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Our Sold Archive provides information to budding vintage fountain pen/writing equipment collectors and social history students.

Lily of the Valley writing set

Each fountain pen or piece of writing equipment forms part of the collective history of its period and has a history unique to that particular item. In the 1930’s a silver banded fountain pen was purchased by estate workers, with no doubt hard earned wages, and inscribed to present as a silver wedding gift to the land owner. It was reported recently that, in the days before the National Health Service, when health care had to be paid for, a man pawned his fountain pen to raise funds to enable his wife to be released from hospital. A recently sold writing cabinet was originally a presentation piece to recognise 40 years of loyal service in a period when jobs were for life. Just three examples which only scratch the surface of the lifetime of memories held within each item. A treasure trove of history that no new fountain pen could convey.

The French Lily of the Valley writing set (above right) is an example of the language of writing equipment. Lily of the Valley is a symbol of purity, humility and sweetness and this set was purchased by a soldier to present to his fiancé on his return home.

Below, and on following pages, are all the desktop items in our Sold Archive, displayed in a random order. If you wish to search the sold archive, then the Search Catalogue page gives you an opportunity to do so. On another page you can find the vintage fountain pens part of our Sold Archive, as well as lists of our current stock of vintage pens and desktop items.

Desktop Item: Arnold's Inks c1890 Rolling Ruler

Stock number: 9272

Rolling Ruler Arnold's Inks c1890

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Condition: Fair-Good

Sold

Price: £20.00
Postage and packing
U.K. via Royal Mail Special Delivery: £7.00
Europe via Royal Mail International Signed For: £10.00
Rest of World via Royal Mail International Signed For: £12.00
The postage and packing charge is per order not per item, so if you buy more than one item you pay only one postage and packing charge (see our terms). These costs will be added to your invoice at checkout. Please select UK, Europe or World delivery to ensure you pay the right amount.

 

This rare ebony rolling ruler was issued by “Arnold’s Inks” to advertise its wares and celebrate the longevity of the company and dates from around 1890. The text on the ruler states “Arnold’s Inks Have Stood the Test of a Century”. It is 310mm long. It is as useful today as it has always been and is in fair to good condition – there are chips on both ends but the writing is still very visible and there is no doubt of its age. An interesting piece of writing equipment history.


Desktop Item: Mappin & Webb Crocodile Portable Writing Wallet

Stock number: 9218

Writing Wallet Mappin & Webb Crocodile Portable

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Condition: Very Good

Sold

Price: £228.00
Postage and packing
U.K. via Royal Mail Special Delivery: £0.00
Europe via Royal Mail International Signed For: £4.00
Rest of World via Royal Mail International Signed For: £6.00
The postage and packing charge is per order not per item, so if you buy more than one item you pay only one postage and packing charge (see our terms). These costs will be added to your invoice at checkout. Please select UK, Europe or World delivery to ensure you pay the right amount.

 

This rare and exceptional portable writing wallet was made for retail by Mappin & Webb around 1920. It has a genuine crocodile leather exterior with a leather carrying handle and a dark green leather interior. The outer clasp is silver with a lion hallmark but no date lozenge. The clasp is in working order but has no key. Despite its compact carrying size of 26cm wide by 22 cm deep, as can be seen in the photograph it opens to reveal a number of letter compartments including one running behind the main paper holding panel. The folder increases its extended size to 51cm deep fully open and so is a good size to also use as a desk item whilst folding to a compact size for easy transportation. It has the Mappin & Webb branding in gold on the interior leather pen/pencil holding strip which reads “Mappin & Webb Oxford Street London W.” The main interior panel has the additional attraction of a leather covered wooden central pen/pencil case with working clasp. On either side of this are leather holders containing on one side a match striker (Lights) and on the other a travelling inkwell (Ink). The striker still has its striking plate and the inkwell its internal ink bottle, although the seal on the well is such that I would not recommend you carrying ink around in this. The leather, both external and internal is in very good condition with only minor signs of age. You will note that it has been initialled “GC” but this does not detract from the overall attractiveness of this genuine and unusually rare item of writing equipment.


Desktop Item: Silver edged crocodile skin ladies wallet and Card case

Stock number: 9199

Card case Silver edged crocodile skin ladies wallet and

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Condition: Good

Sold

Price: £115.00
Postage and packing
U.K. via Royal Mail Special Delivery: £0.00
Europe via Royal Mail International Signed For: £4.00
Rest of World via Royal Mail International Signed For: £8.00
The postage and packing charge is per order not per item, so if you buy more than one item you pay only one postage and packing charge (see our terms). These costs will be added to your invoice at checkout. Please select UK, Europe or World delivery to ensure you pay the right amount.

