Columbus Extra 38

1950s

About This Model

Columbus, actually Alfredo Verga dei Fratelli Verga Snc, is one of those venerable Italian companies that is hard to describe succinctly. Founded by Alfredo and Eugenio Verga in Milan, they were early in the market, selling their own pens as early as 1918. For the next twenty years, most of their production was known to be evocative, often frank copies, of other companies’, particularly American, to enable local sales for this regional company. However, their work was of very high technical quality and with outstanding and creative design, often better than those they copied. By the 1930s, they added the Extra line, which was not so much a product line as the higher level of their current work, whatever they were producing at the time. From then through the 1950s, Columbus continued to produce very attractive, very well made pens that copied the dominant, usually American, styles of the day. By the middle 1950s, their work had moved completely into plastics, and quality diminished with the shrinking pen market. The company and the name sold in 1992.

About This Pen

Probably a 1950’s pen, this 38 closely resembles Columbus’ smaller celluloid models from the 1940s, but this is made of a resin. The Italian pen forum does show a picture of an Extra 38, but its nib and crown are both different from this one, which of course further complicates the identification. However, this bewildering model nomenclature is often seen in Italian pens; names and line continue with the pens changing. All of that said, it is a beautiful smaller pen. At 11.9cm capped and 1.2cm across just below the cap line, the pen feels full-size in a smaller hand, and is certainly not petite. It is of beautiful marbled resin, in green and black with mother-of-pearl, with gold trim. The piston works flawlessly, the pen fills and empties easily. In another post-WWII touch, the piston itself ends with a plastic gasket, as seen in Pelikans, not a cork. As with so many Italian pens, it is a wonderful writer, a long-tined nib that writes fine/medium with a nice touch of flex and shaded line. It will write wonderfully for anyone but will possibly hold its nib alignment better with a right-handed writer. This is a pen that can be carried in a bag without worry, and would make a delightful first vintage Italian pen for a growing vintage collection.

Price: $105 Sold

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