Saturday, July 24, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 229

Today we're featuring this lovely Parker Sonnet Accession SE Fountain Pen recently acquired by honourary VPC member Glenn G. from Australia...

Glenn: "The Sonnet was introduced in 1994 as the replacement for the iconic Parker 75; as such, it was, intended to be a ‘classic’ Parker, timeless and well-proportioned, with a generously sized nib and excellent writing performance. 18 designs were introduced, ranging from premium to budget models, differentiated by 4 different nib styles, ranging from two-tone 18K solid gold highlighted with rhodium plating, through engraved 18K solid gold, 23K gold plated stainless steel to plain stainless steel. In 2003 the Sonnet line was reduced to 12 models and got a face-lift in the form of a flatter clip screw and a broad cap band."

"The Sonnet is arguably a worthy successor to the Parker "75", even though some have been found to have problems with the ink feed and drying out if left uncapped for a while, mostly pens with the F & EF nibs. This issue has given Sonnets a bad reputation among collectors and a common joke to the effect of “if your Sonnet always starts without a problem, it’s probably a Chinese counterfeit.” Indeed, there are many counterfeit pens in circulation, which of itself attests to the popularity of the model… there’s little point copying one that isn’t going to sell."

(photos courtesy of Glenn ~ please click on images to enlarge) 

"Despite its fancy engraving with a crown and E II R, the gold plated nib (M only) clearly puts this 2002 Special Edition of the Sonnet in the 3rd of the 4 tiers, which surprised me; I thought a solid 14k nib would have been more appropriate to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. I haven’t used it yet, but I have read that the nib is smooth and a bit springy."

"There is no date code, but the satin finish cap is imprinted with “Accession The Queen’s Golden Jubilee”, and that most definitely was in 2002. The barrel & section are finished in Royal Purple lacquer, and the cap has a purple jewel. This shade is very dark, and needs to be viewed in good light to appreciate its true colour; in low light it is easily mistaken for black."

"Personally speaking, it’s an attractive pen and I’m delighted to have got it after quite a wait and a lot of looking. Conversely, I am not a fan of most more recent Parkers, Sonnets included; their patterns are just not to my taste… the term ‘overblown’ comes to mind for many. Consequently, this particular Sonnet, #34 in my collection, is likely to be my last… unless, of course, an especially nice and affordable ‘vintage’ one turns up

Glenn - congratulations on the latest addition to your wonderful Parker Sonnet collection, and many thanks for sharing it with us!  

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 228

Today we're featuring a couple of items that Stuart picked up in downtown Vancouver recently. The first is a metal-bodied, cartridge-filling fountain pen sold by the Japanese store Daiso (on Granville Street) which he acquired for the princely sum of $2.25:

(photos courtesy of Stuart ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Stuart: "The Daiso pen has a very stiff nib, and the ink flow isn’t great, although that could be my particular pen. It’s an ideal no-worry pen as it’s so cheap!"

Stuart's other new acquisition is an interesting piece of ephemera relating to a handwriting method developed by a Canadian educator in Victoria and used by millions of Canadian schoolchildren from 1921 until the mid-1990s:

From the Creston Museum website (link to article):
"For decades, the leading guide in teaching and learning penmanship was The MacLean Method of Printing and Writing. It was developed in 1921 by H.B. MacLean, a school principal, as a way of addressing teachers’ complaints that they couldn’t read the sloppy handwriting of their students. He devised a “scientific” way of teaching handwriting, starting with fundamentals like how to position the paper and how to sit in the chair, and going all the way up to precise formation of every letter in the cursive alphabet. Students could earn certificates documenting their success every step of the way – at the upper levels, they could even send samples of their penmanship to MacLean himself for grading!"

Here's one such MacLean Method certificate that Stuart found at a second-hand Vancouver bookstore:  

Stuart: "I’m just guessing about the MacLean certificate, but I think it was issued prior to the Second World War. But it could be from the early post-war era. As the student was working with pencil, they would have been in the early stages of learning the method, before graduating to using a dip-pen and an inkwell, which their teacher would have filled at their desk! That the certificate has survived in such good condition indicates it was something the student prized and kept carefully."

