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Mystery Dip Pen In Need Of Help


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My dad was cleaning out the back of a cabinet in the bathroom and found an old dip pen which, we assume belonged to someone in the family. The box is in ok shape. The holder, which looks like mother of pearl, looks to be in great shape. The nib is marked Solid Gold 2 and is in need of a good cleaning, but there does not seem to be any cracks or sprung tynes.


I dont know much about dip pens so if anyone knows anything about this pen, please advise. I would love some information on the pen and I really want to clean the nib without damaging it. I did try using it with some of the cheap dip ink I had laying around but it didnt work very well; maybe the ink was old. Is there a beret brand to use?


Thank you, in advance, for your help.



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It looks like a well preserved example of a late 19th century gold dip pen. To clean the nib, I would soak it for a few minutes in a pen cleaning solution (I use Rapido-Eze), then wipe gently and rinse. Try not to get liquid inside the holder, as it's only gold-filled and may corrode. To give the nib a thorough clean, you could try pulling it from the holder, but don't force it if it's wedged tight.


Most fountain pen inks should work with a pen like this. I particularly like the combination of iron gall inks and dip pens.


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There’s a similar pen with a similar nib on eBay this week. It’s definitely worth cleaning up and using. They’re not all flex monsters, but you’ll never know until you take it for a spin.

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Some of us would say that a find like that is equal to winning the lottery.

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Paul, I completely agree. Especially since it connects me to the grandparents I never had the chance to know.

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That would have been a good quality pen, not the highest quality, maybe made by a local jeweler, but not a big name maker regardless. Most likely owned by a woman (pearl handles tended to be seen as such). These pens' value (outside of family value) is in the tipping and the flex, assuming the nib isn't sprung, which it doesn't seem to be from the pictures. If the tipping is intact, it should be a nice, smooth, writer. These could vary greatly in degree of flexibility. But even the stiffer ones still had a decent amount of flex compared to a nail on a fountain pen.


Get some Pelikan 4001 ink, or any dip pen ink, iron gall ink, or walnut ink and try it out. Make sure you wipe it off really well and don't touch the underside to ensure good ink flow.


And congratulations! Your great, or even great-great-grandmother or aunt probably treasured it since they kept the box. Now you can too.


“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."


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