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Sheaffer's Vigilant Balance (875 price code)

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4 replies to this topic

#1 rroossinck


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Posted 16 February 2009 - 15:25

Picture borrowed from Jim @ PenHero.com!

First Impressions
For a long time, Iíve wanted to find a nice example of a military-clipíd Sheafferís Balance, and when I found this set at an antique show in February 2009, I decided that this would be a good example.

The pen itself is striated golden pearl with gold trim and a two-tone platinum masked nib in 14K. Aside from some minor wear from usage (micro-scratching), and a loose trim ring that needs to be swaged a little tighter, this one is in terrific shape. The pencil is in similar condition, although I believe that the celluloid has shrunken over time, as it doesnít fit quite flush at the mid-section. All in all, it makes for a very nice set. Good imprints on both, with just a little tiny bit of brassing on the trim ring on the penís cap.

Itís a classic Sheafferís Balance shape, but with a twist; itís got a military clip so that itíll ride low in a shirt-pocket. Sheafferís was one of a few companies that made these.

Itís a fairly standard-sized pen, with an 875 price code on the barrel. This one is the smaller of the White Dot models, with the 1000 price-coded model being the biggest of the lineup. Itís very comfortable to write with (I typically post my pens, and this one is no exception), and itís lightweight, so it works well for lengthy stints of notetaking.

The nib is terrific on this pen; itís a Lifetime two-tone nib in 14K with a platinum mask on the upper half of the nib. One thing thatís a little less common about this pen is that the nib has a medium stroke, something that was made in smaller numbers during the 30s and 40s. As soon as it was put to paper, it wrote VERY nicely; no adjustment, smoothing, or anything else was necessary. Very little in the way of feedback on this one, too; itís really just a great nib!

Filling System
Itís a lever filler, and the biggest surprise that I found when I got it home was that it didnít require any restoration! I didnít have to put a new sac in it at all; frankly, the tension on the lever and the springbar was perfect. While I havenít taken it apart yet, it doesnít show that itís ever been opened up, so I suspect that this may be an original sac. Great bonus!

Cost and Value
I got this one for a steal of a deal, and my best guess is that as a set, itís probably worth well over 10X what I paid for it. Iím not sure that Iíll sell it, but Iíve seen these go for somewhere in the $100-150 range depending on the nib and the condition of the pen. Either way, Iím really happy with the value I recíd!

These are great pens, and in my opinion, theyíre the un-sung heroes of the Sheafferís Balance lineup. The military-clipíd models were an example of how Sheafferís really liked to make pens that were meant to be used (something that the upper echelon of todayís manufacturers donít do as often as they should). No glitz, no glamour about this one; just made to do a job, and do it well. If you ever have the chance to try one of these, go for it. Theyíve got lots of stories to tell - yours included!

Pictures forthcoming; I've been too busy enjoying this one to pull the camera out!

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#2 Breck


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Posted 16 February 2009 - 15:30

Nice find! After being mostly indifferent to Sheaffer's since I got into pens last year, I've seen the light recently. The military clips are very cool, and on my soon-to-acquire list.

Can't wait to see the photos.

#3 Peter from Sherwood Park

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 15:34

Great review! I didn't know very much about this Sheaffer model until now.

#4 penguinmaster



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Posted 16 February 2009 - 15:57

I agree fully with this review as well, great one to read. I have had many military clips pass through my hands, I've finally settled on a restored lifetime 1000 (the bigger one). I to got mine for a song (read about it here). Mine is a wet medium nibbed one as well. Very nice writing pen.
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#5 MYU


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Posted 16 February 2009 - 20:25

Glad to hear you made such a nice score, Ryan. biggrin.gif I didn't know that the top half was a platinum mask. I always assumed it was stainless steel. The military clips are also one of my favorites... just enough metal to do the job without being too flashy. smile.gif

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