Tim's Bargains

Pens listed here are generally priced at less than $50…priced to sell. A purchase of two Bargains will give you a 10% discount on both, a Bargains purchase in addition to a main For Sale purchase will give you 15% discount on the Bargains purchase, and if you buy 3 or more pens from either category you will receive a 20% discount on the Bargains.

View purchase, return, and warranty policies

Aurora Duocart

1950s

The Duo Cart was produced by Aurora in 1954 as a means of combating the rise of ballpoint pens, a budget level 88. It was Italy’s first cartridge filler and first pen made of extruded plastic, so has no o-rings or moving parts. Indeed, its name reminds one that two of the original cartridges fit in the barrel! In dove grey plastic, this pen is generally clean and shiny, with some spotty wear to the chrome trim. The section shows Aurora’s imprint.  Aurora made some inexpensive pens, but not bad pens. True to form, this Duocart has Aurora’s wonderful semi-hooded nib, which writes a wet fine/medium, firm without being stiff. An original cartridge not having been found (although the search continues…), this pen comes with an altered cartridge from a different brand. It also functions well as an eyedropper with its high threaded section and near-absence of metal inside the barrel. It was designed to be a budget pen, so is presented here as a Bargain.

Price: $42 SOLD

Commander

1930s

This is an American third tier pen of the 1930s, in green, gold, and yellow striped plastic. It has a completely clear ink-view window, and appears after its cleaning to have not been used. It is a little smaller, at 4 3/8” long capped, but fits well in the hand. The nib is steel, marked “Commander Pen”, and writes a nice fine.

Price: $36

Esterbrook Dollar

1935-1942

This Dollar pen is a very nice, very durable writer. Although its nicks and nibbles are evidence of its being a much-loved pen, this is a very shiny and handsome pen. The R.Esterbrook imprint is complete and easily read. Like any Esterbrook, it uses a threaded nib unit, and comes with a nib of the purchaser’s choosing, either a base nib with no extra charge or a 9xxx series or unusual 2xxx series nib with an additional charge.

Price: $45

Parker 45

1960s

This 45 is in dark blue, a classic model, in very nice condition. Clip and crown are gold. Nib is a fine.

Price: $44

Sheaffer Lady Balance

1936-42

Classic 1936-42 Sheaffer Balance, a Lady Balance if made after 1938. It is a Lifetime model that is short and slender, 4 3/4” long and 27/64” across, with the correct “radius” clip. In “grey pearl” celluloid, this is a very nice looking user pen, has silver trim, is unmarked, very nice clean body and cap. It comes with its original full-size Lifetime nib, which writes a super-smooth fine/medium line. There is a flaw that has made it so inexpensive:  a chip is missing from the barrel threads, where the section meets the barrel (visible in the third image). The chip is stable, there are no cracks leading from it, and the cap grips and holds firmly. That said, this pen can certainly withstand daily use.

Price: $40 $34 SOLD

Sheaffer Snorkel

1952-59

A pastel green Snorkel Saratoga from 1952-59.  This pen, a non-Lifetime model, has 14K gold-filled trim and an open nib, two-toned 14k. It’s a great writer, smooth fine with some firmness. This one has a little bit of internal wear, so slips a little when the snorkel mechanism is activated, but it fills well and the wear is accommodated in the price. 

Price: $48

Sheaffer Targa

1970s

This Targa by Sheaffer is a very nice user pen, the classic Model 1001 in brushed stainless steel. This is a “everyday carry pen”, safe, well-made, durable as can be. The cap holds well, with a firm click. The pen has some superficial wear, including some missing chrome on the clip. However, this pen is a wonderful, wet writer; its inlaid nib writes a fine line with a little softness.

Price: $58 $52

The Fine Print

Purchase / Shipping

Payment is via PayPal or cleared personal check. Shipping is additional, usually $4 for USPS tracked first class to domestic US addresses for purchases costing less than $100, and $7 for USPS priority mail to domestic US locations for purchases costing $100 or more. Higher and faster levels of shipping to locations worldwide are available at cost. I will gladly combine shipping for multiple purchases. The purchaser will be responsible for all duties, tariffs, and customs regulations.  All purchases that are delivered within New York State are subject to New York State and New York City sales tax.

Return / Warranty

Pens can be returned for any reason within four weeks of receipt; 75% of purchase price will be refunded. If there is a defect that was not acknowledged in the sale, 100% will be refunded. The filling systems are warrantied for one year; latex sacs are warrantied for 90 days. Because the pens I work on are 40-100 years old and have use histories that are almost always unknown, the pen’s cosmetic appearance, prior work or defects that I did not create cannot be warrantied. The warranty also expires if any subsequent work is performed by the owner or another restorer. However, my goal is to always satisfy a client, to describe a pen’s known flaws accurately, and to take wear and flaws into pricing consideration. For returns without an unacknowledged defect, the purchaser will pay return shipping.

A couple of definitions

Celluloid

Celluloid is actually a form of plastic, a compound made of camphor and nitrocellulose (gun cotton) that has been available since the 1920s. It proved to be durable and highly water/stain resistant, and became the dominant substance used in forming fountain pens form the early 1930s until 1960. I use the term celluloid because it is widely used in the fountain pen world and to differentiate this form of plastic from others, like lucite, polystyrene and other injection molded plastics, and acrylic resins used widely after WWII.

Sizing

American and Canadian pens are usually described in inches and European and Asian ones in centimeters; pens’ sizes often determined their model designations, so knowing one can often help one learn the other.