Swan’s blue marble is a particular delight. It’s a subtle pattern, disappearing and reappearing over the length of the pen and the blue is a beautiful silver/blue. So when a nice 40s pen in this pattern with good gold appeared I would normally have been bidding high but what appeared to be a cracked nib – though the crack was in a most unusual place – caused me to limit my bid quite severely.
As it happened I got the pen at what I decided was a reasonable price. I had a couple of spare No 2 nibs and I was all set to make the swap but when I looked more closely I was not entirely sure that what I was seeing was not just a deep scratch and not a crack.
I pulled the nib and cleaned it up and a first visual seemed to confirm that this was not a crack. To be sure, I slid it under the microscope and it was confirmed. It’s only a scratch. I won’t exchange the nib; this one is perfectly fine and it has good semi-flexibility.
Despite reduced capacity due to disastrous bomb damage and very high demand to supply servicemen away from home, Mabie Todd’s quality remained as high as it had ever been and the wartime pens are very good indeed.