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Mix And Match: Genetic Dilution.


Cryptos
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Hi folks,

 

Something has been bugging me lately regarding Parker 51s, and to an extent Eversharp Skylines. I didn't want to make two posts so I thought I would lump it all together here, as I suspect more people will look at the Parker forum than the Eversharp... am I wrong? ;)

 

Anyway, what I was thinking about was the interchangeability of parts that restorers say is possible. Given that a 51 comes in a variety of colours (barrels and hoods) and a variety of caps, and of course a variety of nibs, can anyone be absolutely certain that any given 51 is actually an original pen? And, does it matter?

 

For instance: I have a 51 with a Lustraloy cap, and another with a GF cap. The pens are different colours. What if decide that I want to swap caps on the basis of my personal aesthetic? And then, what if I were to sell one of those pens; would this affect the potential value?

 

Please understand I am not suggesting that this is what I am going to do - I like my pens! - but the thought did occur to me anyhow. Now, imagine I have a mint condition body but the cap is all dinged up. What is to stop me finding a mint cap elsewhere, whacking it on and calling the whole thing minty? Once again, would it matter? After all the individual parts are all original.

 

Is this an uncomfortable line of thought?

 

The same thing applies to the Skyline. There are a variety of cap designs and body colours. I would imagine that there are combinations that were never produced as finished pens by Eversharp, and yet can be constructed by the so inclined owner.

 

Is any of this a source of concern for you lovely guys and gals? Given that this scenario can apply to quite a few other pen varietals too?

 

Just musin' :unsure:

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Haha, you know, the exact same thing crossed my mind the other day when I was researching Eversharp Skylines (since I'm considering getting one someday soon). Considering that it's highly unlikely that records from the 50s and earlier are still wholly intact today, I don't think it'd be all that difficult to pull a fast one on someone not really familiar with either the 51's or the Skyline's many variants. It'd take someone of extremely loose morals to do such a thing, of course, but the world is full of unkind people.

 

It'd have to be someone who's invested a lot of time into collating data on the many variants these pens were available in who can make the call as to whether a product is genuine or a Frankenpen. But hey, I'm new to old pens myself, so I'm likely to have missed a few easy tells; I've heard that you can date the cap on a P51 fairly accurately, and the bodies to a lesser extent. Filling systems could be a bit of an easy giveaway, as well. Not as familiar with the Skylines, but I believe there exists a fairly substantial database on variants and models somewhere on the net.

 

 

Cheers!

Kevin

"The price of an object should not only be what you had to pay for it, but also what you've had to sacrifice in order to obtain it." - <i>The Wisdom of The Internet</i><p class='bbc_center'><center><img src="http://i59.tinypic.com/jr4g43.jpg"/></center>

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I'm currently debating this with my small squadron of Parker 45s. Even though I've done some part swapping (mostly moving nibs I like to pens I like), I still keep track of the "original" combinations of parts. But should I just consider them a big pool of parts and arbitrarily construct pens from those parts? (e.g. making one with a black section, gray barrel, and blue cap to be maximally egregious...)

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Many years ago I found a Parker 61 Capillary pen on a platform at Liverpool Street Station in London. When I examined it, it was clear that someone had tried to remove the capillary tube (probably thinking it was an ink cartridge). It is likely that they then threw it away. I returned it to Parker at Bush House London (that dates it) and when I got the pen back it was just a new pen with the origional cap. If I were to sell it it (which I don't wish to) I could describe it in many different ways but it is 100% Parker as it was repaired by them. As an aside I believe that, if you return a pen to Mont Blanc, they replace all parts that they deem are due for replacement. If you own a pen to use I don't believe it makes any difference how that pen is put together. If you aim to sell it you MUST be as honest as possible with the description.

On the Parker 51 thread I am told that in early years even pens coming out of the factory could have mismatched parts. I have a 51 Vacumatic with a Canadian cap and a USA body which I was informed was bought new like that, probably due to war time shortages.

Peter

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Cryptos,

 

It's been done and will continue to be done...just look on evilbay on any given day. If you want to keep the lines of provenance pure and true:

 

A) Do all the research you can on any given model,

B) Keep very careful records of your stock,

C) Deal only with trusted collectors,

D) Don't overpay,

and most importantly

D) Don't lose too much sleep over it. They are pens and fun to collect, but they're still just pens.

