- Parker Minim Ballpoint Pen
These unusual Parker pens were developed in the mid-1950′s by designer Walter Bieger. Parker wanted a smaller pen for ladies — “an elegant model that women could carry in their purses.”
By 1957, Parker had created a version with a plastic barrel and a stainless steel cap. They called this first model the Shorty Jotter — their best selling pen was (and still is) the Jotter — but the stainless steel Shorty went out of production almost immediately.
Parker rethought the pen and decided that women would prefer gold, so by the time of the official release in 1958, all the different models were either all gold or gold capped, and they changed the name to Minim.
There are very few of the stainless steel capped Shorty Jotters around. They are extremely rare. I have never seen one for sale, but you can see what they look like on www.parkerpens.net, a fantastic site featuring all things Parker.
This model is gold-filled with engraved lines down the length of the barrel. There were several versions available, including gold-filled caps with plastic barrels, enamel decorated gold-filled caps with gold-filled barrels, and solid gold with either plain or barley decorated barrels.
The Minim pens are only 11 mm long. To fit a regular sized Parker cartridge, the designers had to create a new type of plunger that you pushed down to engage and then sideways to retract. The top of the refill fits inside the plunger, which, when engaged, is held down by a finicky little metal tab. If you are buying one of these on-line, it is important to make sure that this mechanism is in working order.
Back in the 1950′s, prices ranged from $5 for a plastic barreled model up to $25 for the solid gold version. Today, the cheapest working models start at about $300, and there is a solid gold Minim for sale on eBay today for $1,800.
This pen I have featured here is marked Made In USA, 1/10 12k G.F. It is lightly scratched, but there is no serious wear. It is in excellent working order, and it comes in its original cardboard box. I would think that its value would be about $450 or so.
The marking 1/10 12k G.F. means that the gold plating is 12 karat and the gold constitutes a minimum of 1/10th the weight of the pen. Gold filled means that a heavy layer of solid gold is bonded to the base metal using heat and pressure, as opposed to electroplating, which is the process of using an electrical current to coat an electrically conductive object with a very thin layer of gold.
Finally, of interest, these Minim pens were only in production for 5 years. This adds a great deal to their rarity, and over the years, as working examples become even more scarce, the value to collectors should continue to increase.