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We've been overdue for a return to the 19th century, so here at last are the highlights of our summer's accumulation of Victorian dip pens and pencils.
11467: Aikin Lambert dip pen in box: unmarked rose gold filled twist pattern holder, 14 cm long excluding #1 Aikin Lambert ventless gold nib. Semistub tip, flexible and responsive. One test mark to holder ferrule. Gold filled dip pens are much less common than silver.
11465: Edward Todd dip pen and pencil combination: unmarked holder, gold filled trim, black celluloid (?) sleeves; retracting pencil uses 1.0 mm lead, nib is an Edward Todd of unusual form with a longitudinal imprint and an elongated lenticular pierce. The tip is very fine indeed, so suitable paper is required if its flex is to be used without excessive tooth.
11473: Fairchild reversing dip pen: fully marked gold filled holder with ebonized wood taper, reversing end plug with nib holder; 13.2 cm long with nib concealed, 14.5 cm opened, excluding the nib itself. Big #5 ventless gold Fairchild nib is a noteworthy writer, extra-fine tip with lively flex action.
11447: Fairchild retracting dip pen: gold filled body with bone taper, 11.8 cm long with nib retracted; holder is fully marked, #2 ventless gold Fairchild nib is like new, very flexible but scratchy.
11457: Gorham dip pen in box: sterling silver, 16.6 cm long, unusual and elegant acanthus-like pattern, fully marked, monogram engraved on forepart of holder; nib not included, uses around #4 size gold nib or equivalent in steel or brass.
11445: John Holland dip pen: very large #10 gold nib, marked "16KT", in matching numbered gold filled holder, 18 cm long; holder shows considerable usage, nib is still as good as new.
11446: John Holland dip pen: very large #8 gold nib in matching numbered gold filled holder, 18.5 cm long; holder and nib are both in excellent condition.
11458: Mabie Todd dip pen in box: fully marked gold filled ferrule, taper with baluster finial, 13.4 cm long excluding #3 ventless gold Mabie Todd nib. Takedown design with socketed taper, extra-fine flex nib is very clean but is missing the tipping on the left tine -- would have to be retipped for writing use.
11466: Mabie Todd dip pen and pencil set in box: sterling silver twist pattern with pearl taper, 12.1 cm long, with matching desk pencil, uses standard 2.0 mm lead. Both fully marked, some tool marks to foreparts (see details), pen accepts #3-4 size nibs (not included).
11448: Mabie Todd retracting dip pen: gold filled body, branchiform mother of pearl taper, 12.2 cm long retracted, fully marked, unusual nib holder of form more usually found on nonretracting holders, tubular with split plug; ventless gold #2 Mabie Todd nib is a notable writer, overall condition is like new but for corrosion to end of holder (see detail).
11453: Aikin Lambert dip pen in box: twist pattern gold filled ferrule marked only "1", pearl taper of unusual form, like stacked blocks; 13.6 cm long excluding ventless gold Aikin Lambert #1 nib. An effortlessly calligraphic writer, smooth and responsive with plentiful line width variation.
DATE: c. 1895 • CONDITION: exc • NIB: fine flex • SOLD
11558: Aurora 88P: black piston-filler, gold plated cap and trim, 13.4 cm long; barrel transparency like new, seals replaced, smooth and precise hooded nib.
DATE: c. 1960 • CONDITION: exc • NIB: extra-fine firm • SOLD
11561: Cross magic pencil: gold filled, with suspension sheath, 6.15 cm closed, 11.25 cm extended, uses standard 2mm lead; Cross magic pencils are uncommon.
11456: E. S. Johnson dip pen in box: clean gold filled ferrule, marked only "3", pearl taper, 14.1 cm long excluding #3 ventless gold Johnson nib -- a very flexible writer. Box is in rough condition, missing much of its leatherette covering.
11454: Fairchild dip pen in box: fully marked gold filled ferrule, ebonized wood taper with baluster finial, 12.8 cm long excluding #2 ventless gold Fairchild nib. Tip is very fine indeed, yet provides considerable flex with only minor toothiness -- a real pleasure to write with. Box has a largely effaced Edward Todd stamp on top.
11468: Fairchild dip pen in box: gold filled ferrule with twist pattern mother of pearl taper, 13.9 cm long excluding nib. Holder is Fairchild and fully marked, nib is an Aikin Lambert #1 ventless, a precise and responsive writer.
11451: Hicks dip pen: unmarked gold filled ferrule, pearl taper, 13.6 cm long excluding #2 Hick ventless gold nib. Semistub tip writes more of a medium line at a steep angle, more shaded at a shallow angle, opens up easily for wide flex line variation.
11563: Hicks (?) magic pencil: large sterling silver ringtop, hexagonal body, 8 cm long closed, 13.6 cm extended, very solid construction, maker's mark small but appears to be Hicks, consistent with overall design and quality. Monogram on barrel, action smooth and positive, uses 1.5 mm VS lead.
11449: Kurtz & Monaghan dip pen: unmarked gold filled ferrule, pearl taper, 13.6 cm long excluding #1 ventless gold Kurtz & Monaghan nib. The short-lived partnership of Kurtz & Monaghan was the immediate precursor of Edward Todd & Co..
11452: Madson & Buck dip pen in box: unmarked gold filled ferrule, pearl taper, 13.5 cm long excluding ventless gold #1 nib; semistub tip, nib metal is soft, use with restraint as it can easily be sprung if overflexed. Plush box is well worn on exterior.
11455: Madson & Buck dip pen in box: unmarked gold filled ferrule, branchiform pearl taper, 14.1 cm long excluding ventless gold #1 nib. Semistub tip provides a nicely shaded line with no pressure, just enough flex to add a bit more line width variation; a smooth writer.
11483: Mordan dip pen and pencil set in box: sterling silver, cable twist pattern with smooth baluster finial tapers, pen is 18.3 cm long, takes standard nibs; pencil is 19.2 cm long, uses 1.5 mm VS lead.
11560: Parker Royal Challenger: scarce and desirable large size button-filler in red and black herringbone, 13.1 cm long, gold filled trim with Art Deco stepped clip; bold imprint with 4th quarter date code, matching 3rd quarter date code on nib, excellent color and trim plating, slight clip mark on cap.
11450: Pearce & Hoagland dip pen: unmarked gold filled ferrule, slender pearl taper, 13 cm long excluding #1 ventless gold nib. Small split at end of holder (see detail) does not affect function, nib is toothy, may dig in with too much pressure. Pearce & Hoagland was a Rhode Island company.
11559: Zenith Extra: gold filled slip-cap squeeze-filler, 13.3 cm long, modeled on the Parker 51 Aerometric; most Zenith overlays of this era were supplied by Montegrappa, whose triangular stamp is found on the lower edge of the cap.