Saturday, June 10, 2023

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 500

(Wow, we're up to post #500 of our virtual show & tell!)

Happy National Ballpoint Day!

I thought it only fitting to post a review of a ballpoint today, so here’s a review of a special (to me) Italian-made ballpoint that I bought online recently -- my Delta 'Via Veneto' with platinum-plated sterling silver trim !

There's a bit of a story behind the pen (actually, two stories), so I hope you'll indulge me....

When I was 16, my Mom and I went to Rome on a short holiday while we were visiting relatives in a bordering country. I'd never been to Rome before, and neither had Mom, but she really wanted to see the Via Veneto, a luxurious street in the Eternal City made famous by Fellini's film "La Dolce Vita" (another Delta model name!). Though we saw many other sites during our stay in Rome, the Via Veneto was the first touristy place we visited, and Mom (who was a big film fan when she was younger) was very excited about it. I had a great time with Mom in Rome, on a trip I'll never forget.

Fast forward to last month, which marked the fifth anniversary of Mom's passing
I wanted to commemorate our "Roman holiday”, so I went hunting online for a Delta 'Via Veneto' writing instrument. The fountain pens are very expensive, but I found a reasonably-priced ballpoint on the Spanish online marketplace Todocoleccion

I'd never bought anything from that site before, but the pen was listed as being in excellent condition and priced at 59 Euros (a great price, considering its original suggested retail price was $195 USD) plus 18 Euros for registered mail shipping to Canada. My only concern was that the seller had stated in the listing that he wanted the payment in the form of a bank transfer. Bank transfers can be risky because they can't be recalled. The seller's feedback was very good, though.... and I really wanted the pen, so I sent the money to him via bank transfer (and here's a tip: my bank charged me a $6 CAD fee when I did the bank transfer myself online; if I had done it in person at the branch, the bank fee would have been A LOT higher). 

After I paid for the pen, I waited for a reply from the seller (knowing it would take a few days for the bank transfer to go through) ... and then I got a tracking number---yay! After a couple of weeks, the pen arrived safe and sound -- in the box shown-- with its warranty card included. The card was stamped by the pen store in Madrid at which the ballpoint was originally purchased, and the purchase date - "14.1.12" (which is either January 12, 2014 or January 14, 2012 - Spain uses both formats) -- was hand-written on it.

Now, let's take a closer look at the pen!

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

The pen was, indeed, in excellent condition ... and it looked fantastic! I don't think the box it came in is the original box (apparently, those had the words 'Via Veneto' on them), but it's a genuine Delta box, with a very soft lining that cushions the pen inside very well.

The pen measures approximately 13.8 cm in length, and has a maximum barrel diameter of 13 mm (near its top), gently tapering down to 11 mm at the gripping area. It weighs 28.3 grams and has a nice heft to it, but it's very well-balanced in the hand. The pen uses a twist mechanism and takes a Parker-style refill.

(I realize the camera isn't the kind that Italian paparazzi used in the 1950s, but it's vintage and it reminds me of the type of camera I used in Rome :)
The ballpoint's platinum-plated sterling silver trim is very shiny and complements the bright, glossy red of the pen very well. There's also a red version with gold trim, and a black version with the same two trim options.

In addition to ballpoints, the model also came in rollerball and fountain pen forms, which had MSRPs of  $225 and $425 USD respectively---very expensive for the time (and still very expensive). I don't know the exact year in which the Delta 'Via Veneto' line was launched (one auction site said 2007??), but it's a real challenge to find any of the pens for a reasonable price now as they were discontinued several years ago.

The lower part of the pen's barrel has the words DELTA ITALY VIA VENETO and the Delta logo tastefully engraved on it. The engraving is on the side of the barrel opposite the clip, so it's unobtrusive.

I'm glad the clip doesn't have any engraving or ornamentation on it; I think it might take away from the simple elegance of the pen's design...

Both the white cap top (inset with a small medallion with the Delta logo on it) and the white cap band are made of a material called Galalith. Although they have a ribbed appearance, these adornments are perfectly smooth and have an amazing depth to them.

Galalith is an interesting material, a synthetic plastic manufactured by the interaction of casein and formaldehyde. Also according to Wikipedia, Galalith is odourless, insoluble in water, biodegradable, non-allergenic, antistatic and virtually nonflammable. 

Although it cannot be moulded, it can be cut and dyed very easily. In the past, it was used to make Art Deco jewelry pieces, as well as things like knitting needles, umbrella handles and pens, but its current use is mostly in the production of buttons.

I love writing with my Delta 'Via Veneto' ballpoint! It's a wonderful writing instrument that reminds me of our great trip to Rome, and it also reminds me of Mom herself, because it's classy, beautiful and elegant ... like she was 😊.

I hope you enjoy writing with your own ballpoint pens on National Ballpoint Day. Whether they have sentimental value or not, use them in good health!

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