Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral Fountain Pen and Pencil Set, XXF

(On Hold) This is a 1950s Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral Fountain Pen and Pencil set in the original box, in Black, with gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold XXF (needlepoint) 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. The pencil has been restored to proper functionality. It takes standard 0.9 mm refills.

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral Fountain Pen and Pencil Set, XXF, uncapped

To most fountain pen enthusiasts, the name "Snorkel" evokes this incredibly sophisticated, somewhat obscure filling mechanism, and an altogether odd pen. While that might be true, the pen's most important feature, its incredible writing performance, is often overlooked. Whether it's the Triumph or the conventional open nib, the Snorkel can write! The pen I'm offering today comes with a fantastic XXF (needlepoint) nib that writes a consistent monoline of about 0.2 mm (on my paper) in virtually all directions, without ever catching the paper or feeling scratchy. 

If you love writing small, if you write a business cursive, or if you simply need a great office pen to perform very well on all kinds of unfriendly paper, this pen will be a great fit for you. And, if you need to use a great mechanical pencil, it's right there, in the same box.

There's one detail that I must disclose. The set came to me from the original owner, who had the cap replaced at some point. The cap appears to be from the Triumph model, which makes no difference other than the presence of the White Dot. Otherwise, the set is in excellent condition.

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral Fountain Pen and Pencil Set, XXF, in box

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, F

(Sold) This is a White Dot Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman fountain pen in Black, with a palladium-silver Fine Triumph 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.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, F, uncapped

The Sheaffer Snorkel is broadly considered one of the most advanced fountain pens ever built. Most fountain pen enthusiasts are familiar with the meaning of the term "Snorkel" so I will spare you the story. However, what a lot of people are not aware of is that  a well-restored, well-tuned Snorkel is a phenomenal writer. In my opinion, the Snorkel is among some of the best performing fountain pens I've ever used, vintage or modern. The filling mechanism is easy to use and downright fun, but it is the nib (a nib and feed system, really) that really takes the cake.

So what makes it such a great writer? First of all, the ergonomics. It seems like such a simple thing, really, yet time and time again, pen designers get ergonomics wrong. Not at Sheaffer's! The Snorkel has a gently streamlined shape, a long, slightly textured section, not appreciable step-down, and excellent balance, posted or not. The ink delivery system is rather complex in terms of engineering, but what's important to us, writers, is that the overall surface area of the ebonite material that makes contact with the ink is massive, especially for a pen of this size. A large surface area means an excellent ink buffering capability. Regardless of atmospheric conditions, your writing technique, the paper or the ink used, the pen delivers a generous, yet controlled and consistent flow of ink. Again, a feature that many pen designers often get wrong.

Once the ink reaches the nib, the real magic happens. The Triumph nib is made of palladium-silver, an alloy very similar to that used by Visconti on most of their high-end "Dreamtouch" nibs. the alloy is similar to gold in both its fluid dynamics and vibration dampening properties. As a result, you're getting a nib that's both firm and soft. Yeah, I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it really is not. The nib will perform very well both in the hand of an experienced calligrapher and a complete novice. Sheaffer made sure of that by giving the nib a large sweet spot and a slightly upturned tip, which gives you that desirable sensation of smoothness, but without impediment to ink flow. A really ingenious design! Finally, if you need a thinner line, simply flip the nib upside down. On the reverse side, the writing surface is significantly finer, yet without much loss in smoothness or flow.

Cosmetically, the pen is in excellent shape! The material has a nice, deep color and a smooth surface. The gold-filled trim is in equally great condition, the imprint is strong. This pen would be a fantastic first "serious" vintage pen for a fountain pen novice, and it would be excellent as a tool for cursive handwriting. It lays down a 0.4 mm line (on my paper), and it sold as  Fine, though, by today's standards, it close to a Western XF (e.g., as in a Pelikan M800, Montblanc LeGrand, etc.). 

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

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, M, Boxed

(SOLD) This is an early 1950s Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman fountain pen in Black with a Medium nib. The pen comes in the original box and the nib size sticker still on the section. As far as I could tell, this pen was unused when I received it, but I cannot guarantee it, so I am not selling it as a new-old-stock item. I did restore the pen, however, so it's ready to write when you receive it. Restoration involved 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).

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, M, Boxed

The quote I wrote comes from a Sheaffer advertisement, and I believe the Iowa company was correct in claiming that the Snorkel instantly fills and adds character to your handwriting. 

