°°°So I got my first Mabie Todd and for many, their ‘grail-pen’ (the term for a long sought after pen) is a Mont Blanc, high-end Sailor, Pelikan-Edelstein or some superior instrument.  In my case, there are a few pens that I’d like to try and possibly own.  The Mabie Todd Leverless with 14 Karat Gold No° 2 Nib is one of them.  My grandmother Betty had one and when she passed I was yet still in the Marine Corps and not around or involved in the closing of her estate/matters.  While I did receive many of her pencils (she was an accountant), erasers, and some pens.  The Mabie Todd didn’t seem to turn up during the 15 minutes I got to visit her home office space.  So I have no clue where it went and I’m pretty certain no one in the family would have really known what it was had they found it.  The only extreme vintage pen was my great-grandfather’s schoolhouse dip pen, which I still use even today on occasion.

So after doing quite a bit of homework on costs, nibs, and considering what I was willing to spend, I began to troll eBay and bid one some that were potential first Mabie Todd’s for me.  My criteria were gold semi-flex, leverless, with new sac/servicing completed recently.

  • As a relevant point to make right here for those who are considering a vintage pen that they don’t want to have to either service themselves or turn right around to send to a restorer immediately upon delivery, it;s important to ask if the pen has been inked up and used, are there any cracks in the body, cap, or section, and did it leak.  This is because a vast number of people on the web will sell a pen after dipping it only to demonstrate that it writes.  Now, I’m sure that many times this is because the individual knows nothing about fountain pens (otherwise they’d likely hold on to the heirloom and use it), but more often than not it is in an effort to bypass the condition of the sac or to avoid filling only to immediately clean the pen.  So unless the description states clearly the condition of the filling and sac system, you should ask specifically (again if you don’t want to do the work yourself or pay for someone else to do so).  Now, you would also do well to ask about the width of the line produced when flexed if important to you and how scratchy or smooth it feels.  As feel goes, its subjective of course, but all the information you can gather is worthwhile.  You can save some money purchasing a pen that needs a sac, but Mabie Todd’s are some of the more quirky pens to work on so you may want to go with a ready to write one since it’s possible to spend far more to get her that way than you paid for it in the first place.