Parker Duofold Centennial Special Edition “Big Red” MKI

I had been looking for one of these at a good price for ages but could only find them in the $500 and up range. There’s a reason for it I guess–people love the colour. I was very happy to learn Parker was bringing back the Big Red colour for a special release this fall 2014. Then I saw it.

Don’t get me wrong–I do like the current MKIII design with ace of spades motif but for the first time Parker got rid of the black bits–the section, blind cap and finial are now the same colour as the pen. For some reason this looks cheap to me and I love the classic look of a black section. This new variant is not for me but I’m sure it’ll make lots of black section haters happy.

So yeah, I’d pretty much given up on getting a new Duofold. Very sad. Back to eBay I went and was totally rewarded. I found a seller with tons of old pens for sale. It looked like an estate sale actually as lots of other personal items were also for sale. There were two Duofolds for sale and some Watermans, Pelikans and even a Montblanc 149.


All pens were listed as “not working – needs ink” which made me very happy. I’m guessing the seller was a non pen person and was selling a collector’s pens. How could a modern Parker Duofold cartridge / converter pen not be working? Clearly the seller just tried writing with the uninked pens and couldn’t and that meant they were broken to them. I’m sure this scared off many perspective buyers. The other thing is both Duofolds (I bought both) were listed as International size but one was a maroon marble short clipped first year pen that only came in Centennial size.

This all means that I got two working Centennials for the price of two broken Internationals. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m very pleased with how that worked out. (I also got a black Waterman Carรจne) Best part is–all nibs are broad. Nib size wasn’t listed but I thought they looked at least medium.


So, the pen I bought is a 1990 model with a broad nib. The year means it was probably part of the initial run of 1000 pens that were supposed to be an unnumbered limited edition. It was then extended due to high demand. My pen like all three I bought came full of dried ink. Spa day!!!!

The pen cleaned up well and is in decent condition. The orangy red acrylic is stunning and mimics the classic red of vintage Duofolds of the early 20th century. The gold accents are heavily plated in 23k gold. The cap medallion is the same pendulum design as my Gold Godron Duofold of the same era. The nib is the MKI arrow design and is a joy to write with.


The line of this nib is possibly a little finer than it should be and I’m going to see about getting the nib smoothed out a little at the Scriptus pen show tomorrow. The balance of the pen is great and even as it is, writes very nicely. I’m absolutely delighted to have this pen in my collection and happy to share it here. One of my better Sumgai deals. ๐Ÿ™‚

For some great deals on Parker Duofold Centennials, head over to Pen Chalet.


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  3. orgy

    Nice pen! One thing I have to ask you.
    Do you have a date code on your 1990 model duofold orange?
    I found the date code in some initial duofold orange on the internet
    I found that it does not. But I do not know why. To me your
    Borrow your knowledge!

    1. Gerald Taylor (Post author)

      Yes, mine has a date code of IIIQ for first quarter of 1990. On this model the code is on the back of the cap above the centre band. All pens should have codes. Later models moved them to the end cap on the barrel.

      1. orgy

        That was it! Thank you. Your blog is very useful. Have a nice day!

        1. Gerald Taylor (Post author)

          My pleasure–thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ™‚


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