A Swan Leverless In Brown And Gold With Cream Veins


Here’s the pen I was waiting for, a Swan Leverless with an Eternal No 2 nib. I have a list of Swan patterns but there are gaps in it and this one’s not there. I would call it brown and gold with cream veins. Anyway, it’s a stunner and I’ve never seen this pattern before. The only detraction, and it’s slight, is a professionally engraved name on the barrel.


I almost didn’t get it. In fact I got it for what I had bid, less about a couple of quid. It isn’t so very long ago that when a pen of this quality came along it was going to reach somewhere in the £70 to £80 mark. Now, not only have prices gone up, there’s no kind of pattern to them. What sells for £90 one day sells for £160 the next. That makes it hard to know where to place your bid. You can’t arrive at a ball park figure. Ebay pen sales isn’t a ball-park any more; it’s a space without limits, populated by slightly crazy buyers. I’m not saying that this pen was overpriced – I don’t think it was – but, for instance, there was a red marbled Conway Stewart 15 in unrestored condition that went for more than seventy quid last week. That’s bordering on the lunatic. 15s usually go for around £30, and this one was just a run-of-the-mill example.


Be that as it may, I spent quite a while this morning studying that pattern.. You could lose yourself in it. Mabie Todd’s patterns outshone all the rest.


This is one of the earliest Leverlesses, from 1933 or 1934, I believe. The name that’s on the barrel is “Chas Gyford” – not a name that’s commonly seen. I did a search and came upon a likely-looking Charles Gyford. If that was the first owner he didn’t get to enjoy his pen for long because he popped his clogs in 1938.


18 thoughts on “A Swan Leverless In Brown And Gold With Cream Veins

    1. Indeed it is a stunner. I also never saw a Swan nowhere near with this type of pattern. Congratulations on your winning bid.

  1. Hi Deb,
    The pen is probably colour #47 Black and Gold Mosaic, I’ve seen it on a 245/47 as well as on page 27 WES Journal #39.

    1. Yes, I looked at No 47, which is described in my list as Black/Brown/White mosaic. Those are the colours, near enough, but it was the word “mosaic” that made me decide against it. It bears no resemblance to a mosaic.

  2. I agree with Eric, this is the black and gold mosaic – colour code no 47. I can recommend Journal #39 where Steve Hull wrote an article on MT&Co colours. In it Steve states that this colour was first introduced on Leverless pens in about 1933.

    I remember buying one of these years back at a Bonhams (or perhaps Cooper Owen) auction on the advice of Alex Crum-Ewing, If I remember correctly, the price was about £80, so there has been some appreciation. I have seen it with the single band as in your model, and also with 3 bands, the outer two thin and the middle one wider and milled. If it is anything like the more common /67 wine and silver colour which was introduced at the same time, it was probably also available in a clipless model.

    1. Hi Philip,
      I blogged about this some time ago. Swan pens of this date and type won’t celluloid weld, so they’re not celluloid. They don’t smell like casein and I’ve never seen one with the craquelure that is so common on casein pens made by Burnham and Conway Stewart. For the moment, the material used in these pens remains a mystery. So far as I’m aware, those were all that was available – or perhaps commonly available – apart from hard rubber and in a few rare cases, bakelite. The plastics used for moulding in the fifties and the acrylics used today were still far in the future. I’m sure it will turn out to be something simple, a material made from the tail hair of the female Bezoar goat or toe-nail clippings from the dwarf elephant of Sri Lanka.

  3. Well, I can probably add to the confusion – My Swanee b/w/g mosaic has L205/47 on the blind cap but suffers from a robbed L2B section, a cut-short SF2B feed and a Warranted nib. But if you leave the cap on it’s……..just beautiful.

  4. I liked this so much I bought one for myself this week on my birthday. Deb, this is your fault, you with this wounderful blog!

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