Silver edged crocodile skin ladies wallet and card case – London 1904 This ladies wallet and card case, hallmarked London1904, has a crocodile exterior with silver edging and a firm clasp for closing so is suitable to hold business cards and paper currency. As you will see from the multiple shot it also has a delightful embroidered leather interior. It is in good condition with some loose stitching on the internal leather edging. It measures 18cm x 14cm open and 9cm x 14cm closed


Desktop Item: Asprey Horseshoe Paperweight

Stock number: 9221

Paperweight Asprey Horseshoe

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Condition: Fair-Good

Sold

Price: £120.00
Postage and packing
U.K. via Royal Mail Special Delivery: £0.00
Europe via Royal Mail International Signed For: £4.00
Rest of World via Royal Mail International Signed For: £6.00
The postage and packing charge is per order not per item, so if you buy more than one item you pay only one postage and packing charge (see our terms). These costs will be added to your invoice at checkout. Please select UK, Europe or World delivery to ensure you pay the right amount.

 

This unusual and rare desk item was produced around 1879 and retailed at the time by Asprey of Bond Street, London and has the Registered Design mark of 26th July 1879 on the top lozenge. On the reverse it is stamped “Asprey 106 Bond Street, 22 Albermarle Street, London. By Appointment to HRH Prince of Wales”  Presumably, given its registered design date, the Prince of Wales referred to is the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and was King Edward VII of Great Britain and Ireland from 1901. It is an unusual item which can be used as a paperclip (the paper is held in place by raising the steel horseshoe and releasing, thereby clamping the paper at the point of curve) or as a paperweight. You will see from the photographs, there is some age wear to the steel horseshoe and in my view fairly extensive wear to the purple velvet base. Having said that considering its age and purpose it is in fair to good condition and priced accordingly. It is quite a heavy object measuring 12cm long by 10cm wide at broadest point. A rare desktop item, perhaps of particular interest to an equestrian.


Desktop Item: c1840 Candle, wax & pen stand

Stock number: 9138

Candle, wax & pen stand c1840

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Condition: Very Good

Sold

Price: £175.00
Postage and packing
U.K. via Royal Mail Special Delivery: £5.00
Europe via Royal Mail International Signed For: £6.00
Rest of World via Royal Mail International Signed For: £8.00
The postage and packing charge is per order not per item, so if you buy more than one item you pay only one postage and packing charge (see our terms). These costs will be added to your invoice at checkout. Please select UK, Europe or World delivery to ensure you pay the right amount.

Silver plated candle, wax and pen stand c1840 - complete with original waxes and quill.


Desktop Item: French - Lily of the Valley Writing Set

Stock number: 9219

Writing Set French - Lily of the Valley

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Condition: Very Good

Sold

Price: £198.00
Postage and packing
U.K. via Royal Mail Special Delivery: £0.00
Europe via Royal Mail International Signed For: £4.00
Rest of World via Royal Mail International Signed For: £6.00
The postage and packing charge is per order not per item, so if you buy more than one item you pay only one postage and packing charge (see our terms). These costs will be added to your invoice at checkout. Please select UK, Europe or World delivery to ensure you pay the right amount.

 

This exquisite French writing set, within its original presentation box, comprises dip pen, inkwell and seal. The floral pattern of Lily of the Valley wraps itself around the dip pen, forms the handle of the seal and is echoed in the inkwell lid. The set is in very good condition with a clear lozenge on the seal. The dip pen measures 18.5cm from top finial to tip of nib. The seal measures 8.3cm and is not inscribed. The inkwell is 3cm square.
 
It has two spare nibs. The nib text reads “No.0, Blanzy Poure & Cie 229”. They manufactured steel nibs from 1846 to 1900 and were based in Paris. They were very successful and exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876.
 
The box, which measures 20cm long x 8.5cm wide x 4.5cm deep, shows minor wear on the interior as can be seen from the photograph. The exterior is covered by an olive green leather and has some wear to the lid but overall the box is in fair to good condition with a working clasp.
 
Lily of the Valley was first cultivated in 1420 and is believed to signify “a return to happiness”. It is much used in bridal arrangements as a symbol of purity, humility and sweetness. It has a particular association with France where it is known as “Les Muguets”. At the turn of the century fashion houses gave sprigs of Lily of the Valley to customers and apprentices on May Day.
  
Having taken expert advice on the composition of the set I understand that it is "continental silver" which, if purchased at auction, would be classed as white metal as it is not hallmarked. 
 
It is an exceptionally beautiful set which I am sure will provide much pleasure to its next owner.
 
