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Esterbrook Dollar Pen with 8668 silver/palladium nib - wartime pen?



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I recently got an Estie Dollar Pen on eBay with an 8668 nib, listed among some more mundane Esterbrooks by a non-collector antique dealer who's probably wondering why this pen went for 5 times what the others achieved. 

 

I've been going to pen shows for 12 years, the last few as a dealer, with an interest in Esterbrooks, and I'd never encountered an 8000-series nib before. The 8000's are made of a palladium/silver alloy, a World War II artifact from when steel was a critical wartime material and silver and palladium weren't.

 

The nib is black with tarnish, much darker than the photo. I'm curious as to whether the lever, as shiny black as the nib, is also silver/palladium. The lever has a groove running down the middle, like J's and SJs, and unlike the plain flat design of other dollar pen levers, but it has the dollar pen spade bottom rather than the later round bottoms. It's also about 1mm higher on the body than a 30's pen. The cap has a steel clip assembly and looks like a normal dollar pen cap.

 

Could this be a wartime pen? The '40s are really late for a Dollar Pen, but all the pen companies were desperate for product, and I could see them ransacking back rooms and repair parts inventories to see if they could Frankenstein some pens they could sell. If all they needed was a lever, they could get a new palladium/silver one from current production, and the cap would be a prewar backroom find.

 

A few practical questions. Should I remove the tarnish? If yes, Simichrome or Sunshine cloth? How much is the nib worth? Leaving out rarity and collectibility, palladium is now going for almost $3K per ounce, so intrinsic value rears its' ugly head.

est8668-1.jpg

est8668-2.jpg

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It could be that the barrel is actually from a transitional J pen.  I've seen a few of these combinations, and actually have one on my desk right now.  As far as I know, the barrels are identical, with the exception of the lever.  A Dollar pen should have a smooth lever, as you say.  As far as the nib goes, it's anyone's guess, given the fact that they were meant to be replaceable. 

 

I had a transitional J pen once that was a real wartime pen, and the hardware was all Palladium.   You would know it if you had it, as it never really gets to a bright silver, and was pretty cool looking on the black pen I had.

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