The Snorkel filling mechanism is widely regarded as the most technologically advanced "self-filling" system. Indeed, it is an incredibly efficient and convenient mechanism, which allows you to ink  up your pen in a "dunk-free" process, with one swift downward stroke of the plunger. The mechanism is reliable and so much fun to use. A lot of fountain pen collectors firmly believe that the Snorkel was the pinnacle of the "fountain pen as a writing instrument" type of design. Beginning in the 1960s, pens gradually moved into the luxury goods segment of the market, based on a design philosophy that prioritizes features other than performance.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, M, Boxed, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

The Triumph nib is an incredibly advanced ink delivery system, as well. It is design to be very easy to use and versatile. Whether you're writing with a wet ink or dry ink, on good paper or poor paper, with a light hand or heavy hand, the pen delivers impressive writing performance and adds character to your handwriting. The nib is easy to maneuver and control, which facilities good letter forms and a flowing style. A real pleasure to write with! If you've never tried the Triumph nib, this is a great opportunity to do so.

The nib is made of palladium silver (a similar material to Visconti's modern Dreamtouch) and writes a generous Medium line. By modern standards, I'd probably rank this line as a medium-fine, but the pen sold as an M. The nib is firm but does not feel like a "nail," thanks to the properties of the alloy and the geometry of the writing surface.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, M, Boxed, capped

Cosmetically, the pen is as close to new-old-stock as it gets. There are no flaws or defects. The plastic is deep, rich, and smooth. The gold-filled trim is excellent. The imprint is strong. The pen comes stickered boxed.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, M, Boxed, with the Snorkel tube extended

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral, Black, F

(SOLD) This is a mid-1950s Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral in Black with a 14k gold, Fine 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 polish with a soft cloth. I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration and I use only the highest-quality replacement materials.

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral, Black, F, uncapped

I am often asked to recommend a Sheaffer Snorkel to a vintage pen noive. In my opinion, if you're going to own just one vintage pen, it would have to be either a Parker 51 or a Sheaffer Snorkel. The pens are rather different in their design and feel, so one might work better for you than the other. 

The Admiral is an excellent choice for a beginner due to its conventional "open" nib. The wrap-around Triumph nib (found on other Snorkel models) is not to everyone's liking due to its unusual shape. The Admiral's gold nib, however, will feel familiar to most of you. And what a nib this is! Sold as a Fine (you can still see the designation printed on the top of the nib "F2"), but I'd rank it closer to a modern XF, it writes a beautifully smooth line of about 0.3 mm, it is confident, always ready, never hesitating, skipping, or starving for ink. It even has a nice bit of spring to it. A phenomenal writer for those of you who write in cursive or want to learn business cursive of Michael Sull's American Cursive Handwriting. I could not think of a better 1950s pen for this purpose.

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral, Black, F, nib profile showing excellent geometry and alignment

Cosmetically, the pen looks as good as new. There are virtually no signs of use, just very, very faint wear here and there, but it's not noticeable with the naked eye. The Black material is deep in color, rich, and vibrant. The chrome-plated and gold-filled parts are equally beautiful. This pen would make an awesome gift for a family member or a friend. If so, let me know and I will include a nice gift box with the pen.

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral, Black, F, capped

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman Pastel Blue, XF

(SOLD) This is a mid-1950s Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman fountain pen in Pastel Blue with a palladium silver Extra-Fine Triumph nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle polish by hand. 

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman Pastel Blue, XF, with the cap off

The Snorkel was made with a number of different nib options, including two materials (gold and palladium silver) and various grinds. The most common nibs are Fine and Medium. The mid-1950s were a transitional era in fountain pen history, where a lot of production was automated, taking advantage of economies of scale. In that spirit, more unusual nib options were usually special-order items and are exceedingly rare today.

This particular nib sold as an Extra-Fine, but I'd rank it closer to a modern XXF, laying down a smooth and consistent line of about 0.3 mm on paper. If you write a dry paper, such as Rhodia, you're going to get a finer line still. An ideal nib with which to write and learn to write a business cursive, American Cursive Handwriting, even Spencerian penmanship (without shading). You have heard me say it before, you would be hard-pressed to find a modern nib that writes as fine as smoothly. That's thanks to the Triumph nib design and Sheaffer's expertise in grinding nibs so that they are smooth, but without inhibiting flow.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman Pastel Blue, XF, nib profile showing perfect geometry and alignment

