A Nineteen-Twenties De La Rue Pen

I’m afraid my photographs don’t really do justice to this stunning pen. I’ve lightened them a little to show the chasing better.


Going by its style, it dates to the early nineteen-twenties but in terms of condition it could have been made yesterday. I have nothing to compare this with as I’m not really familiar with non-Onoto De La Rue pens of this quite early date. All I can say is that this is a very, very high quality pen. The machining is so good it’s invisible, the fit of the parts is superb, the chasing is deep-cut and beautiful and the design is pleasing. Later De La Rue pens can be inconsistent; some are excellent, others can be surprisingly average, but they got off to a good start with this one.


Nib stamps are interesting. The best, I think, are on Sheaffers – deeply imprinted, clear and artistically laid out. Swans are good too. Conway Stewarts have nice cursive writing but they’re stamped quite shallow, and old ones can be very faint. De La Rues, including Onotos, often have a messy and indistinct stamp.


Don’t judge the nib by the stamp, however. De La Rue nibs are superb, among the very best you’ll ever find.

It’s when you find a pristine black chased hard rubber pen like this that the difference between the real thing and re-blacked pens leaps out at you. There are no painted-over dings and scratches here, nor is the surface roughened by soaking in bleach. A BCHR pen that is like new is a very special thing and it can’t be replicated by chicanery.

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