 

BTW, I don't do much of the above. I just have fun making them work and sharing the joy! :)

"Not a Hooker Hooker, but rather a left-handed overwriter."

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Cryptos,

 

It's been done and will continue to be done...just look on evilbay on any given day. If you want to keep the lines of provenance pure and true:

 

A) Do all the research you can on any given model,

B) Keep very careful records of your stock,

C) Deal only with trusted collectors,

D) Don't overpay,

and most importantly

D) Don't lose too much sleep over it. They are pens and fun to collect, but they're still just pens.

 

BTW, I don't do much of the above. I just have fun making them work and sharing the joy! :)

 

Well said that man :)

Peter

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I'm going to address this re; 51's as they're the model somewhat easier to nail down the dating on.

 

First it's important to keep this in mind. You Really have No Idea what the pen "came with" the day it was sold.

 

If you walked into a pen store "in the day" and saw say the color of barrel/hood 51 you wanted, but it didn't have the flavor of Cap you wanted, there was a good chance the store owner had factory parts in the back and would put whatever cap you wanted on it, assuming you paid whatever extra premium that cap may have garnered even if the factory didn't send them out that way.

 

And of course, you have the distinct likelihood that in the passing decades, some subsequent owner could have switched caps. Heck, I switch my own caps around. I Purposely scored on Fleabay a Midnight Blue Aero with a Sterling Vac cap just because I really liked the Sterling cap, but I like Aeros more than Vacs. (Of course, getting a Deal on it helped too. ;) )

 

Thankfully with 51's there are enough dating clues so you can at least get Some kind of idea what "the deal is". My copy of Ernesto's "Chronology" page is pretty dog earred. ;) I go back to it A LOT.

 

Take this example. The latest Special Ops Team 51 hit for a member here was a Midnight Blue Demi. It is a standard model Demi with a full chrome filler cage and Gold nib. "We" got lucky on the dating clues, as even with no date code, the pen's date was nailed down to 58 or 59, you can't often get that close without a date code. Even more interesting was I did even better than that on the cap. It is a Special cap, polished, with a black jewel. Flukingly, it is a first year 1950 Special cap. Therefore, I feel relatively certain that I can accurately say there is No Way, even in the pen store example above, that the cap our peep is getting on his Demi could have Possibly "came on" the pen when new (With there being at least an 8 year difference.) Our member just wanted their first 51 to be a nice clean Aero Demi in somewhat their color preferences. They got just that and they couldn't care less whether the cap that is on it now was on it 55 or 56 years ago when it was first sold.

 

Not to mention there are Accumuluser miscreants like Me :P who will take a great big stick and ram it into the dating spokes just because I can.

 

I've had short clips taken off their native caps and replaced with long clips just because I like the long clips. Good Luck dating That puppy... :rolleyes:

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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Early this year I bought a clearance 5280 fountain pen at Paradise Pen. It started with a chrome cap but since that looked too blingy they took a black cap off a clearance rollerball (I think these are Franklin Christoph pens, magnet caps. Might have put a Model 14 cap on a model 29 body?). Anyways, some places still mix-and-match.

 

Brian

One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.

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I have just fitted a French Gold Plate 75 cap to a USA Sterling Silver Cisele 75 body. This was simply to use up some spare parts and make a usable pen. I wonder what collectors in years to come would make of that? :unsure:

Peter

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<Fingers to temples, eyes back in sockets> I can already see the Fleabay listing.

 

RARE, ONE OF A KIND FACTORY PROTOTYPE!

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl :lticaptd:

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These questions are very interesting and could be considered in many other fields as well and not just when it comes to fountain pens. Sometimes very obvious Frankenpens (combining different models) sell for quite a high price on e-bay because they look good and interesting - and perhaps because that special combination somehow has a more modern appeal than the original pens did. I suppose that a pen needs some kind of integrity, but some times good looks win...

 

When it comes to rare collectors' items, mixing pens up obviously won't do the price any good.