Some further reading ~ Article in the "British Columbia Historical News", the journal of the B.C. Historical Federation -"H.B. MacLean’s Method of Writing" (pgs 8-12 of PDF)

Stuart--many thanks for sharing these latest finds with us :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 227

From A counter pen is a pen designed to be affixed to the counter or table of an institution, such as a bank or a post office, typically by a chain, ball chain or plastic cord, making it less likely that the pen will be accidentally or purposefully removed. A 1938 issue of The Bankers Monthly describes the concept: "The pen also gives a better write than the ordinary counter pen. The ink stand cannot be stolen, for it is fastened to the counter or desk. Besides, a chain between pen and stand prevents anyone from wandering away with the pen."

Today we're featuring a vintage counter pen belonging to VPCer Stuart, who initially didn't realize who its well-known manufacturer was...

(photos courtesy of Stuart ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Stuart: "Among the desk-sets that Joe Cocker gave me, and that Christopher Robertson kindly drove over from Coquitlam, was this one, which I first thought was a no-name set. But it’s actually not!”

"I discovered while browsing Sheaffer desk-sets on eBay today that the “generic” set I have in the kitchen is actually a Sheaffer, and dates from the late 50’s, so much older than I thought! One on eBay (with a presentation plaque dated 1959) has an intact label on the bottom - mine has no label, so I didn’t bother examining the pen closely. When I did, the faint imprint revealed it’s a Canadian Sheaffer production. So the lack of a label and the different style of the pen holder and socket fooled me! Mine has a Schmidt Parker Jotter-style refill in it - when that eventually dies, I’ll put a Sheaffer one in, a new one should fit."

There's an advertisement for a set like Stuart's (minus the chain) in the 1957 Sheaffer's "Handbook for Secretaries" on the PCA website (link to handbook- see page 14). There's no model number for the set in the ad, but Stuart says the set he saw on eBay had model number D395 on its sticker.

Our thanks to Stuart for sharing his photos of this cool "blast from the past" with us!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 226

Back to fountain pens we go with a brand-new acquisition belong to honourary VPC member Glenn G. in Australia --a lovely Pelikan M605 Green-White Fountain Pen!

(photos courtesy of Glenn ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Glenn: "The ‘New Style’ M60X was introduced in 1997, and the latest version, released this month (July 2021) is the M605 Green-White special edition. Its quietly sparkly green cellulose acetate stripes are accented by white resin and the palladium plated stylized beak clip, two cap bands, two trim rings at the piston knob and one at the section.

The barrel lacks a definite ink view window, which personally is not a problem, but it does upset some; on the other hand, it is moderately translucent when held up to a light source. The white contrasts nicely with the green, although some users have concerns that it might stain; I’ve not had that problem myself. Nevertheless, both factors may combine to discourage some Pelikan fans from buying this particular issue."

"The usual nib widths of EF, F, M, and B are offered in 14K/585 gold, rhodium plated to match the trim. The box style introduced with the M600 Pink (oblong with green laces to match the pen), is surprisingly smart.

I read recently that the Pelikan parent company has had financial issues in recent years, not helped by the pandemic, and this is perhaps reflected in its higher price vs its predecessors. However, it will only be available while supplies last and my flock includes the others in the series, so I have opted to keep the set going, buying mine from Appelboom at the best price I could find.

Despite the price, I do not regret buying this beautiful pen; it is much prettier than the advertising photos, which few people trusted anyway, and which make the green look pale and bland… in reality, it is anything but."

Many thanks to Glenn for sharing the newest member of his Pelikan flock with us :)

Friday, July 16, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 225

       (please click on images to enlarge)

The newest additions to my Parker 'Dimonite' writing instrument and pen pin collections ... 


I posted about the other four Parker 'Dimonite' writing instruments I own here back in May. This newest one is a ballpoint in the "Blue Mint" colour, which means I only have one more colour to collect---"Preussian blue" (or "Prussian blue"??). As they were only manufactured for three years (2002-2005), Dimonite' pens don't come up for sale very often, but I remain hopeful...


