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Collection And Curation - What Principles Do You Use?

collection curation

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44 replies to this topic

#1 kenshiro


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 17:01

Many of us have pen collections that we cherish as a whole, others have accumulations of pens that we love individually.


What principles underlie your collections? How do you curate? A particular brand, country, nib style, size, filling system, era, material, color, etc.?


Can your collection ever realistically be completed? Why or why not?


Personally I have two collections - one of clear, monochrome demonstrators (i.e. no two-tone nibs, no colored sections or trim other than a maker's mark)  and another of all matte black fp's with black or ruthenium nibs, both of which I'm sure are boring to those who love loud celluloids.

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#2 Pentulant



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Posted 18 April 2014 - 17:13

I have preferences, of course, but would say that my entire collection is all over the place.

As far as brands go, I have the most Lamy Safari and Montblanc.
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#3 orfew



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Posted 18 April 2014 - 17:34

My collection is focussed on Montblanc pens. I have modern examples and vintage examples. Within this collection I also have a smaller focussed collection of Montblanc pens not produced in Germany. So far I only have 5 of these (3 made in Denmark and 2 made in Spain). They are not easy to find and when I do find them there are others who are looking for the same items. So competition and their rarity drives the prices up. Still if one is patient these pens do show up. As for filling systems I am partial to button fillers and push knob fillers. I only have one Montblanc push knob filler, but I am always looking for more. These are also not easy to find and tend to be expensive, so again I am willing to be patient.

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#4 The Blue Knight

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 17:35

I have no real order to my collecting pens. They simply have tick most of the following boxes and I will buy it.


1. Does the design interest me?

2. Is the pen affordable / do I feel I'm getting value for money?

3. Are the reviews good?

4. Does the pen offer something new to my collection?


My rate of pen purchasing has decreased a lot since I started pen collecting about a year ago. This is in part because point number 4 has become more important as I want to add variety to my collection.


I will try most brands but I don't really have a large brand loyalty. I have come to realize Lamy pens aren't suited to my hand so I probably will not invest in an other until I'm I finish my degree and I can justify £100 on a Lamy 2000 which a may not be 100% about. I do like Parker pens but I don't see myself buying anymore new ones until some new models come out or I can afford a Duofold  as except from the Sonnet and the Duofold I don't rate the design any others.


My next pen I am planing on buying is a Pilot Prera as it ticks all 4 boxes listed above. 

Edited by top pen, 18 April 2014 - 17:42.

#5 ANM


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 17:55

I have more vintage pens than newer.  I have 4 wood cases in which I keep them.  One has Esterbrooks, calligraphy/drawing pens/pencil supplies/ parts.  One has Sheaffer, Waterman, Eversharp, Conklin, MBs, and misc.  Another one had mostly Parkers.  The fourth has German and Japanese pens and repair parts for Parkers and Sheaffers. I keep them stored in the drawers, mostly arranged by age. I also have a closet with desk pens and a desk with unrepaired desk pens in one drawer.  I can not foresee my collections ever being complete. Even if I had every pen I ever wanted, I'd still get more for the pleasure of getting them in working condition again. I very seldom ever sell any of them.

Edited by ANM, 18 April 2014 - 17:56.

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#6 chadden42



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Posted 18 April 2014 - 18:08

Mine is all over. Budget constraints have me collecting Jinhao fountain pens and Retro 51 rollers. Never finished. I have some more expensive pens that I enjoy but I am purchasing no more .

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#7 Waski_the_Squirrel


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 18:12

I'm supposed to have a system?


I just buy pens I like, and I try to keep the collection small enough to manage, but large enough I can play with inks on the spur of the moment.


Most of my pens are Noodler's, but I have a few others: Pilot, Platinum, Pelikan, Jinhao, and Edison. When I get too many pens to use them, I give them away and refine the collection.

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#8 Paddler


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 18:12

I just have a small hoard of pens. I accumulated them from flea markets and antique junk shops, based on how interesting their designs are and whether they looked repairable. My curiosity satisfied, I am in the process of getting shut of the third tier pens. I will keep the first string, the heirlooms, and the gifts and wish the rest upon friends and neighbors.

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#9 rwilsonedn


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 19:09

Collection: Ooh, shiny!!!

Curation: Wait a minute, don't I already have a black Cross Century II somewhere?


#10 Inkysloth


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 20:17

My long term aim is to have a pen representing an example of each of Parker's clip designs.

Within that I'm building subsets of Parker 51s, Lady / Juniorette Lucky Curves - the older stuff, basically!

Edited by Inkysloth, 18 April 2014 - 20:18.

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#11 inkstainedruth


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 20:22

Collection: Ooh, shiny!!!

Curation: Wait a minute, don't I already have a black Cross Century II somewhere?



