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Vintage Waterman Prices Are Confusing To Me.



Addertooth
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I have recently started collecting vintage (and some more recent) fountain pens. I have snagged some Waterman, Montblanc, and Parkers. The prices on the Montblanc and Parker pens seem very predictable, almost as if the price is established by formula.

Waterman Vintage pens seem to vary wildly, depending upon the time of day, and which way the wind is blowing. I have tried to figure out what colors are common, and which are harder to find. I have tried to train my eyes on how to tell the colors apart, depending upon the level of fading it has had. There are clearly some nib preferences which are showing in the prices, with the more plyable flex nibs garnering better prices.

The silver clad versions of the pens are very odd. Many times they are going for scarcely more than a faded and mismatched celluloid-only verson of the same pen (and in a common color no less). Other times, I see the seller demanding prices for sterling overlays pens which make me wonder if it is silver plated over gold (humor attempted).

 

Even after reviewing thousands of listings today, the focus has only slightly improved. But I did find a few which showed obvious signs they wanted to come home to me. I have been told that one of the reference books has prices which are highly dated, and not to be relied upon.

 

Even the most basic question eludes me. General numbers in the industry indicate the sale of fountain pens have seen a gentle increase of the past few years. Is the same true of vintage pens? Or is it a case that older guys who want the vintage pens are dying off, and creating a glut on the used market for vintage pens... I clearly have no reference for this, as I am new to this game. If anyone could share their opinion or view on these questions, it would be greatly appreciated. For the moment, I am a bit stumped, and don't know if I am getting great deals, or playing a rube.

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I have several Waterman pens, mostly vintage, so here are my answers:

 

General numbers in the industry indicate the sale of fountain pens have seen a gentle increase of the past few years. Is the same true of vintage pens?

 

To what data are you referring? I have none.

 

 

Or is it a case that older guys who want the vintage pens are dying off, and creating a glut on the used market for vintage pens...

 

I'm not dead yet.

 

 

For the moment, I am a bit stumped, and don't know if I am getting great deals, or playing a rube.

 

Do you like the pens? Are your finances in order? Are you happy?

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Multiple links on growth of fountain pen market....

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=0eMSXcXQBIiE8AP-0I_gDw&q=growth+in+fountain+pen+market&oq=growth+in+fountain+pen+market&gs_l=psy-ab.3..33i22i29i30l7.3044.10849..12224...1.0..0.160.3316.12j18......0....1..gws-wiz.....6..35i39j0i131j0j0i22i30j0i22i10i30j33i10.Va2wAMdIXc0

 

Fortunately, I am still quite alive as well. But I do see a fair number of older pens in conditions which range from Curated Care, to left in a drawer for 80 years up for sale on multiple sites. It is hard to imagine that all of these pens have been recently found and restored in the past few weeks.

 

I will admit to loving pens, I have used fountain pens for years, but they were modern pens (Graf Faber Castell, Lamy, Cross). The more ornate Vintage ones I have recently purchased, were intended to be an investment. Some older beater models have been purchased to be used, or for practicing techniques of restoration. It goes without saying that the core of any good investment is "buy low and sell high".

I am a former machinist, and currently an engineer; tinkering with stuff is fun and relaxing for me. The 452 1/2v and LEC pens interest me, as do the 0552 1/2 series as well. I have a couple of sets of Lady Patricia. I really like the art deco feel of the Lady Patricia, especially the silver clad ones.

 

At the end of the day, the ideal outcome is to have some fun now, and eventually (in a couple decades) make a little money. I have no clue of the trajectory of the collector's market. Perhaps this is where I need the most guidance, as I have no historical frame of reference. I only know what costs are like today.

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