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Review: Parker Duofold Centennial


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#1 QM2

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 16:35



PARKER DUOFOLD CENTENNIAL
Old Style: 1987 Release


First Impessions and Presentation
This is a review of the old-style Parker Duofold Centennial, which I believe may be part of the first
batch of these pens to be produced. I bought this pen at the NY/NJ Pen Show NOS. The pen was
laid out on the table without a box or paperwork, lost in a sea of other Parkers. But I spotted its
untapered flat-top form right away and knew it was destined to come home with me. Even though
this is a modern Duofold, the pen was over 20 years old at time of purchase. Its condition was
impeccable: New Old Stock and truly mint.



Design
What appeals to me the most about this pen, is its perfectly straight-sided design. I am in love with this
classic flat-top form and morn the day that pen manufacturers decided to implement the design change
that led to the eventual streamining of all pens. I have been considering purchasing a current production
Duofold for some time, but in the end would always decide against it, because both the Centennial and
International Duofolds now have the slightly tapered shape. I knew that if I wanted a true flat-top, I would
have to hunt down one of the earlier productions of the Centennial -- and lo and behold, there it was at
the NY/NJ Pen Show.

The pen is a full-size model: 5 1/4" closed, 5" uncapped including nib, 6 3/4" posted. It is black, with gold
trim, which to me is the most classic and best looking of the modern Duofolds. Normally, I dislike gold-colour
trim, but on several pens, including this one, it is an appropriate choice because of the historical significance:
The original Duofold came in gold trim only, and I like the continuity. Additionally, the reason I dislike gold
on most pens, is that it has a tendency to look cheap, fake, and/or gaudy. Here this is not the case. The pen
looks classic and well-made.

The filling mechanism is CC, as in all regular production modern Duofolds. The seller gave me a new Parker
converter when I bought the pen. One positive aspect of the CC system, is that there is nothing to break,
nothing to rust: Despite 21 years of storage, the pen filled and worked immediately.




Nib
The nib on this pen is a Fine and writes more like a Medium. I took a chance, because the seller declined to
let me test the pen before buying it, given its NOS value. Happily, the pen wrote with no problems. The nib
is very smooth and is about a 7 on a 0-10 wetness scale. For many people this would in fact be their dream
nib. Unfortunately, I am addicted to XXF nibs and italic nibs, and find round, wet, Medium nibs tediously
boring. So I plan to have this pen reground to something more exciting in the future.



Other Interesting Details
When I bought this pen, I was initially confused about the lack of Parker insignia on the top of the cap
and posted a thread asking about it, which you can read here.

I then learned that these pens were made with blank cap-tops, so that they could be personalised using
special decals with the owner's initials.



Here is another image of the logo-less cap-top. The center is raised, rather than indented. I would be
interested to see what the personalised decals look like, if anybody has one of these.



Another interesting thing I learned about this pen, is that it is a very early production Centennial.

The inscription above the cap lip of my pen reads:
PARKER
MADE IN UK
PC

According to Richard Binder's datecode instructions, the "PC" indicates that this pen was produced
in the second quarter of 1987 -- while (from what I understand), the Duofold Centennial was officially
launched in 1988.

To me, the conclusion to draw from this seems to be, that the pen is part of the first production run.
If you think I am wrong or have any comments about that, please let me know.

Value
At $200 NOS, I think this was a good deal, even without a box. I do not see the old-style straight-sided
models on the marketplace very often, and the few I do see are usually used and offered at a higher price.

Conclusions
I feel quite lucky to have found this particular model Duofold, and it fits perfectly into my core collection
of modern flat-tops. And if I am correct about the date code, it is especially cool to own one of the first
releases of the classic Duofold remake. If you are not a fan of black pens, you may not see anything special
about this one -- but it is a must for Parker collectors and flat-top lovers alike.

I will end with an image of the Duofold and its new friend -- the Conway Stewart Duro Heritage, which is
almost identical in size and very similar in form.



Hope you enjoyed this review,
QM2

Edited by QM2, 26 September 2008 - 18:33.


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#2 Zoe

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 16:53

Good review.

I as you know have the same pen but in a different colour and discovered that imprint aging mine as a '87 and not the '89 I thought it was.

Congratulations on the addition to your collection.

#3 QM2

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 17:04

QUOTE (Zoe @ Sep 26 2008, 04:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Good review.

I as you know have the same pen but in a different colour and discovered that imprint aging mine as a '87 and not the '89 I thought it was.

Congratulations on the addition to your collection.


Thanks Zoe, and good to see a confirmation that these pens were indeed produced in 1987 despite the commonly cited 1988 release date.

