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What Are Some Awesome, Inexpensive Vintage Fountain Pens I Can Buy?



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I am LOVING collecting vintage fountain pens. I just started about a month ago.

As of now, I have a(n):

  • Parker 45 ($25)
  • Esterbrook J ($25)
  • Parker 51 Special ($50)

I would love to expand my collection, but I do not have the money to buy the very sought after pens that cost $70+ (college). For me, it will be very interesting to collect the pens that aren't as wanted but are still just as good as their more popular counterparts. I don't know anything about brands and what there is available.

 

Any suggestions, or a push into the right direction would be greatly appreciated! :lol:

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You should probably have a Sheaffer inlaid nib in there. They certainly are an iconic American pen. No other maker had anything quite like it.

 

A Sheaffer Imperial or a Targa. I prefer the 14k nibs which will run a bit more but the Ft. Madison Stainless nibs are perfectly fine too.

 

FWIW, you've picked some nice choices so far.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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Well, the supply of Esterbrook pens is seemingly endless, and very well priced. I started out with a single J that I paid a whopping 50 cents and now i'm up to somewhere around 20... all of them bought for $10 of less, with minor repair involved. If you have any antique or junk shops nearby, or hear of any flea markets, go look there.

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Hands down, the best performance value has to be the Parker 45s. They can be gotten for less than 15, all of the ones I have (7 of them) write smoothly. The only problem is the nib section seems to leak sometimes unless you seal it with silicon grease around the threads. Someone on a budget still has a great opportunity to both collect and use! I own much more expensive pens, but none write much better. Another option that might be fun from a collecting standpoint (there are fewer of them) are vintage platignum pens. Some of the older gold nib ones are beautifully smooth, somewhat flexible, and can be found for 10 or less from time to time. My other favorites for vintage are sheaffers. These write as well as the Parker pens, or better. I would try the TM touchdown pens. They are usually 25 or less and are relatively easy to restore. Another option is the Parker 21.

 

You can also collect some newer special edition pens. Lamy comes out with a special edition color every year for the safari. You can get the current years color for 30 or less. Some of these have seriously appreciated (I saw an NOS orange one go for several hundred dollars on eBay recently)

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Jesceral, my question exactly. Next question--what's the best source for acquiring these pens besides antique shops and ebay?

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Florida Blue

I would try to look for one of the smaller Sheaffer Balance pens such as a Jr., Petite or Lady.

 

Also, a Sheaffer Admiral or Craftsman from the 1940s.

 

All of these can be had quite cheaply and are well-made, well-writing pens.

Parker: Sonnet Flighter, Rialto Red Metallic Laque, IM Chiseled Gunmetal, Latitude Stainless, 45 Black, Duovac Blue Pearl Striped, 51 Standard Black, Vac Jr. Black, 51 Aero Black, 51 Vac Blue Cedar, Duofold Jr. Lapis, 51 Aero Demi Black, 51 Aero Demi Teal, 51 Aero Navy Gray, Duofold Pastel Moire Violet, Vac Major Golden Brown, Vac Deb. Emerald, 51 Vac Dove Gray, Vac Major Azure, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, 51 Vac Black GF Cap, 51 Forest Green GF cap, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, Duovac Senior Green & Gold, Duovac Deb. Black, Challenger Black, 51 Aero Midnight, Vac. Emerald Jr., Challenger Gray Pearl, 51 Vac Black, Duofold Int. Black, Duofold Jr. Red.

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For Sheaffer inlaids, check out Peyton Street Pens online. Really nice selections of Sheaffers and many vintage nibs mounted in Ranga Ebonite bodies. Prices within your range and up.

 

There are many sellers of vintage pens and a good place to start looking for them are in the FPN Mall.

 

Best of luck,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?

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I'm partial to Wearever, actually, they're decent pens that often look great (I like the clear feeds) for bargain basement prices (they were the Esterbrook and Sheaffer runner up with lever fillers and plastic school pens). Besides eBay and antique shops try secondhand thrift stores, garage sales and asking around long-running local businesses (this is the trickiest option, they might have stock from the fountain pen era but they also might not take kindly to prying questions), the Internet and eBay has really leveled the playing field though for pen prices, so it's harder to find absolute bargains even while it's easier to find more pens.

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The only problem is the nib section seems to leak sometimes unless you seal it with **silicon grease** around the threads.

 

I'm sorry, but you misspelled "section sealant". ;)

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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Nihontochicken

You already have three of the best in the category you specify. If you haven't gotten one already, I suggest a Parker 45 "Flighter" (the term formally belongs only to the 51, but is often used to indicate all-stainless steel 45 pens as well), particularly if you can find one without the plastic end and with a gold nib.

