Conway Stewart 75
Conway Stewart 75’s were 1950s pens, appearing in 1952 and apparently produced throughout the 1950s. This pen, 12.5cm long, is in marbled “raspberry” celluloid with pearlescent tones in the marbling. It is a lever-filler, with the typically 50s chrome crown holding the clip. It has a single gold cap ring. The pen is in excellent condition, very clean. The nib is a Conway Stewart, and writes a soft, wet medium with a touch of flex. Very nice later CS!
Conway Stewart 85L
This Conway Stewart is an 85L, from 1958-63, the last flourishing years for Conway Stewart. It is a longish pen, at 13.5cm capped, but with full girth, 4cm. It’s very attractive, in marbled red wrapped celluloid. The gold trim is untarnished, and the gold diamond clip is very nice. The nib is a 14ct gold Conway Stewart, and it is a mild stub, writing a moderately soft flexible medium. A very nice later Conway Stewart.
Conway Stewart Duro No. 30
This is one of the classic Conway Stewart Duro pens, properly called The Duro Pen No.30, made from 1930-37. It is from the latter years in that range because it has the diamond-shaped clip. The 30’s were made in about a dozen colors; this one is the marbled green with black veins to go with the black crown and tassie. It is a good-sized pen, at 13cm long capped and 1cm wide just below the cap. The two cap rings and clip are very shiny, without tarnish; the clip’s high points are missing a bit of plate. The pen is in very nice condition overall, with no significant scratches or nicks, although it has certainly been used. It is bright and clean, a pretty pen. This is a button-filler, and the button is quite strong. The imprint is faint but complete; the patent imprint just above the blind cap is barely visible but also present. It fills quite well, which is important for this pen, since its Duro 40 14K gold nib is 1.3mm wide! As you can see from the writing sample, this is a major league wet broad writer, but it’s English, so is not a flex nib. I’d strongly recommend using this pen with a blotting card…you’ll need one. This pen comes with a contemporaneous Conway Stewart box, with guarantee and filling instructions.
Conway Stewart pen/pencil set
This is a delightful Conway Stewart pen and pencil set for ladies, in green marbled celluloid. The pen is a No.12 from 1956-63. It is 12.7cm long capped and 1cm wide, perfectly balanced for a smaller hand. It is in excellent all-around condition, with almost no evidence of wear or use. The trim is all clean and shiny; there is no missing plating. The imprint is shallow but clear. The gold nib is presumably original, marked “Conway Stewart 14C”, and carries a size mark of 3N. I can’t seem to find what the “N” stands for, although it is listed as one of the nibs that came with a No. 12, but this is a gently stubbed nib that writes a very elegant broad line. Note: 12s are among the pens that CS made using casein in the postwar years, rather than celluloid. Casein dissolves in water, so please do not soak this pen! The pencil is a Nippy No.3, and it matches the pen. The set is listed as a match in Hull’s definitive text, so one can assume they were sold together. The pencil is 11.2 cm long, a touch shorter than the pen, and its mechanism works well.It is also very clean and shiny, but has a crack under the clip. The pencil is stable with the crack, since in a mechanical pencil the barrel is supported by the mechanism underneath.However, the set’s price reflects this flaw, because the pencil is being given away with the pen.
This is another of the Italian vintage group I purchased, from a firm called Mario Diaz. Jacobini’s text notes that Coronas were made by various manufacturers, and that Extras were piston-fillers, but this Extra is a button-filler. It has, uncommonly, two barrel rings, which give it a very interesting and different appearance. The pen is of red streaked celluloid, with gold trim. It has seen some use, shows some minor nicks and marks, but is a very solid pen that can be used every day. Its nib, also imprinted Corona Extra, is 585 gold, and like most of the other of my Italian vintage, writes a flexible fine line with just a little feedback.
Cross Century Ballpoints
There have been two classic (not Classic) American higher quality ballpoint pens: the Cross Century and the Parker Jotter. Since the 1960s,the Cross pens have been tightly identified with executives and their office work. My late father-in-law used Cross exclusively since they succeeded his Parker 51 fountain pens. These two pens are typical: 10K gold-filled bodies and caps, black plastic crown, easily installed refills. One pen has a medium, the other fine, both are blue. $20 each, take them both for $35.
Cross Century Fountain Pen/Rollerball
The Cross Century pens are true classics, the staple of the 1960s-90s business executive office, whether in desk set or shirt pocket. Perhaps because there are so many out there, they don’t have a great reputation. However, the Centurys of the 1980s are wonderful pens, particularly the fountain pens! This pen is 10k gold-filled, is in truly excellent condition. It feels great in the hand, has a new Cross converter, and although the 14K nib is marked Fine, it’s closer to an XF, a fast writer. Buy this pen and get the matching rollerball for free! Or, buy the rollerball alone for $35.
Cross Mechanical Pencils
Stood next to the typical Cross Century ballpoint pen (top, free with purchase of one of the others), 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: $30 “baby: alone: $40 both: $59.
De La Rue “The Pen”
In every update I try to include one very special pen, which more often than not in recent uploads has been Italian. This time it’s from early 1930s England, a “De La Rue Pen” from De La Rue. Yes, it sounds repetitive, but that is the imprint. No, it is not an Onoto, the top line of pens from De La Rue. But, this is a truly unusual and beautiful pen. Basketweave celluloid was brand-new in the early ‘30s, which involved layering clear and solid celluloid, which were then sliced into angular patterns to yield wonderfully clear, patterned pens. De La Rue used this pattern in its 1332’s, like this pen, and in its top level Onoto Magnums. (Parker also used this technology in Vacumatics, but without the swooping angles.) This pen is in blue, with the celluloid wrapping clearly visible. Some of the companies that used/made this material tried to hide the seams, but De La Rue clearly wanted its wonderful visual effect to be seen. In addition the pen’s transparency, the goal of the celluloid layering, is quite beautiful. This pen is full sized, at 12.5cm long capped and 1.1cm wide below the cap lip. The gold trim is in excellent condition. There are some nicks that might be nibbles on both the crown, tassie, and the bottom half inch of the barrel, but they are not particularly noticeable. In addition, there is a little bit of spreading around the lever, which is truly not surprising for an 85 year old pen with this construction. The imprint is complete and clearly read, “The De La Rue Pen / Made in Great Britain”’; “1332” is on the tassie. In addition, there is a “44” engraved next to the model number, but its meaning is unknown. But wait, there’s more! Why does one buy an English pen? For its nib…and this is no exception. The nib is warranted 14C by De La Rue, and so imprinted. It writes an English soft, wet, broad line that is pretty delightful. Use a Diamine or Pelikan ink, slightly drier, to really enjoy this nib. In addition, this is a set…the matching pencil comes with it, although the set is priced for the pen alone. It is in the same material, without the nicks, it works, and unlike many matching pencils, feels very nice in the hand.