Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown, Burgundy, F

(Sold) This is a late 1940s Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown fountain pen in Black, with a 14k gold, "33" Fine nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth. This is a medium-size pen, measuring 5.08" capped and 0.44" in diameter.

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown, Burgundy, F, uncapped.

The price range between $50 and $100 is somewhat odd in the modern fountain pen market. The vast majority of the pens are likely to be mass-produced, plastic, C/C filler pens with a stainless steel nib. Some exceptions do exist, with nicer acrylic or metal bodies, but the steel nib is the constant fixture on those pens. What if you could find a pen that's just as well made, with a unique, high-capacity filling mechanism, and a gold nib? Impossible? Well, yes, unless you consider pens such as this awesome Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown.

The Craftsman is a very interesting pen in its own right, but its key feature is the 14k gold nib. The least expensive gold-nibbed pen on Goulet Pens is the Pilot E95S, priced at $136. Though it's a very interesting pen, it's way outside our range of interest. If you're in the market for a new, economically priced pen, perhaps a gift for a friend, under $100, may I suggest that you consider this Craftsman?

It is a fantastic pen in excellent condition! In true Sheaffer fashion, it is well-balanced, posted or not. It's built to last, and holds a lot of ink. The nib writes a gorgeous, smooth, luscious Fine line of about 0.5 mm (on my paper), and has a very pleasant springy feel. It's tuned to write at the lightest touch, but it will take increased pressure in stride, giving you a hint of line variation. The nib is a dependable writer, without any hard-start, skipping, or ink starvation issues. It would be a perfect school or office pen, and it will put the fun back into note taking. Do you enjoy writing in a journal? This pen will deliver a superb performance on the go.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Broad Italic

(SOLD) This is a late 1950s Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman fountain pen in Burgundy, with a palladium silver broad factory Italic nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, thorough cleaning, ink flow adjustment, nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand).

This is an extremely rare Sheaffer Snorkel from the late 1950s. It is vested with a broad factory Italic nib, made of palladium silver (similar to Visconti's Dreamtouch nibs). Sheaffer did make a "Stub" nib that was about medium in width (0.8 mm), and it also made a broad oblique Stub. The Iowa company used a coding system to describe the types of nibs it made. In the late 1950s, the system was abandoned, and, I believe, this is when this broad Italic nib was made. It would have most certainly been a special-order item, probably bought by someone doing italic handwriting or calligraphy.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Broad Italic, uncapped

When it comes to italic nibs, most pen enthusiasts appreciate great line variation between downstrokes and cross-strokes. However, the greater the line variation, the more difficult the nib is to use. A formal italic nib requires impeccable technique, so as not to "catch" the paper with the sharp corners of writing surface. This nib, thanks to its "rocker" Triumph design, creates extreme line variation, while remaining perfectly smooth and forgiving of angle and rotation. You would not be able to buy such a nib today, even if you order it from a nib meister, as conventional, "open" nibs are simply not capable of such performance. Here's a rare opportunity for you to own this incredible italic nib and take your handwriting and calligraphy to the next level. Whether you write formal italic, cursive italic, business cursive, or print, this nib will deliver amazing performance. It simply doesn't get any better than this. The downstroke is about 1.2 mm and the cross-stroke about 0.2 mm on my paper.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Broad Italic, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

Cosmetically, the pen is in excellent shape. There are virtually no signs of use, either on the plastic or the gold-filled trim. An outstanding specimen!

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Broad Italic, capped

(SOLD) Parker 51 Aerometric, Burgundy, Broad Stub (Italic)

This is a 1951 Parker 51 Aerometric fountain pen in Burgundy, with a stainless steel cap and a Parker "factory" 14k gold Broad Stub-Italic nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration and I use high-quality replacement materials. Though I restored the filling mechanism, you might be interested in knowing that I kept the original breather tube, as it was in a pristine condition.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Burgundy, Broad Stub. uncapped

Parker 51 was, truly, the world's most wanted pen. Thanks to its timeless design and extremely high quality of materials and craftsmanship, we can still enjoy this amazing pen, particularly if restored well. The vast majority of Parker 51s come with Fine or Extra-Fine nibs, though Parker did offer a broad array of special-order nib grinds. This particular nib is a a very rare Parker original "factory" Broad Stub. The distinction among different types of italic nibs is relatively recent, so the terminology can be a bit confusing. Therefore, the best way to define such a nib is by empirical testing (i.e., writing) and stroke measurements.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Burgundy, Stub Italic, close-up of the nib

The nib writes a 1.2 mm downstroke and 0.2 mm cross-stroke, which, according to current nomenclature, puts this nib in the vicinity of a "cursive-italic." What it means, in everyday writing, is that you can get very good line variation, but without the sharpness and small "sweet spot" associated with "formal italic" nibs. This is an extremely smooth nib, ground in a way that allows making confident strokes in virtually all directions without ever catching the paper. The corners are slightly rounded, but without sacrificing line variation. It is, therefore, an ideal nib for anyone wishing to write a variety of styles, ranging from formal italic, through cursive italic, business cursive, and can even be used as a dedicated "signature" nib.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Burgundy, Broad Stub. capped

If you take a closer look at the close-up photograph, you will notice the incredible precision with which this nib was made. Though Parker had excellent automation in place, a lot of the steps in the making of the 51 were done by hand, including nib grinding and polishing. Every nib was submitted to a meticulous process of quality control, including machine testing, visual inspection, and writing tests by a team of experienced technicians. What you can also see in this photo is that the nib is in fantastic overall condition, virtually as good as new.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Burgundy, Stub Italic, the aerometric filler, showing a clear, new Pli-glass sac

Cosmetically, the pen is also in excellent shape, without any flaws or defects. The color is deep, rich, and vibrant, the material smooth with a nice semi-gloss type of finish. The cap is in equally great condition.