the exact same nib as the Lamy Safari, so already know how it writes.


Thanks for the tip. I'll check out the Studio.
Regards,

Ray

#12 Jerry A

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 06:01

QUOTE(RLTodd @ Oct 10 2007, 08:28 PM) View Post
My only nit on the Lamay Safari is the proprietary cartridge they went with. No complaint about its cartridge design only that it is difficult to obtain, always a mail order item. I would rate the pen higher if they had designed it for either the International (preferably long), Parker, or even Sheaffer cartridge. BTW, this is the same nit I have with Pilot, Sailor, and the "new & improved" Waterman.


Good news, Parker-style cartridges fit in the Safari (and only the Safari, they're too long for other Lamy pens).

#13 caligatia

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 06:17

I'll second the Studio recommendation. I bought a Vista and loved it, but the grip bugged me too. The Studio is the perfect solution. I bought a black one, which has a chrome grip, but it doesn't slide in my fingers or anything. I really like the style, but I mainly bought it so I could have the Safari nib in a round-grip pen.

I use my Studio for everything, from writing trees' worth of paperwork at the office (on cheap 20#) to journaling in my Moleskine. It's replaced my Pilot VP as my main pen. I really love it.

#14 KingJoe

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 13:31

QUOTE(blak000 @ Oct 10 2007, 08:13 PM) View Post
If a round grip is what you want, you might want to consider getting the Lamy Studio. I own one, and it's definitely one of my favorite pens. Very nice to write with; I mainly write with the pen unposted, but, even posted, the pen's weight seems fine. Simple, yet stylish looking... and made for the rigors of everyday life. Get the stainless steel version, because it comes with a black, rubber grip. The others come with slippery, chrome grip.

Uses the exact same nib as the Lamy Safari, so already know how it writes.


Thanks, blak000. I should have mentioned, I actually considered the Studio, but for 2-3 times the price of the Safari, it defeated the purpose (for me, at least). I wanted a tough pen for knockaround that I wouldn't worry about if I broke it. The Studio wouldn't fall into that category for me, and I have nicer writers in the $60-70 range, but I was afraid of breaking them at work (or dropping them in a drum of water, or someone picking it up off my desk and writing 3 pages of notes when I step out of my office, etc.)

For the $20-30 range, though, the Safari far exceeds the competition..in terms of my needs. My grip problems aren't enough to cause me to spend twice as much for a work pen. I'll save that money to help buy a new VP.... tongue.gif For those that really like the Lamy nibs, though, and want a round-grip, the Studio should be a great choice. I found the ones I examined to be very well-built, solid, and smooth. Excellent fit and finish.

#15 French

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 15:40

Very nice review. If, after some time, you find you are unhappy with the tooth of the nib, I recommend sending the pen to Lamy USA for nib adjustment/replacement. They charge around $7.50 and do an excellent job. Last week I took my Vista to them (they are located in Connecticut, so am I) and their nibmeister switched out my XF from one that was unacceptable to one that glides on the paper, a nib most nib meisters would be proud of.

Continue to enjoy the pen. I think you will not regret getting the Vista. I had concern about the demonstrator (would I like it, will it get beat up etc), but I find it is a robust pen, and ultra cool to watch the section fill with ink when you fill the converter.

French

#16 RLTodd

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 16:20

QUOTE(Jerry A @ Oct 10 2007, 11:01 PM) View Post
QUOTE(RLTodd @ Oct 10 2007, 08:28 PM) View Post
My only nit on the Lamay Safari is the proprietary cartridge they went with. No complaint about its cartridge design only that it is difficult to obtain, always a mail order item. I would rate the pen higher if they had designed it for either the International (preferably long), Parker, or even Sheaffer cartridge. BTW, this is the same nit I have with Pilot, Sailor, and the "new & improved" Waterman.


Good news, Parker-style cartridges fit in the Safari (and only the Safari, they're too long for other Lamy pens).


