I’m fond of mysteries but there are times when I wish for a solution. This handsome coin filler gives no indication of its manufacturer. There is no barrel imprint and the original nib is long gone with any helpful information that might have borne. I cannot even say with any certainty which is its country of origin. At 13.5 cm it is a medium-sized pen, though it takes a very large nib for the pen’s size. When it came to me it was fitted with a folded tip, gold-washed replacement nib. I tried various nibs from my stock; a Swan Eternal No 4 fitted perfectly. The slip-on cap fits securely. It is quite long, as slip caps go. The original black has been retained and the chasing is good. It has the usual slot for a coin but there is also a circular aperture for a matchstick. I find that quite unusual
The seller put a date of 1910 on it. Certainly patents for coin fillers were taken out in that year and perhaps that’s where he got the date from. Viewing the shape and the style of the pen overall, I would estimate a date a few years later, perhaps 1915 or 16. The pen is graced with a spring accommodation clip bearing a representation of the Stars & Stripes. It has worn quite well and there’s even some colour in the flag. The accommodation clip is certainly American. Is the pen American too? I suspect that it might be. Coin and matchstick fillers were more popular in the US than here in the UK.
I’m pleased with it as a writer. The coin filling system is quite efficient so the pen takes a good draught of ink. It feels comfortable and balanced whether posted or not. The clip is quite light and doesn’t overbalance the pen. As a replacement, the Swan Eternal nib doesn’t really form part of the judgement of the pen, but as always with Eternals it is wonderfully smooth and pleasing in use.
So there it is: a 100-year-old mystery and a great rarity while still being a very practical pen.