Sheaffer Triumph Imperial Deluxe


Whereas the last Sheaffer I wrote about was too opulent for my personal use, I would have happily gone into a shop and bought this one.  The 12 carat gold filled cap isn’t too much and it works with the blue barrel wonderfully.
There are those for whom a flexible nib is the be-all and end-all and this pen wouldn’t do for them because though it has a certain softness it isn’t flexible.  For myself, I love a flexible pen but I also love a smooth firm nib that lays down a good line of ink.  That’s what these Sheaffers were made to do and they do it so unfailingly well.
This is the cartridge/converter version which succeeded the Touchdown fillers of the sixties.  I prefer it because it holds more ink and you don’t want a stingy ink supply to service as generous a nib as this.


The fact that Sheaffer reused both names and styles can make pen identification quite confusing.  On the other hand, this makes for boundless scope for the collector.IMGP7031

Sheaffer Imperial Sovereign


I find Sheaffers, especially post-war ones, hard to identify.  So many models, so little difference between them! I bought a couple of these cartridge/converter Imperial pens this week and my researches tell me that this one is a Sheaffer Imperial Sovereign.  If I’ve got that wrong I expect someone will be along to tell me.  Similarly, it was difficult to find a reliable date for this pen’s introduction.  It’s variously stated as “late 60s” and 1972.  Take your pick; I’m none the wiser!
I don’t think I would have gone into a shop and bought this pen for myself – it’s too blingy for me.  It is a very pretty pen, though, and the diamond-cut finish makes it glitter and reflect movement near it in an interesting way.  It’s quite a big pen at 13.2 cm but it isn’t heavy.  The chiselled finish prevents fingerprints, often an annoyance with metal pens.  The slip-on cap grips firmly.  The inlaid nib is a beautiful thing and the shiny black section contrasts with the gold.
It’s a nice writer – the nib with its round bead of tipping material is very smooth.  In the usual Sheaffer way, it’s firm.  Not especially my style, but it’s so comfortable in the hand and the nib glides over the paper so effortlessly that I could write with this pen all day.
It came in a box, a very nice brown leather look one and it was accompanied by a Sheaffer cartridge and a squeeze converter, indications that this pen has been hardly used.  The box is quite wide and it may be that the pen was accompanied by another writing instrument: a ballpoint pen, a rollerball or a mechanical pencil.

Several of the more modern Sheaffers have been a disappointment, but this, it seems to me, is a traditionally well-made Sheaffer of the kind that we expected to see until recently.  It all fits together with admirable precision.  As it is a “white-dot” pen we have learned to expect that it should be a superior model.  This one is.

Today’s Upload

Twenty-one pens uploaded to the sales site today.  All brands, many low prices, some flex, some rarities.

A Different Leverless

I think I’d better start by saying that this isn’t my pen.  Once again thanks are due to
Paul Leclercq for the opportunity to show and write about this beautiful pen.
I see so many black Leverless Swans that I almost forget that they can come in other
colours, but here’s a fine reminder.  I believe this colour was known as Brown/Amber.  It
closely resembles the Tigers Eye gemstone and I think this too, would be a fair name for
it.  Whatever it’s called, it’s very beautiful.
Pens are practical instruments, too, and must write.  This one performs extremely well.
The number three nib is very elegant and in this case it’s flexible too.  It’s an absolute
joy to write with.  In recent years Leverlesses have lost popularity because so many of
them were being re-sacced as if they were lever fillers.  Restored that way, Leverlesses
just don’t work.  Properly repaired, as this one is, with a sac that completely fills the
barrel, a Leverless will hold its own with any other pen of a similar size.  This pen holds
a lot of ink!
For those who take an interest in such matters, this particular pen had an exceptionally
thick peg to fit the sac on.  This meant that straight sac could be used instead of a
necked one.  It’s a pity that all the Leverlesses were not made in that way.
There is no code on the barrel end; all there is is “L3” on the section.  If we were to
extrapolate from this to the full code I believe it would be L3064, the last two digits
being the code for Brown/Amber.
This pen is a considerable rarity.  I’ve never seen one before and I’m grateful for the
opportunity to record it here.  I’ll also be copying it to John Brindle for the Swan list.

