Parker "51"

I picked up a fountain pen at a garage sale yesterday, one that was unusual looking and in excellent shape. Odd color, too, a smooth tan with a gold cap. Most old fountain pens are black, blue or maroon.

After handing over my dollar, I went on my way. Later in the day, I had a chance to examine it. 14K gold-filled cap, converging lines, a hidden nib, barrel and cap in excellent almost scratch-free condition. Interesting blue diamond on the clip, and transluscent gem-like shapes on both ends.

Tiny lettering on the barrel said Parker "51", so I Googled it, andgot more info as to how to date & value the pen. Conservative estimate is that it's worth ~ $600.

It filled properly on the first try and writes well with a fine line.

Nice pen.

UPDATE: Pictures, and many thanks to Sam and to Julie for advice and links for information on this pen, and for defining the term "SUMGAI" for me.

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  1. Oh joy in your Parker 51 find. I adore fountain pens. My favorite is a Waterman with a silver nib and blue/black marbleized barrel.

  2. Great pen. Those lovely details have an Art Deco feel to them.

    A good friend gave me a Waterman many years ago. Mine's marbled green with gold accents and has a nice heavy weight.

    Great find, Tony. So what does SUMGAI mean?

  3. Carolyn: My day-to-day pen is a dropper-filler a friend had made for me by an artisan in India. Black and brown lac, swirled, with a fine iridium nib. Fun to write with, and a lot more interesting than a regular ball-point.

    Like you and Gracie, I've got a nice Waterman. Mine's black enamel with gold accents.

    SUMGAI refers to the legendary "some guy", as in "did you hear that some guy managed to score a $impressivelylargeamount pen for only $triviallysmallamount at a garage sale?"

  4. Beautiful pen, Tony. And quite the bargain too. Enjoy it in good health.

    Fountain pens are one of my weaknesses. They are a respite from the world of technology that is all around us. And I have enjoyed writing my two NaNo novels by hand.

    One of my day-to-day pens is a Waterman Carene, black and gold, that was a birthday gift. One of my favorites is one I wrote about here:

    Again, congratulations and enjoy your pen.

  5. Congrats, Tony, on such a find. I've always had a soft spot for the Parker 51 myself, I have two of them in my collection.

    Funnily enough, I am also a Waterman owner - mine's a 1950s green marbled pen with the most wonderfuly fine nib.

    It's nice to finally meet SUMGAI! I hope you and your new pen will enjoy each other's company for years to come.

  6. Tony,

    Wow, what a find! That's a first year, double jewel, Vacumatic Parker 51 with what may be a mustard barrel. It's a very collectible and desirable pen. It's also amazing that you were able to fill it, because the Vacumatic diaphragms usually need to be replaced after about 3 years or so.

    Take good care of it and if it ever needs servicing, there are plenty of independent pen restorers who could do a good job.

    Definitely a SUMGAI find!



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