Monday, July 26, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 230

Today's post is an in-depth review of a vintage German fountain pen that Anthony recently acquired in an eBay lot of NOS pens and pen parts (he wrote about the parts pens here) ...

(review & photos courtesy of Anthony ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Collectors Review of Kaweco VP6 S ca. 1960 - 65

First Impression 8/10 

This pen was one of six Kaweco 1960s pens I came across that were part of an auction lot on the German eBay site ( They were new-old-stock with boxes and papers. This example has a polished Cobalt Blue plastic barrel which push fits to a matt-silver metal cap. It’s simple, slim, lightweight, and evocative of the Sixties in look and feel. The pen is well balanced when un-posted, I rarely post myself, I do feel confident that those who do, will find this pen comfortable.

                 Early sixties prices for the series ranged from 8.20 to more than 11 deutschmarks – this example: 8.75 dm

Appearance 8/10
The barrel has a small window on either side of the blue plastic barrel so the user can see if there is a spare cartridge on board (ideal feature for students). The barrel and grip use plastic threads. The Kaweco logo on the end of the barrel is a simple K embossed in plastic rather than the familiar circular logo – makes me think this is an early Sixties example. The only metal parts are as follows:
1) The bright ring that the barrel screws against is bonded to the grip ahead of the threads.
2) The gold-plated steel nib.
3) The steel cap.
4) The clutch ring – see below.

V means hooded nib. P (Patron) means cartridge filler. S means steel cap. Some VP models in this pen series (the VP & V range) have plastic caps. The least expensive pens in the VP range are grey plastic (body & cap) with a bright clip. Despite the simple design and lack of ornamentation, the VP6 S pen feels sturdy in its construction. I’m sure some students managed to either lose or destroy their V & VP pens -- however, a replacement would have been reasonably priced (around 8 dm at the bottom of the range). The VP6 S appears more appropriate for a teacher, or at any rate a senior student.

Design/Size/Weight (Rating 8/10)
Some serious Germanic thinking went into the design of this series of pens. They were likely the least expensive pens in the Kaweco lineup at the time (i.e., during the Sixties and Seventies). They appear specifically tailored to students and local education authorities in Germany and nearby Germanic speaking countries. At the time Kaweco was primarily competing against Pelikan (the Pelikano for example), and still struggling to revive from the post-war period of austerity. Very little innovation was done by Kaweco during this period. Nevertheless, the VP and V range seem well designed to meet the needs of their target market. A professor for example could choose a VP model in all black with gold trim and a 14c gold nib. Nib options were extensive, all nibs were gold, either plated or 14c. The pen weighs about 17 grams when inked and with a spare cartridge in the barrel. At 134 (5¼ in) x 12 mm (½ in) dia., the VP6 S is about the same size as other popular full-size pens of the period.

                                                                             clutch ring - corroded

Unfortunately, the review VP6 S example suffered damage in storage. The pen must have been stored for decades, but not in a dry environment. The cap clutch ring consists of a spring clip attached to the inside of the cap. The ring is made from what appears to be spring steel. The ring suffered from corrosion -- when the cap was removed for the first time in a very long time, the corroded surface of the ring scraped “tram lines” down the grip. Not immediately noticeable unless you rotate the pen near a light source. Possibly it could be buffed out, I’ve left it as it is.  

Nib (Rating 10/10)

KF nib, which means (Kugel Fein) or Ball-tip fine. An exceptionally well-made nib that is a pleasure to use. The nib allows the user to write on various angles, more so than a regular nib – it’s versatile and rugged enough for use in school.

Filling System (Rating 8/10)
Standard international cartridges and converters fit this pen, not a tight fit in my example, but in those cases, a tiny spring can be placed at the end of the barrel behind the spare cartridge -- (if desired) to prevent the inked cartridge from working loose.

Cost and Value (Rating 9/10)
My early Sixties example has an original price label of 8.75 deutschmarks (dm) and cost me around $15 cad (as part of a large lot). I regularly see similar pens for sale in the $50 to $100 usd range described as mint NOS – I expected to have to clean ink from the feed, which I did, but otherwise initially found the pen in as-new condition.

Conclusion (Total Rating 8/10)
I removed the clutch ring and replaced it with three layers of “precision” cut masking tape placed inside the cap. A hack to be sure, but it does work to keep the nib wet and ready to write. I’m happy to periodically change out the tape for the privilege of using this attractive well-designed student pen that has a fantastic nib. Why are “Kugel Feins” not an option today? I believe my VP6 S is an early example, perhaps around 1960 or 1961. Screw-on caps appear to be more common than push-fit on other/later pens in the series. 




Many thanks to Anthony for this excellent review of his new vintage Kaweco fountain pen!

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