Thursday, September 30, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 263

Today's virtual "show & tell" features an eye-catching Delta fountain pen recently acquired by Jerred...

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

Jerred: "This is a Delta Alfa Romeo Trofeo Giulietta. The design of this particular pen is based on a fairly well-known Alfa Romeo car model, the Giulietta Trofeo. Delta had a long history of releasing pens based on car models and famous race tracks, most notably the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, a historical race track in Monza, Italy. This particular pen is in bright yellow acrylic, but it is more commonly found in bright red."

"The most striking feature of this pen is the pair of sterling silver bands that adorn the cap and body. The top cap has "Alfa Romeo" in relief, as well as a shield icon designed after the famous Alfa Romeo shield front grille."

"The body ring is engraved to emulate a checkered flag, used in racing to donate the final lap and winner of a race. These silver bands are hand-carved, and cast using the lost wax method. This allows for the intricate, three dimensional designs shown here."

"There is also a relatively intricate finial inset into the cap with Alfa Romeo's logo carved into it. For some reason, the finial is bronze coloured, even though the rest of the pen is bright yellow and sterling silver.

Finally, the clip on the pen emulates Alfa Romeo door handles, notably from the 70s and 80s."

"This particular pen uses Delta's #6 size, 18k gold "Millenium" nib with a heart shaped breather hole. As was often the case with Delta, the pen is a lovely writer. It is also a cartridge-converter filler."

Our thanks to Jerred for sharing the newest addition to his Delta fountain pen collection with us! On Saturday, we'll be featuring another Italian-made fountain pen belonging to Jerred :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 262

And now, a lovely fountain pen belonging to VPCer Lawrence that came out in 2014 as part of Montblanc's "Writers" series and honours a famous English author - the Montblanc 'Daniel Defoe' Limited Edition fountain pen! Only 11,000 fountain pens were made -10,000 for individual sale, and 1,000 pieces that were part of a set consisting of fountain pen, ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil.

Without further ado, here are Lawrence's photos and thoughts about the pen...

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

Lawrence: "I have to admit that when Montblanc announced it with pictures, I was not at all very impressed with it. It actually looks like an obscene adult toy (with some Arabian twist to it....too). And at that time I really was not interested in getting Montblancs...I thought they are overpriced (I still do, but that perspective has been softened up since). I saw this pen at Charals WITHOUT the cap on, and that is what makes it pop for me. The pen is also a lot smaller than they show in pictures. Basically to sum it up, it is one of those pens that look way better in person than in pictures. They look delicate and pretty subdued (it is a more or less a dark/black pen which I was into at that time. e.g. my Visconti Michelangelo)."

"And although it looked awesome in person, I was not really intent on getting one of these MB pens (pretentious crap I used to call them and sometimes I still think that way, but now I do it with love LOL)."
"The details on the pen are exquisite and filigree (?) patterns are etched and appear BOTH on the cap and the barrel (the piston end) which makes it attractive when I hold it up while writing. Some pens are only beautiful with their cap on and look rather plain uncapped. And because I don't post my pens, this is perfect. And Charals did something they normally don't do with pens like this....they let me try it out...dipping of course. And I have to say, writing with this pen is heaven on earth for me (I have since owned a few other pens-both MB and other brands- and still none compares). This pen literally glides on paper, writes without effort and I don't even need to press sometimes; I get away with almost microscopically 'hovering' over the paper and I can write. The pen also feels comfortable, it has a wide enough girth and it's not too heavy (the infamous marketing term "precious resin" is the material used of course). The pen is a piston filler, it is very smooth, almost no friction. This is a pen that writes with one of my reddish inks."
"There is Daniel Defoe's signature on the cap. To be honest, I don't like it marring the finish; it disrupts the color. If this is really Daniel's personal etched signature, then fine, but this is a machine etched copy which does not mean anything but ruined the finish for me. I love the pen so much I do have more than one, I got it thinking that these are the only pens I will ever own forever....(of course that is not the case later on). But these Defoes are basically a regular part of my "grail pen posse". Because I have more than one, they go through their own "micro-rotation" within this grail group."
"The nibs come in the usual EF, F, M, B. My first one is a M nib. I had one in F, and another in EF (which was originally a botched attempt by MB but I ended up keeping it anyway...for the sake of guilt I will pretend that EF/F are one pen, so there...) The nib is very ornate and has a parrot on it."
"Unfortunately, MB screwed up big time with the plating so for the M nib the plating (Ruthenium?) chipped off and created a not-so-beautiful looking mess:"

