I had not thought too much about it until a recent question about what Skylines were gold filled, solid gold etc, and how to identify gold content came my way. I intend to put up a post on that broad topic very soon, but as luck would have it, as I was going through the archives on that topic, I stumbled upon some information that made the old light bulb go off about that silver Skyline.
In the way of some background, among the various higher quality Skylines, (and Fifth Avenues) there were a few that were meant to be used as gifts for special and some very special occasions. The prices for these pens ranged from about $9 to $125 when new. Among the lower end (price range-wise) of these pens were a few levels of the "Presentation" pen. The basic Presentation Pens had a gold filled cap sleeve, pocket clip and lever and a plastic derby and plastic body. That pen was either a model 60 (large) or model 61 (smaller) pen. Next up the price line was the D60/J60 and D61/J61. Again the 60 was the larger pen and the 61 was the smaller one. These had a gold filled cap sleevel, pocket clip and lever AND derby. The D pens were sold in pens and stationery stores and the J pens were sold in Jewelry stores (This should sound sound familiar to those who followed the history of the Coronet pens, in another thread here on the Wahl-Eversharp forum, right?) In reading further, I found that some of these pens were not just gold filled over brass as usual, but gold filled over STERLING SILVER!
So that's where the sterling silver cap came from? Ahah! Mystery solved, right? Well not quite. As mentioned before from my experience, not all gold filled "presentation pens were over sterling silver. As a matter of fact most of the pens I have seen are not. The majority of the gold filled pens are as usual over brass. But during the height of WWII brass as going into cartridges for all kinds of munitions from rifles to howitzers, and the need for brass made many a pen company have to use less "militarily important" metals like gold and silver instead of brass and copper (an element needed to make brass let alone electrical wirings and windings of all kinds). Hmmm, What year was the penny made of zinc? 1943, right?. In what year were the advertisements for Presentation Skylines that boasted "gold filled over sterling silver"? 1943! OK, so we can deduce that in 1943 Skyline Presentation pens were gold filled over sterling silver. That tells us that making cap barrels for Skylines out of sterling silver was not unusual (at least for one year) in 1943.
But this does not answer the question why at least one pen came to be made without the expected gold fill laminate? It would be easy as pie to just not gold fill one and make a sterling silver one. Is that what happened? Or was the gold filled laminate removed down to the sterling silver beneath on the pen in question? If it was meant to be a Sterling Silver pen, certainly the pen would be marked sterling silver, right?Maybe. I think I remember the purchaser of the pen that triggered this issue at the '07 DC show...John, was that you? You know who you are. Would you mind chiming in here to tell us if the pen you purchased was marked "sterling silver"? That might tell us something about if the pen in question was "meant to be" sterling silver from the get go.
I'll stop here for now. I promised another inquirer that I would write some information about what Command Performance Skylines were gold filled or solid gold. I will do that in another post very soon.
Edited by Wahlnut, 31 August 2008 - 00:34.