This Just In: Sheaffer Balance Oversize C.1934 In Gray Pearl and Red Veins

Sheaffer Balance Oversize Pearl Gray & Red Veins - capped on stand

My second pen purchase at the 2016 DC Pen Show occurred Friday afternoon and gave me my vintage fix. It is a Sheaffer Balance Oversize c. 1934–1935 from Sarj Minhas.

I didn’t have any specific vintage pens in mind as I walked around the show. I like Parker Vacumatics and the Maxima is the model I can use regularly. The materials and nibs of vintage Sheaffers always draw me to them and the Balance Oversize is the model I can use regularly. These were the two most likely to draw my attention.

I view vintage pens differently than modern pens. While any new vintage would have to be a pen I could expect to use regularly, I’m unable to sell off vintage pens I know I won’t use. It feels like I’m selling a piece of history. But this made me determined to only buy one vintage pen and to make it one I knew I would use. Even though I’m a user and not a collector I wanted a pen as close to pristine as I could find and and was reliable. So even though Sarj’s pens are at the high end of the price spectrum I was willing to pay the price if I could find one.

I’ve always liked the pearl grey with red vein celluloid. This was the only Balance Oversize I saw in this material during my browsing on Friday. At least in a condition that was this good. It was also the only vintage pen I saw that I wanted. So despite the price I decided to get it. The pen is difficult to photographs as the gray in the pen changes depending on the light. This also makes it easy for the pen to mesmerize me as the color changes, often looking as different as green and red.

Since all my available inks were new to me I didn’t want to try them in a vintage sac filler, so the pen remained uninked on Friday. Then on Saturday I found some vintage (well, 1980–90’s) Sheaffer Sheaffer Peacock Blue in the yellow box/label. I had the dark red bottle version of this ink so it wasn’t entirely new to me and they would be a similar, if not identical formula. The ink seemed fine despite it’s age so I bought it and filled the pen later that day.

The pen is comfortable in my hand, as expected and the nib is great, also as expected. The nib is unlabeled but it’s approximately a fine. Writing is smooth with a good flow. It’s not a gushing writer yet the ink does noticeably pool a little bit between the nib and feed. Some ink also creeps out the heart cutout that’s above the nib slit. After writing a couple A5 pages a drop of ink did drop onto the paper while writing. Since then I’ve been more conscience of it and have dabbed the nib on a tissue if I see ink bleeding from the heart after a couple of pages. Carrying the pen around doesn’t result in any ink dripping or spatter and neither does moving the pen around normally like reaching for a paper or turning a page with pen in hand. So I won’t really call it a leak and the ink could be a contributing factor. It’s something I can live with and it won’t prevent me from taking the pen with me if I go to a coffee shop to do some writing. I wouldn’t bring it to a meeting to take notes, but I don’t use vintage pens in this situation anyway.

It’s a good performing pen and I love the material. The Sheaffer Balance Oversize in Pearl Gray/Red Veins joins my Marine Green Balance Oversize as one of my favorite vintage fountain pens, and it has a nib I’ll use more than the stub on the Marine Green.

Sheaffer Balance Oversize Pearl Gray & Red Veins - uncapped on stand
Sheaffer Balance Oversize c1935 writing sample with Sheaffer Peacock Blue (yellow label)
Exposed for the writing sample, terrible photo of pen.

This is a post about the 2016 Washington DC Pen Show. My show summary and links to other show posts are here.

6 thoughts on “This Just In: Sheaffer Balance Oversize C.1934 In Gray Pearl and Red Veins

  1. I’m still kicking myself for not picking up a bottle of that NOS Peacock Blue at the Chicago show…it’s lovely. And that Balance…I can see that pattern would be mesmerizing!

    • Hi Mel. The price was pretty good, considering I could see the ink before buying. He (I forget exactly who) had some other colors too, but this was the only one I got. And yes, I didn’t expect the pen to look so different in different light with the grey looking anywhere from white to green.

      Thanks for reading,

  2. Interesting article, thanks. I own a Marine Green Oversize Balance with medium nib and I must say it’s a great everyday writer.

    • Hi Alberto, I have the Marine Green too and love the color. I have a stub nib which isn’t the best for me but it’s a nice pen. This one is turning out to be a good writer.

      Thanks for reading,

  3. Hello!
    I know this is an old post, but…
    I recently acquired this same pen. I found it in a desk I bought at a yard sale, what a fluke! I had it restored and it writes beautifully! What suggested ink/s would you recommend? (I’m new to FPs)

    • Hi Wrndi,
      Congratulations on the find.

      The advice I received and follow (related to ink in vintage pens) is only use ink made by companies that also make/sell pens. The theory is that they’re less likely to damage the pen. I have a penchant for using Sheaffer inks in Sheaffer pens, for no reason other than my brain makes me. I’m not saying Sheaffer pens work better with Sheaffer ink. It also helps that they’re inexpensive. I also like Montblanc Inks in general, so use them in the vintage pens too. Their standard ink line is reasonably priced. I try to stick with inks that I know are easy to clean out of a pen, since cleaning lever fillers can be tedious. For some reason I like using older inks in vintage pens. So my most used inks for vintage pens are no longer made – MB 90 years Permanent Grey, MB Bordeaux, Sheaffer Peacock Blue, Sheaffer Emerald Green.

      Thanks for reading,

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