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A Good Parker Vacumatic Online Auction Find?



Sttanley
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Hi!


I'm thinking about buying a Parker Vacumatic from an online aution. But despite my feeble attempts at learning more about Vacumatics, I couldn't come up with an appropriate value for this piece. The seller only provided the 3 pictures below - I don't know the dimensions, nor usability of the pen. The clip is sprung and there is a shadow on the left side of the nib that made me think that maybe it's damaged. The price is now at around 20€ and will maybe go up.


The question is: Do you think it's worth the current price tag and maybe a bit more?



Thank you for your thoughts.



https://imgur.com/a/F0B744f


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You don't explain exactly why you have the hots for a Vacumatic - as opposed to a Parker 51 Aerometric, for example, assuming you're keen on the Parker brand. There's a big following for the Vacs. and a book devoted specifically to this model, and well worth the money it is too.

Of course, no one should dissuaded you from buying any particular pen if this is what floats your boat, but as no doubt you're aware, the Vac. would not be considered a beginners pen, however nice it is when up and running well - Vacs. lack the simplicity of later Parker aeros.

The price you mention would be more than acceptable for most people here, provided the pen needs little more than fine tuning and some ink, but if the internals need renewing etc., and you aren't into home repairs, then the expense starts to climb.

If you're new to f.ps. then my advice might be to start with something less complex and when you've cut your teeth then move on to Vacs.

At the end of the day what something is worth is what people are prepared to pay, and this is related to their passion and depth of pocket.

Ask questions of the seller if you can, and depending on the replies you will get an idea as to the genuineness of this pen.

Good luck, and if you do win the pen come back and tell us more :)

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It’s a very nice Green double jeweled Vac with Parker arrow nib. Everything you show, matches and looks original. The price is reasonable. The clip can be straightened. From the pics it does not look as if the nib is damaged. It has a patina and maybe some plating loss from age and use.

Like Paul said, it’s the internals that should be of some concern. If you are capable of replacing the sac and any other internal parts, then I would grab this pen in a heartbeat.

If there are pen repair shops in your area that’s another option.

You might ask the seller about the condition of the internals and sac. My guess is that at that price, the insides have not been refurbished.

I have a brown pen and pencil set similar to this design without the feather nib, and several P-51 vacs.

I have always been very careful and conservative in how I treat my Vacs and which inks I put in them. They are great writers.

Well, just some things to think about. I would buy it and refurbish it. But that’s me. I would not buy it for an everyday carry around pen. More stay at home and enjoy writing with type pen. Good luck with your decision.

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Thank you for your answers. I have not yet decided whether I want to go for it.

I’ve read up a bit about the Vac repair process and it’s definitely outside my capabilities. I doubt that the pen will be in usable state and the seller is unresponsive to any questions.

I’m not really sure how expensive would the restoration be, but it would probably cost me too much to repair it in forseeable future. I live in Europe and my guess is somwhere up to 150€ for polishing and clip and internal restoration?

About why I want this pen - I just liked it since the first time I saw the photos. The striped pattern just kind of cliked with me. And the idea of an old, quality Parker pen rings nicely with me.

 

If you're new to f.ps. then my advice might be to start with something less complex and when you've cut your teeth then move on to Vacs.

At the end of the day what something is worth is what people are prepared to pay, and this is related to their passion and depth of pocket.

As you guessed, I’m quite new to fountain pens and I too think I’m kind of out of my depth here. But I’m afraid that I won’t have another chance to get this pen at such a price (the ebay prices go in hundreds of dollars as far as I’ve seen).

And I found that I like the look of it too much - I’ll probably want one in the future either way.

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It looks like a Vacumatic Slender Lock down, so about 116 mm. I would expect you to be able to get it repaired for about half your figure.

 

Vacumatics are very nice pens to own. Usually the nib will be non flex.

 

For me Vacs have a class that 51's just can't match. Go for it!

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If you can afford it, buy the pen and set about getting it repaired as your wallet permits. I know what it’s like to find that special pen. You will regret letting this one go.

There are lots of good quality low cost pens to get you by as everyday writers until you get this one up and running. You’ve done the research and know what a properly restored vac like this sells for. you won’t spend more repairing it, than it will sell it for, if you choose.

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Hi!

