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What Is "user Grade?"


Mardi13
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What, exactly, makes a pen a "user grade" pen? I see this term all the time, and am sure it applies to most of my pens...is there a specified amount of wear on an older pen that puts it in this category? Or something unusual like a really deep scratch or a personalization or a cap that doesn't quite fit? I'm asking for knowledge, but I'm also asking because, if I decide to sell any of my pens, I want to be able to describe them properly. Thanks.

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User grade means basically that the pen may have some unsightly cosmetic defects or imperfections (ie: chew marks etc) but that it still writes well, fills well, isn't ruined in terms of functionality (ie: the cap isn't all cocked-eyed and colliding into the nib, nib not all bent out of shape, or feed isn't flowing, etc).

 

Not something a collector would particularly care about, or someone looking for minty.

 

You could have a gouging scratch and still be user grade if it doesn't affect the functionality.

 

In terms of selling, I wouldn't try to sum it down to buzz words, just list what's wrong with it, what works, if there's scratches or "normal wear and tear", just mention them.

Edited by KBeezie
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So it would be something more than what would be called "reasonable" or "normal" wear?

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So it would be something more than what would be called "reasonable" or "normal" wear?

Normal wear in my opinion is light surface scratches maybe a small ding or so (which you'd still need to mention and where). A Deep scratch is 'damage' in my opinion and should be mentioned without hiding behind "reasonable wear". You want to be specific as a seller because it'll come back to you if you're not.

 

Don't summarize, be specific. One person's normal or reasonable is another person's poor-to-fair condition without specifics you have a lot of varying interpretations, plus clear pictures always helps.

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So it would be something more than what would be called "reasonable" or "normal" wear?

 

 

User grade means basically that the pen may have some unsightly cosmetic defects or imperfections (ie: chew marks etc) but that it still writes well, fills well, isn't ruined in terms of functionality (ie: the cap isn't all cocked-eyed and colliding into the nib, nib not all bent out of shape, or feed isn't flowing, etc).

 

Not something a collector would particularly care about, or someone looking for minty.

 

You could have a gouging scratch and still be user grade if it doesn't affect the functionality.

 

In terms of selling, I wouldn't try to sum it down to buzz words, just list what's wrong with it, what works, if there's scratches or "normal wear and tear", just mention them.

I think there is no fixed "legal" - and if so: what jurisdiction - definition, just an effort to give a fair description of the item.

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I've been on a vintage pen hype lately, and based on my experience, the definition of the term "user grade" varies quite a bit. It can mean anything from a BCHR pen's chasing being worn smooth to, as mentioned above, a gigantic battlescar that leaves the pen looking like a Frankenstein's monster, so long as the pen still writes well. I once came across a flex nib that had a crack running from the breather hole into the body of the nib, and it was still classified as a "user grade" pen; the pen can be used, so long as it's not overflexed.

 

I agree that it's more or less a buzzword that says little about the actual condition of the item. You can use it at your own discretion, but make sure to be detailed in listing down the characteristics of the pen that make you describe it as such :)


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 consider cap marks or brassing to be user grade. Maybe light scuffs or dings, discolouration. Something that shows it has been used with care.

 

Chew marks or large dents or deep scratches I consider to be cosmetic damage, not "use with care". Like a lower form of user grade.

 

Then there are wrecks. Missing inner caps, missing clips, deformation, cracks, missing trim. These are for S/R, but unfortuantly there are some sellers that think otherwise.

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I agree with KB, when in doubt, mention it in the sales listing.

 

Transparent truthiness is Always the best policy.

 

Bruce in a Ocala, Fl

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User grade, to me, means maybe I can afford it.

Grace and Peace are already yours because God is the Creator of all of life and Jesus Christ the Redeemer of each and every life.

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What, exactly, makes a pen a "user grade" pen? I see this term all the time, and am sure it applies to most of my pens...is there a specified amount of wear on an older pen that puts it in this category? Or something unusual like a really deep scratch or a personalization or a cap that doesn't quite fit? I'm asking for knowledge, but I'm also asking because, if I decide to sell any of my pens, I want to be able to describe them properly. Thanks.

 

User Grade:

 

A pen that has substantial wear* or other issues..*such as discoloration, brassing, worn or missing imprints,

some parts may not be original or missing, dings scratches, damage other than normal wear should be

noted in detail in description of the pen. Pen may be mechanically sound in working order or only for

parts. Ask detailed questions if buyin' and give detailed description if sellin' and don't forget quality

photographs......

