Tag Archives: Parker Duofold

Controversy in Chicago Part II: Getting to Know Each Other

DISCLAIMER: Painting in broad brush strokes, it will be nearly impossible to describe all of the individual experiences, personalities, struggles, complaints and desires of veteran vendors and folks who are newer to pen collecting. In listening to the “New Pen Show Attendee Forum” at the Chicago Pen Show–and in many conversations since–these are the observations I have made in an effort to better foster understanding and friendship between pen lovers of all ages.

Depending on who you talk to at a pen show…and depending on their age…it isn’t all that uncommon to hear variations of the following statements:

  • “Young people never buy vintage. They only buy limited editions and cheap Asian junk.”
  • “The veteran vendors are a bunch of grumps.”
  • “New pen people are always breaking my pens.”
  • “I’m sick of veteran pen dealers always ripping me off.”

In addition to that, each group seems to find the other group anti-social, although each group is extremely social. One chats all the time online, and the other prefers talking more in person. Each seems out of touch with the other, and it is high time we all got to know each other better. With all of the technology we have, there isn’t a lot of pen love out there any more, and we should unite.

Without further ado, Newbies, meet the…

VETERAN VENDORS:
Without most of the veteran vendors you meet today at a pen show, we wouldn’t have a hobby, and we likely wouldn’t have many–if any–new fountain pens being made.

0800 National The LincolnPen collecting really got its start in the 1970s. The whole world had switched to ballpoints (there were no such things as rollerballs or gels), and everyone was convinced that no one was ever going back to fountain pens.

A group of younger people, almost entirely independent from one another at first, still loved the old fountain pens. They were drawn to them by their beautiful designs, superior writing qualities and curious filling systems.

The pens were plentiful and cheap. Seriously, guys have told me stories about finding Parker Duofolds for as cheap as a quarter at flea markets and in antique stores.

The more they bought, the more they got curious and became amateur historians. There was NO INTERNET. These guys had to track down vintage advertising, catalogs, former employees and corporate archives to find most of the information we can now find in 10 seconds online. They spent whole decades of their lives uncovering this information.

0119NThey also taught themselves and others how to restore vintage pens. One person even bought, restored and began using a rubber ink sac and diaphragm-making machine to keep supplying us the parts to keep restoring these pens.

Many vendors/collectors became obsessed with finding perfect models of every pen a certain company made. Imagine tracking down every color and size of each model pen a company such as Sheaffer or Parker made. Many of these guys have museum-quality collections, and they got much of them for under $20 a pen! (This is an important detail to save for the second half of the post.)(It also is important to note that most of them have spent hundreds, if not thousands, to acquire a single rare model for their collections, as well.) (Another important detail.) These collectors often consider themselves “completists.”

Eventually, the different collectors began to find each other and form pen shows, clubs and publications. Again, no internet, so these organizations grew slowly.

Collecting among these folks–for many but not all–became very competitive. Bragging rights were involved with cutting the cheapest deal and making the largest-margin deal. Bragging rights also were involved in finding the rarest pens, knowing the most about a particular subject and sometimes even conning a fellow/rival collector. Most of it was good-natured, but some people got to playing a little rough, too. There are a lot of good pen war stories out there, for those who are interested.

For those who enjoyed the competitive side of collecting, their core philosophy was something to the effect of: “It is up to the individual buyers to do their due diligence before purchasing a pen. If you don’t investigate the pen and/or do your research, it is your fault for handing over the money without negotiating a better deal.” They also will be the first to tell you that they’ve all been ripped off more than once.

0829 Mont Blanc 149I’m not here to state whether that is right or wrong. I’m not saying every veteran vendor is that way. In fact, I think a lot of them are much more consumer friendly than that. (Many veteran vendors are actually very eager to meet and teach new collectors some of what they have learned in the past 40 years.)  Mostly, I’m just trying to explain some of the bruises new collectors pick up at a pen show.

Further, it is very important to note that vintage vendors turned pen collecting into viable businesses. More than one-man shows, many of these businesses employed people and developed real operating costs. Demand and overhead contributed to the rising prices of pens.

