Dating parker vacumatic pens
One well known collector once said to me "there are more so called "first year" pens out there than Parker ever made".
The picture to the left shows an early "First Year" pen with a ribbed hood, similar to the pattern found on the pencils.
I have only seen 2 such pens, the second one dated 1944 and on a cordovan barrel, which has the tell-tale Parker-font factory engraved name on the barrel.
Probably an experiment by Parker, most likely given to employees to test.
Dating of Parker "51" pens is easy, down to the quarter it was made; at least for the barrel.
The nib is also different in the "first year" pens. Parker did not start marking and dating the nibs until 1943.
It should be noted that dating a pen by the nib can be very innacurate, as it is the most often replaced part on a pen.
Another explanation may be that they were never dated or that the datecode wore off (on most instances the datecode is lightly imprinted to begin with).
It should be noted that some examples have been found with the imprint up by the clutch ring, with a datecode of "1".
It seems as it Parker ran out of cap jewels first, and continued production with whatever was available.