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Sheaffer Centennial Limited Edition 1913 - 2013


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Good evening everyone out in the pen world!


It has been a while since I have done a review, but this weekend I obtained a little gem of a pen. I say little, I mean a baseball bat/club. I digress. Here is an informal review of what we have found.


In short, I have been lucky enough to have pick up an amazing, and truly different writing instrument, totally unexpected. My partner and I were out on a pen shopping expedition to a nice bricks-and-mortar shop we have frequented in the past (penbox uk) in Epworth, UK, to order a pen for my upcoming birthday. This typically involves pen talk, tea in the cafe next door and more pen talk. Invariably, the proprietor/owner, Steve, allows us to handle and dip pens that catch our interest and from time to time pulls out the odd special item he has got stashed in his store room. This time he pulled out an absolute beauty...


Now, I was definitely NOT a Sheaffer person, I love Conway Stewart, Pelikan, TWSBI, stub nibs and the like. I do have a (inexpensive) stainless steel sheaffer with a standard nib, a bit of a nail, functional, but have never thought of going "high end" with Sheaffer.


So. Out came a box. Huge and heavy. Hmmm curiosity. Box opened, very carefully. Oh my. Box contains a Sheaffer box, which contains a suede-like bag with a shiny black lacquered box within. Inside this box was a book, a guarantee, a pen sleeve and, the pen... (also comes with limited edition ink bottle and cartridges).


Phew! So far so good.


Still at this point, I am at the "thanks for showing, but I want a Pelikan/Visconti/Something Else etc etc". That is until the pen was passed into my hand. Oh my. So. Here we go.


First impressions.

Baseball bat, club, heavy, chunky, oh my just looooook at the amount of detail and craftsmanship in this little baby. This is unreal. Thanks again, but I am not buying it. Erm, wait a minute, just LOOK at that inlaid nib! Nope. Still not doing it.


Second impression.

"She who must be obeyed" wanted it. So be it. Wrap back up and purchase. Go home muttering.


Third impression.

Home at last. Cup of tea and time to unbox (again). Nope, had it been me alone I would have not bought this... Oh wait, this DOES feel nice in the hand. The heft is considerable, but VERY balanced. Let me just dip the nib in some Waterman Inspired Blue. Apply nib to paper. Oh. My. This is just nice. No, not nice, really nice. Immediate starter. Smooth. A (hint) of feedback, just enough to let you know it is a nib, but you have to really have a light touch to notice. Hmmmmm.



Ok, so going back a step (trying to slow down a bit). The unboxing experience is for those that like big, expensive boxes, or are collectors of such, will be mega impressed. Presentation is stunning, even better than my Conway Stewart Winston. It is just awesome. However. It is a box, the box will be stored in the garage and the pen is going to be used, not put in a glass case.


Overall Look of the pen.

Everything is relative. For me, it was just the sheer amount of detail, the fact the pen has raised details, looks balanced, I think (capped) it looks what a silver Conway Stewart Churchill would look like. It looks well proportioned and although shiny (made of solid silver) isn't glaring, the edge of the shine is subtle rather than "bling". The section is what made me waver at the purchase. Rather than the typical section and sticky-outy nib (think Pelikan), this is a nicely tapered section which terminates in an inlaid nib. A beautiful inlaid nib. It looks just amazing, but having been brought up with standard type nibs, it took some getting used to. Never had an inlaid nib before. What amazing craftsmanship. The fit is seamless, it feels as if the nib and section were just made from the same material, the joint is so smooth.


The nib.

As above, it is an inlaid nib. Not everyones cup of tea, but it is a work of art. 18k gold, palladium plated, medium tipped. Looking through the loupe reveals a generous amount of tipping material, even and well finished (no babys bottom). I have had a Pelikan M1000 with the tip off-centre, Pelikan should have a look at these and maybe take notes. I am firmly a B, BB or stub fan, but this is a medium. I love it. I wish it was a BB, but variety they say is the spice of life, well, this is a medium but flows as wet and smooth as a B or BB, but lays down a nice medium line. Nice.


The cap.