By the late 1980s and early 1990s, pen shows were drawing thousands of attendees from around the world. Before long, pen companies began taking notice of the rising demand for vintage fountain pens. In 1992, Mont Blanc released the now coveted Hemingway fountain pen. It was a monster hit with vintage collectors and drew renewed interest from modern pen users. Around the same time, Parker reissued the Gen. MacArthur Duofold, resurrecting the iconic model for the 4th time.

0585 Parker DuofoldAs the popularity of the hobby swelled, vintage pen prices ballooned. The internet and eBay made collecting much more accessible without the need for pen shows. Many of your veteran vendors are big eBay sellers, too. The hobby remained more vintage heavy until the Great Recession in 2008.

Everything went topsy turvy with the recession. Vintage prices crashed along with the stock market. Also, and very sadly, the folks who started the hobby in the 1970s began passing away. Pen makers the world over started producing fountain pens in high numbers. New ink colors were unleashed by the hundreds. New, younger collectors began putting a new face on pen collecting. For better or worse, many of the veteran vendors are having a harder and harder time recognizing the hobby and industry they started.

And thus, it is now time for the veteran vendors to meet the…

NEW GENERATION PEN COLLECTORS:
Young collectors are a lot like veteran collectors 30 and 40 years ago! They are drawn to the hobby by the beautiful designs, superior writing qualities and curious filling systems of fountain pens. They are hungry for more information about the pens and companies who make them. They socialize and congregate by creating new social media forums, blogs, podcasts and Youtube videos and channels.

0830 Visconti OperaNew generation pen collectors likely didn’t grow up using fountain pens. Fountain pens, whether vintage or modern, are still extremely exciting and fun writing instruments to use in their daily lives. They are just learning about the joys and fun to be had by writing with everything from extra-fine nibs to stubs to flexi-points.

Cursive writing hasn’t been taught in public schools in most cities for most of this new millennium. New generation collectors are fascinated by cursive handwriting and are often very eager to try their hand at classic Spencerian script.

They are diving into all of the various colors of ink available to see which ones they like best. They are making the most of some of the options not available to veteran collectors when the veterans were first getting into the hobby.

I have heard many veteran collectors sneer at the fact new generation collectors are users and not completists. This is a misguided sneering that I really want to squash.

As I stated earlier, veteran collectors had a very different economy to start collecting. Not only were vintage pens prevalent in “the wild” for really cheap prices. Wages back then kicked the asses of wages today.

0940NNew generation collectors are buying a lot of cheap Asian pens and Lamys because they are affordable and under $30. New generation collectors likely came out of college with $50,000 or more in debt. Modern housing often costs 50% of their paychecks. Jobs for 20 and 30-somethings are hard to get, and a lot of them are excited if they can get a job that pays at least $40k a year. Plus, many are getting married, starting families and juggling other traditional responsibilities.

Base-line vintage pens are prohibitively expensive to collect as a completist would. If you could buy a good used Parker 51 in 1975 for fifty cents, that same pen now likely goes for $60 to $80. If you want a green, blue, black, golden pearl, grey and burgundy Parker Vacumatic in the standard size, five of them will cost at least $85 a piece and the burgundy will get at least $150. That’s $575 all together. You can spend $2,000 easily to get their matching Maxima companions and another $400 for the demis. Toss in Shadow Waves and Toothbrushes…. Well, you get the idea.

Plus, there is a huge degree of competition from modern pen brands. Vanishing points, Pelikans, limited editions, inexpensive pens with unique, smooth nibs…there’s a lot out there to explore.

So, while new generation collectors aren’t completists, they are serious collectors. Frequently on a budget, they eagerly try a little bit of everything: needle-point extra fines, flexi wet noodles, stubs, vac fillers, limited editions, lever fillers and all of the other cool features that make up the pens we all love.