 

With the almost endless line of different Parkers to leave the factories, one might be able to add a certain amount of creativity without being discovered, and so it is very much a question of personal ethics. Many buyers (non-collectors) probably don't care at all if their pen is a Frankenpen as long as it looks and works properly, but of cause - no one needs to cheat those people, as they would probably also buy a pen sold as a Frankenpen.

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I bought an English made 51 Vac last year on Ebay (was the only bidder). It had the cap for a 51 Special (but was obviously a 51 Vac). It also had a chip in the hood. I've bought a replacement hood, and was able to trade the cap for a generic 51 cap. I'm hoping that I can, at some point, get an authentic UK-made cap for not a whole lot of loot.

Does that make it a frankenpen? Maybe, not any more than it already was.... Will it be "authentic"? I think so. Have I (and will I continue to do so), documented what repairs have/will be done (such as having the diaphragm replaced at the Ohio Pen Show by Danny Fudge)? Heck yeah....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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I have a co-worker that has a saying when we talk pens and I show him what I have and what I've done.

 

The term he uses is [ Product Enhancement ]

 

So what I have done with a P51 C. B. DJ set on the Fp only is to replaced the hood once [was trashed]

Replaced the 1946 barrel with a 1947 barrel [ 1946 barrel all gauged up ] from a part I obtained at the Chicago Pen Show in May.

Now I changed the barrel once again with a parts pen I picked up on ebay. Now the barrel has been replaced once again with a better color fit with the blind cap. Now I have a 1948 barrel with a 1946 nib in the section.

Did I do wrong in restoring the pen with better parts? If I could find a 1946 barrel with a color match to the blind cap I'd change it again.

 

Product Enhancement is alright with me. The fountain pen purest don't know how things work in the real world.IMO

 

I worked for a printer for 15yrs mailing out magazines/catalogs and there were times where to make count on mailing

they would use any version of the book to make count. Example: Field & Streams magazine, there were about 48 different covers for the magazine [ one for each state ]. As long as the customer received their magazine all is OK. There were others catalogs that had even more versions [70 +] of the same book.

 

Ken

 

P.S. Or should put back the original crappy parts back on the pen?

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If 51s with mismatched parts are your pens, they are Frankenpens. If they are my pens, they are interesting improvisations.

 

I have replaced parts on a 51 pen from time to time to enhance condition or salability, always using parts correct for the 51 period of manufacture, guided by Ernesto's pages.

 

If you are worried about replacing a part with a better one of the correct period of manufacture, you are being too scrupulous. You are overthinking it. If you are making a hodgepodge of a 51 by using parts from various periods of manufacture, you are screwing up a nice 51, but you might very well like it that way. For your own use it is fine. If you sell it, prepare to be ridiculed by our colleagues here.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

 

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This whole debate works for most P51s. Demis to full size are another animal. But within demis or within full size they still interchange. Great plastic, great caps.

 

However, the half dozen or so Eversharp Skylines I have will not interchange. Anything. Except maybe nibs, and I am not sure that is true... The cheaper plastic shrunk more on the vine, and each cap fits just one body. So it would take more of an expert to frankenpen those up. Probably not impossible, but not with my set of pens and my skill set.

 

Sheaffers are similar to both. Before the war, interchanging possible but doubtful, a lot of variation and many styles. Starting with the touchdowns in the late 40s, much more consistency. So I can change bodies between nib sets almost always for the "later" pens. And do nowadays.

 

Oops, Sheaffers not mentioned. Oh well!

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This whole debate works for most P51s. Demis to full size are another animal. But within demis or within full size they still interchange. Great plastic, great caps.

 

However, the half dozen or so Eversharp Skylines I have will not interchange. Anything. Except maybe nibs, and I am not sure that is true... The cheaper plastic shrunk more on the vine, and each cap fits just one body. So it would take more of an expert to frankenpen those up. Probably not impossible, but not with my set of pens and my skill set.

 

Sheaffers are similar to both. Before the war, interchanging possible but doubtful, a lot of variation and many styles. Starting with the touchdowns in the late 40s, much more consistency. So I can change bodies between nib sets almost always for the "later" pens. And do nowadays.

 

Oops, Sheaffers not mentioned. Oh well!

 

It's good to know what interchanges no matter the maker. You never know when you'll want to do it.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

 

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