Maybe you've found an old fountain pen, and you're wondering what that gold nib is worth. Or you're looking for your first gold-nib fountain pen, and want to know what you're actually paying for. Let's look at the gold nib value of 13 popular fountain pens.
How much is a 14K gold nib worth? The bullion value of 14K gold fountain pen nibs is around $20 based on the current gold price. Gold dealers will offer $13 (60-70%) for the gold in the nib (0.4 grams on average). Fountain pen restorers might offer double or more for it, especially if it's in good shape.
Different types of fountain pens have varying amounts of gold in them. Below, I'll give estimates of the worth of 13 popular fountain pens. Also, I'll give you some tips on how to get the maximum dollar amount for your gold nib.
Please note: Fountain pen nibs are always more valuable as a nib than as their weight in gold. Fountain pen dealers and restorers will pay more than gold dealers.
In this article:
How Much a 14K Gold Nib is Worth (with Examples)
- Small nibs: $6 (gold value) vs. $10-50 (nib value)
- Medium nibs: $12 (gold value) vs. $10-50 (nib value)
- Larger nibs: $16 (gold value) vs. $20-50 (nib value)
- Large nibs: $21 (gold value) vs. $20-50 (nib value)
To estimate the gold value in different nibs, we need three things: the weight of the nib, the gold purity of the nib, and the current cold price. For this article, I'll use a gold spot price of $1,700 USD/troy oz. Later on, I'll give the exact calculation so you can calculate the gold value yourself for different gold spot prices.
The exact gold contents value in fountain pen nibs:
|Nib Size||Weight||Contains (14K)||Gold value||Gold dealer||Nib value|
|Small nibs||0.3gr||0.175gr||$ 9.6||$ 6||$ 10 - 50|
|Medium nibs||0.55gr||0.321gr||$ 17.6||$ 12||$ 10 - 50|
|Larger nibs||0.8gr||0.4664gr||$ 25.7||$ 16||$ 20 - 50|
|Large nibs||1gr||0.583gr||$ 32||$ 21||$ 20 - 50|
Estimated Value of 13 Common Fountain Pen Gold Nibs
Next, let's take a look at 13 specific pens and how much you'll get for their nib as is, as opposed to what you'll get for the gold inside the nib. You'll find what you'll get, cash-in-hand, from your gold dealer under 'Gold dealer', and what you could get from a fountain pen enthusiast under 'Nib value'.
I don't have the exact numbers for all of these pens, so I've had to estimate some based on their nib size. I'll also give you the market value of specific gold nibs, to show you the value of the nib as is, as opposed to the just the gold inside of the nib.
How much is a 14K gold nib worth? (13 common pens):
|Fountain pen||Gold dealer||Nib value|
|Parker 51||$ 6||$ 20 - 40|
|Parker 45||$ 6||$ 10 - 15|
|Lamy 2000||$ 6||$ 20 - 50|
|Vanishing Point||$ 6||$ 20 - 50|
|Lamy Studio||$ 12||$ 10 - 15|
|Pilot Custom 74||$16||$ 20|
|Pelikan 400 & 140||$16||$ 20 - 50|
|Montblanc 144||$16||$ 20 - 50|
|Pilot Falcon||$16||$ 20|
|Platinum 3776||$21||$ 20|
|Sailor 1911 Standard||$21||$ 20 - 50|
|Parker Duofold Senior||$21||$ 20 - 50|
|Sheaffer Senior Lifetime||$21||$ 20|
How I've determined the gold value of each nib
I've used a gold spot price of $55/gram, which is on the conservative side at the moment of writing. I've calculated the gold contents for each nib's estimated weight and then multiplied it with the gold price. However, as you can tell, I give two different prices:
- Gold value
- Street value
That's because when you walk into a gold bullion store and try to sell a piece of gold, they won't give your the gold spot price. Instead, they'll give you around 60-70% of the current spot price. The bullion dealer has to make a living too. So the street value is a lot lower than the actual gold value inside the nib.
How I've determined the nib value
I give the price you would get. So these are not retail prices, but the actual cash you would get for your nib—cash in hand, from a bullion dealer vs fountain pen enthusiast, or fountain pen restorer.