0979 Omas MarconiOn my site and at my tables at pen shows, I find that the new collectors are very curious about the vintage pens, but they are a little gun shy. They’ve likely seen and read a lot about them, but they have never seen them in the flesh or tried them. Many are a little nervous to admit that they don’t know much but want to learn, so I make sure to give them basic rundowns of the pens, which I put in their hands and let them try. As expected, they often love the vintage and want to explore more. So if you’re a veteran vendor, don’t be afraid to talk to the young’uns and share a little of what you know and let them try the greatness of vintage.

Finally, it is important to note the art of the deal.

New generation collectors have lived their entire lives in a price-posted-is-price-paid economy. Even many car dealerships today don’t negotiate car deals. The older generations hated this enough to kill these type of sales in most retail environments. Plus, the internet makes it impossible to negotiate a price but EASY to comparison shop. It is safe to say that most new generation pen collectors go into pen shows expecting honest, competitive pricing on the merchandise and no-hassle honest deals. Many have done their homework and won’t even deal with somebody with seemingly inflated prices. As users, many new generation collectors expect the pens they buy to work, and if you don’t inform them upfront that the pen is unrestored, it is reasonable for them to feel ripped off, especially if you won’t refund the money once they discover this issue.

It can be argued a pen show is a buyer-beware environment, but forget about repeat business if you run your business this way. Now if you are the type of vendor with 500+ pens on your table, it is safe to say you might not know which pens are restored. Newbies won’t fault you for that, as long as you go over the pen with them to make sure it is what they want. Besides, if you have that many pens, if that pen turns out to be something they don’t want…you’ll likely have another they do. Build trust with them, and they’ll bring their friends to buy more. As simplistic as it sounds, it really boils down to treating one another with fairness and respect.

God knows I’ve gone on long enough for one post, but I hope that I’ve expressed many sentiments veteran vendors and new generation collectors feel. I hope this opens up some more discussion and tears down a few barriers between the two sides of this same pen collecting coin. We’ve got far more in common than we seem to know.

Pens of World War II–Revisited

Back in October of 2013 I discussed General MacArthur’s Big Red Parker Duofold and General Eisenhower’s Parker 51s used to sign the surrender treaties at the end of World War II because I had seen one of them in Paris’ Museum of the Army. The plot thickened when the museum responded with no knowledge of the Parker 51 I saw. They did mention a French General’s Parker Duofold used to sign treaties at the end of the war. Grandson of Kenneth Parker (who personally gave Ike a set of 51s to end the war), Geoff Parker then discussed his knowledge of the famed 51s.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower holds up 2 of the pens used to sign the German surrender, ending World War II in Europe in May of 1945. One of those pens is a Parker 51, which is now on display in Paris' Musee de l'Armee.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower holds up 2 of the pens used to sign the German surrender, ending World War II in Europe in May of 1945. One of those pens is a Parker 51, which is now on display in Paris’ Musee de l’Armee.

At the end of that article, I left a challenge for other pen collectors to find the Parker 51 I failed to photograph back in Paris.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, although nobody has sent us a photo, yet, the story caught the eye of fascinated WWII historians Cheryl H. and her husband Roy R. They had been reading John Toland’s “The Last 100 Days,” when they stumbled on these “Drippy Musings.” Bless their hearts, they tore into the mystery like a pit bull on a juicy marrow-filled bone.

Below is exactly what they found, and it is pretty fascinating for history and pen buffs! Unlike Geoff who said Ike had several pens to use, Toland limits it to two…the rest is Cheryl’s message to me:

Using numbers to make this a bit easier to follow….

1. Totally no doubt about the 2 gold pens: 1 gold plated and 1 solid gold from Kenneth Parker and that indeed Ike had carried around knowing they would eventually be used….

2. At Rheims, France, on May 6-7 in a local school Eisenhower waited in his office while the other participants assembled.

3. By the time everyone got done horsing around with what were eventually 3 surrender documents it was early on May 7, 1945. (Signing was at 2:41 a.m.)

4. The signers were: Ike’s Chief of Staff Walter Bedell Smith; Russian Major General Ivan Susloparov; French Major Francois Sevez; German General Alfred Jodl, and for the Brits, Major General Bernard Montgomery.

