Sheaffer Lifetime Oversized Jade

About This Model

Pre-Balance 1920’s Sheaffer pens have been commonly, but not properly, called “flat-tops”, for their flat-ended caps and barrels. Properly, they were called by their model names.  They included Lifetimes, with the white dot, 14k trim, and Lifetime nib; "Regular" line without the white dot and with plated trim; and "Ebony" line, of black hard rubber, both chased and unchased.  Lifetimes and Regulars came in hard rubber and Radite, Sheaffer's branded celluloid, in jade and then various patterns. And, there were 46's, a line of flat-topped clipped and ringtop pens made for secretarial use. These were made in black and bright scarlet Radite, and were very solid, well-made pens. In particular, 1928-31 were very important years in American pens: the main shift from ebonite to celluloid. Parker and Sheaffer both made significant innovative and strategic shifts. 1928 marked the first appearance of Jade celluloid, and 1929 the first Balances. Sheaffer continued its production of the “flat-top” Lifetimes throughout the 1930s, but as of 1929 they were no longer the premier model.

About This Pen

This oversized Sheaffer Lifetime pen from 1929-34 is completely unmarked and without any of the typical discoloration seen in these early celluloid pens. This is explained by the absence of a sac in the pen. There was a little dried ink in the gripping section, but the barrel’s interior is completely clean, with no evidence of a sac having ever been there. The Jade is unblemished in its entirety; no micro-wear marks, no scratches. It’s a large pen: 5 1/4″ long capped and exactly 1/2″ wide just below the cap edge. Its trim is shiny and clean, and the imprint is complete and easily read.  It is noteworthy that this pen is from the later years of Lifetime production, after Balances had taken over the Sheaffer line. Numerous details confirm its later manufacture: the clip’s position a full quarter-inch south of the top edge (where the pre-Balance Lifetimes held their clips), by the early 1930’s “long round ball humped clip” rather than the earlier long straight clip, the shorter imprint, the nib’s patent line, and the broader ribs on the feed.  The nib is the expected large Lifetime, and writes a firm fine/extra fine line; it’s a very nice writer. This is an especially fine pen that is also historically interesting! It can take steady use, but treat it to a case if you plan to carry it around.

Price: $235 Sold

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