Posted in Restoration

“Missed by that much” or How I learned I was conceited and needed to appreciate others

I was reviewing my “unpurchases” from the last two years. These are pens I wanted to buy, intended to buy, and thought I was going to buy but did not buy. Not because I feared buyer’s remorse or had a change of heart. Nope, these are unpurchased because I failed to think the unthinkable – that someone wanted these pens more than I did and that I wasn’t entitled to them.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I am not going a rant about missing out, about being disappointed because I didn’t get what I wanted. Instead, I am going to offer up a couple pens, with my thoughts, congratulations to the buyer, and a recommendation to others.

Wyvern No. 5 circa 1928 mottled

Wyvern, a now shuttered pen manufacturer located in Leicester, England; was founded in 1896 by Alfred, Alexander, and David Finburgh. Known for its high-quality nibs, the company also manufactured nibs for competing pen companies.

This model is particularly attractive to me. I have a thing for mottled or woodgrain ebonite, plus I prefer pens that resemble a Duofold – it’s all about those flat ends. Torpedo-shaped pens are just not appealing to me. I’ve run into other No. 5s but they have all been black ebonite, which is not mottled. An interesting side note, on the listings of the other 5s, the sellers have specified the pens were calligraphy pens. Nothing on this nib or pen supports the claim of calligraphy.

Spor Crescent

A glass nibbed pen from 1920s Japan (possibly made by Platinum), distributed in the US by Spors of Minnesota. The crescent says “Made In Japan,” thus from the pre-WW2 days when that phrase meant cheap, cheaper, cheapest.

I was looking at glass pens when I stumbled upon Spors. Just look at those colors; however, they are known to be a nightmare to refurbish. The manufacturer used glue to hold their pens together – remember cheap, cheaper, cheapest.

I kept my eyes open and found another. Not quite as colorful but it is in overall better shape. This pen doesn’t have the ink stains that the previous pen had, plus this pen has a slip-on cap clip.

Sheaffer Balance

The Balance was introduced in 1929, heralding a streamlined design that was quite extraordinary at the time. It set a new standard in design plus kicked off a design craze – two tapered ends resulting in a torpedo shape – that continues today. Yeah, nope still not appealing to me.

The model name comes from the balanced design when the cap is posted. The pivot point for the pen is just about midway, making it a comfortable pen to write with.

This pen was personalized with the owner’s name (Roxie Kessler) engraved into the barrel. Feeling confident I had this pen in hand, I spent more time researching the owner than paying attention to the auction. I was prepared to call this “The Ironic Pen.” The owner was involved in a car accident resulting in a fatality, 20 years subsequent he was killed in a car accident.

The Auctions

During each auction, I was 100% convinced I would own the pen when time expired. In each case, I was outbid at the final second. Yes, the winner was lurking in the shadows watching the last seconds tick by so they could pounce. If I had been paying attention, making note of other bidders, the number of watchers, etc. I would have realized it was prudent to up my bid just in case. But Noooooo. I assumed I had each pen and that my bid was solid, even though the difference between the next highest bid and my own was often only a couple dollars different.

Congratulations winners, enjoy your purchases. If by chance you have a change of heart….. you know where you can find me.



I'm a loser as my wife likes to tell me, I enjoy researching dead cousins and playing with fountain pens.

9 thoughts on ““Missed by that much” or How I learned I was conceited and needed to appreciate others

  1. That is so typical of the auction experience. I do actually count down and hit the button to bid on the 3 second ‘til auction ends. But. Only if I really desire the item. I put a top bid limit way over the actual seen price. But gut instinct tells you that this is not going to end up winging it’s postal way to your doorstep. Some items are so desired globally that they are usually bid for by someone with cash set aside to blow the other bidders out of the frame. The few dollars more probably has an upper limit of three times the amount. I know because I ave won items at £20 when putting upper limits of £60. Well……£61.59p. Strategy. All about cute strategy. Cheers and all the best. Happy 2023 bidding. Hopefully I won’t be bidding for the same items you have your eyes on. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are one of those bidders! I typically make 2 bids. One early on and another at roughly 10 mins remaining. If the purchase is something I really want my top bid becomes 2x the current highest bid. All because of the 3 seconds left bidder. I understand. Too often that special something slips by. I was bidding recently and lost so I reviewed the bids and 4 people placed last second bids. All part of the thrill I guess. All the best.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s not really the thrill. But it dies make your heart beat ten times faster. I started doing this after so many disappointments. If something of a rare vintage item came up? I used to feel so disappointed afterwards. It is your 2x price answer linked with the 2 to 3 second alarming interaction that works fairly well. I learned this when hunting original vintage (1972) for the VeeDub bus. Became a necessity in reality. Cheers and happy future hunting for those elusive gems.


      1. Looking forward to seeing it in your future review then. So pleased that the UK actually sent you an undamaged item. I recently bought a stainless steel metal ruler that was bent into the shape of a question mark. I kid you not. All the best.

        Liked by 1 person

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