Friday, November 27, 2009

My 25th Azure Blue Vacumatic Senior Maxima

Just received back freshly restored by Joel Hamilton my 25th Parker Vacumatic Senior Maxima in Azure Blue celluloid. Thought I'd use the occasion as chance to chat about this neat pen.

Blue Maxes are somewhat more difficult in double-jewel trim to find than other colors, at least with typical cap-band, as the color was introduced mid 1940, while most Maxima colors appeared late 1937. Since the bottom jewel was discontinued by the end of 1941, DJ pens in blue ran only about a year and a half. Amongst single jewel Sr Maxima from 1942-1947 (or so) there is much less disparity.

In ten years hunting Vacs, I've grabbed- obviously- 25 Maxes in this color. Sold about 20 with a few in the collection for the long haul. While Blue Maxes in general are nowhere near as scarce as "Vac-Band" Maximas in any color and probably are similarly uncommon to "Jeweler's Band" Maxima from 1939-40 (or so), they are impressive pens. As is often the case with colleting, finding my first posed the greatest challenge. It's all been downhill since then. Not so hard to find the pens, if one is willing to pay the ticket price ;)

Making the collecting task easier (is that a good thing?) the late introduction of Blue minimizes the number of variants one can seek, as we need not worry about clip evolution. Too, there is well less cap-band evolution, and well less jewel evolution. The key (a somewhat subjective claim) forms are shown here:

L to R:

1) Typical 2nd Gen Sr. Max. shows expected "late" features, black bottom pseudojewel, cap-band indicia with vertical borders, blue diamond clip.

"All" Blue Maxes have black end jewel(s), though I have one which challenges that notion, but that photo will await another day.

2) "Jeweler's" Cap-band Blue Max with wide lined cap-band. The intent behind this cap-band remains shrouded, but the band is far less common than the typical cap-bands found in catalogues. Blue + Jeweler's Band makes for a bit of a special pen.

3) 3rd Generation Sr. Max, single jewel. The thin cap-band is correct on this 1942- 1947-ish pen. One might expect them to be more common than the first pen given the longer prodution run, but it is not clear that this is so. SJ Maxes are uncommon, perhaps because by 1942 those who would pay the cost to get a Maxima made the jump to the ascendant Parker 51.

4) Canadian 3rd Gen Max. Canadian pens essentially always show some differences from USA-made pens, and I often don't lump them under "key variants", but for 3rd Gen Max the key difference warrants attention. Unlike in the USA, Parker in Canada appears to have continued to use the wide cap-band (similar to pen #1) throughout the 3rd Generation, making a wide band single jewel pen wholly correct when found with Canadian markings.

I picked up a mint collection (yah, really) of Sr Maxima 3rd Generation pens a couple years ago, including a stickered blue.


I probably need to format this brief note and to shoot couple more images for a formal website essay, but figured finding my 25th pen made good excuse to post.




  1. those big blues are droolworthy!

    quick question: did the SJ senior maxima ever come out with a jeweller's band? thanks!

  2. One would expect not, as it seems the wide "Jeweler's" band ran perhaps mid or late 1939 through 1941 for Vacumatic. 1st quarter 1942 sees (on those models that *ever* had 'em) the switch from Jeweler's Band to narrower "Stacked Coin" band, assuming of course that both targeted some unspecified but similar niche. No Maxima "Stacked Coin" bands have been found of course.

    That said, as we don't know the J-band ran completely through 1941 (or that it did not), if someone had a 1st-quarter 1942 pen with such a band, I would at least keep open mind on the finding, though still I would have doubts.


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