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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: French - Lily of the Valley Writing Set

Stock number: 9219

Writing Set French - Lily of the Valley

Click for a larger version of this picture.

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: Birmingham 1920 - amethyst lid silver capstan Inkwell

Stock number: 9200

Inkwell Birmingham 1920 - amethyst lid silver capstan

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Condition: Good

Sold

Price: £148.00
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 capstan inkwell with amethyst lid – Birmingham 1920. This capstan style inkwell is hallmarked Birmingham 1920. It has an amethyst enamel inlay lid and an internal glass liner. It measures 8cm circumference and 4.5 cm in height and is in good condition.


Desktop Item: Brown leather Pen/Cigar holder

Stock number: 9263

Pen/Cigar holder Brown leather

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Condition: Fair

Sold

Price: £25.00
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.

 

You may be thinking that this is an unusual item to find on a vintage fountain pen website – but cigar cases are very useful for providing protection when carrying around a few fountain pens – and particularly if you are going out hunting for some. This example in brown leather has obviously been well used over the years it has scratches and ink stains that let it down (or add to its appeal - depending on your point of view). If you should use it for cigars it has a striker strip on the bottom. I have listed it in "fair" condition which I think sums it up but it remains a useful and tactile item.


Desktop Item: Chester 1923 Desk Calendar

Stock number: 9245

Desk Calendar Chester 1923

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Condition: Good

Sold

Price: £220.00
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 delightful English silver and tortoiseshell desk calendar was made in Chester in 1923 and, as you will see from the photograph, the hallmark remains clear. It was retailed by John Bagshaw & Sons a long standing Liverpool family, who produced a range of quality items including leather travelling cases. This particular item is an adjustable calendar, the days of the week are moved by the slide mechanism on the reverse. You simply move this slide to the correct day of the week for the start of the month and the dates will be correct for the rest of the month. It stands upright via the rear support. It is a small desk item measuring 9cm wide by 7cm high and is in full working order. An excellent piece of writing equipment, in good condition throughout and one which will be a pleasure to own.


Desktop Item: Portable flat folding Desk Pen Holder

Stock number: 9266

Desk Pen Holder Portable flat folding

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Condition: Good

Sold

Price: £25.00
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 wooden pen holder is ideal for the travelling writer – it folds flat to a size of 155mm high by 100mm wide and will easily hold three fountain pens. The montage illustrates it open and closed and also shows in more detail the flower design on the lozenge at the top. You will find the remains of a “mark” on the reverse but it is too feint to read and so it is difficult to date, but it is typical of the type of item that would have been taken on a Grand Tour. Condition is good with some anticipated age wear. An unusual and attractive pen holder – easily packed and reassembled for use by pushing the sides and centre strut out.

 


Desktop Item: Silver Sliding Cedar Pencil

Stock number: 9216

Pencil Silver Sliding Cedar

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Condition: Good

Sold

Price: £65.00
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 lovely silver pencil dates from around 1880. It was termed a “Cedar Pencil” as the sliding mechanism was made to hold a wooden pencil made of Cedar which retracts into the pencil body when not in use, protecting the point. It has the silver mark of 925. Whilst I am unable to read the maker’s name it is typical of English pencils of the period. As you can see it currently has a cedar pencil and the gripping and sliding mechanism is in working order. It measures 9.5mm in length and is in surprisingly good condition for its age. A gift box is available free of charge on request.  


Desktop Item: Hinks - The Cyclist Nib box

Stock number: 9229

Nib box Hinks - The Cyclist

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Condition: Fair-Good

Sold

Price: £30.00
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 tiny nib box was made by a manufacturer called Hinks Wells & Co. in Birmingham around 1900. The Cyclist is one of a sporting series which included Cricket, Tennis, Football and Boxing. It is in fair to good condition – fair because it is rusty on the back of the tin and good because the image of the Cyclist is still clear on the front. It is a delightful piece of vintage writing equipment measuring only 45mm (1.5 inches) long by 15mm (half an inch) wide which I am sure will be of interest to collectors and sporting enthusiasts.

Source: La mémoire des Sergent-Major, Jean-Pierre Lacroux & Lionel Van Cleem, Ramsey Paris 1988.p.74


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: - Music/Rastrum Dip pen

Stock number: 9280

Dip pen - Music/Rastrum

Click for a larger version of this picture.

Condition: Good

Sold

Price: £145.00
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 unusual piece of writing equipment dates from 1850. It is a musical stave dip pen or rastrum with brass nib, rosewood handle and turned ivory finial. You will find similar pens illustrated in a book entitled La mémoire des Sergent-Major, (Jean-Pierre Lacroux & Lionel Van Cleem, Ramsey Paris 1988). Page 100 provides an illustration of how a nib of this type was formed in steel in 1911 and pages 147 and 161 illustrate dip pens with similar nibs. You will see from the montage that there are channels in the nib that allow ink to flow down to the five brass points. The nib unscrews for cleaning. The ink is placed in the small brass "cup" allowing five stave lines to be drawn simultaneously. The ivory end to the holder unscrews to reveal a small metal fork used to clean the ink channels to the five nibs. Condition is good although I confess I have not yet tried using it for the purpose for which it was made. It is a delightful and rare item of vintage writing equipment, measuring 140mm from ivory finial to nib tips.

Additional source: The Writing Equipment Society Journal No.88, Summer 2010. p.13

 

 


Desktop Item: Eagle - Just For Fun Pencil

Stock number: 9271

Pencil Eagle - Just For Fun

Click for a larger version of this picture.

Condition: 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.

 

Whilst this pencil company was founded in 1856 in Bavaria it moved to New York in 1860 and adopted the eagle as their symbol when setting up in America. The owners were called Berolzheimers – who subsequently shortened their name to “Berol” in 1970 - which no doubt rings a bell. The pencil shown in the montage is a good example of their work. They called it “Just For Fun” and what else could it be? The full text reads “Just For Fun” Eagle Pencil Co. New York U.S.A.” and it carries the Eagle logo. It is a very large, fat pencil measuring 200mm long from pencil lead to top of ring and dates most likely from the 1940’s. It’s just a fun thing to have on your desk or hanging around – and it’s in pretty good condition too. 

Source: Fountain Pens and Pencils, Fischler and Schneider. p.271

 
 


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