There remains some debate over why Parker chose the name Victory for this series of pens. It is reasonable to assume that this was chosen as an aspirational name, looking forward to an allied victory in World War II. Against that, some have asserted that the first Victories were made as early as 1935, but this seems unlikely. Records appear to indicate that the first series began in 1941, and given what is known of Parker’s developing commercial relationship with Valentine at Newhaven, this seems to be the more convincing explanation.
From my own experience of selling Victories, interest is stronger in America than in Britain. Here, I believe, they are seen as cut-down, poor man’s Duofolds. That’s far from true, as they are clearly a separate design branch in their own right. They began looking somewhat Duofold-like, and the last, Aerometric version does resemble some of the lesser Duofold models, but in between the Victory develops into a unique and beautiful pen, practically and aesthetically as good as any pen produced by Parker at Newhaven.
The various versions take a little sorting out, and I’ve tried to make them easy to identify below. Unfortunately I don’t have photos of all the models.
1941 – 46
Not very common now, the Mark I is perhaps the most sought-after of the Victories, appearing in beautiful hatched and marbled patterns with a BHR clip screw and blind cap. The clip is of the Duofold ball-ended type and the cap has either one narrow cap band or none. These early Victories appeal especially to American collectors as they appear in colours that are not available in US-made Parkers.
1946 – 47
The Mark II is quite similar, but now the clip screw and blind cap are made from the same material as the rest of the pen, and it is more streamlined. These pens are self-coloured in burgundy, blue, grey, green and black. There are two slim cap bands on this model. The production run was short with the result that these pens are not especially common.
1947 – 48
The Mark III had a longer blind cap and a much shorter clip screw. It was offered in the same colours as the Mark II. It has two bands and a ball-ended clip. Again, because they were produced for a short period there aren’t many of these pens around.
1948 – 52
The Mark IV is often referred to as the “Victory AF” as it shared the aluminium filler with the Duofold. The clip had been redesigned to be more tapered, quite like the clip on the Challenger. This is a very aesthetically pleasing design, to my mind the most attractive of the self-coloured Victories. They’re probably the most common of the pre-aerometric Victories.
1953 – 1965
The Mark V is the final version of the Victory. Like the rest of the Newhaven Parkers, it’s now an Aerometric filler, and it’s insufficiently distinguished from the smaller pens in the Duofold range to attract much attention from collectors. It has a single chevroned cap band and appears in black, green, blue and burgundy.
Without exception, these are high-quality pens. They make excellent user pens and they are an interesting byway in Parker production. At the moment, they tend to sell for rather less than their true value. Snap them up while you can!