5. AHA! Ike didn’t sign!! (He refused to be in the same room with the Germans before they surrendered.)

6. BUT! Ike’s pens did! One of Ike’s aides named Butcher brought in the 2 Parker pens and gave the solid gold one to Walter Bedell Smith and the gold-plated one to Jodl. The solid gold one was passed to the other Allies by Walter Bedell Smith…that is, to Sevez, Susloparov, and Montgomery.

7. It appears as though Ike had planned to present one of the pens to President Truman and send the other to our old friend Kenneth Parker. That was his stated intent at one point, at least.

8. Aide Butcher, after Jodl signed with the gold plated Parker, took the Parker away from Jodl and gave Jodl his (Butcher’s) own personal Scheaffer pen to sign the following 2 documents as a nice little souvenir for Butcher. (Gotta love a guy who sees through the historic significance of the moment…..)

9. Previous to May, there had already been an armistice signed between Italy and the Allies. Mussolini and Alan Dulles for the U.S. (His brother was Ike’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles) Sorry…appears no one knows or cares what pens were used!

10. At some date after May 7 there was another armistice signing on the eastern front between the Russians and the Germans…I think they used Bic ballpoints. [Cerf here: Ballpoints came into prominence during the war, but Bic didn’t make the first ones. So likely not Bic. Bic was founded Oct. 25, 1945.]

But this leaves the question of Generale Tassigny…his pen is photographed and he must have signed something with it…but it does not appear to be the documents at Rheims. Guess someone will have to go to Paris to figure out that little puzzle. (I will probably burn up the internet tomorrow or sometime to work on that…)

(AND search she did. She continues…)

Re: French Major Generale Tassigny. I think we have solved that one. On May 7 I believe that M.G. Tassigny was a “witness” to Major Sevez’s signing. The next day, May 8, there were another series of surrender papers signed (by now the Russians had arrived at Rheims) and M.G. Tassigny did actually sign that day. What I/we didn’t realize is that there were a number of different surrender documents, signed over a number of days, and signed by various people. The French are so (justifiably) proud of their history and their people that it seems to me that since they have M.G. Tassigny’s pen, why not use it as fully as possible? He did indeed sign an armistice/surrender document. BTW…one reason for various surrenders was that the Russians didn’t trust anyone, and few trusted the Russians!

Another little tidbit: Ike told, I think it was, Walter Bedell Smith, that of the 2 Parker pens, one would go to President Truman and one to Kenneth Parker. Bedell Smith replied,” What about Churchill?” to which Ike said, “Oh darn it. (or something like that!) I forgot about him!”  That leaves me puzzled because Ike had to have given Churchill “something;” the pen in Ike’s Abilene library is no doubt the one used on May 7 by Bedell Smith.

Me again. Just to clarify, the pen at the Eisenhower Presidential Library is the pen he gave to Truman. Geoff Parker thinks it is possible there were more than two pens, so that Churchill and Kenneth each could have gotten a token of the surrender. And that, dear friends, is what we have found so far.Always feel free to contribute, as we love to hear from other dedicated pen fans and historians!

Santa Backs Parker Again; Mail Deadline Dec. 17

Here is Santa peddling Parker button fillers in 1900. These were the "safety sealed" precursors to the Duofold.

Here is Santa peddling Parker button fillers in 1900. These were the “safety sealed” precursors to the Duofold.

A close friend of the blog sent us a card that is ideal for a pen collector. It is the 1900 Parker advertising campaign, and we thought you might get a kick out of it.

It would appear that Parker once again funded the jolly old elf for another year to use his likeness.

Also, time is running out to get your orders in on time for Christmas! In conversations with customers and Postal Officials, a backlog of deliveries is starting to push back the time it takes for a package to arrive via Priority Mail.

When the post office gets a little behind, we cannot guarantee anything, but it would appear your best bet is to have orders ship via priority mail by Dec. 17. The closer you are to Chicago, perhaps the more you can fudge it, but it would be best to have your orders in to us on the 16th to go out with the mail on the 17th.

