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Where To Look For A 51 Vacumatic


WLSpec
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I haven't ventured much into the world of vintage Parker pens, but after hearing endless good things about the 51, I am thinking of getting one. I am curious to know where you would recommend looking for one (best online stores) and what prices to look for. So far it looks like I could potentially get one for around $80 or so (looking for a regular sized vacumatic P51) but I want to make sure it is restored and in decent condition (I am looking on Ebay, but I have had some bad pen experiences on Ebay and I would want to make sure it is a good seller). So, what price should I look for with a P51 Vacumatic, and where should I look? (I have also been scanning classifieds but I don't see many there).

 

Thank you for any info

 

Edit: Likely doesn't matter, but I am okay if it doesn't have a nib in it - just might give a few more options

Edited by WLSpec
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Where in the US are you? Assuming they're still going ahead, how about getting to a pen show.

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The next pen show that I can get to is in August... so I would prefer to look online. Went to Baltimore 2 weeks ago, wasn't looking for a 51 then unfortunately. I would prefer to do it at a show, but I'm afraid that would take a while.

Edited by WLSpec
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I have only a couple of P51's but the aerometric fillers are much more likely to be trouble free than the vacumatics. Most of the aero metrics need absolutely no repairs to work great whereas the vacumatics may likely need work.

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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Contrary to some opinions I find most Vac "51s" I've found work after being cleaned.

 

You are looking for Working Well, Restored, and Inexpensive.

Without taking a risk (i.e. eBay or an antique store) I don't see you getting all three.

 

There are a number of on-line vintage Fountain Pen sellers who have restored working pens available

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I'm okay with an Aero, in fact in sounds like people like them more, I have just heard that vacs lay down more ink and obviously have a higher ink capacity, and I'm not a huge fan of sacs. But if Aero is more trouble free, I could go for that.

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Contrary to some opinions I find most Vac "51s" I've found work after being cleaned.

 

You are looking for Working Well, Restored, and Inexpensive.

Without taking a risk (i.e. eBay or an antique store) I don't see you getting all three.

 

There are a number of on-line vintage Fountain Pen sellers who have restored working pens available

I may have to take a risk, I'm simply wondering if I can avoid it :)

Edited by WLSpec
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Some of my 51 Vacs needed to have the diaphragms replaced; others were bought in working condition. The Aerometrics almost uniformly needed to be just flushed out if bought in the wild. But I do understand your desire to have one that holds more ink; I had a research project several years ago and had to take copious notes -- and a 51 Vac with an EF nib (once the tines had been opened up a bit so the nib wasn't scratchy) was my go-to pen for notes from the research involved.

The last 51 Vac I got was at the Ohio Pen Show this past fall, from the forum's own gweimer1. Good price, and a color I'd been wanting (Dove Gray). And that was definitely within your budget constraints. I've paid about the same for the ones I found in the wild, counting repairs or parts. Mind you, I wasn't getting one of the really exotic colors like Buckskin.... :rolleyes:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

ETA: You know, I really don't need TWO Cedar Blue 51 Vacs.... PM me if you're interested in buying one or want to work out some sort of trade.

Edited by 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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But if Aero is more trouble free, I could go for that.

 

The 51 aeromteric plyglass sacs are, for all intents and purposes, indestructible. They will stain, but that is the worst of it.

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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I saw a fully restored 51 Vac from one of the most trusted sellers yesterday, it looked. like new with a new diaphragm, price was $60, well within your budget.

 

Main Street Pens who advertise on here usually have a 51 for sale, perhaps a little over your budget but you will be buying peace of mind.

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Where are you located? Perhaps we can direct you to a pen club or local event?

San Francisco International Pen Show - The next great pen show is on schedule for August 27-28-29, 2021. If we all do what we need to do...you can Book your travel and tables and make SF 2021 the Return. 
 

 My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

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Vac or aero the 51 is just a superb writer. But yes, the vacumatic if bought from the wild would almost always be in need of a diaphragm replacement.

 

And the 51 vacumatic also has a sac that, otherwise, is called a diaphragm.

Khan M. Ilyas

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Good luck with your hunt for a Parker 51, WLSpec. I agree with Glenn-SC, and will add that it is even more unusual to find an aerometric 51 which requires anything more than a thorough flushing. FarmBoy's advice seems right on target, as you will be meeting a group of people, several of whom may have 51s to sell or in-person advice about finding one. Beechwood & pen lady also have very good suggestions.

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Next pen show in August implies DC area or SF. I also know people with a few 51s...

San Francisco International Pen Show - The next great pen show is on schedule for August 27-28-29, 2021. If we all do what we need to do...you can Book your travel and tables and make SF 2021 the Return. 
 

 My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

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Some of my 51 Vacs needed to have the diaphragms replaced; others were bought in working condition. The Aerometrics almost uniformly needed to be just flushed out if bought in the wild. But I do understand your desire to have one that holds more ink; I had a research project several years ago and had to take copious notes -- and a 51 Vac with an EF nib (once the tines had been opened up a bit so the nib wasn't scratchy) was my go-to pen for notes from the research involved.