I take nib smoothness very seriously. To me, smoothness is achieved when the tipping geometry and alignment are as close to what the manufacturer intended as possible, so that you can enjoy a pleasant writing sensation but without sacrificing performance. I optimize nibs for light-pressure writing. so that the pen writes a smooth line under its own weight. I do not apply aggressive smoothing techniques, as I do not believe in changing a vintage nib's character. Also, perceived nib smoothness (as achieved by polishing the writing surface with an extremely fine-grit abrasive) is inversely proportional to writing ability. The smoother then nib, the harder you're going to have to press to get a consistent line. Interestingly, the harder you press, the less smooth the nib will feel, as you will inevitably open up the tines so that you will be "catching" the paper with the inner surface of the tines. It's a kind of a vicious cycle.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman Pastel Blue, XF, capped

This pen pen is excellent condition, though it does have some "handling wear." There are no signs that the pen had been used a lot, just that it's been handled. Perhaps it was in a drawer, rubbing against other pens, but it had not been abused. There are two small scratches on the pen body. Because of that, I am discounting this pen by 20%.

Sheaffer Snorkel Valiant "First-Year", XF

(SOLD) This is a 1952 Sheaffer Snorkel Valiant fountain pen in Black with a 14k gold, two-tone Triumph Extra-Fine nib and a 14k gold Snorkel tube. 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.

Sheaffer Snorkel Valiant, First-Year, XF with the cap off

This is a rare Sheaffer Snorkel Valiant, made during the first year of production (1952), being equipped with a solid 14k gold Snorkel tube, which will never corrode or deteriorate. The pen is in excellent condition, virtually as good as if it was made yesterday. These pens are not easy to come by, especially in such great shape. What makes it even more rare is the Extra-Fine nib.

The phrase I wrote comes from a Sheaffer advertisement, and we can, of course, debate the statement whether or not any particular pen can add character to one's handwriting. However, there's something truly special, magical about the Triumph nib. By the 1950s, the Iowa company had perfected the Triumph nib and feed system. It's a rather elaborate mechanism, made for the purpose of buffering ink flow expansion due to heat generated by your own fingers and changes in atmospheric conditions. It's a system that's excellent at regulating the flow of ink, regardless of your ink, paper, or writing pressure, the Snorkel is going to write a consistent line. The Extra-Fine nib feels smooth and forgiving. There is no other nib, vintage or modern, that can feel as smooth while being so fine. Sheaffer really nailed the shape of the tip and the geometry of the tipping material, such that you're always in control, whether you write with a tripod grip or "death" grip, right- or left-handed, the nib will feel smooth and will write a beautiful line. That part of Sheaffer's advertising slogan is true, in my opinion.

Sheaffer Snorkel Valiant, First-Year, XF showing the 14k gold tube extended

The pen is in amazing shape, without any flaws or defects, with only the faintest wear. The 14k gold tube is in perfect condition, and will last a lifetime. This pen will be an excellent addition to your collection, a classic but rare, Sheaffer Snorkel, the most advanced fountain pen ever made. Needless to say, it also functions perfectly, filling with ease, holding a lot of ink, and being a lot of joy to use. I used Noodler's Manhattan Blue ink here.

Sheaffer Snorkel Valiant, First-Year, XF, capped

Sheaffer Snorkel Saratoga in Pastel Blue, Gregg Nib

(SOLD) This is a mid-1950s Sheaffer Snorkel Saratoga fountain pen in Pastel Blue with a 14k gold, two-tone Gregg nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, thorough cleaning, restoration 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.

Sheaffer Snorkel Saratoga with a Gregg Nib, uncapped

This is an extremely rare pen! Throughout the golden age of the fountain pen, the Gregg shorthand system was very popular among in business. It was an integral skill in the repertoire of a well-trained office worker. Sheaffer partnered with Gregg to create a small number of pens, with specially ground Gregg points, to facilitate rapid handwriting. What is a Gregg point? It's a very fine, smooth, spherical grind. It is almost a needlepoint, and an extremely pleasant, effortless writer. The tipping material is more round-shaped, which means a constant line width regardless of the direction of your strokes, as was required by Gregg. It's a unique experience - a very, very fine tip with the smoothness of a broader nib and a consistent line. The nib is also very forgiving of variation in holding angle and rotation, also, in an effort to provide consistent performance in rapid handwriting. A superb performer.

If you are into extra-fine or needlepoint nibs, this particular Gregg pen will be a fantastic addition to your collection. I will become one of your most favorite writers, as very few pens, vintage or modern, can match the beautiful line and smoothness of this nib. I did not clean the nib too aggressively so as not to remove the Gregg designation, but the nib is in mint condition. BTW, Pelikan had a similar nib, designated as "Kugel Sehr Fein."

