This is a Conway Stewart 75. Chrome trim, so not one of the most expensive ones. In fact, it was at the other end of the scale; not quite the cheapest but not far from it. I’ve written about the 75 before, back in October 2012. You can see it here: http://wp.me/p17T6K-vf. That was a long time ago, though, so I think I’m justified in writing about it again.
Actually, I think the chrome trim works better with this glorious raspberry marble than gold would. Altogether it’s an exceptionally pretty pen. It was in production from 1952 to sometime in the mid-60s, so this is quite an old pen though it doesn’t look it. The only notable wear of the plating is on the clip stud which always goes first. Otherwise it’s in very good order with a beautiful shine and no blemishes.
So what does being at the low end of the Conway Stewart range mean? I suppose it was a pen for those schoolkids whose parents were quite well-to-do and could afford to risk the price of a pen that might be lost or damaged, as so many school pens were. It might also be the pen for an adult whose salary was not that high, but who wished to rise above the basic Platignums, Osmiroids and the like. This pen, I think, might have belonged to the latter because it has been treated with care.
I don’t deal in Conway Stewarts quite as much as I once did. Unless they’re quite special, like this one with its beautiful, striking pattern, they’re less popular with my customers than Mabie Todd pens. I think that goes some way to show that people buy, from me at least, for performance rather than appearance. Many of the Swans I sell are self coloured and nowhere near as pretty as this Conway Stewart but the writing experience is better. That’s not to say that Conway Stewarts are poor writers – anything but! However, they often are a little bland in comparison with the outstanding Swans.
When all that’s said, there will always be a place on my sales site for Conway Stewarts. They were, particularly in the post-war period, the British pens par excellence. The 15s, 75s and 85s were inexpensive (though not cheap) and cheerful and their bright colours must have been an uplifting highlight of the austere 1950s. Once again, I think they fulfil the same role in the austere 2010s and their price remains affordable.