So, in the end I went for it and entered the bidding... and won. The price wasn't small - 44€ - and the pen is... in questionable state. But I still have 2 weeks to return it if I want to!
The pictures and descriptions are in the imgur link here:

The pen is 13 cm long and I can feel and hear something ratling inside (I suppose those are the diaphragm remains, I hope nothing worse). The nib has some flex to it I think. From what I heard, Vacumatics are supposed to be tough as a nail, and this one definitely isn't. It has more flex to it than my Lamy 2k and a lot more than my cheap Chinese pens. Though I have almost no experience in softness of nibs.

 

https://imgur.com/a/lnqGmtq

 

The damage:
- The nib! Oh the nib!
- Filling mechanism - the diaphragm is almost certainly busted and the metal parts seem to be... broken. And I'm not sure how much.
- Bent clip
- The metal ring around the diamond on the lockdown-end seems to be a bit loose and can be spinned around. (By the way, is the diamond here supposed to be black?)
- Some minor scratching
- One bigger, but still almost invisible, indentation.


If you'd be so kind, I have several question I'd need help with:
1.) What kind of vacumatic do you think this is? The best I got is some kind of Canadian Standard Lockdown filler.
2.) Do you know any place that could repair this kind of damage? (I live in Europe)
3.) What is your price estimate of a repair like this?
4.) Do you think it's wort it from a price standpoint? I wonder if I could reliably buy a repaired Vacumatic like this for a smaller price than the whole cost of this one.


Thank you a lot! :)

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Sounds like it may be a bit much for you. The pics you just showed us are quite different from the initial pics. I feel badly for encouraging you to buy it. You might want to return it. Then having a little more first Hand knowledge, keep looking for the right pen for you.

I wish I could refer you to someone in Europe that could help you. I just don’t know of any pen repair people over there.

Don’t give up though. Keep looking. You never know when that special pen will appear right in front of you.

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The symbol is an anchor in a circle. The pen was sold by Christian Olsen in the Danish market.

 

The diamonds are not diamonds but jewels and are correct. The metal ring is the tassie and is held down by the jewel. No issue to fix.

 

The nib seems repairable.

 

The divot might be a burn mark and can be improved cosmetically.

 

The filler is rough but most likely can be saved and made workable.

 

Always assume a Vacumatic will need to have the diaphragm replaced.

 

If you paid something like $50 you did fine even after the repairs. In the US a rebuild and nib repair would run 50-75. If the filler can’t be saved you would need a replacement. Lockdowns are 35-50 depending on condition.

San Francisco International Pen Show - They have dates! August 23-24-25, 2019 AND August 28-29-30, 2020. Book your travel and tables now! My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

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The lockdown filler looks to be demaged. Does it lock down when you push the plunger all the way down and spin it clockwise?

Edited by mitto

Khan M. Ilyas

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even in the light of the various defects/damage, I'd suggest that your purchase price was value for money - what in fact you have paid money for is not so much a pen but the experience from which you have (hopefully) learned a lesson - and this lesson is to be cautious about blind purchases. We all make mistakes - even those of us who should know better, and you do have the option of keeping the pen and restoring it as and when you have the funds, or return for a refund now.

As the guys here have said, most of the issues can in fact be put right, though at the end of the day it will cost you more than had you bought a fully working equivalent model, in the first place.

Who knows, it you stick with this hobby and given some time you may actually learn enough to repair this pen yourself, and if you do the cost of repair will be less than sending to a professional.

You might consider buying a copy of the 4th edition of the Marshall & Oldfield Pen Repair Manual - apart from helping you to understand some basics of restoration, the book is a very interesting read.

Wish you luck whether keep the pen or return. :)

 

just to add: The Reg. No. 784404 on the clip 'tassie' was allocated to Parker around mid 1933 by the British Board of Trade, and provided legal protection, within the U.K., for Parker's clip design for an initial five year period. This system of Design Registration has been going in the U.K. since 1840, and it was possible to extend the protection beyond the initial five years, but no idea if Parker did in fact go for the extension. According to the book, this feather design had already been the subject of a design patent, in the States, in 1932, and the clip was destined for the Vacumatic. Occasionally, British Board of Trade Registration Nos., from the first third of the C20, can be seen on accommodation clips.

See picture attached re 784404.

post-125342-0-21499800-1538494580_thumb.jpg

Edited by PaulS
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Thank you all! :)

 

Sounds like it may be a bit much for you. The pics you just showed us are quite different from the initial pics. I feel badly for encouraging you to buy it. You might want to return it. Then having a little more first Hand knowledge, keep looking for the right pen for you.
Don’t give up though. Keep looking. You never know when that special pen will appear right in front of you.

