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Thread: The irony of getting something nice.

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    Default The irony of getting something nice.

    As noted on the 'whaddya waiting for in the mail" thread, I've somehow gotten my hands on another Parker 51. Don't know what I was thinking really, I should keep away from these cursed pens. Yet here I am, possibly cursed again.

    Why, you may ask (or may not). Well, the problem is this:



    This set has come to me in unusually (to my eye) good condition. The pencil has lead in it, and there is a sealed liquid lead refill included in the box. In my very limited view, this seems like the kind of pen set someone would have in a display collection rather than as a user pen (which is what I was after). More so because I understand now that the pencil and lead things are quite uncommon. BTW the colour is a rich dark blue, a true midnight blue, and I believe this colour is becoming hard to find.

    So what do I do with it? This is clearly a set that is outside of the kind of the general quality I am used to. Perhaps it should go to a collector who will keep it in this condition, and I should look for something else?

    I know it sounds silly, but I am sensitive to the idea that not everything has to be used, and maybe shouldn't be.

    Or shall I just chuck some ink in that bad boy and write the hell out it?

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    I think you should use it and enjoy it. However, if the thought of using it (and accidentally abusing it) is causing you too much stress then you should not, only you can decide. I felt the same way buying an expensive sketchbook once, that first page was so hard to embark upon but eventually I got over myself and thought it's only a sketchbook,but I understand your dilemma is more akin to using antiques.

    There's a difference between nice/expensive and rare. My sketchbook wasn't rare, but I don't really understand why people like to buy an ancient table that they cannot use (my mother used to collect antiques). Not sure if that helps you or not lol.

    Sent from my SM-N960F using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    Nice find, EoC! Hope this turns out to be the 51 that works for you.
    I might hesitate over a mint set, being in the user of user-grade pens category myself, but otherwise I say ink it and enjoy it.

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    Just had a closer look at the pencil, and cross-checking internet resources, and I now believe the pencil is actually just a standard 51 pencil and not the liquid lead version. This is a relief in some ways, though I have no idea why there is an LL refill in the box, and it is ultimately not of use to me.

    The pencil itself is rather wonderful, as mechanical pencils go.

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Just had a closer look at the pencil, and cross-checking internet resources, and I now believe the pencil is actually just a standard 51 pencil and not the liquid lead version. This is a relief in some ways, though I have no idea why there is an LL refill in the box, and it is ultimately not of use to me.

    The pencil itself is rather wonderful, as mechanical pencils go.
    It's a good-looking pencil. As for the LL refill, I've certainly bought wrong refills for things in my time. Perhaps the original owner did too.

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    A little more information - again using the internet - the pencil is coded .9. so, as I understand it this means 2nd Quarter 1949. There are no visible codes on the pen, if it was ever there, but I will assume that the pen is from the same year. The pen and pencil are a perfect match colour and cap wise.

    The pen filler also has the blurb about using dry inks like the superchrome stuff, so I guess this is a Mk1 pen.


    Another irony: my first ever 51 was a midnight blue Mk1 too. I sold it even though it was a decent pen... because of the plain steel cap. The current one has a kind of brushed look to the cap. Don't know if that will last if it gets used though.
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; November 4th, 2019 at 01:32 AM.

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    I say chuck some ink in that bad boy and write the hell out it. That is a beautiful set. However, that gorgeous pen can never fulfill its destiny if it remains uninked.

    You may be overthinking the whole matter. It's not as if it were an ultra rare pen that collectors would fight over; there were millions of Parker 51s made. Also, the pencil turned out not to be an ultra rare liquid lead model, so that's no longer an issue. I'm thinking just use them, and take good care of them, and you and that set should live happily ever after.

    Anyway, that's what I would do. Maybe think about how you'd feel in a few years after passing on the set because it was in "too good condition." You might well end up feeling like kicking yourself vigourously and repeatedly. I'm sure I would!
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    I remember on Antique Roadshow once where a person had brought in their fathers vintage Rolex. The expert said an original, scratched up/used crystal is more prized by collectors than a replaced crystal. My view are things were made to be used. I would not consider a pen used as a pen to have lost any value. Overall, disuse does more harm than use.

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    I've never bought a pen with the idea of reselling it unused, but I suppose I might do so if I could make a large enough profit. Otherwise, I wouldn't say that other people "ought" to use their pens, just that that's what I get mine for.

    Your mention of the liquid lead refill has me curious. I've read of these, and without any great expectations, wouldn't mind trying one. But would even a sealed one still be usable after all these years? Of course, they wouldn't dry up in quite the same way as ballpoint refills, but still, they contained some sort of liquid that might have evaporated over time. I don't know the answer, just asking.
    "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly."
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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    If it helps, Parker made millions of 51 pens and the big time collectors already collected better examples in all the colors, years, and cap styles.

