One of the curiosities of collecting pens, especially vintage pens is that many of them outlast their users. One of the members of the London Pen Club passed away on May 18th, of cancer. Dave Berko was a collector of Vacumatics but there was no other writing instrument that escaped his collection if the chance arose. Many years ago, Dave found a Vacumatic Maxima/Oversize at a flea market. When he inquired of the price he was met with the return query as to how much were vacumatics going for. Ever careful to hear and respond to the question posed, Dave said that “Vacs were going for between $70 and $80.” The seller asked if he would pay $75 for the pen. “Yes” was the simple reply. He took possession of the pen, ran outside and jumped up and down with glee unable to restrain his happiness at getting his “Vac Max” at such a price. Since then he has continued to collect pens far and wide. Having lived for the past few years in California his search area for pens expanded and just recently he found, within about a 3 week period, two mint Parker Duofold Seniors, one black the other a “Big Red”. What a find.
Dave has kept in contact with his friends in the London Pen Club, of which he was still a member, throughout his time away from London, Ontario Canada and was hoping to pay us a visit this summer. His spirits in the last email we received from him (less than a month ago) were high and he was looking forward to getting together with the club again and sharing some pen experiences as well as bringing along at least one of those mint Duos. Of course the Vac Maxs would come.
Those two pens represent a bit of Dave. He was a guy who lived life to the fullest, who took joy in searching for what was new/mint in life, like those Duos but at the same time valuing those things which were most meaningful to him – his family and his friends … like his Vac Maxes.
Dave will be missed by all those who knew him but his spirit will live on – just like those old pens.
These are some photos of mint pens that Dave was nice enough to share with DR and the rest of us. He sure knew how to find ’em.
Set of mint vacs
Mint black Duofold
Mint Big Red
Wherever you are Dave, we hope all the pens are mint and you can fill them with whatever colour you want (including Baystate Blue!!).