"It breaks my heart but it does not diminish my love for the pen (s), considering I have more than one.. This sort of tarnished my view of MB. If they charge so much for a pen I expect it to not have this quality problem within a few months of use (yes, a few months). What is even more tragic is that I had MB exchange (replace) the first chipped M nib with a new one and this one ended up chipping as well (this is the one in the picture). So not only did I end up with a "different" pen (new nib = new pen) but I ended up with the same problem. The new nib still writes well and is just as good, but it is different. I have to say I regret exchanging it. I should have kept the first one, chipped and all.

Oh well, I'm still in love with these pens and I still use them regularly.

I got adventurous and bought a fake version of the is advertised as "fancy fountain pen". Although it has an overall resemblance, the workmanship is not so refined. It makes me feel better this way (sometimes I have encountered fake pens that not only look like the real stuff, but write just as well.....)."

Lawrence - as always, thank you for your interesting (and honest :) reviews about your new pen-related acquisitions! And thanks again to everyone in our club who has sent in photos and write-ups for our virtual "show & tell". Please keep 'em coming! 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 261

Although we're the Vancouver Pen Club, I think it bears repeating that we welcome enthusiasts of all writing instruments, both modern and vintage :)

For example, one of our longtime members (who is primarily a collector of vintage fountain pens) recently acquired a charming unbranded vintage mechanical pencil, and sent this in for today's blog post:

Christopher: "Right from the get go, admittedly, I had no great interest in collecting mechanical pencils, other then to complete sets that they would have originally been a part of. Still, over the years there have been some colourful oddballs which were just too interesting to pass up on. Case in point - out of a large pen and pencil lot we scored a while back was this advertising number for the Mount Angel Co-op Creamery. Mt. Angel, by the way, is in Oregon and while the Co-op was in business they produced a wide variety of dairy-related products. They also had a long history in that state. "

(photo courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on image to enlarge)

"Subsequently, the pencil I have added to my collection is very neat. The finish could not be more colourful in brilliant red and cream plastic with illustrated coloured branding on the barrel. Below the Cream coloured barrel is a red grip section slightly ribbed horizontally at the top for better finger purchase. The tip, as well as the clip, are 14K Gold Filled and the clip definitely dates this pencil to the mid 1930s. And having checked on the company’s history, it was definitely at a high point during those years. The clip is hump backed and ending in a flat ball but peaking with a diamond end."

 "But the best and most unique part of this pencil is at its top end. Mounted on a red band at the top of the barrel is a clear plastic tube capped with a small red plastic end. Inside of this clear plastic tube is a miniature pound of butter in its coloured and branded packaging. Everything about this pencil is neat and the quality indicates that it was made by an upper end manufacturer. I only wish that there was a matching pen but I am happy to retain the pencil and consider it a real addition to my collection."

"If you increase the size of the pencil in the snap you will see that the tiny packaged clear plastic covered pound of butter is an exact copy of the real size thing in the photo above. Very neat!"

 Thanks for sharing this lovely old advertising pencil with us, Christopher!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 260

Today we're shining a spotlight on one of Stuart's recent acquisitions - the fountain pen counterpart of an iconic Swiss-made ballpoint that was introduced in 1969 (surprisingly, the fountain pen didn't hit the market until 2017!)...

Here is manufacturer Caran d' Ache's description of their '849' fountain pen:

"There is a new addition to the famous assortment of sleek 849 ballpoint pens – the 849 Fountain Pen boasting a bright style. With its more rounded lines, the 849 Fountain Pen reveals a unique personality and comfort. The eye-catching, energising colours draw attention to the light yet robust aluminium body of the 849 Fountain Pen.

