Retro 51 Accumulation

Photo of my current Retro 51 accumulationIt seems I don’t give my Retro 51 pens the attention they deserve. They are scattered around various briefcases, computer bags, desks, and other flat surfaces. They’re very much out of sight, out of mind. A couple of months ago a pen case with 5 of my Metalsmith series Retros turned up, and I had to admit I had forgotten about the pens. They aren’t listed on my pen accumulation page or in my electronic pen inventory. Retro 51 pens deserve better treatment than this.

I finally decided to inventory all my Retro 51s. This turned up one I had completely forgotten about, I went to my car to get the green lacquer Retro but found that I had replaced it with the Retro 51 Surf. The green lacquer was on a counter with a dry ink cartridge. It went dry, and I forgot about it before I got a refill.

I’ve been decluttering my apartment using the rule that if I come across something forgotten and unused for years, it needs to go away. I’m breaking this rule with the Retros, they’ll all be staying. Instead, I collected them all up and will keep them in a single pen case and track I went through my email and verified I had all the ones with a purchase record and I’m not aware of any others, so I think I have them all. That said, I had no purchase record of the Surf and did not remember it until I stumbled upon it. So there may be one or more forgotten pens still under a couch cushion. Eventually I’ll add them to my pen database, but for now having them in one case will be an improvement.

I should mention that the official name is “Retro 51 Tornado…”, but I’m dropping the Tornado.

Here’s my Retro 51 accumulation.

Starting with the pen tray, going left to right.

Retro 51 Green Lacquer: This was my very first Retro 51. I think I bought it after a discussion on an early Pen Addict podcast. I picked it because the lacquers were the least expensive model, and it’s green. This pen is historically the one I leave in the car, which is why I went there to get it. It’s my only Retro with a chipped barrel (although not visible in the photo). It is a pen that is tossed around and kept in a pocket or briefcase with keys, so the chip isn’t unexpected.

Retro 51 Montana (a.k.a. Ugly Sweater Pen): My favorite Retro 51 for a reason I can’t explain. Someone was trying to sell one for $130 on eBay, so I guess I’m not alone. (FYI: It didn’t sell.)

Retro 51 Terabyte: A limited edition from Anderson Pens. Another favorite since it’s green and has a computer theme.

Retro 51 Play Ball: This is the rollerball (recently swapped to gel) that currently travels in my Nock Co Fodderstack XL. After all, it is baseball season. I love the intricate design of the pen, based on baseball terms and phrases.

The next six pens are all part of the Vintage Metalsmith series. The series was an early obsession of mine, and I wanted them all up to a certain point. To me, the Albert and Dr. Gray may be called Vintage Metalsmith, but they don’t seem to fit into the design aesthetic of the series. They are more like Tribute or Deluxe edition pens.

My Vintage Metalsmith series pens are:

  • Roosevelt
  • Monroe: My only Retro 51 eBay purchase. I skipped this when it was released but found it on eBay for a reasonable price.
  • Jefferson
  • Franklin
  • Lincoln: I think this was my second Retro 51, although it might have been third, after the Stealth. I like the antique copper finish. The Lincoln is the pen that hooked me on the Vintage Metalsmith series. I also have the fountain pen version of this pen.
  • Betsy: This is where the Metalsmith began to veer from the original design aesthetic. I had forgotten it was part of the series until I looked it up for the inventory. I like the pen, and it usually comes out in July for obvious reasons. For non-Americans – Betsy Ross is typically credited with making the first American flag.

Retro 51 Liftoff: Space-themed pen designed to look like a rocket. I love it.

Retro 51 Apollo: A sentimental favorite. I was born days before President Kennedy’s speech to Congress proposing the goal of landing a man on the moon. The Apollo program started that same year, and I grew up watching it on the news (well, at least when they were getting close to landing on the moon) and was fascinated by it. It’s yet another attractive design that I love.

Now the pens above the tray, from top to bottom.

Retro 51 Stealth. I had to have the stealth version. The finish has held up well.

Retro 51 Tiki Kona: A bamboo pen with a Tiki head design. I like the intricate design, but on mine, the clip is slightly off center to the nose. The slight angle hides it in the photo, but I’ve seen it and can’t unsee it, so it bugs me. Like the regular bamboo pen, the Tiki Kona is slightly larger than the typical Retro 51.

Retro 51 Bamboo: I like the slightly larger girth along with the feel of the bamboo.

Retro 51 Vintage Surf: The forgotten pen. The Surf is another wooden pen that’s slightly thicker than the typical Tornado.

Retro 51 Hot Coffee: Another vendor exclusive pen, this time for Goldspot. I had to get a pen with a coffee theme.

So that’s my accumulation of 17 Retro 51 Rollerball pens. I previously linked to Mary’s post about a gel refill for the pens. I have the gel refills in three of the pens. The Play Ball has red, the Terabyte has green and the Tiki has black. The remainder all have Schmidt P8126 0.6 mm refills, rather than the original P8127 0.7mm refills. I still have the original refills and may revert to using them in some pens to be less wasteful.

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7 thoughts on “Retro 51 Accumulation

  1. I recently bought my first Retro 51, the Tornado Fountain pen in copper. I am utterly enchanted. It is stunning to look at but it writes even better. It never skips, no hard starts ever. It sat un-used for a couple of weeks and the minute the nib hit the page it wrote perfectly. I love this pen.

    • Hi ambimom,

      I have one of their fountain pens too, the Lincoln. Love the look, but it’s far to wet for my tastes, although that’s just personal, not a knock against the pen.

      Ray

  2. I must confess, I do not know these pens at all and had not heard of them until reading your entertaining post. Perhaps we do not get them in the UK. It is nice to gather them all together for the team photo.

    • Hi rupertarzeian,

      I thought for sure I’d seen them on some UK dealer websites, but I just checked their dealer page and my usual UK seller, Cult Pens. No UK dealers listed and not on Cult Pens website either. They do have some dealers in Europe. In the U.S., at least around me, their standard lines are in B&M stores that want some “nice” pens, such as gift shops. (I have no full-blomn pen/stationery shops near me. They are nice pens. Myke Hurley (Pen Addict podcast) loves them, but now that I think of it, I don’t recall him buying them locally in the UK.

      If you can find a European dealer that can avoid customs charges it may be worth trying one out. Although they are a U.S. company so the currency exchange bump may be as much as the exchange has been for me. Their dealer page is at Retro 51 dealers.

      Ray

      • Thank you for the information Ray. I guess that these may be something of a classic in the States, and my own equivalent here might be the ubiquitous Parker Jotter ball pen, of which I have dozens scattered about the house, from various eras.

  3. This was very enjoyable to read! I have 4. My favorite is the “Postmaster”, with real stamps on it, lacquered over. I found that for half price at a gift shop that was going out of business. I agree the refill is a little wet, but usable, and the pens are so fun.

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