Pelikan Tradition M150

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Several years ago I bought a Pelikan Souveran M400.  It cost about four times as much as this little pen but it was nowhere near as well presented.  I know you don’t write with the box but I’m impressed, all the same.  Underneath the usual white paper sleeve is a box made of imitation crocodile or alligator or some such snappy beast.  Inside that there are three bottles of Pelikan ink and a spectacle-type box containing the pen.
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The Tradition M150 is the smallest pen in the Pelikan range and it has a gold plated nib.  Where Pelikans are concerned, I don’t find a great deal of difference between the gold and gold plated nibs.  They tend to be stiff anyway.  I suppose it depends where you shop but the M150 goes for between £50 and £60.  Pelikan’s piston filling system ensures that the pen takes up a lot of ink.  Pelikan has been doing this since 1929.  Why change perfection?  Though it’s a comparatively small pen, I find it quite comfortable to write with.
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In black with a green ink view window, the famous Pelikan clip and a single cap ring, this is a reserved, understated pen.  It is reminiscent of much earlier Pelikan models.  I think that conservatism is a large part of its charm.  Of course, Pelikan does make many other models, some of which are anything but traditional, but it’s nice that you can still get a pen like this.
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My assistant approves.  She says she could have a lot of fun with a pelican.

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Montblanc 264

I think my opinion of the Montblanc range of pens may have come across in this blog previously.  You know, over-hyped, over-priced, eggshell-fragile nonsense.  Squillions of pounds for a cartridge/converter pen that writes no better than a Sheaffer School pen.  And then there’s that “precious resin” – that’s an insult to our intelligence if I ever heard one!
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However, none of that applies to the Montblanc pens that were made 60 or more years ago, when it was a company that made high quality pens rather than poor quality advertising.  This is the Montblanc 264 which was made, best I can tell, around 1952 or so.
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I have long wanted one of these but there was no point in settling for less than perfection, and that’s what I have here.  This nib could have been made for me.
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What else can I say about it other than that it’s the perfect pen for me?  It’s an unassuming little pen, 13.4 cm long capped with some nice gold trim.  It does what it was designed to do: it sucks in a considerable quantity of ink and releases it as required in a truly wonderful line.  That will do for me!

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Mabie Todd Swan 6

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I love these big sixes!  They don’t turn up as often as they used to and when they do they’re quite expensive now.  They’re worth every penny though.
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This one isn’t quite as immaculate as it looks in these pictures.  The black hard rubber section is faded and the high points of the clip have lost some of their plating.  Still, that’s not bad for 60-odd years.  This splendid nib is still glorious and the plastic buffed up well.
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This was not a pen for the average person unless they were a real enthusiast.  It was the doctor’s pen or the lawyer’s, or maybe even the bank manager’s, though back in those days they tended to be paid in the hundreds rather than today’s millions!
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Regardless of who bought it when it was new, it would have been regarded as a lifetime’s investment.  And I’m sure it would have been, if ballpoint pens had not come along and spoiled the game!

A pen like this really does put us in touch with its past.  There were never all that many of them and they were bought with a purpose other than just writing.  This was a pen that was intended to make their owner feel good about him or herself and it was intended to impress those with whom he had dealings.  I’m sure it did.  All these years later it still impresses me!

Pens Uploaded Today

I couldn’t write a poem today.
One wouldn’t come to mind.
But take a flight
Round my sales site
There are new pens to find.

Mentmore Supreme

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This one just arrived today.  I haven’t even given it a little polish so excuse the dust.
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Mentmore – apart from the very last ones – are often hard to date, I find.  I know that the Supreme was introduced in 1940 and was one of the few models still on sale during the war years, but whether it was in quite this form or not I can’t say for sure.
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It’s a nice pen and I would have said it was in “New Old Stock” condition had it not been that the clown who sold it to me sent it full of ink which sadly stained the box and papers.  The pen has clearly not been used and still retains its sales sticker for the price of 13 shillings and sixpence (including tax).
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It’s a sturdy pen of a good size at 13.6 cm.  It has some rather nice features, like the transparent barrel end and the “stacked coins” cap band.
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I sometimes feel that Mentmore is rather overlooked compared with the market leaders like Onoto, Conway Stewart and Swan.  Perhaps this is partly because the quality was variable, but their better models, like this Supreme, are very nice pens indeed.

Nib Straightening Tools

Bent and buckled nibs are a problem.  I can usually get them back into working condition but often they don’t look as good as they once did.  Part of the reason for that is the tools that I’ve been using – a hardwood pen rest with a good concave area and a somewhat spoon-shaped dental pick that I have ground and polished into the shape that I want.  These just aren’t good enough!
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I had a look around online for tools and settled on Laurence Oldfield’s (Penpractice) full set of nib straightening tools in a wooden block.  It’s not cheap but it is the business!  It arrived yesterday and I’ve done some work with it already.  It makes a tremendous difference to this difficult task.  Also, I have to say, I spent quite a bit of time just looking at it.  It really is a work of art.  I do love handmade tools!

If you do a search online you’ll find several solutions to the problem of nib straightening.  I have no doubt that they all have their advantages but I must say that I am very satisfied with this one.

What’s Going On, Ebay?

Over the last month or so I’ve noticed something rather strange and disturbing happening in eBay.  Quite often, I will buy several pens from the same seller.  Naturally enough, I expect them to combine postage and I contact them to request that they do so.  That has never been a problem until recently.  What is increasingly happening now is that when I go through the procedure to request a reduced total to allow for combined postage, the dialogue ends with “This seller does not offer combined postage.  Proceed to payment.”  And this is despite the seller stating clearly in his listing that he is happy to provide combined postage for multiple sales.

Of course, I don’t leave it there.  One way or another, I manage to contact the seller directly and in each case the seller has been surprised by what eBay is doing and has willingly combined postage.

If this just happened once I would be prepared to accept that it might be a teething problem in the software but last night was the third time this has happened.  I would contact eBay to raise this question with them but they make contact so deliberately difficult that I lose the will to live trying to get through all the barriers they put in one’s way.

I have a vague recollection that some time ago eBay started to take a percentage of postage as well as selling price.  I could be wrong there but I don’t think I am.  Taking that together with this strange software behaviour, do you think I would be entitled to suspect eBay’s motives?

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