The pen came from an eBay seller in Serbia, but it was shipped from Northern Macedonia! It took a while to get here, but it arrived, safe and sound. I'm not sure if that's the pen's original box, but it did its job protecting my beautiful new ballpoint on its journey here (I apologize for the photo quality--the pen's colour is actually more muted... and I think it looks much nicer in person)

The two Waterman pins above came in a lot of four pins from an eBay seller located in France. The little ink bottle spouting ink (Waterman "South Sea Blue", perhaps??) says "Encre Waterman" so the pin might have been made after Waterman’s English plant closed (around 1970), leaving just the French factory in Saint-Herblain (which opened in 1967). The calligraphic "W" on the other pin is the current Waterman logo. The little lavender fountain pen on it, however, isn't a Waterman model I recognize ;) 

I don't know when the pins were made and I don't know if they're contemporaneous, but I got them for an excellent price (<$6 CAD) and they're now in my budding pen pin collection, along with my little Parker 'Quink' pin (which I posted about here, back in March).

~Photos & write up by Maja ~

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 224

Today's featured item is the newest addition to Jerred's amazing Delta fountain pen collection!

(all photos courtesy of Jerred ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Jerred: "This interesting little pen is a Delta 'Astra'. Unlike many other pens made by Delta over the years, the Astra very clearly takes its design cues from vintage pens, notably 1920s-era Parker pens like the Duofold Jr. and Lucky Curve. Like those pens, the Astra is made of ebonite (hard rubber), has a flat top design, and a double cap band. It also has a fairly intricate blind engraving that I've highlighted in the picture below. Ebonite was not a common material for Delta to use in pens, but it was used in a few other models such as the Roma Imperiale as well as the 'Return to China' set that commemorated Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule from the British. The particular version pictured below is polished black ebonite, but the Astra also came in green swirl and red wood grained ebonite as well. The Astra was released in 1995."

"Another interesting feature is that the Astra is a lever-filled fountain pen. Believe it or not, Delta made lever-filled pens on a regular basis and it was a point of pride for the company. There are a number of Delta 'Celebration' series pens (their top finish for limited edition sets) that are lever-fillers, and they were made right up until the company went out of business. Unfortunately, Delta also had a habit of making their lever-fillers little bit difficult to use as the nail knicks were often just a bit too small. Unfortunately, this also extends to the Astra; the lever is usable, but somewhat fiddly."

"The pen comes with a Delta early #4 sized, 18k gold nib with the stylized "D" logo. The nib has a bit of give to it despite being relatively small, and it's a lovely writer." 

As always--our thanks to Jerred for his fine photos and write ups about his newest finds :)

Monday, July 12, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 223

Last year, we mentioned how pens with rose gold trim appeared to be trending. Another popular trend is the all-black fountain pen, often referred to as a "stealth" fountain pen. Today, we're featuring one of them on this blog, namely Lawrence's handsome Visconti 'Michelangelo'...

 (all photos courtesy of Lawrence ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Lawrence: "This Michelangelo was one of my first "all black" pens. I went through a phase where I collected a whole bunch of black or dark coloured pens. I have a few red / burgundy inks that I have been waiting to try a pen with (e.g. Diamine Syrah) and so black pens are perfect for this." 

"This pen had a magnetic cap with the Visconti logo on it, I believe it comes off and you can customize it ("my pen" system or some gimmicky thing like that...not my thing really as it's fine the way it is)."

"The clip has spring function on it and it seems Visconti has a similar look to all their pen clips. It's supposedly an homage to a famous bridge in Florence (???)." [Ed. note--Yes, the Ponte Vecchio :]

"The nib is black coated and writes very nice. It's a fine point but it writes like a medium...which is unusual for a Visconti. Apparently Visconti nibs are not very consistent so maybe I got an odd one. Regardless it writes well and does not skip. It is on the dry side of things, but it improved with wetter inks like Pilot and, in this case, I used the Ferris Wheel Tanzanite Sky (I did it to test the ink out, but this pen will eventually be inked with Syrah)."

"I like that fact it is decidedly "not flashy" being all black. Very stealth in a way. My other black pens have flashy parts, but this one is all black. The nib finish is durable enough (I have an MB pen with this finish and it flaked off...). It's not a regular member of my "grail pen posse" but it does get used ever so often. It's quite reliable." 

Our thanks to Lawrence for sharing another of his pen-related acquisitions with us on our club's blog!