I have no pens left to restore so I’ve been making the occasional bid in eBay. So far, I’ve been outbid which suggests that prices are holding up well. Not to worry. I’ll keep plugging away.
Buying unrestored pens right now may be a gamble. The price remains high but will the price for restored pens be as good when all this is over? A friend is risking offering a few in eBay at the moment. That may give an idea of how things are going.
I’m not financially dependent on pen sales so the market doesn’t worry me too much but if my pens don’t sell I can’t buy more and then I will be deprived of the pleasure of working on them. Of course, I’m not entirely idle. I get quite a few queries about my own pens and about pens in general. A recent request for advice was about an elderly eyedropper, one of those gorgeous Mabie Todd & Bard Swans with a repousseé finial in gold plating. This pen is an absolute stunner in almost untouched condition. However, it doesn’t write well, dropping blobs of ink frequently. It has the twisted silver wire without which it would probably be even worse. There are a few things that you can do but truth be told, Swans of that early date are not especially practical. There is always the possibility that the pen will drop a blot at the bottom of the page you have so carefully composed. I think of them as collectors’ pens, more for display than for use. Another five or ten years and Mabie Todd was making eyedropper Swans with more modern feeds, much less likely to drip all over your work.