 

Fred

Billy Connolly's Route 66

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Thanks, all for the input. Some things mentioned here I wouldn't have considered downgrading a pen to user grade, but others do. So it seems there is a bit of subjectivity. That's all fine, if I sell a pen I will do my best to provide as accurate a description as I can, and good photos.

 

In fact, it seems dangerous even to label a pen one is selling as "user grade" in a listing, because what might make it so varies so much. So I wouldn't use the term at all, just give a fair and clear description.

 

On the same track, does "minty" mean "totally perfect?"

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i am of the opinion that if its missing a clip or some of its bands it is still a user grade pen. even a pen without a lever box can still be used as a coin filler. as long as the deformations do not get in the way of the pen writing the way it should its ok to list it as user grade. the problems should definitely be described when sold as well.

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Minty is a Very subjective word.

 

To ME it means used, but with no obvious evidence of having been so.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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I think you nailed it down pretty solid for sellers, Bruce, with your comment on transparency being the best policy! Your reputation in selling is worth a hundred pens, no matter the cost. I would FAR rather have someone be surprised that a ding isn't as bad as they thought, and think they got a killer deal, than have someone unhappy with the condition of the item they received. You might lose a buck or two on a sale, but you'll gain FAR more with a reputation for being a good, honest seller! Goes for selling ANYTHING, not just pens.

 

Be honest, be clear, and be as descriptive as you possibly can. Photos from all angles, trying to show anything out-of-the-ordinary as best as you possibly can will really help, too. Good photos sell items!

 

EDIT: Oh yeah, that on-topic bit! To me, a "User grade" pen is one with cosmetic flaws of greater or lesser degree, that may range up to Verdun-level scarring, but do not effect function in any way. It should still be fully mechanically sound, and write well!

Edited by Komitadjie
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To me user grade means a pen which works just fine but which I am not afraid to use for fear of denting, scratching, etc.

 

For example, one of my main pens is a 51 vac with a gold cap. I use it all the time, carry it around at work, on trips, its in my shirt pocket or portfolio a lot. If the cap was perfect I would not do so. The gold is worn off in spots around the bottom, and there is a small dent, so I am not worried I will devalue the pen in any way by my use or handling.

 

Same with the couple of Esterbrooks I use regularly, no clips. A silver Vac I love and use has teeth marks on the blind cap. I have a couple of Parker 50s in my storage case, but the one I use has a scratch on the top of the nib. None of these defects affect function.

 

Wow, I just realized that except for some 45s, all the pens I use regularly are User Grade :)

 

As far as what User Grade means on eBay, ignore that term, look at the photos and description and make your own judgement.

 

Brian

One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.

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To me user grade means a pen which works just fine but which I am not afraid to use for fear of denting, scratching, etc.

For example, one of my main pens is a 51 vac with a gold cap. I use it all the time, carry it around at work, on trips, its in my shirt pocket or portfolio a lot. If the cap was perfect I would not do so. The gold is worn off in spots around the bottom, and there is a small dent, so I am not worried I will devalue the pen in any way by my use or handling.

Same with the couple of Esterbrooks I use regularly, no clips. A silver Vac I love and use has teeth marks on the blind cap. I have a couple of Parker 50s in my storage case, but the one I use has a scratch on the top of the nib. None of these defects affect function.

Wow, I just realized that except for some 45s, all the pens I use regularly are User Grade :)

As far as what User Grade means on eBay, ignore that term, look at the photos and description and make your own judgement.

Brian

Slightly off topic, but from what I've seen most 'user grade' pens on ebay and other auction sites won't be listed as such. They'll be listed as 'good'' or 'very good' condition. I recently bought a pen from a reputable dealer that was listed as 'very good' but was definitely more like 'user grade' condition, with deep scratches--potentially cracks--and a burn mark that weren't disclosed in the description or visible in the angles chosen for the ad's images. In that case price is one of the only give-aways of the pen's condition. Asking for more pictures of all sides in good lighting is also a good idea if in doubt. Edited by paloma32

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I would say something that has a minor wear, but doesn't affect the functionality.

Maybe some scratch marks.

-William S. Park

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane. - Graham Greene

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