If they will do that without leaking, that is very good news.
YMMV

#17 JMAN

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 19:53

QUOTE(KingJoe @ Oct 9 2007, 12:11 PM) View Post
I know these are asked about to death, but I figured one more review can't hurt.


1. First Impressions - 4/5

My trip to the pen shop to buy my very first "real" FP had been with the intention of buying a bottle of P.R. Blue Suede and a Lamy Safari. On the way to the register, I was drawn to the sale case where I picked out a Libelle Vortex instead (review coming soon under separate cover). I was at work carrying my pen from my office to that of a coworker nearby when I dropped the Libelle. Thankfully, it was not damaged, but I decided to go back and get a "knock-around" pen for the office. Here's where the Lamy comes in. It's light, unobtrusive, doesn't draw undue attention to itself, and by most accounts is a great pen. I planned to get either a Vista or yellow Safari, but those were only in-stock in Medium nibs, and I had my heart set on a fine nib, so I ended up with a Charcoal Safari. The pen came in a simple cardboard box with a small slip of paper giving the company's contact info, and a Lamy blue cartridge. I also the converter (not included with the pen, about $5) to go with it and a bottle of WM Havana.


2. Appearance & Finish - 5/5

I'll give the pen a 5/5 here. It does not look like a high-class lacquered metal pen, but it's not supposed to. Everything lines up evenly and the plastic exterior seems tough enough to handle most anything I would throw at it (intentionally or not). The pen is fairly slim all the way, so it handles my normal mode of carry (clipped to my 3-button golf/polo shirts, horizontal, just below the last button, pen barrel inside the shirt, clip outside). The double-pronged clip looks a bit "big" compared the the slim pen, but functionally I'm glad it's built the way it is (more on that below). It was well-finished, no obvious defects at first glance or after several weeks of playing with it.


3. Design/ Size/Weight- 4/5

The design of the pen is "different." I won't go into great detail as 98% of you are probably familiar with it's design from pictures, if nothing else. The pen is very light with the converter fully loaded. The clip is strong and heavy (-weight and -duty). On weekends, I normally clip my EDC pen to a cargo pocket on cargo shorts or to my jeans pocket. The clip handles all types of fabric well, and seems no worse for the wear after several weeks of removing/replacing the pen 10-25 times a day. The pen has a click-cap. I would have preferred a "twistie," but I have yet to have the pen fall from the clip inside my shirt leaving a large spot of Havana or anything. The cap clicks lightly and easily, but it is a crisp, responsive click. You know the cap is fully seated.

The nib-section has two flat-spots on the grip. Probably good for beginners/students, but my fingers are a bit large to fit comfortably on this section. If a round option were available, I would have gladly taken that in a heartbeat. I'm used to pens with larger diameters, and that combined with the shape of the grip left me with a crampy hand after one journal page (5x8") for the first few days. That seems to be subsiding, now, though it does creep back now and again. That's why I give the pen a 4/5 here.


4. Nib Design & Performance- 5/5

The charcoal Safari comes with a black steel nib. I chose the fine-nib version for my needs. I use a wide range of paper quality througout the day (high quality journal paper, cheap recycled note pads, post-its, medium quality legal pad, and copy paper of all grades). I used WM Havana for several days before trying PR Avacado, WM Florida Blue, and Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black. The nib is somewhat scratchy with Havana and Avacado, writes like a dream (quite literally) on Florida Blue, though that is no surprise, and somewhere between scratchy and dreamy with Pelikan Black (closer to dreamy than scratchy). Nib creep is present with all inks tried, though it seems worst with Florida Blue, less so with the others. In no case is it a problem.

