(SOLD) This is a late 1930s Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler in Gray Pearl celluloid and a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime needlepoint (XXF) nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle hand polish. I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration, and I use high-quality replacement components, materials, and specialized tools.
This is a beautiful, full-length, slender Sheaffer Balance from the late 1930s, a Vac-filler made of gorgeous Gray Pearl celluloid, with a nicely transparent barrel, a chrome-plated trim, and a 14k gold, true needlepoint Lifetime nib (5.4" capped, 0.42" barrel diameter). The phrase I wrote comes from a Sheaffer advertisement issued at the time, and it conveys the important message about Lifetime (and "White Dot") pens and nibs, i.e., they were made to last, to write all day, every day, like a Stradivarius violin, they are meant to be used and will "never wear out." Sure, they need occasional maintenance, but those are durable, "workhorse" pens that will prove to extremely good daily writers for even the most demanding fountain pen enthusiasts.
The star of the show here is the needlepoint nib. It's a "true" needlepoint, one of the finest vintage tips I've ever used, a gorgeous, large nib, with excellent tipping material geometry. I would characterize this nib as a calligrapher's tool. It's so fine, precise, with excellent, controlled flow, great stroke consistency, writing under the lightest pressure, able to keep up with fast upstrokes and loops. A fantastic tool in the arsenal of a serious business cursive and Spencerian penmanship writer or student. Being so fine, the nib has some tooth, but it is not scratchy. As long as you write with a light touch, the nib is going to effortlessly glide across the paper.
Today, if you wish to buy a needlepoint nib suitable for Spencerian penmanship, your options are limited to either (1) buying a Japanese EF or UEF pen, or (2) getting a custom-ground needlepoint from a nib meister. The Japanese nibs are excellent! However, they're ground for short, downward strokes, primarily, as is required in Japanese handwriting. They are not going to be as good for fast upstrokes and loops, unfortunately, as some of you might have already experienced. A custom nib, ground by a nib meister, is going to be exactly what you want, but you're likely to have to pay extra for the service. May I offer an alternative: a restored, beautiful Sheaffer Balance pen with a fantastic needlepoint nib, at a reasonable price.
Cosmetically, the pen is in very good condition. The celluloid is deep, rich, and vibrant. The trim is not perfect, it has a couple of small blemishes on the cap ring, but, considering how poorly this trim wore over time (in general), this specimen is rather good.