Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Perhaps they do deserve a sterling reputation!

The Eversharp "Ventura" series appears on page 78 of The Catalogue.  Introduced in 1953, the Ventura was Eversharp's last attempt to produce a quality writing instrument before the company was sold to Parker in 1957.  (Note: the company did produced a lot of writing instruments that lacked quality during this period.)  

By the time the Ventura was introduced, most of Eversharp's quality marketing personnel must have already jumped ship, because when this new flagship line was introduced, Eversharp ads of the day called it the "Burp" pen -- now there's an image that calls prestige and quality to mind!  Had the company survived any longer, they might have been hocking the "fart" pen . . . anyway . . .

Here's the shot of the gold filled examples of Ventura pencils shown in The Catalogue:


What I didn't mention in The Catalogue was that the Ventura was also offered with sterling silver caps. I once tried to buy one online, from a seller that I knew personally, but it turned out the one he sold me was actually a gold filled example with the plating worn off (he gladly took it back when I pointed this out).  I just couldn't seem to lay my hands on a true sterling example before the book went to press. 

But at the Raleigh show, I happened across two of the sterling cap examples, one in black and one in red:


Here's a closer view of the clips.  Although in person the clips match the caps very well, now that I'm looking at these pictures the clips look like they might be chrome plated steel rather than sterling:


and while the tips are silver colored, they too appear to be plated rather than sterling:


I was excited to find two examples of these, but I was still on the prowl for one of the all-sterling examples.  There were two boxed sets at the show in Raleigh, complete with the pen (but who needs pens, right?), box and paperwork, but both of the dealers that had them wanted what I thought was too much for them. 

Why?  Believe it or not, it's kind of hard to find a Ventura that's not part of a boxed set complete with paperwork.  By the time the Ventura was introduced, Eversharp was in real trouble, and there was an awful lot of leftover stock that never saw the light of day.
Neither of my Raleigh friends were able to come down to what I thought was reasonable, so I came home hungering.  As luck would have it, as soon as I got back I checked the online auctions, and Rob Lott (Five Star Pens) had a set for what I considered the reasonable price of $149.00.  The set had not only its original box, but also the cardboard jacket it came in:


Inside is the NOS set in sterling, complete with the little pamphlet and cellophane:


This is a "slim Ventura" set.  There was no "pudgy ventura"-- but there was a plain old "Ventura" set which wasn't really fatter, it just had a pointy end on the pen barrel rather than squared off.  More on that later.

 Anyway, the pen and pencil in this set appear never to have been touched:


And they even have their price bands (note the penciled writing on the cardboard jacket above?):


And on the cap, an uncharacteristic indication of quality from a dying company:


1 comment:

Mike Kirk said...

Nice Sterling set! I have a mint Black set w/Sterling caps just like yours. These are nice looking pens & pencils IMHO.