Of course your acquisition does trump mine in the "value" department -- very lucky to find one of these at a barn sale!




#4 tnmike1

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 17:05

will add my kudos to this review also. I've used my "Big Orange" Duofold continuously since I bought it around 1990. Never a problem, always written on first contact with paper, and a truly lovely pen in every way.

Gee, didn't know it might be worth $200 or so. I know I didn't pay that much for it almost 20 years ago.
Knoxville TN & Palm Coast FL

#5 QM2

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 17:13

QUOTE (tnmike1 @ Sep 26 2008, 05:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
will add my kudos to this review also. I've used my "Big Orange" Duofold continuously since I bought it around 1990. Never a problem, always written on first contact with paper, and a truly lovely pen in every way.

Gee, didn't know it might be worth $200 or so. I know I didn't pay that much for it almost 20 years ago.


I believe the MSRP was somewhere in the $100's when they first came out, but don't forget inflation and collectability. These pens were not produced for very long before the design was switched over to the tapered version that is currently still in production. On the few occasions I have seen these sold (both used and new), the price was in the $3XX range and higher.

Also, to put it in perspective, the currently produced Duofold Centennial sells for over $400; the International (smaller size) sells for over $300.



#6 Zoe

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 17:20

I do think you got a good price, too, especially if it is pristine condition.

The barn sale was pure serendipity. I was on my way home, saw the sign, dashed through, found some good buys and only at the pay table noticed the fountain pen. Frankly, I was going to pass her up but at the last minute thought, "why not." I forked over my entire wallet of cash down to some coins.

It is a good writer and probably was one of the best barn sale items I've ever purchased and I have the reputation for a good eye at auctions and sales. biggrin.gif

QUOTE (QM2 @ Sep 26 2008, 01:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (tnmike1 @ Sep 26 2008, 05:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
will add my kudos to this review also. I've used my "Big Orange" Duofold continuously since I bought it around 1990. Never a problem, always written on first contact with paper, and a truly lovely pen in every way.

Gee, didn't know it might be worth $200 or so. I know I didn't pay that much for it almost 20 years ago.


I believe the MSRP was somewhere in the $100's when they first came out, but don't forget inflation and collectability. These pens were not produced for very long before the design was switched over to the tapered version that is currently still in production. On the few occasions I have seen these sold (both used and new), the price was in the $3XX range and higher.

Also, to put it in perspective, the currently produced Duofold Centennial sells for over $400; the International (smaller size) sells for over $300.



#7 ethernautrix

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 17:22

Very nice review, QM2. I have a Centennial in orange (and matching ballpoint), bought circa late 1990, early 1991, so I'll have to take mine out to see if it has the tapered design. (I glimpsed it the other day when I opened the pen case, and the orange color is still very striking and luminous.)

Thanks for posting the photos. I especially like the last one of the handsome pair!

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#8 QM2

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 18:10

QUOTE (ethernautrix @ Sep 26 2008, 05:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Very nice review, QM2. I have a Centennial in orange (and matching ballpoint), bought circa late 1990, early 1991, so I'll have to take mine out to see if it has the tapered design. (I glimpsed it the other day when I opened the pen case, and the orange color is still very striking and luminous.)

Thanks for posting the photos. I especially like the last one of the handsome pair!


Thanks ethernautrix,

The Duofold & CS Duro do look really good together as a couple, which I did not expect since they are such different brands. This Duofold has really helped me tie different parts of my collection together. I am hoping to post some shots of my flat-top families soon.

#9 Brian

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 07:25

That's a nice review of a timeless pen. The only thing I noticed was that your pen appears to have a newer section as the original sections I've seen all have double rings and the simple arrow nib. Otherwise a pretty good find. Congratulations.

#10 enricof

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 09:14

QUOTE (Brian @ Sep 27 2008, 09:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's a nice review of a timeless pen. The only thing I noticed was that your pen appears to have a newer section as the original sections I've seen all have double rings and the simple arrow nib. Otherwise a pretty good find. Congratulations.


I attach a couple pics of my Duofold, that seem to confirm the information.
Nice, wet writer.

Unfortunately I do not have a pic of the (broken) cap on hand, but code is IE (3rd 88?).
The marble red replacement cap I just got is IN (3rd 89?), both have the same design as the black pen.


If you like this design, maybe you like also the Waterman Man 100 (totally different material, a bit thinner, longer and quite heavier).



Attached Images

  • duofold_01.jpg
  • duofold_02.jpg
  • duofold_03.jpg
  • duofold_04.jpg
  • MAN100_01.jpg

Ciao - Enrico
Diplomat #1961

Posted Image

Daddy, please no more pens - we need food, clothes, books, DENTISTRY...


