by Lih-Tah Wong
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GP Diamante won off eBay

Here is my personal story, the first bad eBay experience I have ever had.  I checked out the seller by viewing their feedback comments.  From the high rating and the comments recorded, the seller was an experienced pen person. 

While the seller was not able to properly identify the specific 75 model, and quite frankly, I could not either from the pictures in the auction page.  I thought it was a GP deep grid pattern 75 from France.  Take a look at the actual auction page itself where the pen was described as:

"... the Outside or Casing is in excellent condition. This pen has a GP Parker Feather Clip (which is not seen in pictures). The feed and section on the inside have a few chew marks."

I even asked questions which the seller added verbatim as additional information to his auction page.  So far, so good.  He seemed to be quite reputable and forthright.  Even the eBay feedback looked good with only a few negative comments out of hundreds of positive comments.

OK, so here is a picture of the pen from the auction.

It is very difficult to see any details from this picture posted with the auction.  Even the close-up below which I took doesn't show much of a problem except around the cap tassie.

As you can see from the above picture, this pen is a GP Diamante.  The problem was in all the details, really ugly, gory details that you may see for yourself in pictures shown by following clicking here.  (Please be patient while all the images are being loaded - 11 pictures for a total size of 148K.)


Cap tassie is displaced off the cap by 1/16 inch

Brassing on clip, on the arrowhead and near the feathers

Black spot (chipped goldplating?) on the underside of the feathers

Brassing on the top edge of the cap tassie

Brassing and teeth marks on bottom edge of barrel tassie

Section is greatly chewed up with large gashes on it

Convertor also is chewed up and aerometric sac is gone


There is some remnants of some black gunk on the nib and feed
which is not dried ink.

Nib cannot rotate within the section, a main feature of the 75,
let alone be pulled out from the section. I am soaking it 
overnight and hope that I can extract and salvage the nib.

The aerometric convertor is a total loss since the sac 
is wasted. To add insult to injury, it is chewed up too.

I put a real section and the cap won't close properly -- there
is no solid click upon closing and leaves a small gap. This
indicates a problem with the inner slip clutch spring. Closer
examination inside the cap reveals that, of the 4 protruding
'fingers' of the slip clutch spring, only 2 exist.

I politely notified the seller of all the defects which he failed to mention.  Unfortunately, he would not take the pen back and refund my money.  His defense was:

  1. He sells a lot of pens so he was not able to pay close attention to every one.

  2. His auction clearly stated no refunds.

  3. He views people's attempts to return pens as a way to lower the price after the auction ended.

On #1, I guess I learned a lesson to be extra careful when sellers have very high eBay ratings.  They move so much stuff they don't look at the merchandise carefully.  This experience shows me they may not even look at their items.

On #2, this obviously was an auction that was inaccurately described.  That's being polite.

On #3, my desire to return the pen stemmed only from the dissatisfaction to its condition.

I sent the pen to Parker in the hopes of salvaging the nib.  Even they could not extricate the nib from the section and returned the pen innards.  Thankfully they were able to replace the bad clip that had chipped goldplating with a new one.  In making this replacement, Parker Service also eliminated the gap between the cap tassie and the cap itself. 

In essence what I bought was simply the cap and barrel, after adding another $20 to get a new clip replacement.

Lessons learned:

  1. Don't let the eBay feedback lull you into a sense of confidence.
    If they have done lots of transactions, it is possible that they do 
    so much volume that they don't pay attention to the details.

  2. Be especially careful if the item is sold as "all sales final."
    There may be something wrong that the seller is not stating.

  3. When the seller uses the words 'scarce' or 'rare', you be the 
    judge.  Just remember that such words are their attempts to 
    raise the perceived value of their item.

  4. Some sellers just put a picture and little or no description.
    They say something stupid like "a picture is worth a thousand
      That may be true with paintings, but pens that don't
    have any statement of its condition, the picture's words might as 
    well be "blah, blah, blah, blah, ...."

  5. Ask lots of questions.

One final lesson learned.  Ask the magic question "Is the item functional as a fountain pen?"  I failed to ask that.



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