Pen Ads of World War I

Today, essentially, marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. It is still one of the most savage wars the world has ever known. It left nearly 2% of the world’s population dead: 23 million. There is a good reason those who fought it were called the Lost Generation.

Sealed button-filling pens and take-anywhere ink tablets were revolutionary new creations for sailors and doughboys hoping to write home during the first world war.

Sealed button-filling pens and take-anywhere ink tablets were revolutionary new creations for sailors and doughboys hoping to write home during the first world war.

Yet, there’s no reason wholesale slaughter shouldn’t prevent the tide of marketing.

Parker had a particularly fascinating line of pens aimed directly at servicemen in the trenches. These pre-Duofold pens were considered “sealed” and leak proof. Best of all, you no longer needed fragile glass bottles of ink, which would not withstand the rigors of combat.

Parker sold special ink tablets. These dried tablets could be dropped in a cup of water or any other small container for a nearly instant supply of ink to fill a pen and write your family or sweetheart back home.

These ads come from around 1917, when the United States officially entered the war, which ended Nov. 11, 1918.

Enlist the safety-sealed button filling Parker pens for your needs at school or while fighting in the trenches in this classic WWI Parker ad.

Enlist the safety-sealed button filling Parker pens for your needs at school or while fighting in the trenches in this classic WWI Parker ad.




Please note the artillery is being moved by horses in the ads. This would be the last war to see horses used with any widespread practical regularity. It also would be the last to see swords and lances issued with actual intent for battlefield use. (Yes, the Japanese issued swords in WWII, but they were strictly weapons of last resort.) Cockades and spikes also saw their last use on helmets. Battlefields would be dominated by machine guns and the newly invented tanks. Oceans were devastated by submarines. And for the first time, aircraft could fly over enemy territory to observe movements, attack with machine guns and drop bombs. Cars and trucks came to play vital roles. Motorized ambulances saved countless lives. And chemical warfare would devastate countless people with agonizing pain and misery…if not death.

Getting back to the ads, I love that a pack of more than 30 ink tablets cost only 10 cents. Do any of these tablets still exist? I would love to see some and try one.

Treat Yourself as You Write Your Christmas Cards

With its striking greens and golden browns, this beautiful Parker Duofold fountain pen from 1941 would make an ideal pen for writing your Christmas cards. Not only does it look good, it is fully restored and has a very smooth fine-medium nib.

With its striking greens and golden browns, this beautiful Parker Duofold fountain pen from 1941 would make an ideal pen for writing your Christmas cards. Not only does it look good, it is fully restored and has a very smooth fine-medium nib.

I love writing Christmas cards. I don’t do group letters or holiday e-cards. I don’t care if you think it is hoaky. I love sitting down with some hot chocolate, my favorite holiday CDs and writing actual Christmas cards.

It is part of the holiday ritual that helps get me in the mood for the season’s festivities. It is a cathartic time to reflect on the past year and reconnect with my family and friends who are flung to the 4 corners of the map. For many of these people, this is the only time I hear from them…and they me.

The smell of vintage Sheaffer green ink for the cards and modern Parker red for the envelopes is heartwarming.

Plus, part of the ritual is selecting a new, or new-to-me, fountain pen to add to the collection and joyously write up each card and letter.

While it is way too early for me to buy the cards, let alone start writing them, this is the time I pick up my new or vintage pen. I’m already winnowing down my options…a restored Snorkel, a brand new Pelikan, or maybe that Cross Century II midnight pen with little pin-point stars that came out a couple years ago. The process of making that selection is half the fun.

Whether you are planning on sending out your first Christmas cards or 70th season’s worth of them, treat yourself to a new pen to make the most of your holiday writing experience with our more than 200 fully restored vintage pens and lightly used modern pens.

We Don’t Want No Fountain Pen Drama, Ladies

Despite the beautiful watercolor painting and classic 1930s fashion, this vintage pen ad is loaded with sexism that seems sure to guarantee the Lady Duofold never sold.

Despite the beautiful watercolor painting and classic 1930s fashion, this vintage pen ad is loaded with sexism that seems sure to guarantee the Lady Duofold never sold.