#11 goodguy

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 10:29

Wonderful review.
Thank you for sharing the interesting story about how you got the pen as well.
I love the Duofold Centeniel and have it on my want list for a while.I hope to get one in F nib.
My only wish was that Parker would have made this pen with a button filler or even better a piston filler.

Enjoy thumbup.gif
Respect to all

#12 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 19:53

I own a 2002 modern parker marbled green centennial duofold which is a streamlined version of the modern duofold that started to be manufactured in 2000. The nib is relative good but not as good as my man 100 patrician nib. The man 100 nib was the best modern nib waterman ever produced it was the most appreciated nib after MB's 146-149 nib in the 80's-mid 90's. Waterman completely failed by stopping to manufacture the man 100 even the Exception is far to match the quality and prestige level of the man 100.
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#13 QM2

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 21:29

QUOTE (enricof @ Sep 27 2008, 10:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you like this design, maybe you like also the Waterman Man 100 (totally different material, a bit thinner, longer and quite heavier).


Those are nice pens, thanks for posting!
I do not own any modern Watermans. The Man has been suggested to me, but something about it seems to conflict with my taste in pens. I think a large part of it is the detailing -- especially the clip. I really love the solid, graceful clips of the 1920s, that curved elegantly from the cap outward, then back inward, and ended in a ball-like tip.

In fact here are some of my other flat-tops (with the Duofold in the middle) and I do see a pattern of clips that may explain why I dislike modern Waterman and Sheaffer clips...





I posted a thread here with my other flat-tops as well:
http://www.fountainp...showtopic=77477



#14 FrankB

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 11:01

This is an interesting, and well done, review. Thank you.

The recent production Parker Duofolds are among my favorite pens. I fell in love with the Duofolds as soon as they came out in the late 1980's. I was drawn to the "crushed velvet" material, and collected all three colors - green, blue and plum. I later got one of the orange "Big Red" colored ones. The Greenwich LE came later, but it is a true flat top as well, as is the Rockwell LE. When the design changed later to the more rounded tops with a Duofold logo, I just saw that as a variant that justified my buying more Centennials. clap1.gif

I think the $200 you paid is a great price.

Remember that you can either have the "F" nib customized, or you can buy a complete nib/section unit. The Duofold series has some of the best factory italic nibs around, and I have italics on most of my Duofolds.

#15 penmanila

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 11:16

nice. i have the old-style centennial in marbled red (and the international in blue and silver, as well as the streamlined pearl-and black), and we share the same taste as far as squared-off vs. tapered ends go. same preference for clips as well, so no watermans for me (except for a mint C/F i got cheap and will trade away soon); i love my faber-castells and the "crown" they sport, as well as the "rollerball" clip on my rosewood wahl.

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#16 penmanila

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 11:19

i have a minty 1988 centennial with an F nib, but i prefer something broader--an M or even a B. if you get a centennial of the same early type but with a nib other than the F, PM me if you'd care to swap nibs. i'm overseas right now but will be in the US the last three weeks of october and can bring the nib with me wink.gif

QUOTE (goodguy @ Sep 27 2008, 06:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wonderful review.
Thank you for sharing the interesting story about how you got the pen as well.
I love the Duofold Centeniel and have it on my want list for a while.I hope to get one in F nib.
My only wish was that Parker would have made this pen with a button filler or even better a piston filler.

Enjoy thumbup.gif


Check out my blog and my pens


#17 cxcxx

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 17:35

very nice review,

I keep reading this one ... few times so far.

FrankB , I have one with nib # 88 I think it is OM and I like it ... I am thinking of an italic nib , may I ask you to post a writing sample .

thanks


#18 Maine Vintner

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 18:07

Fantastic review. Beyond the review, I really appreciated the story behind your search and pen purchase, and your passion for the "perfectly straight-sided design". I am your polar opposite when it comes to pen design in that I am really drawn to the tapered, cigar shaped pens represented by the Sheaffer Balance, Montblanc 146 & 149, and the Parker 51.

To my mind, that's really the beauty of fountain pen collecting - so many different points of view, designs, styles, etc. and they are all valid. You can have a completely different opinion than another and still equally respect their preferences.

Thanks for a great review and for providing some insight into a different design philosophy.

...Vintner

QUOTE (QM2 @ Sep 26 2008, 12:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


PARKER DUOFOLD CENTENNIAL
Old Style: 1987 Release


First Impessions and Presentation
This is a review of the old-style Parker Duofold Centennial, which I believe may be part of the first
batch of these pens to be produced. I bought this pen at the NY/NJ Pen Show NOS. The pen was
laid out on the table without a box or paperwork, lost in a sea of other Parkers. But I spotted its
untapered flat-top form right away and knew it was destined to come home with me. Even though
this is a modern Duofold, the pen was over 20 years old at time of purchase. Its condition was
impeccable: New Old Stock and truly mint.



