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Colonel Jake
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Hello P-51 Enthusiasts,

 

I recently got a "1950s black barrel with lustraloy cap Parker 51 aero filler, 14ct gold OB/ITALIC nib, made in UK" from eBay.

 

This is my first P51 and only my second eBay purchase; so when it arrived, I contained the excitement by immediately inspecting the pen with a loupe.

 

I've done some research beforehand, so I would check the marks on the pen and compare it with the available internet info/literature on this pen, including the seller's general description in quotes above.

 

One limitation on my inspection is that I couldn't check the markings on (I believe) its oblique med/broad stub nib, since I just cannot take the risk of disassembling it at this point of my inexperience. Based on what I have seen, I'm bothered by one thing at the moment, about which I just couldn't get credible and direct info - there is no indication anywhere on the pen, where it was manufactured. [i've attached some pics of the pen below.]

 

post-113862-0-60664600-1407306680_thumb.jpg

post-113862-0-08079900-1407306701_thumb.jpg

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post-113862-0-46683600-1407306731_thumb.jpg

post-113862-0-36282900-1407306748.jpg

 

It's been mentioned in one of the threads here in FPN that one mark of a UK made P51 is a hole at the end of the barrel (which this pen has). It's also been metioned a number of times that there is not much information on the UK made P51s, unlike the US made ones. This, unfortunately, seems true!

 

Would like to ask for your help identifyting this P51's most probable provenance. Please let me also know other technical issues that you may notice about it.

 

Many thanks in advance!

 

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checking the nib would not confirm much, given that you have no way of knowing if it is original to the pen.

 

I would start from the other direction...

 

a). you have a pen that works well and is in good cosmetic condition

 

B). is there any reason to doubt it is a UK made example (and would it make a difference if it was)

 

There is a good book on the P51 by the UK based collector David Shepherd. I am sure this is still available.

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If it is made in England and of the years when Parker did show that on the pen, it will be around the opposite side of the 'Parker' word on the cap.

My only '51' is from about 1958 and looks like this....

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The "Made in England" marking on the cap is more common on later Mark I models. The most likely place is, as daffie says, on the barrel below the clutch ring. This will probably also show the date code (but these markings can be rubbed out on a well used pen). David Sheppherd devotes 5 pages to English 51s.

Whatever, your pen looks 100%. Enjoy!

Peter

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That pen looks Quite clean to me.

 

I can understand the simple curiosity of just wondering, but considering that nib and the remaining condition of the pen, I wouldn't let it Concern me.

 

While I can't account for the no England on the cap, perhaps the barrel was replaced at some time with a factory replacement barrel which I believe were unmarked. (They certainly were undated.)

 

Or some moron could have polished the barrel inscription All the way Off. :angry:

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl-who hopes to be Correctly polishing a Plummer in the next couple days

 

 

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Thanks for all the feedback.

 

I posted my concern in the hopes of verifying if the UK made P51s ever came out with unmarked barrels, ever.

I understand that it may be quite difficult to get to the bottom of this.

 

Daffie/ Mike59/ Matlock,

 

The only markings on this pen are the ones in the photos I uploaded. No "Made in England" mark, nor any date code on any part of the pen.

Yes, it could've been rubbed out if it was originally below the clutch ring on the barrel, but it's a pretty clean rub out and I'll never know.

 

Northlodge, I've heard about the David Sheperd book. Still thinking about that.

It matters to me, to know if the item I purchased is what the seller claims it to be, to help me dispel any doubts about the seller's reputation (at the very least, especially on eBay). Other than that, I just want to learn more about my new pen.

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I have one of those English P51s with the OM nib. That nib is quite amazing with great line variation and very smooth. Mine is burgundy with rolled silver cap but yours looks quite nice too. Congratulations on snagging such a great pen. The best source to estimate age of p51 is Ernesto Solar's website. He has a parker 51 chronology page that is very useful. If you search FPN you will find it.

 

According to my recollection, with the breather hole on the bottom, that likely places it 1960 or before (both pre-1960 US and UK models have holes on the bottom). The next step on dating would be to check whether the squeeze converter says super chrome. If it does, then it's likely 1957 or earlier. But from what you show in pictures, I don't see that it has this word. If it does not, then it's between 1957 and 1960. If there is a halo on the cap, then as stated above its even closer to 1960. Not sure significance of having made in England on the cap with regard to dating, mine does say this but it's a rolled silver cap,different from yours.

 

I've heard that the last year for date codes on English parker was 1955. So check on the barrel for one. If none then this may be another indication that it's 1955-60. Mine did not have date codes on the barrel and it's definitely an English barrel with the unique bloody red color and it was almost NOS when I got it so the codes were not rubbed off. So Its pretty clear to me that later 1950s English parker 51s do not necessarily have date codes.

 

All of this assumes that the parts have not been switched around. Again, congratulations on getting a great pen, enjoy!

