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The Parker “51” in the rough

Nothing beats finding a much sought after “object” in the midst of a flea market’s “madness”. This is especially true when the encounter is absolutely by chance. Imagine walking into a flea market with the idea of finding a pair of cufflinks and as you browse the various displays and stands, you notice a older gentlemen with watchmaker-glasses polishing what looks like a set of vintage Meisterstück pens. Like a moth to a flame, you recklessly stumble across the room to observe the procedure and low and behold a glint of gold peaks through the glass-top counter he is working on. There, amongst a batch of “normal” pens, is a Parker “51”! Nonchalantly you ask to see the pens and you twitch with anticipation as you work your way to the Parker “51”. It is 1/10 12K gold filled and as you open it you see it is an Aerometric.

The cap needs a good scrub and the barrel has a couple of nicks and scratches, but the sac is supple and the nib looks like it is in good shape. You ask the price of the various pens trying not to show too much interest in the Parker “51” and the old gentlemen says that the ones with the nib that says 14K gold on them are more expensive because they are made of gold. Fair enough, according to conventional logic, but if you only want the Parker “51” the price apparently is half that of the other pens. You haggle because it’s a flea market and it would not be proper etiquette to do otherwise and after a quick cash exchange you walk out of the doors with beads of sweat trickling down your cheeks as you examine your prize in the light of day. The sunshine and fresh air make it look even more beautiful. Bliss!

The true test comes, of course, when you stand over the sink back at home and plunge the tip into the water-filled basin and pump the lever (firmly and six times as instructed). The sound of suction and the release of residual ink tells you that you are in business. Once it is clean you let it dry, then dip it in your favorite ink, pump the lever and enjoy!

If you got goose bumps reading that you are probably a proud owner and if not you may want to find out more about the Parker “51”. In that case, checkout Richard Binder’s website and blog

(Reposted from an old blog of mine Verba Manent Scripta Volant)

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Try this with kids

dapper |ˈdapər| adjective (typically of a man) neat and trim in dress, appearance, or bearing.

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