View Full Version : Comparing Vintage Esterbrook LJ and Dollar Pens to modern pens

May 13th, 2022, 02:05 PM

May 21st, 2022, 09:45 AM
I think the Estie would be more expensive, although it is hard to compare 1950 prices for fountain pens to those of today. To start with, everybody wrote with a fountain pen in 1950 if they wrote in ink. Today, people often talk of using a fountain pen as a hobby.

Best I can tell, the Estie was more expensive than a third-tier pen, like the Arnold or the Wearever: https://www.penhero.com/PenGallery/Wearever/WeareverGallery.htm

And the Estie was less expensive than the first-tier pens, such as Parker and Sheaffer.

Chuck Naill
May 23rd, 2022, 11:50 AM
When discussing a vintage Esterbrook, the nib is the variable.

While I appreciate your inquiry, it is like asking
which modern safety razor compares to one from the 1940’s. It is the blade that is the variable.

May 23rd, 2022, 03:22 PM
Preppies are almost throwaway pens, while vintage Esterbrooks are among the hardiest fountain pens out there. Even their sacs last longer than anticipated.

If you determine the original purchase price of your Esterbrook LJ and adjust for cost of living from then to now, that might help determine what would be a fair equivalent today for price and quality.

Ugly Old Guy
August 11th, 2022, 07:45 AM
The Esterbrook J was a low cost "everyman's pen." I don't know if the pen price varied depending on the nib installed, other than for whichever nib series was installed. A new pen with a 1000 series nib cost less than the same pen with the same 2000 series nib.
For that matter, I don't know if the various nibs in the same series (1000; 2000; 9000) were priced differently or were the same cost. I only know the 1000's cost less than the 2000's, which cost less than the 9000's. A 1556 cost less than a 2556, which cost less than a 9556, even though all three were a "Firm Fine" and wrote the same. The 1000 was the least expensive because they were un-tipped. 2000's were folded over, and cost less than the 9000 which were tipped.
I know some of the nibs were more popular than others, and the rarer nibs fetch more than the common nibs do today. ☹️

The Esterbrook's had steel nibs that were easily changed. Their competition, with few exceptions, had 14K nibs. The low tier Waterman's, like the Dauntless, for example, ($2.95 in 1942) had a 14K gold nib. Parker did produce lower cost pens, as well as expensive ones. The Parker 21 in 1948 cost $5, while the expensive 51 went for $15 that year. Still far, far less than say a Montblanc and other top tier pens sold for.