Gold Nibs For Scrap

My husband, who is a member of FPN, showed me a horrible photo he saw there: more than $1000 of gold fountain pen nibs, sold for scrap. I studied it carefully and most of those nibs were not damaged. I saw a few that were bent – all bent nibs can be saved. There may have been some in the pile with cracks or missing iridium but I didn’t see any.

What’s the scrap value of a gold nib? Can’t be all that much. Most gold-nib pens in unrestored condition are fetching £30 and upwards – often far upwards these days. Those scrap merchants are throwing money away! How can we get across to these people? A lump of lead behind the ear would do, but we could appeal to their greed if there was a way of contacting them.

It’s so infuriating. Hundreds of restorable pens are going in the trash. I’m sure many of us would love to have those pens, or even those nibs. All restorers, I am sure, have otherwise excellent pens set aside awaiting an appropriate nib.

We could, of course, buy the nibs that appear in quantity on eBay and I have tried to do that once or twice, without success. I’ve also had gold scrap merchants going door-to-door, collecting any gold they can get. I’ve tried to educate those guys but it’s an uphill job. How many fountain pens do they destroy every month?


6 thoughts on “Gold Nibs For Scrap

  1. yes, I saw them – two lots from memory – one for the money you mention and the other for something around half that sum I think. Not a new pastime, unfortunately – these philistines have been at this game for some years, and I suspect their argument is that the pens from whence the nibs came were un-salvageable, and beyond repair, and whilst this may be true of some, I can’t imagine all were so bad that we couldn’t have done something. Plus of course, not all of ‘a pen’ may have been a wreck – caps, sections, barrels and clips for some models are now in very short supply, and I bet there were some very good parts literally thrown away.
    What did worry me having seen the pix was that some of those nibs looked very big – and I went to bed depressed worrying that some M.T. and Waterman Nos. 8 and 9 had been separated from their bodies !!

    It’s unlikely there’s any redeeming feature to this practice but if there is then it might just be that the value of my pens will go up as some of them become all the more rare due to the activities of these breakers.

  2. I don’t hit up FPN often but I happened to see that thread. One person spotted, accurately I believe, a Sheaffer Triumph *music* nib. A quite rare beast. Very sad to see this kind of ignorance play out, but one wonders how a person could amass that amount of nibs, many still good, and be able to sell them. Where did it all come from? Yikes.

  3. hmmm – that may have been the case some year or two back, but I’d suggest that most guys in the clearance or related antiques business will have been very much aware for some while that are now making good money – even if they have some minor damage. I’d suggest it’s the case that either the pens were real breakers or just possibly someone has been saving this lot up for a few years – back maybe from a time when it might have been less commercial to sell the whole pen. I’m speculating of course.

    Back last year and into 2019 for a while there was some character on the bay selling whole bunches of pens that lacked nibs – some quite choice ones too.
    I think he/she got the picture after a while and that activity appeared to cease, I think, presumably because very few, if any, of these lots were selling. What happened to those nibless pens I’ve no idea – quite possibly they were binned

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