Four fluo colours – purple, green, yellow and orange - give the graphic lines an extra spark. The matt navy blue and black enhances the contemporary design and industrial aesthetics of these writing instruments. The varnished white brings an element of balance to this refreshing whirlwind of fun. While maintaining a 100% Swiss Made quality, the 849 Fountain Pen underlines the bold, creative spirit of Caran d’Ache
." (source)

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

Stuart: "Here’s a couple of shots of the Caran d’Ache 849 FP. The colour just pops! It’s a nice smooth writer, especially with the Broad point." Like its ballpoint namesake, the '849' fountain pen is hexagonal in shape, and although it's a fairly narrow fountain pen, Stuart remarked that it was "comfortable to write with".

Stuart: "The second pic (above) includes the 849 Claim Your Style ballpoint, also showing the company’s propensity for eye-popping colour schemes."

Love those bright colours! Our thanks to Stuart for sharing his new '849' fountain pen with us :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 259

As promised, here is Christopher's other recent vintage acquisition--a handsome all-black Parker 'Vacumatic' fountain pen...

(photo courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on image to enlarge)

 Christopher: "Admittedly, for years when I was first collecting vintage pens, I avoided the black ones. They just did not seem to have the magic that the other coloured pens had. Still, and in time, I did a complete 180 and began to welcome the jet coloured pens completely into my collection. Case in point - an exceptionally smart Parker Vacumatic US Major which just came my way. Over and above the condition of this pen, which is no less than spectacular, the make up is everything I could want. Offsetting the black finish, this pen has beautiful 14K Gold Filled fittings. The cap sports a clip with the Blue Diamond warranty well in place and, just as a finishing touch, the cap has a flawless black matching jewel. Further down on the barrel, it is marked with a clear and sharp Parker Date Code of the first quarter of 1946. Also to note, the long matching blind cap hides a clear plastic button topped Vacumatic filler. The transparency on this pen is red ambered but impressive. Needless to say, you sure know how much ink you have in the pen once it is filled.

That takes us to the nib, which was a real surprise. It seems when Parker was phasing out their Duofold line of pens, in support of the original Duofold warranty servicing, they produced a special replacement nib. This nib looked like a Vacumatic nib to the untrained eye, sporting the Parker Vacumatic arrow but devoid of the Vacumatic branding. Also, the feather configuration on the arrow was different and below a Parker Date code number, was the letter R for replacement. All of these features are in keeping with the nib in this pen and as a writer, it is medium and as smooth as glass. I took the liberty of resetting the nib quite far out on its feed and out of its grip but well within the realm of acceptability and proper capping. The letter R on the nib is usually hidden under the grips section of Duofolds, but I wanted mine to show on this Vacumatic. Over and above personalizing this particular pen to my liking, I could not be more pleased with it."

Christopher--thank you, as always, for your informative write-ups on the vintage writing instruments you've acquired! For more information on the special Parker replacement nibs Christopher talked about, check out this article by vintage pen expert David Nishimura - 'Replacement Duofold arrow-imprint nibs' article'.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 258

From a modern Parker classic (in the previous blog post) to an iconic vintage Parker!
Meet Christopher's new Parker 'Vacumatic' fountain pen...

(photo courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on image to enlarge) 

Christopher: "Some collectors, I have found, seem to discount the Parker Vacumatic Debutante because of its size. Still, I think it is unquestionably a beautiful example of Parker's vintage best. Case in point is a Silver & Pearl Vacumatic Debutante with brilliant steel fittings. This is a US model date coded the 2nd quarter of 1947. A single jet coloured jewel, final generation blue diamond warranted pen with a clear plastic button topped Vacumatic filler. But for me the real excitement, once I had restored and serviced this pen, was all about the nib. As per usual, a 14K gold nib and Parker date coded with the 7 for 1947, it is one of only a handful of points in my collection which is a fine nib writer. Often I have found that fine nib writers do not lay down the ink smoothly or, for that matter, consistently but this pen is exceptional on both counts. As for the barrel transparency, it is more then expectable at about a C8. All and all, a great example of the Parker Vacumatic Debutante and definitely a good addition to any vintage pen collector’s collection" 