Depending on the ink and paper combination, I get anything from about a .5mm line to about a .9mm line. With Avacado I seem to get widely varying widths depending on paper, and it seems to go wider than the others. Florida Blue and Pelikan Black seem more consistent (on the wider side, but not bad-.7-.8mm). I only used one converter full of Pelikan Black (because it was less saturated than I cared for, nothing to do with performance). The pen is always ready to write if it has been capped, regardless of orientation (nib-up, down, or sideways doesn't seem to matter, the feed seems to hold ink at the ready very well). If I set the pen down posted (or otherwise uncapped) for more than 2-3 minutes, it needs a bit of a line to get flow started with (in order of severity, worst to best) Avacado, Pelikan Black, Florida Blue, and Havana. The Havana seems to have this problem much less often than the others, and seems ready to write even after 5-10 minutes uncapped. The nib has started to smooth out nicely now, and the "scratchiness" seen out of the box with many of the inks is 85% gone now.


5. The Filling System- 5/5

This pen is a C/C. The cartridges are proprietary, so don't excpect to use your WM, Private Reserve, or other cartridges in this pen. I have strictly used the converter, so I can't testify about the cartridges. I can tell you the cartridges hold quite a lot of ink, and the converter holds about half as much. The converter still lasts me 2-5 days, on average. And I tend to fill at about 1/3 full, sometimes sooner. The converter is wonderful, easy to operate, smooth, problem free. There are two "notches" that snap into the pen ensuring positive, leak-free contact. Very thoughtful! It is a shame the converter doesn't come with the pen, especially when the cartridges are proprietary...though from Lamy's prospective that is probably exactly why they do that. If you don't want to buy their cartridges, you have to pay!


6. Cost/Value- 5/5

I paid full MSRP at the only local Lamy dealer ($27.50), but the clerk who knew my from my previous purchase did include the converter at no charge. That brought their price about in-line with purchasing from a cheaper, online retailer and paying for the converter. When you add in shipping, I actually may have came out a dollar or two ahead by buying locally! For <$30 out-the-door, it's a bargain. Even if I had been forced to pay for the converter, I would have felt I got my money's worth. A box of some of today's nicer disposable gel-pens can easily run you $27.50, and this Safari will surely outlive a dozen gel-pens!


7. Overall Opinion/Conclusion- 4.5/5

If a round-grip were available, this pen would easily be a 5/5. As it is, I STILL plan to buy another Safari and a Vista, if that tells you anything. The pen was purchased as a knock-around for work, out and about, etc, leaving the "good" pens for journalling and writing letters. Instead, it had taken over as my favorite pen. In fact, I'll be getting others so I won't have to flush and fill so often. And perhaps a nice Medium or Broad to load with Polar Blue and use as a signature pen! This pen is a workhorse. If you walk in and compare fit/finish to new high-end Pelikan you're going to rate the Safari lower, of course. But in all that this pen does, it does it exceedingly well for what it is. Now if only they would make a round grip for the darn thing....

(Pictures left out for now...you all know what these look like. I may try to get a writing sample up if I can, though.)


I actually have several - and love them.

Am I crazy or not! When I bought my first Safari several years ago thought they sold a left hand nib supposedly for left-handers?

Anyone ever hear of it?




#18 RayMan

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 00:18

QUOTE(JMAN @ Oct 11 2007, 03:53 PM) View Post
Am I crazy or not! When I bought my first Safari several years ago thought they sold a left hand nib supposedly for left-handers?

Anyone ever hear of it?


Yes. I've seen them for sale on eBay recently. I'm always skeptical of "left-hander pen" claims, however. I'm sure it just boils down to a pen with a left foot oblique nib, which may help if you always rotate your pen to the left, but otherwise I don't see the point.

Regards,

Ray

#19 schmittypods

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 14:05

Those Safari reviews are really doing some damage. I am a big fan and own a couple myself, including the orange flame, which is probably my favorite color but this is crazy!

http://cgi.ebay.com/...I...A:IT&ih=012

#20 sam

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 18:10

QUOTE(schmittypods @ Oct 18 2007, 02:05 PM) View Post
Those Safari reviews are really doing some damage. I am a big fan and own a couple myself, including the orange flame, which is probably my favorite color but this is crazy!

http://cgi.ebay.com/...I...A:IT&ih=012

ohmy.gif
the highest bidder took it up from $16 to 50...
was there a reserve or something?
cant see how the same bidder kept outbidding themselves glare.gif






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