Caveat Emptor

by David E. Silber

Caveat emptor–Let the buyer beware–when it comes to pens, especially vintage pens, has a number of implications.  Many online descriptions are not 100% accurate, as they are often written by people with limited knowledge.  For example, the note that the pen “is very rare” or “hard to find.”  In almost all cases the pens are not hard to find at all, so the buyer needs to check further.  Some online sellers, especially at auctions, do not describe the defects or problems the pen has in a candid way.  The buyer in those situations does well to beware and ask questions first.


When one buys from a dealer, either online, at a pen show, or at a brick & mortar store, the buyer should expect the dealer to stand behind the purchase.  At this website, and most others, purchases that aren’t as described, or somehow marred, can be returned for full credit–the buyer should not have to beware of the product, and in most cases that is true.  Our reputation is our strongest recommendation, after all.  (When dealers buy from each other, which happens quite a bit, the same assumption is made, but it doesn’t always work that way.   Sometimes the seller assumes the buyer knows more about what they are getting than is actually so.)


When it comes to price, again, especially for vintage pens, caution and cross-checking are important.  The same pen may be advertised at different sites with what seems to be a 200% difference.   As an example:  a very popular Eversharp pen, the Skyline, may be advertised at from $75.00 to $430.00.   The variation may be due to:  pen size (the Skyline came in Mini, Regular, and Executive sizes), the condition, the color, the amount of gold fill, the rarity of the feature (e.g., is the feed vistulated or not),  the nib (is it flexible or not), and whether the pen has been personalized.  Finally, since there is no MSRP, some of the variation may be due to the seller’s personal evaluation.   As with all purchases, the buyer should be aware and beware.