This post will be a little image-heavy!
Some exceptionally fine overlay Swan eyedropper fillers appeared on eBay last week. They sold on Monday and, to be honest, there seemed to be less interest than I had expected, given their rarity and condition. I’m not complaining, mind you! I managed to snag two of them, a solid silver Mabie Todd Swan half overlay and a very decorative Mabie Todd & Bard Swan half overlay gold plate. They were expensive, though not as expensive as they might have been. When I saw them my eyes lit up and I was consumed with greed – I wanted them all. But the car is due its MOT and the insurance has to be renewed so I had to pull my horns in.
Pens of this age, quality and condition don’t come up very often. I think it’s reasonable to assume that this is the dispersal of a collection of some significance, garnered over many years. In any case, here they are: the gold plated pen is absolutely magnificent. I’ve had one somewhat similar before but this one is in immeasurably better condition. It originally belonged to TP Thomas and I don’t suppose he’s still around today. The solid silver pen is a beauty too. It shows signs of having been used a little more but the condition is nonetheless splendid.
These pens were the luxury items of their day. As well as being a huge, recent improvement on the dip pen, the materials and craftsmanship make them exceptionally beautiful and desirable. The price that such pens sell for today is often less, in comparative value, than they sold for when new a century ago.
The gold plated pen must date to before 1907, when Bard’s name was dropped. The silver pen would have been made between then and 1911 when a newer style of eyedropper pen was introduced. Dip-testing, both pens have a lot of flex. The silver pen is a medium stub and the gold one a fine.