An eBay surprise!  And, The Grey Lady returns…again.

For many people, eBay is no longer a source of treats and surprises…it has become a shopping place, an Amazon Prime alternative. For those of us in the world of vintage pens, we can certainly indict eBay for ruining flea markets, but it has become a pretty accurate measure of actual selling price, as long as there are enough data points for any given model to find something of a current average.  So, even though the true rarities are now hotly contested, and prices are often too high, occasionally a nugget slips through.

This month one of those nuggets, an Edacoto 87, found its way to me from a blurred picture posted on French eBay by a seller who could not have known that he was selling, for a small fraction of its value, one of the largest fine pens produced in France during the late 1930’s, just because the original Edacoto nib had no tip. French pens of the ’30’s-’50’s were typically short, sub-5″ capped, but with the girth of a full-size pen. The 87, created to emulate the success of the American Parker Duofold, is a good 1/2″ longer than my other French pens, in fact only 1/4″ shorter than my Montblanc 149. This is a pen that I had never seen before and would probably not see again, so it’s going to my collection, possibly after it gets treated to a nib retipping. Except for the nib, it’s in almost perfect, unmarked condition. When I read about the nib issue in the listing of an Edacoto that looked too big, I figured, worst case, I have a few appropriate nibs lying around that would probably fit, and Edacotos always sell well. The moral of the story?  I have to give it some thought, but maybe something along the lines of “You can still get lucky, but do your homework…”   Watch for the 87 to show up in my collection pages.

A few months ago I wrote about my friend’s Parker 51 that won’t feed enough ink…and thought it had returned to its owner to stay.  Well, it’s back, having become something between a bad dream and what my family would call a Wandergeschenk, the gift that just keeps comin’ back… Do you think its owner would notice if I swap its broad nib, collector, and feed for something from the parts bin. Seriously, the margin between getting enough flow from the ink collector to fuel a broad nib and having the nib be too open to maintain capillary action is truly fine, and Parker 51 nibs are small tubes, which make adjusting them a delicate job. I just have to keep trying. At some point I’ll get it right.