In this edition of pens of the people, we take a close look at the
assortment of Wahl-Eversharp Skylines belonging to one passionate collector.
For many people, it can take a long time to find a pen that they truly connect with. Leah, an Australian fountain pen collector (and Bonsai enthusiast), found this sanctity in the stunning Wahl-Eversharp Skyline.
The Wahl-Eversharp Skyline
Wahl-Eversharp produced the Skyline model between 1941 and 1948, and it quickly became one of the most popular pens of the wartime era. The pens were sold in short, standard and oversize, which was the standard for pens at the time. What was not standard however was the design. The Skyline caused somewhat of a stir when first released because of its radical modern body (funny how much pen design has changed!). For those who want to read more about the history of the Wahl-Eversharp Skyline, I recommend reading these great posts from David Nishimura and Richard Binder.
A Collectors dream
When speaking to Leah about her collection of Skylines, her passion is intoxicating. Since she started collecting, Leah has grown her collection to a whopping 33 different Skylines (very soon to be 34, it never ends). As you can see, no two pens in this collection are the same. “There really are quite a range of colours and sizes”, and according to Leah, they each have their own characteristics and beauty.
What is so great about the Skyline?
In Leah’s mind, there are two main things that keep her coming back to the Wahl-Eversharp Skyline models. “They are generally extraordinarily beautiful writers [with] lots of flex, something that you don’t find in most modern pens.” The second thing that draws her to the Skyline is the appearance. “The art-deco look of the rounded cap really appeals to me” noted Leah.
Another draw card is that “they are also relatively easy to restore. Because so many were made, there are generally plenty of parts or damaged skylines that can be cannibalised.” Be it a cap, a clip or a whole new body, many of these parts are readily available from vintage pen sellers on eBay.
Interestingly, these pens have beautiful gold nibs, and Leah tells us that “fairly recently, when the price of gold was high, people would buy Skylines for the gold nibs, which were possibly melted down or on-sold to gold merchant, causing the purchase price for Skyline to increase markedly, regardless of condition of the overall fountain pen.”
Whilst not all of the soon-to-be-34 Wahl-Eversharp Skylines in her collection are currently in working condition, she hopes “that one day [she] will get around to restoring them all.” It’s all part of the process of becoming a vintage pen collector!
Buying your own Wahl-Eversharp Skyline
Whilst we had her, we thought it would be good to get some tips on what to look for in a Skyline. Her tips to all those ‘would be collectors’ out there is to look for a good quality original nib. “The nib is the most important part as they are quite distinctive and beautiful,” says Leah. “Ask the seller for a close up of the nib, and a writing sample.” Following this advice will assist you in deciding whether the Skyline is for you.
“There are also certain models of Skylines which are more difficult to come by, for example, those which have a matching striped body and cap [like the green one at the top of the page]. If the body and cap are in good condition, these could be purchased regardless of the condition of the nib, and a restored nib sourced elsewhere.”
For those looking to buy, Leah also recommended reputable eBay sellers, the FPN classifieds and of course your local pen show.
We hope you enjoyed this first edition of a series we will be calling ‘Pens of the People’. If you have a special pen or collection that you hold dear to your heart and that you’d like to share, you can contact us here. We’d love to hear about your beautiful pens!