Edited by cellmatrix
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Thanks, Bruce. I have come across the "factory replacement barrels" idea in one of the threads here. Glad you brought that up.

Yes, a moron could certainly be the cause of my "simple curiosity'. :lol:

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I have two Black English 51s with Lustraloy caps. Neither has "Made in England" on the cap. This was common practice with the early Lustraloy cap pens before the halo trade mark was used. One has "MADE IN ENGLAND" 4 on the barrel, the other one has the lettering worn and all that can be made out is what looks to be a D. The barrel is otherwise unworn. Depending how you hold a pen this is one area that would get the most ware. It is unlikely that the squeeze housing would say "Super Chrome" as this was more widely used on USA pens.

Peter

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Thanks, Cellmatrix. Yes, you're right; the nib is quite a pleasure to write with. I think I should congratulate you.

f I'm not mistaken, you've got an exclusively English-made pen (with the rolled silver cap).

Appreciate the guidelines on dating the pen. Based on those, I'm inclined to believe that this is probably a 1957-1959.

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It is unlikely that the squeeze housing would say "Super Chrome" as this was more widely used on USA pens.

I did not know that, thanks for this info!

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If I'm not mistaken, you've got an exclusively English-made pen (with the rolled silver cap).

 

 

The rolled Silver caps are lined similar to the Gold filled caps, this one isn't. They also say RSilver on the bottom edge, on the side near the backside.

 

This is a Lustraloy cap with just most of the original frosting worn off.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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The rolled Silver caps are lined similar to the Gold filled caps, this one isn't. They also say RSilver on the bottom edge, on the side near the backside.

 

This is a Lustraloy cap with just most of the original frosting worn off.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

Hi Bruce, I think Jake was not referring to his own pen but was saying that my p51 was exclusively English. Anyway, I guess its time for a gratuitous picture of my pen (Jake not trying to steal your thunder, just adding to it), which has the same really amazing medium oblique nib as the OP, but the rolled silver cap, (which by the way says RSilver on the edge) and the bloody red color would indeed put it in the exclusively english made category. No date code on the barrel but I estimate its manufacturing date is probably about the same 1957-1960 time period as Jake's pen, cheers

post-57071-0-30514100-1403453224.jpg

Edited by cellmatrix
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Sorry for my misunderstanding then. :blush:

 

I have the same pen as you Cellmatrix, 'cept mine doesn't have that neat nib, just a regular UK one.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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One limitation on my inspection is that I couldn't check the markings on (I believe) its oblique med/broad stub nib, since I just cannot take the risk of disassembling it at this point of my inexperience.

 

I disassembled my first 51 the day I got it. Really, there's no risk involved since the pen is a sturdy little thing and very resilient. The nib on my UK 51 does state that it was made there.
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certainly looks like a English ( wink) P51 to me, based on the cap, and the larger nib size. English P51 were stamped until late 1955, much later than USA P51s, and i,ve even seen gold filed signet P51 stamped 1959 before. So I,d estimate your pen is dated from 1956 to approx 1965, when they moved the vent hole to the side of the barrel, with the caveat that all the parts you have are original to the pen.

 

the nib may be dated on your pen, so worth a look - but I,d advise extreme care with the heat gun, as some of these old English P51 hoods really are stuborn, and dont come off easily ( i melted one and the feed inside on my first attempt, to my horror!).

 

i,ve also noted that the finger clutch ( inside the cap) was introduced in about 1962, and from 1964 '51' was printed on the caps and the cap lip was removed ( yours has a lip), but these dates are only a guide, as Parker used up old stock and there was never a clear transition, especially in England Newhaven factory. in 1960 the new parker halo sign was added to p51 caps

 

also from 1965, a one piece filler sleeve was introduced ( yours has ablack plastic end piece) - again not definative evidence, just a guide

 

hope this helps, i should get round to posting all these snippets of information one day, so that others can comment and compare

 

cheers, paul

Edited by sherbie
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Thanks for all the other insights!

 

Bruce, no problem.

 

Thanks for the clarification, Cellmatrix. Nice pen and writing sample! Posting another one myself, for comparative purposes...

 

post-113862-0-44653100-1407385507_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

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Perth/ Paul,



I know I will eventually tinker with and disassemble this 51, especially when I run into ink flow issues; but not just yet. By then, I will be able to check the nib markings. As previously pointed out, however, any markings of a pen's origin on its nib will still not be a definitive answer to the question of the pen's provenance, since this part of the pen has been so easily changed or swapped over the decades. But yes, it will be nice to know where the nib was made.


Thanks for the date guidelines, Paul.

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Thanks for the clarification, Cellmatrix. Nice pen and writing sample! Posting another one myself, for comparative purposes...

Looks very similar to my nib Jake. It took me a while to learn how to orient the oblique nib, but once you get the hang of it, you can achieve some very thin 45 degree lines. If you want to get the full impact of the line variation, try cursive italic or bookhand type of handwriting, I bet you would like it. Enjoy!

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