Seriously, how effective was this catty Parker Duofold ad from 1931?!

The ad headline reads like a movie synopsis for a cheap melodrama about a bunch of bitchy women who haven’t got much else to complain about in life. In case it is too small on your computer or mobile device it reads: “She laughingly apologized whenever she borrowed a pen, but she left a trail of ill will.”

It is hilarious for all of the wrong reasons.

The copy block only gets better…I mean worse:

“She had an ‘inexpensive’ pen, but it never seemed to work. In buying it, she thought she was saving money. But she only ran into people’s debt by borrowing pens.

“Because her request always met a courteous smile, she little suspected herself of being a nuisance.”

Is it any wonder Parker stopped making “Lady’s” pens not long after this ad came out in 1931?

As bad as the marketing was, the Lady Duofolds were and still are remarkably good pens. They write smoothly and are easy to maintain. We have a very nice one for sale, if you don’t mind a little discoloration. It still works perfectly. CLICK HERE to see this fully restored vintage pen.

Parker Pens of WWII–Return of the Jedi

This modified Parker Duofold from around 1930 was used by French General de Lattre de Tassigny to sign the German surrender that ended World War II. The photo was given to us by the Musee de l' Armee in Paris. The twist of the story is that this is not the pen that started the whole story in the first place. Where is that Parker 51?

This modified Parker Duofold from around 1930 was used by French General de Lattre de Tassigny to sign the German surrender that ended World War II. The photo was given to us by the Musee de l’ Armee in Paris. The twist of the story is that this is not the pen that started the whole story in the first place. Where is that Parker 51?

They say the third time’s the charm, but I’m not buying it. Today I received a photo of General de Lattre de Tassigny’s Parker fountain pen from Musee de l’ Armee in Paris. It is this lovely 1930ish Parker Duofold with an aftermarket replacement clip.

This is not the vintage pen I saw in Paris! I am certain it was a Parker 51, which the museum claims not to have. To keep from boring you on the top story space, I’ve revised the revised version of the story below with all of the new details. Enjoy!

Parker Pens Win WWII–Revised

It is hardly ground-breaking news that Gen. Douglas MacArthur signed the “Instrument of Surrender” ending World War II with Japan while using a Parker Duofold “Big Red” (among other pens) on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. It is a fact Parker touts time and again, even making a commemorative series of modern Duofolds to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower holds up 2 of the pens used to sign the German surrender, ending World War II in Europe in May of 1945. One of those pens is a Parker 51, which is now on display in Paris' Musee de l'Armee.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower holds up 2 of the pens used to sign the German surrender, ending World War II in Europe in May of 1945. One of those pens is a Parker 51, which is now on display in Abilene, Kan., at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.

In the late 1920s, the Parker Duofold was advertised as being indestructable. Surviving WWII and bringing it to an end seemed elegant proof. Yet, people of the era fussed a bit about the famous general using such and old out-of-date pen–as if years of dependable service didn’t matter.

Rarely, however, is it mentioned what pen General Dwight Eisenhower used to sign the surrender of the German army.

I, myself, would not have known had it not been for a trip to Paris several years ago and a flurry of messages today. I love military history and could not pass up the chance to see “L’ Invalides” where Napoleon rests in his giant sarcophagus. Part of the grounds holds Musee de l’ Armee (a.k.a. The Museum of the Army). It was phenomenal. The swords and armor, the WWI tanks, the early rifles and muskets of the 1600s and a large display about the French Resistance and WWII.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur signed a peace agreement with the Japanese using a Parker Duofold "Big Red" similar to this one in August 1945.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur signed a peace agreement with the Japanese using a Parker Duofold “Big Red” similar to this one in August 1945. I don’t believe MacArthur’s Duofold was streamlined, though.

