Well, the package arrived yesterday, and along with a bunch of... stuff... is a very significant (no joke) pen from the Parker Vacumatic family . Other stuff includes a charming and somewhat uncommon Wearever (yes, a Wearever) that mimics the look of a Sheaffer Lady Skripsert. A couple nib less pens (Moore, Esterbrook) are decent. The Waterman Expert will make a ballpoint fan happy at some point.Ahhh... but that "Vacumatic", the red striped pen that was the diamond amongst the coal lumps... It turned out, all told, to be a pleasant surprise. We take a turn into the Vacsoterica Zone
As noted in earlier posts, the simple appearance of red stripes on the pen in the first image suggested a pen from the Vacumatic Family pen. In red, even as decent parts, on this bid launched last second with no information on hand, I considered myself safe.
But, the size of the pen
-- standard girth, but shorter than triple-band Vac Standard-- and the presence of two cap-band
s, not catalogued striped early lockdown pens in high line striped plastic, screamed pre-Vacumatic, either a Parker Vacuum-Filler or (highly unlikely) a monster Parker Golden Arrow/ For those unfamiliar with with Vacumatic
, trealize that pens we know as Vacumatic at the very beginning were released as Parker Golden Arrow. Very shortly after the name evolved into Parker Vacuum-Filler, a few months later becoming the familiar Parker Vacumatic, which would persist twenty years.
So, based on the look of the pen in the limited I expected to find a Vacuum-Filler, but hey you never know...
So, here is a first shot
of the pen, confirming the look of the pen as per my description. Double cap-band. Shorter-then-Vac-Standard length. Quite clean plastic and decent trim is noted; better than average from Vacs from this era. And this is pre restoration.
The open pen. Very clean nib with nice mirror finish to the well preserved two tone effect. Good color to the plastic.
Interesting Feed. Could this be a Golden Arrow?
When I examined the nib/feed I was pleasantly surprised. A wide flat contoured feed hid behind the nib. This is NOT
your usual Vacumatic feed. I've seen perhaps three of these in 13 years examining early Vacs. Every one I've ever seen was present on the very first Vacumatic Family pen, the Parker Golden Arrow. This alone added some oomph to the pen, no doubt.
Fourth Shot: Weird Imprint. No, the pen is not a Golden Arrow, but in some ways... it is better. Less valuable, but more rare. The imprint was light but legible. It was not a vaunted "Golden Arrow" and there goes the pen being worth a couple thousand dollars. But, too, it was not a Parker Vacuum Filler. The imprint in fact is that should not be present on any Vacumatic.
The imprint read "George S. Parker. PARKER. Made in USA"
This imprint typically is found on what collectors call "Parker Thrift Pens", decent 2nd-tier button-fillers that often have been poorly documented, in some cases even today lacking any identifiable model name.
To find the generic "Parker" imprint, the "thrift time" imprint on a Vacumatic-Family pen is... a surprise. Though, in fact I have seen one other, indeed iirc a middle size red Vacuum-Filler sort, early product same size as this. I've seen two. Both same size color and era. That I find... interesting.
Do look at the following image. Consider that essentially all Vacumatic family pens were stamped "Vacumatic", "Vacuum-Filler", or "Golden Arrow".
Things to consider in final section after the photo:
- Rarity and Value of this non-"Vacumatic" Vacumatic-family pen.
- Reason for manufacture
Why was an early Vacumatic-family pen, either a Golden Arrow or Vacuum-Filler released with a bland "Parker" imprint generally reserved for second tier pens that sometimes had no model names whatsoever
? Obviously, I cannot say with certainty.When anomalies such as this one are found, one can trot out catchphrases and common play book notions that are invoked routinely
: Accident? Lunchtime silliness? Product for targeted niche market? Early prototype or experiment prior to finalization of model name?
I'm inclined to favor... accident. Possibly the wrong die was placed resulting in a run of pens with this anomalous imprint. This might explain the two I've seen being same size/color, though clearly such a small sample leaves us with potential caveats.What is the value and cachet of this, compared to Vacuum-Filler and Golden Arrow
Again, no hard and fast rules. For me, what with being a collector whose author profiles for the pen magazines and Fountain Pen Board note, "These days the anomalous, "off-catalogue", and esoteric variants provide the most charm.", a weird find like this, especially as I have this pen marked both Golden Arrow and Vacuum-Filler, really rocks.
Given that the majority of pens of this sort are Vacuum-Fillers, my view is that the pen with the plain Parker imprint well trumps the cachet and value of Vacuum-Filler. Of course, if I happened not to own 3-5 Vacuum Fillers in this size/color, I might not feel that way. Pens marked Golden Arrow have huge collector cachet, in my view being more significant pens than even the vaunted "Vacumatic Cap-Band" pens. Golden Arrow is highly sought by many advanced collectors. While, the anomalous pen in this thread is as rare (and overall, well more rare when all colors/sizes are considered) than Golden Arrow, the charm it presents is that of the quirk and the anomaly. My suspicion is that the demand for this would not be the same as that of true Golden Arrow. Too bad. There is no way I see it selling price zone of Golden Arrow, though I would expect it to top the range of Vacuum Filler.
That's my opinion.