The Parker 45 Insignia (also called the Signet) was introduced in 1965 a year after the 45 Flighter and was designed to be the top of the range version of the 45 pens.
The earliest versions came with Gold Filled barrel and cap with a black plastic end cap at the end of the barrel. Along the body was a 5 lined pattern and a small “cartouche” area for engraving a name on to.
The cap is engraved with the gold plate details, usually 1/10 12k Gold Filled. This would denote that the gold content is 1/10 by weight and consists of a 12k gold layer that has been fused on to the surface of the pen – giving a much greater thickness of gold then modern electroplating methods.
Some also have the number 3 stamped into their clip screw on the top of the cap although exactly what this denotes is unknown.
The later version has the gold end caps instead of black plastic and are now stamped as “Rolled Gold” on the cap. Rolled Gold means a thinner layer of gold then the earlier Gold Filled pens, but still far thicker and far more hard wearing then the electroplated gold plate on modern pens. This change was made at around the same time as the ordinary Flighter Pens changed from a black plastic end cap to the chrome one in around 1970
At some point in the early 70’s (the earliest confirmed date we know of is 1973) the Insignia saw another change. The long end cap was removed all together, whilst the barrel was lengthened to keep the size in line with the other 45s, with just a small black plastic disk in place of the end cap. The taper was kept, giving these pens a unique shape amongst the Parker 45s. We have seen examples made by Parker in the UK and France but as yet not the USA where we believe the previous gold tip version was still being made at this time. This would lead to speculation as to whether this version was trialled in Europe as an early attempt to get rid of the end cap which never really went anywhere. Either way these pens are now comparatively rare and just a little bit unusual in the Parker 45 family.
Parker Argentina and Brazil also produced a similar gold pen with no end cap and a Parker 61 style Arrow.