Beauty, fun, pleasure, and valuable money-making antiques that don’t take up a lot of storage – these are the great things about fountain pen collecting. If you’re looking to get into it there are some landmark pens that are worth collecting. Not only are these models highly collectible but you can often get them cheaply, most people who have these things have the “it’s just a pen” mentality and are willing to make a deal to get rid of them.
The Parker 51
One of the most famous fountain pens in history, the company founded by George Parker in 1888 had a huge innovation in feed technology in 1931. The result of which is the model 51, released in 1939 during the company’s 51st anniversary – hence the model number. This new pen was advertised as “the world’s most wanted pen” and it seen as stylish, durable, and highly reliable. It came with a lifetime warranty and bore Parker’s Blue Diamond insignia on the inner barrel as indication of the warranty. Parker was confident in the warranty because the pen was their first to be made of Lucite, which was coming into use as a material for aircraft canopies at the time. Models made in the initial production year have small jewels at the bottom and top of the pen and are highly collectible.
The Swan Leverless
In 1890 production of Swan fountain pen by Mabie, Todd & Company commenced. Regarded as manufacturing very ornate pens, the Swan Leverless was patented and began manufacture in 1932 as the company’s flagship pen. It was distinguished from other pens of the era because it used a twist filling mechanism rather than a lever filling one. Not offered for sale in the United States until a more sedate version came out after World War Two, the pen was popular in Britain and its territories and was offered in a variety of celluloids, including gold and silver toned models.
The Pelikan 100
Originating in Germany during their industrial revolution, the Pelikan Company was technologically ahead of its time. It made its debut in 1931 and was Pelikan’s first self-filling pen and used a telescoping piston filling system. Just dip the pen in the inkwell and twist the knob at the end of the pen out and back and the cork-sealed piston draws the ink in. Thanks to this mechanical action the pen was very compact and reliable, holding a surprising amount of ink. This pen came in a large variety of colors and was very popular throughout Europe and subsequently made its way to the United States. During World War Two, hundreds were given steel points for field use and are now extremely rare.
Conklin Crescent Fillers
The Self Fountain Pen Co. in Ohio was founded by Roy Conklin in 1898 but the advertising and marketing of the company began in 1904 with an endorsement from no less than Mark Twain, who wrote that the crescent filler “Saves profanity, it cannot roll off the desk.” Conklin’s crescent was the first mass-produced self filling pen. Any fountain pen marked with the “Self Fountain Pen Company” name on it is still very rare. All of the early straight cap and taper cap pens are also rare, but the metal pens with a lock ring made from half round wire are extremely rare. Almost any silver Crescent-Filler is considered rare as well as any made of mottled hard rubber.
There are a variety of ways to start your fountain pen collection with many suggestions via a search engine being valid. If you also search for pen forums you can quickly begin enhancing your knowledge of these beautiful and collectible little works of art.