I've used eBay to check nib values. I search for the price of just the nib and only look at listings that have been sold in the recent past. If I can't find it at eBay, I'll use the wholesale price that you will get from a nib dealer or pen restorator. These are all just my best estimates based on the above data.
Nibs Are Worth More as Nibs than When Melted
Fountain pen nibs are nearly always more valuable in their current form than as melted gold. That's because the gold content of the nib is only a fraction of the actual value of the nib. Gold nib fountain pens are a lot more expensive than just the cost of the resources that are used because they are more valuable once they are made into nibs and pens. You pay for the value of production and technology.
That's why you'll most likely get the best deal on your fountain pen for the pen itself, as a whole, and not after melting it down, which in essence walks back the value by multiple production steps.
Especially vintage nibs can be worth a lot more
If you happen to have a vintage 14K nib, that's especially interesting. Even in bad shape, you'll find fountain pen dealers willing to give you a flat fee of around $15, just so they can try to restore it. If you have one in good shape, well, now you're game.
Where to Sell Your Nibs
Before offering your fountain pen nibs to a gold trader, I would recommend a couple of other routes first. Fountain pens and nibs are more valuable to many people than just their gold contents. If you want the best deal on your attic find, I recommend the following order:
- Offer the pen to a fountain pen restoration company
- Offer it up on the internet
- Offer it to a gold dealer (please don't)
Offer the pen to a fountain pen restoration company
I recommend offering your nib or pen to a fountain pen restoration company before offering it up on the internet. With a good condition vintage 14K nib, you will most likely get double or triple the current gold spot price from a fountain pen enthusiast, depending on the exact model.
Here are some trusted companies that will buy (vintage) fountain pens and nibs:
Companies that will buy fountain pen (nibs):
"We will pay $15 and up for most common nibs, if intact. Rare nibs we will buy in any condition [...] We have paid up to $500 for a single nib!"
Offer it up on the internet
If you want to sell your pen online, but you don't know exactly what you're selling, you might want to consider asking an expert first. Knowing what you're selling is the best way to ensure you get a good price. You can earn a little more selling it directly, but you could end up getting less than a knowledgeable restorer would've offered you. They have a reputation to uphold and will be honest about the value of the pen.
Offer it to a gold dealer
There are many better ways to get rid of your old, unwanted pens, instead of bringing it to a gold dealer. They will just see the gold and won't care for any additional value your nib might have. They're not to blame; it's their job, they are gold traders. Also, they probably won't know whether you have a rare nib, that's worth way more than it's weight in gold. I suggest sending it to Vintage Pens and get the flat fee at the least, with potential upside if it turns out to be something special. The flat fee is about equal to the gold value anyway, so you won't lose anything on that bargain.
The Calculation to Determine Gold Value
To calculate the gold value of the nib, we need three things:
- The current gold spot price in grams
- The gold purity of the nib (how many Karats it is)
- The weight of the nib
The calculation is as follows:
gold value = weight of the nib x gold contents x current gold spot price
The average price of a gram of gold is around $55. The average fountain pen nib weighs between 0.5 - 1 grams. The gold contents of a 14K nib is 58.3%. So the average gold value of a 14K fountain pen nib is around:
0.7 x 0.583 x 55 = $22.45
But we have to correct for the gold dealer's markup, which will between 30-40%. So let's say they will pay you about 65% of the actual gold value.
street value = gold value x dealer's markup
So what you'll receive for this particular nib, in the end, cash in hand, will be:
$22.45 x 0.65 = $14.6
Weight of nib
I've estimated the weight of different nibs based on their size. I currently don't have a scale that's precise enough to weigh individual nibs, but these estimates come close enough. I've also used weights found on The Fountain Pen Network by people who do have a sufficiently accurate scale.
Gold spot price
For this article, I'll use a gold spot price of around $1700, since that has been the average for the past few months (May - June - July 2020).
Gold Purity Contents for Different Karats
I'll include the gold purity conversion chart, so you can calculate gold nibs with other gold contents easily.
|Karats||% of Gold|
Most fountain pen nibs will be 14K gold, but I've seen nibs of all gold purities. The lower the Karats, the harder the allow will be. Sailor and Pilot have 24K, and 22K nibs, which I imagine will be very soft!
- Fountain pen nibs weight: The Fountain Pen Network
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