Vintage Pen Condition Scale

Our Condition Scale

Is it in working order?    All vintage pens go through our workshop prior to dispatch and their filling systems are fully serviced. We therefore expect them to work and each carries our normal 12 month service warranty
Why is condition important?    A pen's condition largely determines its attractiveness to collectors and its price.  Condition is very important.  We have developed this grading scale over the last 20 years to provide a rational and objective guide to a pen's condition
The description of each pen for sale contains a condition grade (for example B/1m or A2/1b). This describes both the pen and the nib
Pen Grade
A1 - Mint (uninked) Shows no signs of use - possibly new old stock - mainly modern limited editions
A2 - Unused (Inked) Shows no sign of use other than having been dipped or filled with ink - this is usually the top condition grade possible for vintage pens as we test the filling system and the nib as part of the service
B - Excellent All parts original and showing only very slight signs of use: slight surface scratching; very minor discoloration or brassing; crisp imprints; no significant dings.  
Most of our vintage pens fall into this category as being excellent, collectible examples which are also suitable for everyday use
C - Fine All parts original: some discoloration and brassing; light or worn imprints; small dings to metal or scratching on plastic.  Unless very rare, we would not normally advertise a pen in this grade. 
A combination of discoloration and brassing, possibly a worn imprint or maybe other degradation of the material means that pens in this condition are seldom desirable
D - Fair Some parts possibly not original; significant brassing/discoloration; very worn imprints; dings and scratches. Maybe a good writing pen or probably one to consign to the part bins!
We guarantee that any pen we sell has no cracking or hairlines - whether repaired or not - unless we have described this in the pen's description.  

Many pens (eg a Parker Duofold in mandarin yellow) might be excellent everyday writing pens even with a hairline crack - but we would describe this in the pen's description and price it accordingly.


  Nib Grade

Nib Grade and Style:     Nib condition - is it okay for daily writing?
f - Fine 
m - Medium
b - broad
s - Stub
obl - Oblique
1 - Nib is  in excellent condition with no damage to tines or iridium 
2 - Nib is useable with no damage to tines, some use evident on iridium
3 - Nib is useable but with some distortion to tines or significant iridium wear
4 - Nib  has damaged tines or damaged iridium or hairline crack - can be repaired
5 - Nib is damaged beyond repair or is not useable

We will also note whether the nib is 'correct' for the pen
Additional Comment

This will include details of:
- any engraving: the initials or text of the engraving are given, eg ‘STG’ or ‘Presented to Adam Smith, Jan 1919’.
- degree of oxidation on hard rubber pens
- any specific damage, hairline cap lip splits etc.

Combined Grade

For example 
A1/1b [Engraved ‘ADS’ on barrel]
 would mean a mint, uninked pen with an excellent, broad nib which has the initials "ADS" engraved on its barrel

B/1f would indicate a pen which has been used but is in good collectible condition and which is fitted with a fine grade nib in excellent shape

If all this is a bit confusing, please phone us and we will be happy to explain further or answer your questions on a specific pen.  We are always happy to e-mail further information on a pen's condition - please let us know what you would like to know!