My eyes, long accostumed to spotting vintage pens in cluttered antique stores, instantly picked out a pen among a somewhat cluttered case full of war documents. It was the ugliest Parker 51 I had ever seen. It was olive drab, and the gold cap was tarnished almost beyond recognition. That led me to ask, what was an American fountain pen doing in the French army museum. The answer: It is the pen Gen. Dwight Eisenhower used to sign the documents of the German surrender. Or so I thought…

Several weeks before writing this post I contacted the Musee de l’Armee to send me a photo of the famous Parker 51 and any information they had about it. I did not hear from them until after the original draft of this story posted.

“We didn’t have any pen once owned by General Eisenhower,” wrote a museum employee. “The only one we have in our collection is the pen of General de Lattre de Tassigny used to sign the surrender of Germany in 1945.”

Without the presence of mind in 2010 to photograph the historic pen, I was only left with my memory, which was certain it was a Parker 51 belonging to the future president. If I had only known then that I was going to create a blog in 3 1/2 years.

Later today help came in form of one of the ultimate authorities about Parker pens: Geoff Parker, the grandson of the famous Parker CEO who gave Ike the very Parker 51s used to sign the armistice with Germany!

“The actual story behind that photo is a bit more complicated,” Parker wrote. “My grandfather, Kenneth Parker, and Eisenhower happened to meet in the Philippines in 1937 and became good friends. The two stayed in contact for many years. KP provided Parker 51s to Eisenhower as the end of the war approached. The Eisenhower Presidential Museum/Library in Kansas displays the 51 used in that ceremony which Eisenhower presented to President Truman. There were probably more than one, in order to represent each of the Allies.”

As if getting the rest of the story from Mr. Parker wasn’t already enough to blow this lifetime collector’s mind, he very kindly sent me a photo he took of the actual Parker 51 on display at the Eisenhower Library that ended World War II.

Geoff Parker took this photo of the actual Parker 51 his grandfather gave to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower that was used to sign the armistice with Germany ending World War II in Europe. It is preserved in Abilene, Kan., at the Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum.

Geoff Parker took this photo of the actual Parker 51 his grandfather gave to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower that was used to sign the armistice with Germany ending World War II in Europe. It is preserved in Abilene, Kan., at the Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum.

This modified Parker Duofold from around 1930 was used by French General de Lattre de Tassigny to sign the German surrender that ended World War II. The photo was given to us by the Musee de l' Armee in Paris. The twist of the story is that this is not the pen that started the whole story in the first place. Where is that Parker 51?

This modified Parker Duofold from around 1930 was used by French General de Lattre de Tassigny to sign the German surrender that ended World War II. The photo was given to us by the Musee de l’ Armee in Paris. The twist of the story is that this is not the pen that started the whole story in the first place. Where is that Parker 51?

The plot thickens: It is now October 17, and I have received a photo of the pen used by France’s Gen. de Lattre de Tassigny. It is a unique Parker Duofold circa 1930 with a glittering red candy finish and black flecks. Those Parkers are rare. Rarer still is the fact this one is missing its original Parker clip and has an after-market steel clip wedged over the broken clip and top of the pen. We actually have an original fully intact version of this pen for sale at ThePenMarket.com.

Now do you think the story is over? Of course not. This is not the pen I saw in Paris at the Musee de l’ Armee! I know beyond the shadow of a doubt I saw a Parker 51 in a case. I am more certain once again it is a pen marked as Gen. Eisenhower’s. Geoff Parker said Ike likely used several Parker 51’s to sign the surrender and gave them to each allied nation. So perhaps that is the pen he gave France. But, why doesn’t the museum have it cataloged?

Unless I beat you to Paris, pen fans, you have a mission: Find and photograph that pen! Please submit it so that we can share it with everyone on this blog and put this story to bed. It might be like finding a needle in a haystack, but here is where I remember seeing it if it helps your quest to find it. The pen was in a waist high glass case, in a room dedicated to World War II on the main floor. It was a room that I recall having two entrances–one on each side of the room but on the same wall. This case was on the right side of the room if you stood facing the case and the exit. When I was there, the WWII exhibit looked as if it hadn’t been moved, changed or altered since the 1950s. I suspect it is still there waiting for one of us. Good luck on your quest.