Tim's Bargains

Pens listed here are generally either priced at less than $60 or priced at a significant discount for that model because of a noted flaw or repair or because its time to move to a new owner has arrived. 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.
Every pen listed for sale has been disassembled, repaired as needed, thoroughly cleaned, and hand-polished. Pens with sacs receive new sacs, and all filling mechanisms are cleaned, polished, repaired, and replaced as needed. Nibs and feeds are thoroughly cleaned, flushed, and tuned to write smoothly. Additional restoration needed for a particular pen is noted in that pen’s description. I do not use any waxes or finishes, and do not touch up pen color.

How to buy

To purchase or inquire about a pen, please click on the Contact page above and send me a note. Members of the Fountain Pen Network may send a private message to member tmenyc.

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Carter’s Dip Pen


This is a curiosity, for a Carter’s collection. It is a dip pen, sold in the early 1950’s with a bottle of Carter’s ink, for writing cards. At 3.2″ long, this is not a serious writing pen, but it’s cute! It’s made of extruded plastic, probably polystyrene. The Signature branded nib is a 6, and is glued into the barrel. From the writing sample, one can see both what it was like to use an early dip pen, and how important a feed is to a nib’s functioning — this pen has no feed, and I must have dipped it ten times to get this information written. That said, it does write very smoothly! Its listed price is if sold alone, but I’ll discount even that price by 50% with the purchase of any pen.

Price: $24

Cross Mechanical Pencils

1930s, 1950's

Stood next to a typical Cross Century ballpoint pen, these two sterling pencils look like Mama Bear and Baby Bear. While the typical Cross Century or Classic Century ballpoint is 5.25″ long, these two pencils are 4.6″ and 3.5″, respectively. Both are in sterling silver and achieved a beautiful deep silver shine, with a few deeper areas of tarnish.
The “baby” pencil is from the black-banded years, probably 1930’s, and was probably made to fit an executive’s vest pocket, which it fits perfectly (if I wore a vest I’d have kept it…) The black band is at the junction of the twist mechanism and the barrel, and matches the classic black Cross crown. The imprint, one of the tiniest I’ve read, is on the twist mechanism, and it is clearly read with a loupe. The pencil works well.
The “mama” pencil is an early Century, most likely late-1940’s-50’s, is also of sterling silver, which is imprinted in the usual Cross location, just below the crown. It also polished up very well, and works well.
Both of these pencils can take extensive use and would make wonderful gifts for the Cross person. They are available individually or together.
“mama” alone: $45
“baby: alone: $50
both: $85. Buy either and take the modern stainless ballpoint for $15; buy both and it’s yours for free!

Price: $50

Eberhard Faber Permapoint


Permapoints are not great pens, but the nicer survivors are fun to look at and often very decent writers. This is a very nice example, in red-orange snakeskin patterned plastic with a tan swirl. Honestly, how often does one see red-orange snakeskin? The barrel and cap are generally unmarked and attractive. Cap crown and barrel base have matching step patterns that are unblemished. The base of the barrel does have a minor puncture. Clip, lever, and cap ring are clean and largely unmarked. There is a little bit of swelling around the lever. The pen is full-sized, at 5.2” long capped and 0.5” wide just below the cap. The steel nib is the original, marked “Eberhard Faber USA”, that writes a wet, smooth enough fine/medium.

Price: $60 $50

Eberhard Faber Permapoint


This Permapoint is, from what I’ve seen, the most decorative model, and this example is the nicest Permapoint I’ve seen. It’s a very solidly built pen, full-sized at five inches long and .45″ across just south of the cap lip, made of deep red, horizontally black striated celluloid. It carries a handsome inch-high chrome crown, with the clip hung across its top and a series of stepped circles on the top. The chrome clip and lever are also very clean and untarnished. The pen itself is in very nice, attractive condition, with no significant marks. The Permapoint imprint is quite deep and easily read. The steel nib is Faber-branded, and writes a very firm extra fine. A nice pen from a pencil manufacturer!