    I understand the hesitation, though. I get nervous having things that are too nice. That first scuff or ding or whatever on a pristine, special item is devastating to me. I mean, I do take care of my things, I don't abuse anything, but even so, signs of use are unavoidable.

    Still. This is just a pen and not some rare unobtainable thing.

    Filling it with ink won't wreck the pen (although I have just discovered Diamine Damson stained the sac in one of mine ) and it will take decades of writing to wear out the tip.

    So... You can at least try it and see if it writes how you like. And if not it will be easy to find it a good home.

    The brushed finish, if it is similar to my 45s, should hold up pretty well as long as you aren't tossing it in a bag full of knives, keys, and rocks and shaking it a lot.

    And if it gets too bad the cap (or really any part of the pen) can be restored to like new by a pen expert.

    The body will look good even with some moderate scuffing, judging by my two 51s.

    Yes the pencils are quite nice! I assume it is essentially similar to my Parker 21 pencil. I think they use 0.9mm lead which is much harder to break than 0.7 yet still relatively fine (versus my 1.15mm Eversharp).

    If this were a rare type of pen, or one of the very uncommon colors (plum, say) maybe it would be worth finding a collector. Even then, how do you know the next person doesn't just use it? In the big scheme of things, it doesn't matter, really. It is ok to enjoy it for what it is.

    As for this guy...



    Just ignore him, OK?

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    Chuck some ink into it first. If the nib is a dud, you'll know why it has been unused for so long.

    Chances are the pens were a gift to someone, who kept them nice, by not using them, or had move onto the new fangled ball points and stashed the set in a drawer.

    The world is not short of Parker 51's.

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    Okay, okay.

    I have inked it... with Pilot blue black. It writes almost as well as I would like. Almost.

    Certainly it is better than the grey one I sent to the boneyard, even though I actually preferred the colour and cap of that one (and that was a vacumatic, another personal preference).



    Apologies for the appalling photography and handwriting.


    (Rhodia pad with 7mm lines)

    I guess this will have to do.
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; November 5th, 2019 at 01:39 AM.

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    Right decision EoC.

    I already said it on several occasions the last years, but here it fit again.

    These items are tools, made to be used and they should be used, no matter how rare, expensive or special they are.
    Imo a tool which is not used is not worth to own it.

    Personal I can‘t understand pure collectors just starring at dead objects without any use.

    Use that tools and have as lot fun with it as you can squeeze out of it.
    Donˋt waste a second on thoughts like „collectible condition“, „rare“, „expensive“,..... life is too short for that

    BTW. Great handwriting (as always)

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    Glad you finally found one that is representative of how awesome these pens are

    And i also think your handwriting is really nice!

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    This recalls a story that I share whenever something like this comes up. I used to be in the world of fine teas and remember a story from Hong Kong of a tea collector that had an extensive pu-erh cellar in his house. The man died unexpectedly and the journalist that wrote the story was a friend and fellow tea connoisseur and was contacted to go through the collection to assess its value. He found a vast collection of rare teas. Among them, and the crown jewel, was a particularly rare brick of pu-erh, which, if anyone here knows tea, knows how expensive those can go. He had the receipt of purchase and it was something like $65,000 and had been purchased 15 years before.

    Anyhow, during the assessment, the journalist finds this supposedly rare tea to be a fake. That wasn't the point, however. The journalist was sad for the passing of his friend and that the tea was a fake, but was more saddened by the fact that his friend bought what he thought was something truly special, something he recalls hearing the friend say he would drink one day, and never got the chance to do so.

    The journalist goes on, saying that single event changed how he consumed tea for the rest of his life. The things we have should be enjoyed while we can enjoy them.

    I am glad you have filled the pen and I hope you find joy in using it.

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    Well, I'm still in the testing phase of course. Currently using it to write a letter to a friend, and learning how a new pen writes under a variety of conditions and angles. Obviously I started with low expectations - as per other threads - so the gap between that and first impressions will be a bit exaggerated I guess.

    Cheers for the encouragement!

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    Incidentally, it is all about ink with my 51s.

    It isn't that they are picky, in fact just the opposite. Mine has written fine with literally everything I've tried from dry to wet.

    It's just that it is more *enjoyable* with some inks than others.

    Since you like smooth maybe an ink with medium to wet flow or that has a more lubricated feel. Or both.

    If you have them available maybe try Quink Black, Waterman Serenity Blue, Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo, or J. H. Perle Noir?

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    Default Re: The irony of getting something nice.

    Quink blue-black is a pretty nice colour.

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