Wahl-Eversharp introduced its Gold Seal Personal Point
pens in 1929, both as "flat-top"
(streamlined). Wahl continued to advertise the flat-tops the following year. The
streamlined Equi-Poised saw frantic evolution-- driven at first by
legal threat from Sheaffer-- and ran through at least 1932, when Wahl introduced a final cluster of slender non-
Gold Seal Equi-Poiseds. For both the Gold-Seal flat-tops and the non
Gold Seal slender Equi-Poiseds, the most storied color for today's Wahl collectors is Flamingo
was known to collectors as Oxblood
back before a 1932 Wahl catalogue turned up offering the proper Wahl
name for this color; the catalogue showed a few models in that color,
all Equi-Poiseds, all slender, all non Gold Seal.
Flamingo Equi-Poiseds are relatively scarce and certainly are
desirable. But the color also turns up, off
-catalogue, amongst the Gold
Seal flat-tops. Those Flamingos are just ridiculous, with fairly few found
the past twenty years.
was 2002. I'd been collecting about four years and already had some
quite nice Wahls, but I hardly was well studied in that
brand. That November for the first time I brought my camera and
lighting setup to a pen show, Ohio, to shoot catalogue-style photos of
other collectors' hoards. Had a great time. Collector Lynn
Brandt, once the host of penlovers.com, let me shoot his few Wahls done
in a lovely color, an opaque fuchsia with blue-black
Lynn explained that this color-- Oxblood-- was quite scarce. VIa subsequent online discussion I learned Flamingo was
Wahl's name for it. It was a year or two later, probably at the
pen show in Los Angeles, when I bought my first Flamingo, a long-slender non-Gold Seal Equi-Poised, that one from collector Lexx Villaines. The
color on that Flamingo wa a bit subdued, but it was still a quite nice
Somewhere along the way, over the years, perhaps by accident...
Flamingo became a focus for my collecting. I'll save for
another essay (here) the story of how in 2010 I found and bought the King of
The 1932 Wahl catalogue offered 4 Flamingo models, all part of
the slender non-Gold Seal Equi-Poised family, what we tend to call Type
|Flamingo slender Equi-Poised
|Long, with ball-clip
|Medium, with clasp (short clip)
|Medium, as ring-top
|Short (Purse Pen) with clasp (short clip)
Off catalogue-- and far more rare-- are the flat-top Gold Seal Flamingos, part of the family of pens that in other colors were catalogued/advertised 1929-1930.
With matching pencils, the two groups above allow for sixteen (eight
each pens and pencils) variants to be hunted. But, other quirky
Flamingos have turned up.
|Flamingo Gold Seal flat-top
|Long-standard, with side roller-clip
|Short-standard (stubby), with soldier roller-clip
|Short-standard (stubby), as ring-top
A few years ago I found a Gold Seal Flamingo desk pen. I've seen a couple of the
slender medium-length Wahl-Oxfords that essentially were discounted
(lower tier) tweaks on the catalogued Equi-Poised version. Perhaps
matching pencils were made as well for those two pens. Most
Wahl-Oxfords done in the slender Equi-Poised style offered long and
medium versions. Thus, it is at least possible that long Wahl-Oxford
pen and pencils also were made in Flamingo, though I've never
I also found a mutant/anomaly, a slender Equi-Poised ringtop (medium length of course) with Gold Seal.
|Wahl-Oxford medium-slender pen
|Mutant Gold Seal Equi-Poised (slender)
Sooo... counting the known desk pen and medium-length Wahl-Oxford
(discount version) at least eighteen pens/pencil variants are out
there. My mutant Gold Seal slender Equi-Poised pen bumps that to
nineteen. The likely matching pencils (I've not found any yet) for the
desk pen and the Wahl-Oxford would bump that to 21. If
Wahl-Oxford was offered in Flamingo as the long-slender
pen and pencil as well (possible, but not proven), the final count
could go as high as 23. I suppose other anomalous variants and desk
pens in different style could turn up, but in that path lies madness.
So 19-23 pen/pencil variants. Not so many. Here's a tray full...
19-23 pens and pencils might seeem approachable. But,
the pens range from scarce to nigh-impossible to find. The
catalogued Equi-Poised models are easiest to find. Too, in recent years
(2017-2018) a couple personal collections have come on the market,
making the Flamingo hunt easier than it had been the past couple
decades, but showing how scarce the pens are at baseline. Too, this window is closing.
The flat-tops live at the top of food chain in Wahldom. Their
desirability and scarcity combine to make them amongst the priciest
Wahls, the oversized pen in particular trumping solid-gold pens, beating even anomalies and
off-catalogue items perhaps more rare, such as the Lazulitic Blue
Equi-Poised. Many consider the Flamingo Decoband (oversized
flat-top Gold Seal) to be not just King of the Flamingos but indeed King of all Wahls. I'd be curious to hear
readers' thoughts about competitiors for that title.
But, it doesn't look like the bird!
Over years it has been noted that Wahl's Flamingo really does not share
color with the well known bird. It's true. So what
was Wahl thinking? The color it seems was not named for the bird.
No. The color much better matches-- as was first suggested by David
Nishimura in a Flamingo discussion at Fountain Pen Board-- the...
Yes, we have no Flamingos
collectors have no Flamingos. Those with one or some usually have the
catalogued Equi-Poised models. Of course there are quiet collectors out
there, their collections unknown to others. I can't comment
there. But, amongst those who play online, in print, and at pen
shows, I know of just five of us who have each owned perhaps ten or
more Equi-Poised variants. I think Lynn, who introduced me to the pens,
had about five pens. Syd, Cliff, Luiz, Allan and Yours Truly have
approached or broached the big ten mark. I think I have eleven
pens/pencils at this point. Won't be easy to grow that group. That we
can count on one hand the number of collectors who have managed
significant focused collections of Flamingos is telling.
But, the pens do happen. Finding them requires some effort, a bit of
luck, and often some cash. I'll offer below my stab at an art
shot of this cluster, done as trial shot for a full-bleed page
for my Pen World article about the Flamingo Wahls, this pic ultimately
not used. It shows ten of the eleven Flamingos in my collection as of
Wrapping it up
usual grading concerns are in play for 1920s-1930s Celluoid. Check for
cracks in cap lip, by lever slot and
at clip insertion. I've seen a few of these a bit faded, the fuchsia
subdued. That impacts value. I've handled couple flat-tops with
cap/barrel thread issues. The flat-tops will be signfiicantly pricier
than the slender Equi-Poised Flamingos. I still seek the two
flat-top pens not shown in the big photo, above: the long-standard
flat-top and the short-standard flat top with clip. And a bunch of the
pencils to match the pens in the photo. If you have spares, please
contact me. Click on the link below to read the tale of how I scored
the King of the Flamingos for my collection.