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1941—ca 1966


anfanghere has been something of a controversy regarding the dating of the Parker Victory pens. Some sources indicate that the model was produced as far back as 1935, there's even a dating in the official Parker archives that states that one of the Victories in there was manufactured in 1935. This is however highly unlikely, for several reasons. First of all the Victories were manufactured in the UK only and it is highly unlikely that Parker and the Valentine Pen Company, which was later to become the UK Parker factory, had started their co-operation that early. Secondly the name Victory indicates that the production was in line with the war effort, but by 1935 even if Hitler had begun his world domination planning, the war was still four years away. Thirdly most Victory pens have gold nibs clearly marked with an "N" to denote that they were made in Newhaven, an imprinting that begun only in 1941.

Parker had had a subsidiary in the UK since at least 1899, as shown by old ads. First there was only marketing and a selling force. Later the Parker UK subsidiary was assembling Parker parts made in Toronto, Canada. Parker had bought the Toronto factory in 1923 and soon 60% of it's production was being shipped to Europe. The setup worked fine, until World War II, when shipping became increasingly more risky.

anfanghe problem was made imminent when a ship carrying Parker parts from Canada was torpedoed by the Germans outside Liverpool. Everything was salvaged by divers and painstakingly cleaned by the Parker workers, but the vulnerability was evident. Furthermore Parker had recently been evicted from the prominent address of Bush House in London, since the government needed the facilities for wartime BBC radio transmissions. Parker were offered new premises in the then more run-down district of Grosvenor Gardens. Parker were not happy with this change and decided to try to find a local manufacturing solution for the European market.

Some sources indicate that Parker already from time to time had had a co-operation with the Valentine Pen Company, in Newhaven, starting in the late 1930's.

anfangt is true that Valentine had done sub-contract work for other pen manufacturers earlier, including Osmia, Swan and Waterman. But the company had failed to become really successful in their own right. Part of the answer was probably that they never concentrated on one specific model, instead they would accept orders of maybe a dozen or two pens, a strategy that proved uneconomical.

According to David Shepherd in his book Parker Duofold, Valentine in 1932 even had to publicly apologise to the UK pen maker Conway Stewart for a patent infringement, albeit an unintended one.

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Images © Tony Fischier courtesy of The Parker Archives

Three beautiful Parker Victory, MK I, ca 1941. Note the cap on the bottom pen.

anfangow, in 1941, Parker negotiated sharing the Valentine factory with it's facilities and machines for the duration of the war. It was of course convenient, as well as profitable, for Valentine to produce pens that was very similar to the Parker Duofolds. The same workers were now making both Valentine and Parker pens. Still in the beginning most parts were manufactured in Toronto, but gradually Newhaven took over the European market.

The very first Parker model that was solely made in Newhaven was the Parker Victory. It too shared many features with both the Valentines and the streamlined Duofolds, including colour schemes and plastics. For obvious reasons it was now hard to find plastics to match the US production, so during this period many Duofolds and Victories were made in colours not found elsewhere, making them very collectible.

When the war ended in 1945, Parker bought the Valentine company, lock, stock and barrels, but continued to produce Valentine pens until 1947 or 1948. The name Valentine also remained on the workers wage packets until as late as 1957.

anfanghe wartime red arrowValentines were produced both as lever fillers and as button fillers. They had ball ended washer clips, black clip screws and can be found without cap bands or with a thin cap band, or in other more rare versions. They sported the model number on the barrel end, much like the old Parker Lucky Curve pens. The model "01" was possibly the best seller.

They were imprinted "THE VALENTINE PEN CO LTD, Made in England" and the solid gold nibs were engraved "VALENTINE, 14ct, 1st Quality".

Among other Valentine colours offered were:

    romb Light and dark burgundy pearl and black
    romb Lined green silver and burgundy
    romb Lined cream silver and brown
    romb Lined rose silver and burgundy

The Victory was sold as a Parker sub-brand and evolved in five different generations:

 



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anfanghe MK I (1941- 1946) 130 mm. had a Parker ball ended clip, a streamlined Duofold style black cap screw and blind cap. They were offered either with a single, thin, rolled gold cap band or without a cap band. Among other Victory MK I colours offered were:

    romb Black
    romb Black and pearl
    romb Gold pearl
    romb Gold pearl and black marble
    romb Blue pearl and black marble
    romb Light and dark burgundy pearl and black
    romb Striped silver pink and black
    romb Lined (striated) green silver and burgundy
    romb Lined (striated) cream silver and brown
    romb Lined (striated) rose silver and burgundy

There were also some Duofold Seniors produced with a Victory/Valentine style single, thin cap band. Furthermore the material shortages led Parker/Valentine to ship pens with different coloured bodies and caps, but the demand was so high that they sold regardlessly.

From 1945 and on the text "MADE IN ENGLAND" was added to the imprints.

 

anfanghe MK II (1946-1947) also had a Parker ball ended washer clip, but it was even more streamlined, giving a more slender appearance. Also the Victory MK II blind caps and clip screws were now of the same colour as the rest of the pen. Most significant the cap now sported two rolled gold cap rings. The striated and marble designs were discontinued and replaced by five solid colours:

    romb Black
    romb Grey
    romb Dark Green
    romb Dark Blue
    romb Burgundy

anfanghe MK III (1947-1948) had a much shorter clip screw, and a longer blind cap, almost 15mm. The cap still had two bands and the pen still had the Parker ball ended washer clip. The colours stayed the same.

    romb Black
    romb Grey
    romb Dark Green
    romb Dark Blue
    romb Burgundy

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anfanghe MK IV (1948-1952) 130 mm. was even more streamlined again and featured a new tapered Parker clip in the style of the later Challenger and Parker "VS" designs. The cap had two capbands. It was very similar to the Danish Parker Popular. The model was fitted with an aluminium button filler.

    romb Black
    romb Grey
    romb Dark Green
    romb Dark Blue
    romb Burgundy

MK V (1953- mid 1960's) 132 mm. The complete Parker UK line was revamped in 1953 when the new aerometric filling system, developed for the fabulous Parker "51", was fitted to the whole line of Duofold pens in the UK. There were several models available. The Victory now became identical in all aspects, save the imprint, with the Student. The two cap rings were removed in favour of a thin cap band engraved with chevrons. The colour grey was discontinued but the MK V was also manufactured in Denmark well into the 1960's. adding the colour Terracotta and possibly Apple green.

    romb Black
    romb Dark Green
    romb Dark Blue
    romb Burgundy

anfanghere are examples of other designs than mentioned above. The MK IV has been found in green marble with a plain, broad cap band and the MK I has also been found with broader cap bands.

The Victories are naturally very collectible. Especially the early pens from the 1940's in vibrant and uncommon colours. These have especially attracted the eye of the collectors of the early Duofolds, being a sort of extension of the model.

The Victories sold in vast numbers, so the rarity can be debated, but they are of course much harder to come by in the US, since they were made for the European market.

anfangraditionally the most colourful of the Parker pens have been thrift time or low quality pens, but in the Victory and Valentine models collectors will find sturdy and well made pens with solid gold nibs . The later plastics does however have a tendency to discolour if left for a long time in direct sunlight and being somewhat prone to developing dull finishes, due to the polystyrene plastic being softer than both celluloid and acrylic.


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