 


Desktop Item: Writing Wallet

Stock number: 9205

Writing Wallet

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Condition: Good

Sold

Price: £76.00
Postage and packing
U.K. via Royal Mail Special Delivery: £0.00
Europe via Royal Mail International Signed For: £4.00
Rest of World via Royal Mail International Signed For: £8.00
The postage and packing charge is per order not per item, so if you buy more than one item you pay only one postage and packing charge (see our terms). These costs will be added to your invoice at checkout. Please select UK, Europe or World delivery to ensure you pay the right amount.

This unusual writing wallet has a crocodile skin style exterior and green leather interior. It opens to reveal a writing pad area, pencil holder (with pencil) and space for stamps and note sheets. It also has a gusseted area for envelopes (some small old envelopes are included). It opens further to reveal a writing surface and blotter. It is an unusual piece of writing equipment. It is in good condition and measures 13cm x 15cm closed, 27cm x 15 cm part open and 38.5cm x 15cm fully open.


Desktop Item: Swan - The Last Drop Ink bottle

Stock number: 9269

Ink bottle Swan - The Last Drop

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Condition: Fair

Sold

Price: £20.00
Postage and packing
U.K. via Royal Mail Special Delivery: £7.00
Europe via Royal Mail International Signed For: £10.00
Rest of World via Royal Mail International Signed For: £12.00
The postage and packing charge is per order not per item, so if you buy more than one item you pay only one postage and packing charge (see our terms). These costs will be added to your invoice at checkout. Please select UK, Europe or World delivery to ensure you pay the right amount.

 

This “Swan” ink bottle dates, I believe, from around 1950. It is interesting because it is an example of the  “Last Drop” ink bottle - designed to ensure that no longer did you have to leave the last drops of ink in the bottle when filling your fountain pen – you can sit the bottle on its smallest base and reach the last drops. The well worn label states “Swan Ink - The Last Drop Bottle – For self-filling pens – Made in England - Rd.No.687097 – Mabie Todd & Co. London – Stand on small base when half used”. The screw top also carries the “Swan” logo. It still has the old dried up ink inside it but if you prefer not to use it as a collectable, it could be cleaned out and used to hold ink to sit on a desk top today. It is 75mm high by 65mm wide. An interesting and useful piece of writing history.

Source: Mabie in America, David L. Moak. p.209


Desktop Item: Turquoise Enamel Perpetual Desk Calendar

Stock number: 9247

Desk Calendar Turquoise Enamel Perpetual

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Condition: Good

Sold

Price: £170.00
Postage and packing
U.K. via Royal Mail Special Delivery: £0.00
Europe via Royal Mail International Signed For: £6.00
Rest of World via Royal Mail International Signed For: £8.00
The postage and packing charge is per order not per item, so if you buy more than one item you pay only one postage and packing charge (see our terms). These costs will be added to your invoice at checkout. Please select UK, Europe or World delivery to ensure you pay the right amount.

 

This is a superb example of a 1920’s perpetual desk calendar – with exquisite turquoise coloured enamel facing – in working order. The wheels on both left and right should be turned together to change the date and month. The wheels on the furthest top edges change the date (by moving the red line) on all but the first week, and the wheels one in from each end change the month in the centre window. The bottom wheel changes the way in which the numbered dates appear under the days so you can fix the first of the month on the correct day for that month. So changing this by using the bottom wheel ensures that the calendar will always be able to show the correct date no matter what the year – hence it is termed a perpetual calendar. They are usually found with a silver or plated facing and this beautiful turquoise enamel is a rare find and a delight to see. It measures 12.2cm across for the calendar itself with the wooden base measuring 14.5cm across. It is 9.4cm high from base to top of wheel. The condition is good with some age wear to the turning knobs and the wooden base. The mechanism is obviously old and would not take rough handling but is still in working order. The glass front, whilst in good order, is a little loose in the fittings. The colour is a little deeper than is shown above. A lovely example of vintage desk furniture.


Desktop Item: Italian leather - hand made Pen wallet

Stock number: 9227

Pen wallet Italian leather - hand made

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Condition: Very Good

Sold

Price: £35.00
Postage and packing
U.K. via Royal Mail Special Delivery: £0.00
Europe via Royal Mail International Signed For: £6.00
Rest of World via Royal Mail International Signed For: £8.00
The postage and packing charge is per order not per item, so if you buy more than one item you pay only one postage and packing charge (see our terms). These costs will be added to your invoice at checkout. Please select UK, Europe or World delivery to ensure you pay the right amount.

This modern pen pouch was made in Italy and is hand made of good quality leather. It has a pleasing polished finish and a leather loop which slips under the strap to keep it secure. As they are hand made they vary slightly in size but all will accommodate a standard size fountain pen and, in some cases, a larger size such as the Parker Duofold Senior. They are an excellent way of protecting, transporting or even just storing your vintage fountain pen.


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If you would like us to try to source another copy of a previously sold item, please stating the stock number of the item in question, which you will see above its picture on the right.


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