De La Rue “The Pen”

early 1930s
About This Pen

In every update I try to include one very special pen, which more often than not in recent uploads has been Italian. This time it’s from early 1930s England, a “De La Rue Pen” from De La Rue. Yes, it sounds repetitive, but that is the imprint. No, it is not an Onoto, the top line of pens from De La Rue. But, this is a truly unusual and beautiful pen. Basketweave celluloid was brand-new in the early ‘30s, which involved layering clear and solid celluloid, which were then sliced into angular patterns to yield wonderfully clear, patterned pens. De La Rue used this pattern in its 1332’s, like this pen, and in its top level Onoto Magnums. (Parker also used this technology in Vacumatics, but without the swooping angles.) This pen is in blue, with the celluloid wrapping clearly visible. Some of the companies that used/made this material tried to hide the seams, but De La Rue clearly wanted its wonderful visual effect to be seen. In addition the pen’s transparency, the goal of the celluloid layering, is quite beautiful. This pen is full sized, at 12.5cm long capped and 1.1cm wide below the cap lip. The gold trim is in excellent condition. There are some nicks that might be nibbles on both the crown, tassie, and the bottom half inch of the barrel, but they are not particularly noticeable. In addition, there is a little bit of spreading around the lever, which is truly not surprising for an 85 year old pen with this construction. The imprint is complete and clearly read, “The De La Rue Pen / Made in Great Britain”’; “1332” is on the tassie. In addition, there is a “44” engraved next to the model number, but its meaning is unknown. But wait, there’s more! Why does one buy an English pen? For its nib…and this is no exception. The nib is warranted 14C by De La Rue, and so imprinted. It writes an English soft, wet, broad line that is pretty delightful. Use a Diamine or Pelikan ink, slightly drier, to really enjoy this nib.

In addition, this is a set…the matching pencil comes with it, although the set is priced for the pen alone. It is in the same material, without the nicks, it works, and unlike many matching pencils, feels very nice in the hand.

Price: $240 Sold