Don't feel bad at all! The risk was calculated, it just didn't work out in the end. I'll probably just return it and look for a more suitable pen for me.

What a shame though! It's the first time I've seen a Vacumatic in person and the colors are truly beautiful.

 

 

If you paid something like $50 you did fine even after the repairs. In the US a rebuild and nib repair would run 50-75. If the filler can’t be saved you would need a replacement. Lockdowns are 35-50 depending on condition.

I did assume that the diaphragm will need to be replaced, it was the nib and the locking mechanism that surprised me. I live in Czech republic, so I suppose a full repair (nib+diaphragm+locking mechanism+clip) would cost even more than a restored pen like that.

 

 

The lockdown filler looks to be demaged. Does it lock down when you push the plunger all the way down and spin it clockwise?

Yes it does lock down. It just seems that the repeated usage has eroded the notches into this state. It feels clunky though, and gets stuck a lot during full extension.

 

PaulS, thank you very much. I hope that I've learned something too! To be honest, I wouldn't buy the pen for this price if there wasn't the option of returning it. It was a risk and a learning experience of how much can go wrong with so little information provided from the seller.

I'm afraid that repairing the pen myself is not an option for me, at least in the forseeable future. Moreover, fountain pens are more of a leisure hobby for me, and seeing the pen in that state for a long time would just make me frustrated.

And thank your for the meaning of the number on the clip! I was wondering what it meant.

 

I'll think about it for a day or two and probably just return it. It was an experience, if nothing more.

Edited by Sttanley
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Good decision. Do return it and buy a restored one from a reputable dealer if in case you still want one.

Edited by mitto

Khan M. Ilyas

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And if only eBay sellers would post decent, clear, comprehensive photos, prospective buyers who are new to vintage pens could make informed decisions. If the OP had seen the true state of the nib and the lockdown system, would he have made a different decision? Sellers offer to take returns through gritted teeth, but here, I think he's the one to blame. They were unhelpfully incomplete photos.

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None of the identified issues on this pen worry me.

 

I’d think to buy the same pen restored from a dealer would run 175-200.

San Francisco International Pen Show - They have dates! August 23-24-25, 2019 AND August 28-29-30, 2020. Book your travel and tables now! My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

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There is nothing terminal that I can see. I think the lock down jewel should be the same as on the cap. They are notorious for getting lost. I see a lot of them for sale without the blind cap jewel.

The Olsen symbol adds to the value.

With the quality of your photos someone like Eric Wilson (Eckiethump here) should be able to give a fairly accurate estimate for repairing your pen

Edited by peterg
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On US pens the blind cap jewel is found as striped and black noting replcements happen.

San Francisco International Pen Show - They have dates! August 23-24-25, 2019 AND August 28-29-30, 2020. Book your travel and tables now! My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

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inkstainedruth

And if only eBay sellers would post decent, clear, comprehensive photos, prospective buyers who are new to vintage pens could make informed decisions. If the OP had seen the true state of the nib and the lockdown system, would he have made a different decision? Sellers offer to take returns through gritted teeth, but here, I think he's the one to blame. They were unhelpfully incomplete photos.

 

I've had mixed results on eBay with Vacs.

Got a 3rd Generation Silver Pearl Major in good shape (didn't even need to have the diaphragm replaced). I got a Brown Shadow Wave that had a big crack in the cap (in spite of the seller telling another potential bidder that he wasn't finding anything wrong). And I got Emerald Pearl that had a bad nib and which bounced back and forth for the better part of a month when I tried to return it (and which involved increasingly hysterical messages to the seller and increasingly heated phone calls to the USPS). And then, six months after I finally got it back to the seller and got my money back, I found a BETTER Emerald Pearl -- a Speedline filler Junior with striped jewels and section -- for less money at the Ohio Pen Show that year. Go figure.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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For what it is worth, one can see the nib damage in the original pictures and the OP indicated possible nib damage.

 

Sometimes there is a bit of responsibility on the buyer as well as the seller.

 

I still think the price was not out of line.

San Francisco International Pen Show - They have dates! August 23-24-25, 2019 AND August 28-29-30, 2020. Book your travel and tables now! My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

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