Price: $55

Esterbrook Deluxe

Esterbrook did not only have the J’s during the 1950’s; they also produced “Deluxe” pens. These were both similar to and different from the J’s. They had metal caps, but were made of a relatively soft plastic that feels like polystyrene. The caps are sturdy, but are not stainless steel.
There were two models: SM from 1949-55 and LK from 1955-60?. The earlier SM’s carried friction fit caps, but at some point they changed to screw caps. These continued with the LK’s, but LK’s had metal crowns and tassies instead of black jewels. Both models came in a range of solid colors.
These are nice enough pens; a black SM has a permanent spot on my desk with a 2550 extra fine nib. Take a little care to protect their finishes, as the plastic is a touch soft and scratches easily.

Price: $50

Esterbrook Dollars and Transitional Js


This is a group of Esterbrooks from the early 1930s until just after WWII, before the more usually seen J’s emerged. Dollar pens are from 1934-42, when they cost $1. They are easily identified by two holes in their clips, and there are some size and clip detail differences over their lifetimes. I’m very fond of the Dollars; their size fits my hand perfectly. The “Transitionals” (not Esterbrook’s name…) were Esterbrook’s literal transition from the war era to the new J family, so look like J’s with no jewel at the end of the barrel, and are more substantial than the Dollars. There are also a few of the wartime pens, which are shaped like Dollars but do not have cap rings, the use of metal ornamentation having been minimized for the war effort. Click in for more details.

Price: $50

Esterbrook J Family


Esterbrook J fountain pens, from after WII through the 1950s, are perhaps the best value and most numerous vintage fountain pen available, with their solid construction, good looks, and interchangeable nibs. Some months back I had a major sale of them here, and thought I was done selling Esterbrooks for awhile. Apparently I was wrong, because in addition to their other positive traits, they seem to reappear on their own!  (Click for details…)

Before you click, note that all black Esterbrook J family pens in this listing are now discounted 10%!

Price: $42

Esterbrook LJ “Icicle”


One of the more special forms of the classic Esterbrook J family is the “Icicle”, a later LJ size pen with long dark streaks in its plastic body. These pens are not the heavy celluloid of the earlier pens, but they are very attractive and solidly made. This group of Icicles is in red, blue, green, and copper.

Price: $50

Esterbrook Nibs

Esterbrook nibs, with a few exceptions, generally come in three levels, 9xxx, 2xxx, and 1xxx. 9xxx are iridium tipped and excellent writers.  2xxx nibs are not tipped with iridium so are a bit softer, but with a little tuning and a chance to get accustomed to your hand, become very smooth one-user nibs (2556 and 2668 are among my favorites). 1xxx are also not tipped and not as soft as 2xxx, but are very serviceable nibs.  1xxx, except for those listed below, are included as bonuses with a pen purchase.  Feel free to ask if you have one in mind.

Price: $

No-Name “12-Side”


Pens like these occupy their own places in our history and deserve use. This pen is actually interesting, because it doesn’t give away any clues to identifying its manufacturer. In addition, faceted barrels were rarely seen in NoNames, because they cost more to make, so what is it? It packs a lot of styling into its 4.75” length — 12-sided black/grey/red midsection, black barrel and matching black cap, crown and base, both with six rings inscribed and matching smooth black crown/tassie. My guess, from the plastic, is that this is a 1940s pen, but that is a guess. This pen shows some wear, for sure, but not in significant scratches or gouges. The faceting ends under the cap edge, leading to a smooth black plastic section that is not a perfect fit into the barrel. Two cap rings are missing. The nib is a spoon-nib, not tipped but a tip is formed by pressing a spoon shape into the top just before the tip. And, it’s Warranted, although the reason for its warranty is not clear since this is clearly a steel nib. All of that said, it writes a spoon-nib line: firm and fine to extra fine. This pen is meant for a right-handed underwriter who wants to give it a new home and career.

Price: $38

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