If I had my way I would only deal in British pens made before World War II. Perhaps the odd American or German pen but predominantly British. It can’t be done now but ten years ago I could have worked that way. How many prewar Swans do you see these days, waiting to be snapped up at a good price? Not many. I can’t remember when I last saw one of those wonderful lapis lazuli copies of Duofolds that Macniven & Cameron made – or had made. Decorated overlay pens in the Art Nouveau or Art Deco styles no longer appear where I buy. Even imported pens like the great unfaded jade Parkers of yesteryear are pretty well gone too.

That’s not to say that there aren’t good things still to find for a buyer with a good eye but I wouldn’t be able to make a living trading only in the pens I would like to buy. Those days ended around 2010, in my estimation.

It isn’t all bad, of course. Those pens that I most wish to trade in are the ones I most want to keep. Parting with a good Waterman 52 ripple gives me pain. Even thinking back to some of the pens I sold years ago gives rise to a twinge. So when I look through my sources of unrestored pens and see ones that I know my customers will want but that do not especially appeal to me, I know I can look forward to a pain-free life.

Every now and then, when the lid will no longer fit on the box where I keep those pens that are “my own”, I know I have to make hard decisions. I must go through the box mercilessly. Those pens that I have already spent much time with, those pens that have less than a vice-grip on my heart – it’s time for them to go. That hurts too but behind every cloud there’s a silver lining. There’s room in my box for new residents!

3 thoughts on “Ruminations

  1. I can tell you when there was last a decent lapis lazuli Duofold copy MacNiven and Cameron… one went for $380 US last week! I was toying with the idea, as I had bought from that seller a few times before, always with happy results, but it wasn’t even in the best condition: there were a couple of marks on it. The nib was gorgeous though! I’m just waiting on three more recent Waverley nibbed pens from the Burnham (? or whoever?) days which were sold as flex, but I doubt they’ll be as good as my other nibbed pre-war McN&C’s… can’t quite seem to snag the ones I want!

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