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Ebay And The Limits Of Desire


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There's been a Waterman 52 up on eBay this week: an average pen with what looks like an incredible nib. Impossibly flexy, and accompanied with a page of calligraphy that I couldn't reproduce if I sat in a scriptorium for a decade. I dropped out at $400.00 and the bidding has only gotten fiercer - it'll probably go for at least six bills. I've made many stupid purchases in my time, but I couldn't make myself step over that threshold.




There was another pen on eBay, with a very similar nib. It didn't have the gorgeous writing sample, but I got curious and asked the seller (who's in Spain...how did this thing get there?) if he could produce a writing sample. He did one, blobby and feathered on cheap paper, but the nib! I'm not saying it's as good as the one that's currently rising to the monetary stratosphere, but it looks awfully close and It's going to cost me half as much. It's an old 42 Safety, and I'm probably going to vandalize it by swapping nibs with one of my ringtops so I can make it useful. I can do it for that price and not feel bad about it, as I might otherwise. Moral: be a pest. Ask the guy in Spain to write a bit and send you some snaps.

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I haven't been around pens long enough to be looking in that $$$ range but I recognize that "desire" thing when it comes to artist tools. I'm thinking watercolor brushes... I have seen artists whose work I admire greatly and in trying to learn more about them will sometimes discover which tools they use (brushes). So I make the notes then search the web looking for a source of the magic wand fancy brush that just might change my life, and lo! a price to make Solomon blink!


Then I remind myself that that artist has 30-40 years experience over me. It ain't the brush. So far that logic works and I'm still able to click away.

"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." -Pablo Picasso

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The nib is the same on the Spanish one. Just buy it. The nib has little to do with the calligraphic skills that the other seller has.




Using right now:

Penlux Masterpiece Grande "F" nib running Pelikan Olivine

PenBBS 480 "F" nib running Pelikan Brilliant Brown

Santini Italia Toscana Fifth Avenue "F" nib running PR Blue Suede

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I don't think he posted the pictures. They were convincing, though.

I wouldn't get out my checkbook if it wasn't for the breathtaking flex.


And I want it in a ringtop because I USE ringtops. My 52s don't get used - I'm gonna sell one to my boss.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update...another pen from the same dealer: even more breathtaking. I don't think I can turn over the best part of a grand on something I'd use for simply scribbling in notebooks. I'd have to start writing letters or something that would seem useful.

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