I sort of do the former; for the vintage and semi-vintage pens there are mostly Parkers and Esterbrook J-series pen, for modern, it's mostly "under $50 US" price range (7 Noodler's pens, for instance), with the exception of the Pelikan 400.  I try not to have identical-looking pens of the same color, just for the purposes of keeping them straight (that didn't happen with the three freebie black-trim Preppy eyedroppers, all set up as rollerballs and all with black inks in them, and trying to remember which ink is in which pen -- not to mention the inevitable "which one *IS* 'Thing 3' anyway" is making me nuts).  For instance, at the moment I have two Parker Vacumatics (Azure Blue Pearl Debutante and Silver Pearl Major -- I think); I'd like to get an Emerald Pearl one at some point, and have been lusting after Shadow Waves (but only like some of the colors, and can't really see myself getting more than one of those), but have absolutely no interest in a Golden Web (just don't like what they look like).

But I'm not doing the "gotta get every size and color of 51 Aerometrics" for instance.  I don't consider myself a "collector", more of what OcalaFLGuy termed (I think) an "accumuluser".

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

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#12 ReverendPen



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Posted 18 April 2014 - 21:51

My goal is to have one each of every fountain pen ever made. Until that happens my current collection has become the following. Primarily Vintage Parker, Sheaffer, and Waterman. By vintage I mean pre 1970. I also love the Current Waterman fps. Have not been happy with current Parker and sheaffers. Also have a handful of current pilots, aurora, lamy, and other misc ones.

#13 PJohnP


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 21:52

My pens are tools and are used accordingly.   Writing every day with a fountain pen constitutes it in its way as a tool just as practical as a plane or a saw.


A craftsman will care for a tool - clean it, sharpen it, lubricate it, and so on.  A well cared for tool such as either of the two Sheaffer MilClips in my pocket today can last seventy-plus years and still be used with great pleasure.  I'm not running a museum, so I don't "curate" my pens, although with some of the discussions here at FPN on provenance for pens or the rejection of "Frankenpens", one might occasionally think that we're all working in some obscure academic museum.  :rolleyes:


I do have a few "specialty items" that don't get as much use, but they're still inked regularly and used - as tools.


As for collecting, I was given some extremely good advice by a local pen store owner many years back.  He told me to pick a specific type of pen that I truly liked and enjoyed and then concentrate on that type.  A type, I'd note, nothing so expansive as an entire brand, and so I decided in that period that I was most pleased with the M200 through M400 series of Pelikans.  I "branched out" a bit to include a set of the 400NN series (green/grey/black/tortoise striped), and a Toledo; finally, I fell heels-over-head for the vintage Sheaffer Military Clips (MilClips) from World War II era, but only the 1000 and 500 series of these.  I haven't tried to find every variation of the these various pen types, simply picking up the ones I've most liked.  Others like Sargetalon, for example, have far more extensive collections of the M200/250 series of Pelikan than me, but, for my part, there are a number of those lines that aren't to my personal taste (although I frankly do sit in awe of Sargetalon's comprehensive collection of the M200/250 models). 


I'll admit to getting a "back-up" of the Sheaffer MilClip 500 in carmine, as these are so scarce that I'd be hard-pressed to find one easily should the one in my pocket be damaged/broken/lost.  It's incredibly doubtful that this style and colour will ever be "revived", so having one spare isn't such a tough decision.  However, I don't have the same degree of concern for the brown/black/green MilClips, which are more plentiful in the pen world.


As for "completing the collection", I do look at the new models from Pelikan, but I've not been so amazed by them to acquire very many.  I did perform a swap for the yellow highlighter/demonstrator M200 quite a bit back, soon after it was issued, but no new models since.  The announcement of the new "cognac" M200 demonstrator model looks so close to the older "brown" M200 demonstrator that I'll probably not purchase it.  OTOH, should an amazing deal on a lovely Pelikan arise unexpectedly, I might avail myself of the deal - that's exactly how I found a grey-striped 400NN arriving in the post months back, and then entering the rotation.   As another tool, not a curated collection item...


I suppose that if I saw one of the hell-schildpatt/light tortoise 400NN models float past at a great discount, I might well consider it.


Or not.




John P.

#14 sargetalon


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 22:38

My collection, as many know by now, is focused on the Pelikan brand.  While I have many pens of that brand, both modern and vintage, I have tried to adhere to a theme.  I love the M2XX and M4XX size pens and am fascinated by the variations released over the years.  It is my goal to own an example of each pen in the M100-M250 series.  Since this is about 73 pens, it seems an attainable goal and one that has been fun to work towards.  I'm about 68% of the way there.  It keeps me focused whereas before, I would buy anything that struck my fancy.  Being specialized has also allowed me to gain an indepth knowledge on the brand that has allowed me to help others.