Design
What appeals to me the most about this pen, is its perfectly straight-sided design. I am in love with this
classic flat-top form and morn the day that pen manufacturers decided to implement the design change
that led to the eventual streamining of all pens. I have been considering purchasing a current production
Duofold for some time, but in the end would always decide against it, because both the Centennial and
International Duofolds now have the slightly tapered shape. I knew that if I wanted a true flat-top, I would
have to hunt down one of the earlier productions of the Centennial -- and lo and behold, there it was at
the NY/NJ Pen Show.

The pen is a full-size model: 5 1/4" closed, 5" uncapped including nib, 6 3/4" posted. It is black, with gold
trim, which to me is the most classic and best looking of the modern Duofolds. Normally, I dislike gold-colour
trim, but on several pens, including this one, it is an appropriate choice because of the historical significance:
The original Duofold came in gold trim only, and I like the continuity. Additionally, the reason I dislike gold
on most pens, is that it has a tendency to look cheap, fake, and/or gaudy. Here this is not the case. The pen
looks classic and well-made.

The filling mechanism is CC, as in all regular production modern Duofolds. The seller gave me a new Parker
converter when I bought the pen. One positive aspect of the CC system, is that there is nothing to break,
nothing to rust: Despite 21 years of storage, the pen filled and worked immediately.




Nib
The nib on this pen is a Fine and writes more like a Medium. I took a chance, because the seller declined to
let me test the pen before buying it, given its NOS value. Happily, the pen wrote with no problems. The nib
is very smooth and is about a 7 on a 0-10 wetness scale. For many people this would in fact be their dream
nib. Unfortunately, I am addicted to XXF nibs and italic nibs, and find round, wet, Medium nibs tediously
boring. So I plan to have this pen reground to something more exciting in the future.



Other Interesting Details
When I bought this pen, I was initially confused about the lack of Parker insignia on the top of the cap
and posted a thread asking about it, which you can read here.

I then learned that these pens were made with blank cap-tops, so that they could be personalised using
special decals with the owner's initials.



Here is another image of the logo-less cap-top. The center is raised, rather than indented. I would be
interested to see what the personalised decals look like, if anybody has one of these.



Another interesting thing I learned about this pen, is that it is a very early production Centennial.

The inscription above the cap lip of my pen reads:
PARKER
MADE IN UK
PC

According to Richard Binder's datecode instructions, the "PC" indicates that this pen was produced
in the second quarter of 1987 -- while (from what I understand), the Duofold Centennial was officially
launched in 1988.

To me, the conclusion to draw from this seems to be, that the pen is part of the first production run.
If you think I am wrong or have any comments about that, please let me know.

Value
At $200 NOS, I think this was a good deal, even without a box. I do not see the old-style straight-sided
models on the marketplace very often, and the few I do see are usually used and offered at a higher price.

Conclusions
I feel quite lucky to have found this particular model Duofold, and it fits perfectly into my core collection
of modern flat-tops. And if I am correct about the date code, it is especially cool to own one of the first
releases of the classic Duofold remake. If you are not a fan of black pens, you may not see anything special
about this one -- but it is a must for Parker collectors and flat-top lovers alike.

I will end with an image of the Duofold and its new friend -- the Conway Stewart Duro Heritage, which is
almost identical in size and very similar in form.



Hope you enjoyed this review,
QM2



#19 Reppen

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 19:47

QUOTE (georges zaslavsky @ Sep 27 2008, 07:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I own a 2002 modern parker marbled green centennial duofold which is a streamlined version of the modern duofold that started to be manufactured in 2000. The nib is relative good but not as good as my man 100 patrician nib. The man 100 nib was the best modern nib waterman ever produced it was the most appreciated nib after MB's 146-149 nib in the 80's-mid 90's. Waterman completely failed by stopping to manufacture the man 100 even the Exception is far to match the quality and prestige level of the man 100.



You are right about the Mann 100 nib. The best nib ever in many ways. I have four of them, one of which is the 100 year anniversary Man 100. When Waterman stopped making this nib and pen, I stopped buying Waterman.

Edited by Reppen, 18 April 2009 - 19:48.


#20 I am not a number

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 23:12

This review has finally answered the question I had about one of my Duofolds which has the unadorned flat top! Thanks for putting to rest a niggling little query that would have just bugged me for potentially many years to come...

And a great review by the way.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of nothing at all...






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