The last 51 Vac I got was at the Ohio Pen Show this past fall, from the forum's own gweimer1. Good price, and a color I'd been wanting (Dove Gray). And that was definitely within your budget constraints. I've paid about the same for the ones I found in the wild, counting repairs or parts. Mind you, I wasn't getting one of the really exotic colors like Buckskin.... :rolleyes:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

ETA: You know, I really don't need TWO Cedar Blue 51 Vacs.... PM me if you're interested in buying one or want to work out some sort of trade.

PM sent.

 

Thanks to everyone for the information. I may look for an Aero, as they seem to be more durable based on the feedback (PVC instead of latex) but the vac does appeal to me because of the higher ink capacity and the sacs can be replaced easily. Thank you for all of the links, I will be checking them regularly until I find the right pen :)

 

Pen clubs and shows around me unfortunately won't work, as due to the recent outbreak the pen club is shut down and, as mentioned, my next show is in a while...

 

 

Vac or aero the 51 is just a superb writer. But yes, the vacumatic if bought from the wild would almost always be in need of a diaphragm replacement.

Thank you for this info, I will have to keep this in mind (I see pens that are listed as having the diaphragm replaced, I guess I would go for those if I settle on a vac)

Edited by WLSpec
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From what I understand, replacing a diaphragm is a lot more complicated than just replacing a sac on a lever filler.... Just saying.

There are pens I think I could repair myself. But vac fillers? Those, like Snorkels, I'm happy to pay the pros.... Those costs get calculated into the value of the pen in my inventory file.

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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From what I understand, replacing a diaphragm is a lot more complicated than just replacing a sac on a lever filler.... Just saying.

There are pens I think I could repair myself. But vac fillers? Those, like Snorkels, I'm happy to pay the pros.... Those costs get calculated into the value of the pen in my inventory file.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

I think I meant they are available and easy for pen repair doctors, not for me. If I tried to repair a vac I would end up with something awful... :D
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I thought I lost an auction last night, but I didn't, The seller, I think, is selling for another person as they have no more pens for sell. The price was $66 and supposed to have a new diaphragm. I figure at this price I can send it to a "doctor" as you say.

 

 

New 51.jpg

"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"

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I thought I lost an auction last night, but I didn't, The seller, I think, is selling for another person as they have no more pens for sell. The price was $66 and supposed to have a new diaphragm. I figure at this price I can send it to a "doctor" as you say.

 

 

Nice find! I think so... I saw one for around the same price last night (Aero) but I wasn't too sure about it.. there was not much information and I became skeptical (a few pics and only a sentence long description, not a seller I had heard of).

 

Would rather buy from a trusted seller (Ebay, as I said, has given me trouble)

Edited by WLSpec
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I wish I could remember all the useful info I got from OcalaFlGuy when I decided I wanted a 51. Bruce gave me a list of questions to ask sellers about the condition (which actually work well for pretty much ANY vintage or vintage-ish or used pen, truthfully): cracks, major scratches, brassing, bite marks, mis-aligned or broken tines, bad tipping, and so on. And to ask for better pix of the nibs/tipping/feeds (admittedly very hard to do for a hooded nibbed pen). He also (very kindly) helped me scope out potential pens to bid on and estimate what they should go for (I'm not remotely as good at that as he was on that last point).

Early on in my search I was bidding on a Cordovan Brown 51 Vac. The seller didn't know a lot about the pen, but was selling it for the former owner. I'd ask a question and the seller would check and give me an answer in a few hours to the next day. We had a lovely rapport going. And then... I got SNIPED -- with seconds to go :wallbash:. I'm not actually sure at this point I even WANT a Cordovan at this point (I'm actually not that wild about the color) -- it's just that I was pretty new to pens in general and vintage ones in particular, and I was SO CLOSE.... :gaah:

And then a couple of weeks later I won a Teal Aero with a gold-filled cap, while on the phone with a friend of mine.... Come to think, she was floating around at the event I was at the following fall when I missed the ending of the auction on the Plum Demi I ended up getting (she's also the one who gave me a Pelikan M200 with the Bayer logo on it as a joke -- not realizing that it was probably a $100 US pen that someone was giving away, and probably NOS at that -- the box looked to be in mint condition -- likely a corporate gift that the recipient said "oh, how... nice...." and shoved it in a desk drawer for a couple of decades...). A couple of years ago someone was doing a PiF of some cheap Chinese pen and did it as a contest; the runner up was going to get an Inoxcrom "Tin-Tin" pen and I said "If I win could I have that instead, so I can give it to my friend?" (I'm sure it's now completely lost in her house -- but she's half Spanish and is also a HUGE fan of the comic and she just SOOOO needed that pen... :thumbup: ; and I bought her a bottle of modern Skrip Blue to go with it.)

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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