Our thanks to Christopher for sharing this find with us. We'll be featuring another of his recent vintage finds here on Wednesday!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 257

The fountain pen featured in today's post should look familiar; it's an iconic model made by the Parker Pen Company that first appeared in 1994 and is still in production today. We're talking about the the famous Parker 'Sonnet', of course. Jerred acquired one recently, and was kind enough to share his photos and thoughts on it:

Jerred writes: "This is a stainless steel version of the classic Parker Sonnet, in gold trim (GT). The Sonnet is a long-running model in Parker's lineup, and it's in the lower-midrange price of pens. Sonnets are fairly common, and it's a good-looking pen that tends to fit a lot of peoples' hands quite well."

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

"Unfortunately, this also means that there are a number of fake Sonnet pens on the market. When comparing to a modern Parker Sonnet, two things should be checked:

1. Modern Sonnets come with Parker's smaller, push-pull converter rather than a piston converter.
2. The feed on a original Sonnet will have the nib grade stamped on the bottom surrounded by a circle, and the feed should have a somewhat matte finish. This is because Parker uses acid-etched plastic feeds, a technique done to improve ink flow."

"The nib on this pen was not very good, unfortunately. The tines were properly spaced, but the tipping was poorly polished and gave excessive feedback out of the box. I have seen a number of Sonnet pens with less-than-ideal nibs."

Our thanks to Jerred for the review, photos and tips on how to avoid 'Sonnet' copies!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 256

From one Italian-made pen to another! Today we're featuring a new acquisition belonging to Jerred:

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

Jerred: "This interesting pen is a Filcao 'Desiree'. Filcao was an Italian pen brand that specialized in unique cellulose acetate paired with relatively standard pen designs. Unfortunately the company went out of business as the owner died in 2015, and none of his children wished to maintain the brand."


"I am unsure of the name of the finish on this pen, but it's a cream-coloured 'lacy' pattern inset in semi-transparent clear celluloid, with some gold highlights. It is a unique finish that I don't think I've seen anywhere else. The finish is paired with gold-plated appointments, and I think the color choice quite pleasant."

"The pen is a cartridge-converter filler, and I believe the pen could probably be used as an eyedropper-filler as well. One possibly unfortunate design choice is that the pen has a 'false' blind cap, allowing it to be filled in a method similar to a piston filler. However, given that the pen is semi-transparent there's really no way to try and pretend that it's a true piston-filling body." 

"One interesting note on this pen is the nib. It's a relatively basic steel nib but was made by Reform in Germany, instead of Bock or Jowo. The nib was quite a pleasant writer when I received the pen, and it has a touch of spring that makes it rather nice to write with."

For some background information on Filcao writing instruments, check out this old Pentrace article by Giovanni Abrate, who was the American distributor for Filcao before the company closed its doors (Pentrace also has an in-depth review of the 'Desiree' model by Len Provisor here).

Jerred--our thanks for the great photos and write-up about this unique-looking fountain pen!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 255

As promised, here is the last of the three Italian-made fountain pens recently acquired by VPCer Jessica---a lovely Delta 'Nautilus', which Jessica describes as being made of "...ivory resin with a silver barrel plated with gold vermeil." 

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

YAFA--the former distributor of Delta writing instruments in North America--described the model thusly on their website: "The history of every sea is hidden in the lives of its creatures. A collection of writing instruments dedicated to the seas of the world, Jules Verne and its submarine, the Nautilus. The Nautilus is made of special resin hand turned from a solid bar of material. The body is covered with a sleeve in silver 925 ‰ (note: that's 92.5% pure silver), with an engraving simulating ocean waves."

