Friday, August 21, 2015

A Tale of Several Lizards

Too often I get to the end of a particularly challenging or satisfying restoration effort and find myself saying “gosh darn (well not exactly) I should have recorded that.”

Well, this time I was doing the work for a friend and she reminded me. So here goes.

The story begins at the recent Washington DC Supershow. It is one of the two biggest in the universe and that made this whole enterprise possible since I was able to put the pieces together on the spot rather than having to chase all over the internet and pray that it would all come together. It helped that I was dealing with friends.

The pen under consideration is pretty uncommon. Any Pelikan lizard is to be valued, but the short captop models are even less common. As you can see here it came to me in pretty sad shape. 
The binde was pretty much shot and the barrel broken in two and held together with tape. It was a cap. Fortunately that was in relatively good condition with only a hairline caplip crack along a lamination, pretty common in these pens and easily and safely sealed.

Even before purchasing the cap I was able to source a barrel that was a good match both in terms of fit and pattern. It was a bit rough cosmetically, as you can see, but that could be dealt with. 

At this point I had all the pieces I needed. I had only to get home to my workshop and parts bins.

Once I got home the restoration was pretty straightforward. I did want to save the old lizard binde, I had plans for that. 

The new barrel and binde were clean and were slip-fitted together.

So it was only a matter of finding the right parts. The Pelikan 100 and 100N models post high and so a proper fit between the filling mechanism and the cap is essential. Also, the captop and barrel were from about 1938, so I wanted a hard rubber mechanism, and one without wear, since I wanted it to be a 9/10 restoration. Also critical was getting a good fit between the mechanism and the barrel, one that yould not stress the delicate thread end of the barrel. It took a good solid half hour of pulling and fitting parts to get the right match.

From there it was only a matter of fitting parts together, to be honest. I needed a new cork for the seal. I needed to install the nib and then to carefully polish the pen.

This tale has a particularly amusing finish. I had not initially thought of this as a pen for myself. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t, despite the fact that I have the other three lizard variants (though all in yellow gold finish. They do come in white metal too.) It was for a friend at the show. The next day, on Sunday, another of these rare pens showed up and I snagged that, too. But, again, not for myself. Only after restoring pen A and cleaning up pen B (which was intact, restored but not in as good condition) did the penny drop. I needed to keep one.

Finally, this little case came to me as well, in the course of the show. All lizardy goodness!!

 And here the four versions of the gold trimmed lizard. For the sake of accuracy I should mention that there are white metal trimmed 101Ns, one of which I do not have.
It would be false modesty to say this work is easy. It takes some degree of knowledge and dexterity. Having lots of parts and patience helps. But in this case, the end justifies the work.

Back to basics: Pens

The original purpose of The PENguin Blog was to showcase newly arrived pens and then travel happened, specifically a semester abroad in the UK in 2009 and then it became a travel blog.

It may be time to get back to basics, so let’s start with two entries.

This, the first:

The recent Washington DC Supershow really was a super show indeed, for me. Several of these have been sold but there are still some notable pens remaining:

This first pen is really a custom. As far as we know Pelikan never offered a 100 with a lizard binde and a black cap. Now that that’s out of the way, what we have here is a custom barrel, a modified 101N binde and correct parts otherwise. If you are waiting for a true lizard or merely want a cool everyday user here it is. $495

Next is a blue 100. This is the real deal with authentic (rather than recent) Emege markings. The binde is about .5 mm short on this pen but it is otherwise a fine example. If perfect I would ask $1,500. But with the binde $1,200.

The third of these is probably the most significant. If you aspire to Pelikany goodness this has to be in your collection, and in fact I do not have one. This is a short captop Pelikan 101N. The short captops are the holiest of the holy Pelikans. This one is in overall Very Good + condition, showing only the expected signs of use. It’s not cheap and if it doesn’t sell I will console myself by knowing that I have a full run, all four lizard models. $3,400

Next up is another interesting pen. It looks like a “garden variety” tortoise 101N, but the captop markings tell you that this “Pelican” was made around 1950 for the English language market. Excellent condition. $1,400

The big black pen is a first year M800, one of two available. It is complete and correct with the hand enameled logo and 14 Carat nib. Some nib choice available. $725

The blue stripe pen is an early M800 of that color with the stamped medallion. $450 SOLD

The green M800 demonstrator is another classic and it is increasingly hard to find them more than twenty years after their release unused with the sticker. I have a correct rectangular plastic box for this, but no paper. $625

Unused Blue Oceans are not getting any easier to find. This one is complete and correct, but without box or paper. $625  SOLD

And this brings us to a trio of non-Pelikans:

OMAS Club Pen in coral faceted celluloid. It has been used. Not sure if I have box or not for it. I’ll check. $325 SOLD

OMAS Filharmonica Prototype. Unmarked and with a standard two tone Broad nib. An amusing and attractive oddity. $650 SOLD

Last, but far from least, a green striped Osmia 884. This pen is every bit the equal of the Montblanc 146 or Soennecken 111 Extra at a fraction of the price, but no one knows about them. $325