Pen collecting, like many other hobbies involving vintage items, uses the term “grail” to describe a very few specific items that are long term collecting objectives but are only rarely found and affordable when they are found. While I don’t actively maintain a “grail” list, there are a few important pens I’ll admit to coveting — vintage celluloid Montblanc, Soennecken, Osmia piston fillers from prewar Germany, a De la Rue Onoto Magna, a first generation, transparent Parker Vacumatic Maxima, prewar Italian celluloid pens. For some years, a full size, late-1920s Sheaffer Jade “Flattop” was on my mental list with its black hard rubber cousin, but frankly every one I saw showed too much celluloid deterioration to either be useable or worth the price. This was Sheaffer’s first celluloid pen, and the beautiful green, translucent celluloid has not survived as well as later models.
I’m happy, and still somewhat surprised, to report at the end of this pen-full year that a full-sized pen/pencil Sheaffer Jade set came to me, found in a rural Wisconsin auction by a champion picker, and in this case the reality far exceeds my expectations. It is a rare beauty, with zero celluloid deterioration and a large Lifetime nib that is in perfect condition. The pencil appears to be in mint condition. Should I sell it? One picture is here…and there are more in Tim’s Pen Collection. Click on the image to see a much enlarged image.