One of the pens I was hoping to find at the Atlanta Pen Show was a vintage Lady Sheaffer Skripsert. A friend of mine showed me hers and I fell in love with it so I knew it was definitely a pen style I wanted to keep my eye out for.
The story behind the Lady Sheaffer Skripserts were that they were pens (and pencils) designed specifically for ladies in decorative patterns and posh finishes as fashion accessories from the late 50s into the 70s. They were available with either steel or gold nibs and some of the designs included raised, jeweled bands around the middle of the pen for an even more glamorous look.
This ad for the Lady Sheaffer, lovingly known to collectors as “the shopping list” was published in Pen World magazine in 1994 and posted to the Fountain Pen Network Forum in a thread titled “Ladies in Tulle!” back in 2008.
Well,I totally lucked out because I found a vendor who had several different models to choose from including a very rare Christmas patterned one with holly berries on the cap (not to my taste but in retrospect, its incredibly rare!). I had a hard time picking just one of the many designs and he made me a deal on two different models, both with 14K nibs.
From what I understand, the later the Lady Sheaffer was produced, the more likely the ends are to be flat instead of rounded. So my guess is that the two I purchased are probably late 60s or early 70s.
Once I got home and could start doing more detailed research, I was able to determine that the black pen with gold “tulle” is definitely a Lady Sheaffer. The nib is referred to as a Stylpoint nib as it partially hooded. There’s also a bit of a flip up at the end of the nib which if you didn’t know that was how the nibs were designed might make you think the nib had been sprung. But its not. They were designed that way.
Upon further study, the gold pen with black diamond pattern is actually a Sheaffer Imperial Sovereign rather than a Lady Sheaffer Skripsert. The inlay nib should have been the givaway but I did not know enough about the long history of the Skripsert line to know all the nib variation so I took a chance because it was beautiful. I ended up with a great pen regardless.
The Lady Sheaffer Skripsert was NOS (new old stock), complete with its original sticker, so really how could I pass it up?
And the Sheaffer Imperial was hallmarked on the barrel with a crown and “14K G.F. Sheaffer U.S.A.” So I think the barrel and cap are gold plated as well as the nib. Swank!
What should have also been the give away that Imperial was a different beast is that the barrel is a bit wider than the Lady Sheaffer. They are the same length but the Lady Sheaffer is a little bit more tapered overall for a slightly more diminutive silhouette. Its not good or bad but it shows that doing your homework prior to a show is important. I ended up with a happy surprise and learning more about vintage Sheaffers in general but more research would have made me better informed overall.
Both the Lady Sheaffer and the Imperial wrote beautifully. The Lady Sheaffer had a medium nib which wrote pretty wet and its flip up angle took a bit of getting used to. I had heard the flip was designed to enable writing at more angles but could not find any information on the internet to corroborate that so I’m not sure. If you know why the Stylpoint nibs were designed with a flip, please leave a note in the comments. I theorize that it is a bit like the Fude de Mannen Japanese nibs that allow for a wider range of stroke widths at a wider range of angle but again, I don’t have any proof nor have I used the pen long enough to prove my theory.
The Imperial has a fine nib that is perfect! It writes beautifully and as soon as I get cartridges or converters for these two pens, I have a feeling that they will end up in regular rotation. They are both comfortable in my hand, lovely to look and and beautiful writers. How can you beat that?
In the end, I’m pleased with my vintage Sheaffer purchases but I would have been happier with myself if I’d been better informed before I got to the show. But knowledge comes with time and asking the right questions.
For more information about Lady Sheaffer Skripserts:
- Pendemonium has a full catalog of the Lady Sheaffers from 1959 online if you want to see more of the pens in detail.
- Sheaffer Targa has a visual reference list of the Lady Sheaffers and the Sheaffer Imperials available on their site.
13 comments / Add your comment below
That Imperial is drop dead gorgeous. Wow. What a happy accident!
That tulle Lady Scheaffer is stunning. I need to add that to my “lookout” list if I ever get to a pen show.
Great finds, congratulations! One caveat though – be careful fitting a converter into the Lady Sheaffer, they are narrow and you don’t want the thing to get stuck in there… Slide it in carefully and see how it fits. Good luck, and enjoy those beauties!
I have a 70’s Targa (regular not slim version) that I bought NOS and it came with a proprietary squeeze converter. I bought a Sheaffer branded piston style converter for it new off Amazon (Prime for under $10) and it fit perfectly. I’m pretty certain that same converter would fit the Imperial. Possibly the Lady Sheaffer as well.
I’m a huge fan o Vintage Sheaffer’s I currently have two of them an I couldn’t agree with you more. They are gorgeous.
The Christmas one with holly and berries sounds cool to me, but that’s sight unseen.
Recently I bought Sheaffer Lady tulle and would like to add that it is a priced possession .Very pleased!!
I have a couple of Lady Skriptsets, too. I have the black Imperial sovereign that you have, The black tulle (XI on the shopping list) and I also have a pen and pencil set that is gold and black, but the reverse of the black tulle (that is, the body is gold and the etching is black).You can see it here:
There’s a good Web site that talks about all of the varieties here (the pictures are wonderful):
That nib style is sometimes called a “Waverly” nib.
I have a pen and pencil set that is the diamond weave it was my great grandmother’s. I am currently trying to do more research on them.
I realize I’m a bit late with this, but I’ve got a 632 just like yours and can tell you a couple of things.
The converter that fits a Lady Sheaffer is a squeeze converter that’s no longer being made, but you can find NOS ones online for not too much money. Here’s one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Parts-Sheaffer-Converter-standard-Fit-all-Sheaffers-pens-USA-NEW-not-used-/292108281311
The Imperial’s nib design is called “inlaid”. Sheaffer used them in a couple different pen models, most famously the Targa.
I found that Sheaffer refills from Office Max/Depot work for them. Refill number 96310 just FYI.
My parents were decluttering and found a new in box 632 fountain pen and ballpoint pen set. Price on it was $17.50 and $10.00 respectively. Like Andrea’s, mine had a squeeze converter as well. (At the beginning, I didn’t know what the heck it was because I’ve only used Pelikans until now.)
If anyone knows which ballpoint pen refill fits the lady Shaeffer, please let me know ><
I have a “1” – the first one listed with the red grip section. As a cheapest tier pen, it has a steele nib. I really like it.