Big, heavy, detailed. Takes one and a half full turns to remove. I like it. The clip, at first I thought was cheap, I am not 100% sure if it is silver or not. It could be, BUT, looking underneath the tip of the clip, there appears to be a small ball to facilitate fitting in a shirt pocket smoothly and is a different shade to the clip-proper. The clip "may" be silver. I think the clip, being simple, does in fact work with the design, despite its "austere" look, but I still think it looks cheap, especially the plastic white dot. Sorry Sheaffer fans, it's just how I feel. It is growing on me though.


Posting the cap.

Don't. it is solid silver, it is heavy and posts really shallow. Stand it on your desk, hold it in your hand, use it as a doorstop. Don't post it. it totally wrecks the balance of the pen.


Filling system.

Plus points. Cartridge converter, takes Sheaffer carts and converters, the converter is fitted already, a couple of boxes of carts and a bottle of limited edition ink also supplied. Minus points. The converter looks as cheap as any other standard converter, really. I don't mind it not being a piston filler, but hey, at this price point, a higher quality converter would have been a nice touch, one that could be pulled apart to lubricate. Not sure if it can be pulled apart, not tried it, but it doesn't look so.


The section.

Never had an inlaid nib before, so the section profile was weird. This is what put me off in the shop. I though it looked stunning, but to my eye it didn't look right. Conflict. A couple of days later, a few pages of A4/Legal and why aren't all sections made this way??? Hey it still looks weird, but it works and works well. Like I said, this is not destined to live in a box or in glass case, it is in my laptop bag and is an every day writer. Note to collectors, this will look stunning in a glass case with a nice led light, highlighting the incredible finish. Although not a collector per se, I do understand the collecting hobby and fully respect it. Horses for courses.


So what now?

Well, having been shown the pen in the shop and not selecting it for myself, my partner being the culprit, it actually migrated to my work bag faster than any pen in history. It is a daily writer, it is smooth, wet and very balanced despite it's weight. I will be using other pens, but I feel this is now in my permanent rotation. Anyone wanting one, don't buy it on spec/online, get to a real shop and get it in the hand. It truly is the only way to do this. All that is left is to get a suitable replacement to give to my partner. (as I write this she is on the phone chuckling at me).



Cost. Ouch. I mean, the RRP is obscene. The web prices are not that much better, but when the ACTUAL price was a quarter or that on the internet, I think some sort of artificial price inflation is at hand. Not complaining, just sit i a comfy chair and google the price.


Writing Sample.

I have done a very quick scrawl just to show that it is truly a medium line. The weight makes a dramatic difference to the handwriting and does take some adjusting to, so profound apologies that my sample really does the pen a real injustice...



Just a few snaps, show and tell. Hope you like.




I have pasted the manufacturers spec below, taken from the Sheaffer site.



Limited Edition features relief engraved images of Walter A. Sheaffer, his son and successor Craig R. Sheaffer, and the first Sheaffer factory in Fort Madison. Sheaffer® Centennial Limited Edition is limited worldwide to 45 Gold Fountain Pens, representing Walter A. Sheaffer’s age at the time he founded the company, and 516 Sterling Silver Fountain Pens, representing the official date of incorporation. All instruments bear a hallmark from the Assay Office of London, guaranteeing purity and fineness of the gold.

  • Limited to 45 Solid 18k Solid Gold fountain pens and 516 Sterling Silver fountain pens
  • Sheaffer's exclusive inlaid nib in 18K gold with or without palladium plate
  • 2mm diamond replaces the White Dot® on the solid gold fountain pen
  • Each individual instrument features engraved serial number on end of barrel
  • Sheaffer® White Dot®, the trademark symbol of writing excellence is featured on clip of Sterling Silver instrument
  • All Sheaffer® Centennial Limited Edition writing instruments are packaged in a luxury gift box with a black lacquered finish
  • Complete with protective bag for gift box, black leather pen pouch, one bottle of Sheaffer® Skrip® Ink, two shelf packs of Sheaffer® Skrip® ink cartridges, certificate of authenticity, and commemorative booklet




Never try and teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and annoys the pig

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the comments Guys. Just as an update, the pen is indeed in daily use and despite the weight, is very balanced in the hand. Also surprisingly, it performs really well on cheap A4 copier paper, which is perfect when annotating printed reports at work.


Still using Waterman Inspired blue in it, as it just seems to play nice and I think the colour suits silver pens.


Best Regards.



Never try and teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and annoys the pig

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