Sheaffer Snorkel Saratoga with a Gregg Nib, with the Snorkel tube extended

The pen itself is also in excellent condition, without any flaws or defects, and only with the faintest surface wear, difficult to see with the naked eye.

Sheaffer Snorkel Saratoga with a Gregg Nib, capped

Sheaffer Snorkel Crest F

(SOLD) This is a vintage Sheaffer Snorkel Crest Deluxe fountain pen with a gold-filled cap and a 14k two-tone Triumph gold nib in Gray. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle hand polish. I use best practices in pen restoration and high-quality replacement components.

Sheaffer Snorkel Crest Deluxe, F

Have you ever wished you could buy a vintage pen that was unused, new-old-stock (NOS)? I understand the apprehension about buying a vintage pen, fearing it had been used (abused, even) a lot in the past and that it might not last very long. I want to assure you that, typically, a well-restored vintage pen is going to last a long time and give you years of dependable service. However, if you do want a vintage pen that is as good as new, look no further.

This Sheaffer Snorkel Crest is as rare as it is beautiful. The Crest was the top-of-the-line Snorkel and it is very difficult to find today. It's even more rare to find a Crest in such excellent condition, still with the original sticker on the section. I restore pens for people who love to write, so even if I come across a NOS pen, I still restore it so that it's ready to write when you receive it. Whether you decide to add this Snorkel to your collection, put it in a nice display case, or ink it up right away, this is pen will not disappoint. Oh, and it comes with a box!

The Fine nib writes a smooth, consistent line that is above average in wetness. The smoothness of the Triumph nib is unique in that the nib does skid out of control or fail to start. A conventional nib's smoothness is inversely proportional to its writing ability, but the Triumph nib is an exception.

Sheaffer Snorkel Special

To most fountain pen enthusiasts, the Parker 51 is the most iconic pen of the 1950s. However, to me, it is the Sheaffer Snorkel. The most technologically advanced fountain pen, with a filling mechanism that is as fun as it is efficient, and a nib that writes like a dream. Sheaffer had two kinds of nibs in the Snorkel line: a Triumph and an open nib. The open nib might be perceived as the more economical variant, but I happen to really like it and have never come across a Snorkel nib that doesn't write well.

This particular Snorkel, in beautiful pastel green, came across my bench in an unused condition. Still, the passage of time wasn't kind to the rubber components of the filling mechanism, so I replaced them, thus bringing it to factory specifications and functionality.

The nib is made of palladium silver, and, most likely, sold as a medium. Today, I would rank this nib as medium-fine. It's smooth, wet, and very enjoyable. I dipped it in Sailor's fabulous Jentle Epinard to make the writing sample. Hope you like it. Visit my store to see how to order this pen.

Sheaffer Snorkel Special in beautiful Pastel Green

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral Canadian

The Sheaffer Snorkel is an iconic pen, no question about it. Sheaffer used to be a huge company, with branches in Australian and Canada. This particular pen, an Admiral, was made in the Canadian factory, and it's, therefore, quite a bit more rare than its US counterpart.

Most vintage pens, at least those made by the big-name brands, were designed with writing performance as a priority, and this Admiral is no exception. The 14k gold nib is a phenomenal writer. It feels soft and smooth on paper, but without feeling mushy or over-polished. It has precisely the right about of "tooth" so that it can grab onto the surface of the paper and write instantly, without hesitation. It lays down a line that I would describe as "medium-fine" by vintage standards, and "fine" by modern standards. It's slightly on the wet side, which most people prefer. The line is fine enough to be usable for most office applications, and broad enough to bring out the beauty and shading of your favorite ink. Truly, a great writer.

The 14k nib is smooth and wet, a joy to use.

The "Pastel Blue" is, in my opinion, one of the nicest colors of the Snorkel line. The color is rich and vibrant, and goes very well with the gold-plated trim. Clearly, the pen didn't see a lot of use over the years. It's in great condition, with only some minor surface wear. I do not polish my pens with abrasives. I believe it inappropriate, as harsh abrasives seem a bit too brute force for vintage pens. I only give my pens a gentle polish, just to give the surface a bit more sparkle. This pen didn't need much of that at all.

As expected, the Snorkel filling mechanism is a lot of fun to use. It works as expected, filling the ink sac to capacity with one swift stroke. The Snorkel doesn't hold as much ink as vacuum or piston fillers, but it's an amount comparable with most modern converters, perhaps a touch more. One fill is going to last a few days worth of writing.

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral in beautiful Pastel Blue.