As many of you know, I get exercised about ethics amongst dealers, repairers and restorers in this hobby. My main theme is that there are no standards so we are at the mercy of the sensitivity, or lack therof, of the people into whose hands pens fall.
In the thread elsewhere in Pens Past on Warren N. Lancaster, David Nishimura tells a story of an early Lancaster nib that fell into the absolute wrong hands. I thoughtlessly hijacked the thread with my reaction to that story. To somewhat atone for the hijacking, I am moving my reaction over here in the hopes of opening a wider discussion of ethics in our hobby.
The post read as follows:
I also was on the trail of a large ventless nib marked something like "LANCASTER/F.P. Co." a few years back. Unfortunately, it ended up getting sold to Nathan Tardif, who as I recall recrafted it as a user (made into a music nib, I seem to recall) to stick into a customer's 58.
O.k. That's it! I have officially placed Nathan in my "Philistines not worth the space they occupy" list! For years I have listened to his fruity rants (anyone remember the Rosanne Rosanna-Danna bit with the Waterman Swastika pen and the resultant self-promotion with clumsy, clunky attempts at overlay on Waterman 52s?) that make my wierdest excursions read like Marcus Aurelius and the Dali Lama, or looked at his lunatic, half-assed projects like inks that won't freeze at absolute zero or the "harpoon" nib (so, not everything one can do ought to be done, expecially when it makes even good handwriting look like shit). But to take an unquestionably rare nib from a very hard to find maker and slice it up on the whim of some know-nothing whose only claim to interest in pens is a fat wallet! That's just too much!
I'm sorry, folks, but I can't have any respect for a person who can't respect the history of the fountain pen that collecting attempts to preserve. Nathan ham-handed futzing around with Waterman 52s and Parker 51s is one thing. Willfully destroying a large Warren Lancaster nib is just vile ignorance unchecked. That's unforgiveable.
I'm sure that I will hear from the worshippers of St. Nathan of Tardiff on this one, but that's just too much! mad.gif
P.S. Elaine, feel free to join in at any time. laugh.gif
A week ago oin Pentrace Richard Binder posted a photo of his conversion of a 1920s Parker Duofold into a Chilton style pneumatic filler. It was by all appearances, excellent work which just happened to be a dead ringer for William E. Moore's patent #1,801,635 from April 21, 1931. I pointed that out to Richard but got silence in return.
Now, I'm sure that Richard would defraud no one and I'm equally certain that anyone who buys that pen from him will know that it's a contemporary conversion of older pen parts. But what about the second or third buyer? Unless the pen is clearly marked as a product of the 21st Century there is every reason to believe that it will show up at some auction of the future as a "rare prototype" of Moore's patent as if it were the product of the early 20th Century. That will happen unless the pen is marked as a Binder conversion, something that a craftsman like Richard should surely want to do as a matter of course.
We need some standards in this hobby. Standards that would sanction someone for destroying a very significant bit of pen history in the mindless pursuit of a buck or for thoughtlessly creating fake "rarities" to confuse future collectors. Caveat Emptor just won't do when we have "mad scientists" and thoughtless blunderers in the hobby screwing with the historical record.
O.k. This part of the rant is over. What are your thoughts?