Nihonto Chicken

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Parker 21, the unloved stepchild of the 51.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com

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hunt through antique malls, most of them will have over priced junk but there are some great deals out there. if you are comfortable with doing your own repairs thats the best way to get a great deal on a pen.

 

i think the parker VS are incredibly underrated. the later uk parkers like the Victory and the UK duofold are incredible writers that are sometimes quite modestly priced. sheffer balances and touchdowns can often be had for a modest price. the later celluloid waterman pens like the 3 and the 92 are pretty good deals as well

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sharonspens

Along with the Esterbrook, look for a Merlin 33. Sweet little pen, in colors similar in tone to Esties (at least in my experience with them). It is a smaller pen, though, so some people might not enjoy writing with it.

 

Like my Esties, they were pleasant surprises each time I would ink one up (one of those "why don't I keep this pen in rotation" reactions?).

 

Sharon in Indiana

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." Earnest Hemingway

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Parker 21, the unloved stepchild of the 51.

 

I think I'm a pretty dyed in the wool P-51 guy and I've got no issues with the 21. Yeah, so some of the hoods are crappy.

 

I thought it was a good price point for Parker when they came out with them and it Still fits in that price point well.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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I would try to look for one of the smaller Sheaffer Balance pens such as a Jr., Petite or Lady.

 

Also, a Sheaffer Admiral or Craftsman from the 1940s.

 

All of these can be had quite cheaply and are well-made, well-writing pens.

 

Speaking of which, the Persian Blue Craftsman (1947-1949, Before '47 they had the more marbled appearance you'd expect of celluloid) here I got for 21$ on eBay, polished with some kind of brazilian (carnauba?) wax and already fitted with a new talc'd sac.

 

http://static.karlblessing.com/pens/sheaffer/group.jpg

 

The Evergreen Green Touchdown Admiral (1951) with the Feathertouch (I think accounting width nib) was 50, and the Black Snorkel Admiral (1953) was under 80 (won for $41 on ebay, Restored by Write on Time for $35 to like-new condition). The Student Pen (3rd one... 60s I think) was a gift.

Edited by KBeezie
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You may want to check out some of the NOS Eversharp Symphony. You can find them with flex and they're pretty smooth writers even without the flex.

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In the UK I would recommend Swan pens. The number 2, 3 or 4 nib is normally excellent value for money. The leaver fill Swans are also easy to repair.

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Bo Bo Olson

When you have your basic set of an assortment of nails and regular flex in B, M, F & EF, it is time to move up to semi-flex.

 

On German Ebay you can get a '60's Geha 790, that will have a semi-flex, or 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex nib. For €20 more than likely 25-35 Euro....which is pushing $50.

It is a standard sized pen like an Esterbrook......which you should have in your assortment before hand.

 

The only problem is you must check to see if the seller accepts Paypal. Many German sellers don't in they don't have a credit card, using their bank card or bank transfer. We don't use checks here so bank transfers in the EU are fast and cheap. A bank transfer costs $35 from the states.

Some refuse to ship outside of Germany.

 

I have three Geha 790's, a KM, F and a 'flexi' EF. They are the best and cheapest semi-flex pen you can find. Geha was competition for Pelikan, until the Malaysian billionaire who bought up Pelikan (1990) at the same time bought up Geha's pen division and shut it down. Geha has good nibs. Is a sturdy made pen.

I don't know enough about their later '70s-90's cartridge pens to say what flex their nibs are.

 

 

The Geha school pen is a nice springy regular flex nibbed pen....it is possible to get it in more flexible nibs.....I do have one that is so.

They can be had for €12-19 if you look. Do not buy them for $85 as offered by German pirates selling on US Ebay.

The 790 has three ring jewel holder, the school pen just a regular clip.....if the Geha has a number on it is a school pen, so the kid could track down his stolen pen.

 

The Gehas have a reserve tank that allows you to write one or two more pages before refilling.

Do keep the Geha 790 in mind.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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Some of the 1940s/50s Watermans are rather nice (like Taperite, Garland, Crusader) and seem to sell around the $50 mark, though I have seen them in the wild for a lot less. I find the metal caps very attractive.

 

+1 for the P45's. Great little pens, and sturdy. The flighters are lovely. I will never know why Parker went for the plastic bit on the end of the Flighter - it just looks wrong, and unbalanced, and it can hardly have reduced the cost of the pen all that much, I'd have thought. I have two Flighters, one with and one without, and every time I look at the plastic-ended one I just think "Oh, that's wrong."

 

+1 for the Wearevers. If you like really colourful celluloid, these little guys have it all, and the same goes for some of the other third tiers. I have Eagle and Waterpen (no relation to Waterman!) charmers in my collection.

Too many pens, too little time!

http://fountainpenlove.blogspot.fr/

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