A Different Swan 2060


Here’s another of those magnificent war–time 2060 Leverless pens. This one has something that I’ve never seen before, but that should not have been unexpected: a replacement number six size Phillips nib. It’s a handsome nib, medium and not without some flexibility.
We can date these pens fairly closely by the central Swan image which appeared during the war and might have continued as late as 1948. This one’s in good condition apart from the cap rings. They have lost most of their gold plating and they move, though they are in no danger of coming off.
There was a time when I could be confident that I would see one or two of these mighty beasts every month. Those days are gone I’m afraid. They appear much less frequently, and when they do they cost rather more than they did. Perhaps that’s justified and it’s only now that these pens are reaching their true value, but it does seem a shame that they are beginning to be priced out of the reach of many who would wish to own and use one.

These pens appeal to me because of their girth. A thick pen is more comfortable for someone with arthritis. I’m also very fond of Leverlesses. Despite the state of the rings this one has a glorious gloss. I wonder what happened to it. Probably it took a nosedive into a concrete floor at some point, which would be enough to destroy even the massive Swan number six nib. The Philips replacement makes it quite special, to my mind.
Excuse the dust in the photographs, particularly in the one of the barrel imprint. Dust is the bane of my photographic life.

Moaning And Griping

I still suffer from the recurrent problem of sellers not disclosing faults in the pens that  they offer for sale, but eBay has finally begun to see sense. Sellers may say that they  will take no returns but eBay now adds the rider that sellers may be forced to accept returns  if their items are not as described. That’s a major victory, and I think that I, probably  along with many other buyers, can take some credit for that.

My biggest gripe has always been that I ended up out of pocket to the tune of the cost of  sending defective items back to sellers. When sometimes there are two or three “not as  described” items in a week and they have to be returned by a signed for service, this is  not an insignificant cost. I had taken, in my boilerplate claim to sellers, to adding the  phrase, “I will require a full refund including return postage as there is no reason why I  should be out of pocket over an item that was not correctly described.” EBay seems to have  taken some note of that as well. Whereas at one time they made it clear that sellers would  not be responsible for postage costs for returned items, that has now disappeared and in  one or two instances eBay administrators have actually made a refund of postage to me themselves!

This does reduce my loss over these defective items but it does not address the problem of  the time wasted in making and pursuing claims. Some sellers make it as difficult as they  can for the buyer to be compensated, arguing about the facts of the case and using time-wasting tactics in the hope of wearing the buyer out. Though with great reluctance, I have  taken to giving negative feedback to sellers who have not been cooperative. I’m not sure  that this does anything to address the issue and I believe it remains a gaping hole in  eBay’s feedback system. Perhaps there should be a penalty for inaccurate listing. In many  cases, I have no doubt that the deficient listing is unintentional, but even there a  penalty would encourage greater attention to the condition of the item they wish to sell.  In many other instances the damage is so blatantly obvious that there can be no doubt that  the seller has taken a chance in full knowledge and in the hope that a buyer will accept  the item despite its defects.

A penalty which formed part of the feedback report and was visible to all would be likely  to have a beneficial effect in reducing the number of defective items offered for sale.  Either that, or we hang, draw and quarter them and place their heads on a pike as a warning  to the rest.

The Burnham No 65


Here’s another Burnham today, but a rather more expensive example than the one I showed last. This is the Burnham No 65, a post-war pen probably dating to around 1950. I’ve heard it said that this pen was made to compete with the Conway Stewart No 60. The much better plating on the clip, broad cap band and straight lever suggest that that may be so as does the use of a gold nib rather than a plated one.
I haven’t seen all the colours used for this model but going by the present example, Burnham used a more muted (dare I say more tasteful) colour scheme than in the cheaper pens. I believe this is a casein pen. There is a commendable attention to detail, exemplified by the “b” on the rivet that holds the clip and the deep cut “Burnham” on the clip.
It’s a standard sized pen, comfortable in the hand and pleasant to write with. Burnham gold nibs are invariably good.
Was the No 65 a success? I believe it was, because these pens appear quite frequently. Did Conway Stewart sell less No 60s because of this pen? Probably not. The 56 is a good pen, a quality pen, but I don’t think it stands up to close comparison with the Conway Stewart No 60. Doubtless Burnham had their adherents just as Conway Stewart did and it was probably from their ranks that the buyers of this pen came, particularly among those trading up from Burnham school pens.