Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 207

Today's featured newest acquisition is an agate Sheaffer ballpoint desk set (and no, it's not Stuart's ;) -- minus its desk pen-- that I bought for $12 CDN at a local thrift store a few weeks ago...

(photos by Maja ~ please click on images to enlarge)

When I first spotted it, I thought it was a handmade desk base because all I could see were its edges, which were uncut and unpolished. After I picked it up, I saw that it was made of agate (a nice surprise) ... and then I noticed the bell-shaped (or "Hershey's Kisses- shaped", as some call it) socket end and realized it was a Sheaffer! Unfortunately, the base was missing its desk pen. Believe you me, I hunted for that desk pen everywhere in that thrift store, but I couldn't find it. It's sad when a base and pen get separated, but it can also be a bit disheartening because you first have to figure out what the correct desk pen looks like (and that can take some time), and then you often wind up paying a small fortune for it. I was fortunate that neither scenario really turned out to be the case with my new agate desk base ...

After I took the base home, I did some online searching and managed to find my desk set in the May 1973 Sheaffer desk set catalog fairly quickly. There's a scan of that catalog in the Pen Collectors of America Reference Library but it's very hard to see (please don't strain your eyes!). Link to catalog scan here -May 1973 Sheaffer desk set catalog

According to that Sheaffer catalog, my desk base is Sheaffer desk model 'AG 10' (AG standing for agate) which originally sold for $45 USD back in 1973. In 1973, the Canadian dollar was practically at par with the U.S. dollar, and the minimum wage in B.C. was $2/hour, so that's 22 - 23 hours' worth of minimum wages to buy the desk set--- not unsubstantial. There were other Sheaffer agate desk set models in the same catalog, but they're all larger than mine. The bigger desk bases had two ballpoints in them, and the top price for the largest set (model 'AG 50') was $115 USD.

The Sheaffer catalog mentioned that my particular desk base came with a 'B5' size (so-called "fat") Sheaffer White Dot ballpoint desk pen in black. Fortunately, I had a spare of that exact desk pen (but in brown, not black) at home, and that's the desk pen you see in my photos above; I think the base actually looks quite nice when paired with the brown desk pen. The desk pen takes modern-day Sheaffer ballpoint refills, so the set is currently in use on my desk :)

~ photos and review by Maja ~

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