This 88P is from my personal collection, being sold only because it’s not my birth month-made 88, which will stay with me for the long haul. This pen is from 1958-1963, and is in excellent condition, except for showing the microscratches of use on its gold cap and one grip mark on the section. Its piston mechanism has been freshly restored. It writes a fast, wet fine with just a touch of flex. The barrel and section are black celluloid and the cap is gold filled. The nib is a wet fine with a touch of flex. It is a delightful writer, a very sturdy and elegant pen that can be a daily user for years to come. I’ll probably have second thoughts about selling it until it’s sold.
The Duo Cart was produced by Aurora in 1954 as a means of combating the rise of ballpoint pens, a budget level 88. It was Italy’s first cartridge filler and first pen made of extruded plastic, so has no o-rings or moving parts. Indeed, its name reminds one that two of the original cartridges fit in the barrel! In dove grey plastic, this pen is generally clean and shiny, with some spotty wear to the chrome trim. The section shows Aurora’s imprint. Aurora made some inexpensive pens, but not bad pens. True to form, this Duocart has Aurora’s wonderful semi-hooded nib, which writes a wet fine/medium, firm without being stiff. An original cartridge not having been found (although the search continues…), this pen comes with an altered cartridge from a different brand. It also functions well as an eyedropper with its high threaded section and near-absence of metal inside the barrel. It was designed to be a budget pen, so is presented here as a Bargain.
Aurora Marco Polo
This Marco Polo, actually the first I’ve used, is an excellent example of 1980s Italian styling. Slim and dressy at 13.7cm, this pen is in very clean condition. It is either gold-plate or gold-filled, feels like the latter, with long deep ribbing in the barrel and cap. The cap ring is horizontally ribbed with what appears to be black enamel filling in the ribs, giving the pen a very handsome appearance. There is a small Aurora imprint, in their 1980s font, running on the cap from the top of the cap ring to the base of the clip. The two crowns are matching, gold rings with black inserts. The inserts match the black resin section under the cap, which is smooth and clean. The nib is an Aurora, and it writes a nice full fine/medium. Some pens, Auroras among them, write better with their own branded ink; thus, its writing sample is in Aurora Black. It comes with a cartridge, which was probably original with the pen. An elegant pen, very pleasing to use.
Aurora Olo Lusso
Olo Lusso was an Aurora sub-brand from around 1929 until the 1940s, probably created to help Aurora achieve better market integration. Unlike other companies’ sub-brands, Olos were made of the same materials as the top-of-line Auroras, so are beauties. The Olo Lusso with gold trim was a 1930-1935 pen, and it appeared in marbled and horizontal-over-marbled patterning; this pen is one of the latter types, and the celluloid shimmers in light. At 13.2cm long capped and 1.2cm wide just below the cap, it is a substantial, but not large. It is indeed one of the most attractive pens I’ve owned, and I’ve dithered about selling it. It is in outstanding condition, giving one the impression of having not been previously used. The celluloid is unmarked. There is a bit of tarnish around the gold crown, but this is this pen’s only flaw. The imprint is “Olo Lusso” in script; it is complete. The nib is steel, and is engraved with “platiridio extra aurora 5”. The nib is firm, a F/EF, with a bit of flex and audible feedback. A fine, rarely seen, beautiful pen.
There are Bankers, New Bankers, and Banker fountain pens, of which this Banker is apparently the least known, certainly the least published. Bankers Pens were early hard rubber pens, New Bankers were 1920’s lower quality pens with rounded caps, and this Banker, a 1930’s lower cost pen which has a woodgrain appearance. It is a handsome, very substantial pen, 5” long and a half inch across just below the cap, with flat ends. There is very little evidence of wear, no scratches, relativelhy clean trim. Curiously, the cap ring, which is installed upside down, has “Gold Filled – Waterson” imprinted in tiny letters. Could this pen be a Waterson, which was a third tier pen maker in the late 1920’s but usually didn’t use cap rings, or was the cap ring added later? No idea. This pen’s only fault is its nib, which gives away its heritage. It is imprinted “Warranted 14K Indestructible”, but from the worn finish one has to doubt all three terms. The tipping is thin on one tine. That said, it does write a very nice full medium, and is an attractive pen!
Bayard Excelsior 540
Early 1940s, black celluloid with silver trim, 4 3/4” long with full girth. The nib is gold, marked Excelsior, with the Bayard PF/crossed nibs insignia; it writes a typical medium line that is a bit wet and soft. This particular pen’s clip and lever are both in the “bowtie” style. User pen, with some typical swelling around the lever area. The imprint is faint but complete; it is interesting to note that this Excelsior does not have Bayard in its imprint.
Blackbirds were made by Mabie Todd, and in their heyday were generally considered to be good pens but a step down from Swans. The company was purchased by Biro in 1952, and there is very little definitive information about what they produced after that. It is probable that this pen is from 1954-58, so it is a Biro, not a Mabie Todd, although there is a faint “Mabie Todd” imprint at, curiously, the base of the barrel under the cap. It is 13cm long, a lever-filler, with a green marbled plastic barrel and chased (stamped) chrome cap. The gold plated clip is riveted into the crown, and imprinted with “Blackbird”. Its probably gold-plated nib is marked “Blackbird”. It’s a nice writer, producing a wet medium line with a touch of flex. An enjoyable little pen.
Carter’s was one of several American pen manufacturers that made excellent pens but just could not compete with the Big 4. Carter’s was a major producer of inks and other office supplies (“You know us for our inks…”), and added fountain pens to their line in 1924. Carter’s pens were around only from 1924-32 before the Depression ended pen production, so now a Carter’s pen in good condition is not seen all that often now. This pen, from the 1930s, is of jade (“Coralite”) celluloid and is in excellent condition. The pen’s model number is not clear, but it has the post-1930 rounded black crown and matching base of their higher end model. Except for one very faint line of what is probably ink stain from posting the cap, this pen is without blemish. It is a slimmer pen, which makes it appear longer than its 5 ⅜” capped length. The trim is gold and clean; the clip is spring-loaded and strong and the two cap rings are both tight. The lever, which is supported by Carter’s own secondary spring, does protrude just a tiny bit, but it is tight and strong. The nib is gold, marked Carter’s 14K, and appears to be factory-stubbed. It writes a smooth, wet stubbed broad line.
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.
Columbus Extra 38
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.