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#15 ISW_Kaputnik



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Posted 18 April 2014 - 22:46

Although I never buy a pen without the intention of using it, I now have enough of them that it would take quite a while to rotate through them "honestly", that is, only emptying a pen by writing with it.  Since I do have a few favorites, including some that are almost always kept inked, that means that the rest have to be considered a collection.  They get filled up and used when I first buy them, but after that, they may be flushed out and sit in one of my pen cases for a long time before they are used again.


I have fountain pens now that allow me to write as well as my own skill permits, ones that are durable, have good ink capacity, and look good to me.  There is a good chance that I'll never buy another new pen.  On the other hand, vintage pens still appeal to me, partly for the designs, partly for the materials, partly for the intangible satisfaction of using an artifact that's older than I am (in a couple of cases older than my parents).  Focusing on a particular type is a good idea, but doesn't appeal to me.  I like having a bit of this and a bit of that.  Having my four BCHR Conklin Crescents, and my, er, large number of the Esterbrook J series, I'm not interested in more of the same.  If there is a theme, it's probably vintage celluloid and vintage BCHR, but there are also ones that don't fit into that category, like my Parker 51s, or Sheaffer Admiral.


Isaac Asimov wrote a mystery story called, I believe, "The Acquisitive Chuckle".  One of central characters was an "acquisitor", someone who would collect a certain thing for a while, then put it aside and take up something else.  The point of the story was that he thought someone had stolen something from him, but he couldn't say what, as he didn't know everything that he had.  He hired a detective to find out what had been stolen, but...well, look up the story if you're interested.  That probably would not happen with me, as I do keep a list.  Still, I think I have a bit of the acquisitor in me.

Edited by ISW_Kaputnik, 19 April 2014 - 00:08.

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do." - Benjamin Franklin

#16 The Blue Knight

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 22:49

My goal is to have one each of every fountain pen ever made. 


Good luck with that!

#17 FloatingFountain


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 22:55

I have no system. If I like a pen for one or more reasons, and I think the price is justifiable, I get it, assuming the reviews are good. I am not a collector, so you won't find any $1000+ limited editions here. The Parker Duofold, which I plan to get someday, will cost around $500, and it will probably be the most expensive pen I ever own, by a long margin.  There will possibly be a Sheaffer Valor or Legacy ($350 to $450), and a Waterman Carene ($275). All the rest will probably be very much cheaper.


Maybe I do have a system. Parker, Sheaffer and Waterman are THE three brands in the Netherlands. Everybody knows them, and many stores sell them. I set myself the goal to acquire one high end pen of each, and I like the Duofold Valor/Legacy and Carene the most. Anything else is optional.

#18 abritdownunder



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Posted 18 April 2014 - 23:11

I've been a bit of a magpie when it comes to collecting, if it caught my eye then I wanted it. I have a small collection, but growing, with pens in all price ranges, many makers, colours, nib types and so on. As I get to know my tastes in fountain pens more I find myself attracted more to certain types. I love Conway Stewart pens, I'm increasingly attracted to demonstrators, and I'm becoming a fan of stub/italic nibs.



#19 pen2paper


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Posted 18 April 2014 - 23:12

When my circumstances once allowed, I enjoyed gathering and, (still), sharing the whole story of interesting old, useful objects.

In limited scope I have vintage ringtops. This includes a small variety of materials, nibs, one in its original box with paper, a set in it's original box, another with its original ribbon lanyard.


Otherwise I have a small variety of user pens, Lamy, Pilot, Platinum. Sheaffer, Parker, Esterbrook.


In my other collector focus, my approach is similar to those that search to document pen history in great detail. Though that collection is also complete, I still enjoy finding interesting pieces. One recently was an 1848 handwritten letter to the manufacturer/patent holder, wherein the transaction objects ordered were named, and the letter, with envelope was sent to the original site of manufacture. Sadly, I "found" the letter in an auction and was unable to register a bid, so it's now in another collection. But, it was exciting just "seeing" an existing direct connection to the past. Advertisements, salesman's samples, trade journals, old photos showing actual use. Every piece adds an interesting bit to make old history come alive.

emoticon-animal-007.gif~Hi! fountain pen enthusiast here~

#20 Llewellyn



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Posted 18 April 2014 - 23:41

The first fountain pen I got about 18 months ago was a Visconti. And so was the second one. Then I accepted that I was going to be buying more FP's so I decided to focus on Visconti so that I could keep things under some sort of control, but also because I like their pens and designs.


As I've learned more about them and bought more pens I've become a bit more specific and choosy about which ones I buy. Any addition has to either be different to what I already have, or has to add something that isn't already covered. My "collection" has several examples of the old and new Van Gogh's , a couple of Voyagers (I'm planning on getting some more of each) and the rest are single examples that I just like. I buy all of them to use.


I have storage for 25 pens and that is my self imposed limit. Oh, I also have a solitary Montblanc that I don't really enjoy using but I inherited it from my father so it has sentimental value.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: collection, curation

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