The 'Nautilus' writing instruments (fountain pens and rollerballs) were available with vermeil (a thin gold layer over sterling silver) trim or silver plated trim--depending on the model--and came in four colours  - Blue, Red, Ivory and Black.

(the cap finial with a stylized letter "D", also seen on the pen's nib)

(the barrel's engraved lines which mimic ocean waves...)

(the Medium 18K gold nib -- engraved with the same stylized “D” seen on the cap finial-- and its heart-shaped breather hole)

Since she sent in the photos for our pen club's blog, Jessica had some nibwork done on the 'Nautilus' (the work was done by fellow VPC member Jerred). In her update, Jessica writes: "I met up with Jerred earlier today. He adjusted the nib on the Delta for me so now it writes like a super nice medium for me! I feel like it was more of a western fine or Japanese MF before. So happy!" 😆
I love a happy ending...don't you? :) Our thanks to Jessica for sharing her gorgeous new acquisition with us!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 254

Taking a Sunday stroll through the world of vintage fountain pens (courtesy of Christopher) before heading back to moderns...

 (photo courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on image to enlarge)

Christopher writes: "Most of us are familiar with Esterbrook and, if you collect the vintage models of this brand, their Dollar pen from the 1930s. Still, when this particular Dollar Pen arrived at my doorstep I was immediately wondering if it was either a rare salesman sample or a prototype. The reason for my assessment was the fact that usually this Esterbrook model sports a steel cap ring but, in this case, the cap ring is unmistakably 14K gold filled. And to my mind it really smartly offsets the mirror shiny jet black finish. This pen also has the band set a little higher and sports the later steel lever. The steel nib is a No.9550 Extra fine, but definitely a good writer. I continue to be fascinated with the extent of what first appeared to be a rather plain Jane brand of vintage workhorse pens."

For an in-depth look at the vintage Esterbrook 'Dollar pen', check out Richard Binder's excellent article here- Profile: The Esterbrook Dollar Pen

Our thanks to Christopher for his newest contribution to our club's online "show & tell", and many thanks to everyone in our club who shared their newest acquisitions since we started doing this back in April 2020; your lovely photos and wonderful reviews are all very much appreciated!

Friday, September 10, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 253

 As promised, here is the second of three modern Italian-made fountain pens Jessica recently acquired---her handsome OMAS 'Extra 556/F' fountain pen!

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

Jessica says: "This is the most modern of the 3. The “F” in the model number means faceted since there is also an Extra 556 that is smooth, round cigar shaped."

There's a very informative article on the vintage OMAS 'Extra' fountain pens here:
"OMAS EXTRA - The reason of a name and its use over the years"



Our thanks to Jessica for the great photos of her wonderful new fountain pen! Next week, we'll feature the last of her three new Italian fountain pens :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 252

Last month, Jessica (one of our newer members) was kind enough to send in some photos of her recent acquisitions --two fountain pens by OMAS and one by Delta --for our blog. We'll feature the first of the two OMAS pens in this post, the second one on Friday, and then the Delta next week. All three are beautiful modern fountain pens made in Italy---real "eye candy"---so without further ado, here's the first one, a lovely OMAS 'Paragon' fountain pen in "Venetian Blue":

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

Jessica writes: "(The seller) believes it is from the early 2000’s. This has been referred to as the “old style” Paragon based on my research but I could be wrong. It also has the roller ball clip which was re-introduced by Omas in 1993."

There is an excellent article on the evolution of this OMAS model---and others-- here:
"From Milord to Paragon (An Unwritten Chapter in OMAS' History)"

(rhodium-plated cap and barrel bands in the old-style "Greek Key" design...)

(the elegant OMAS-branded 18K gold nib and its feed...)

 Our thanks to Jessica for sharing her new purchases with us! We'll be featuring the next one on Friday, so stay tuned :)

Post-script: A couple of days after the photos of her lovely OMAS 'Paragon' were posted above, Jessica emailed this little update: "I literally JUST noticed this engraving while reorganizing my pens. So it looks like it’s from 2003. 😄"

...and here's the proof!