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First Pen Show - Tips / Advice?

pen show tips sf

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11 replies to this topic

#1 schen

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 17:48

Hi everyone,

 

I plan on going to my first pen show sometime soon. There's one coming up in San Francisco that's relatively close to where I live. What should I expect at the pen show and how should I prepare? What kind of pens show up there? Is there any sort of etiquette I should follow?

 

I am a beginning collector that has recently ventured into the Lamy 2000, Pilot VP/Decimo, Platinum #3776, Pelikan M200 range of pens. I have never spent more than $150 on a pen and have no experience with vintage pens.

 

I would appreciate any tips or suggestions. Thanks!



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#2 Namru

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 19:04

Take a walk around first and take a mental note of things you're interested in. Don't go and blow all your money at the first table then only to get to the next and find the same thing in better condition at a cheaper price.

Barter, but don't badger. Bartering is one of the fun parts of the experience.

80 to 90% of the pens there are vintage.

Be nice, and listen.

Take an empty pen case, or wear a shirt with a pocket.

Have fun.

Edited by Namru, 29 July 2014 - 19:08.


#3 sargetalon

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 19:19

Defintely look at the whole show before buying.  Set a budget and don't go over it.  Always try to negotiate a price and be respectful.  I always ask if I can handle a pen rather than assuming.  Don't try to uncap a pen that you don't know.  I've seen people rip threaded caps off of very expensive pens.  Have a sense of what you might want to buy before you go because it can be overwhelming otherwise.  Saturday's and Sunday's have many more vendors set up than Friday's but Friday's are much more casual for those who are there.  Sign up for nibmeisters early or else it will be a long wait.  Most of all, enjoy.


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#4 penmanila

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 21:39

Bring lots of cash, or at least enough to cover your anticipated purchases. Many sellers still don't take cards.

Book yourself in the same hotel so you can maximize your time at the show. Don't fail to attend the evening auction, even if all you do is look and listen. Socialize with the gurus of pendom--they're all there.

Maybe not for the OP but the vintage folk: Don't forget to look out for spare parts. There's tons of parts at these shows you won't find anywhere else.

Have fun!

Edited by penmanila, 29 July 2014 - 21:48.

Check out my blog and my pens


#5 JotterAddict62

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 00:28

I went to my first pen show in Chicago this year and I did the following.

 

1] Make a short list of pens, pen parts that you are looking for.

2] Take your time and talk to the dealers and pick up business cards. [ I forgot to to this. ]

3] Enjoy the day.



#6 FayeV

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 00:48

My facetious response... Leave the spouse/significant other at home. ;)

I shop more freely when mine isn't in tow while I'm browsing.

Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized. -- Albert Einstein


#7 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 02:47

Go to Richardspens.com.

 

Search on pen shows.

 

There you go. There are 3 entries on that page with your name all over them.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl



#8 kernando

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 07:14

I'm not old enough that I should remember the old days when those pens didn't cost $150, except for the Capless Decimo, which was not. Which Platinum? Most nice Platinum pens are 3776.

 

Expect fountain pens, definitely fountain ones. But there will be ballpoints and rollerballs too. Parker 5ths will be laughed at. Pencils are cool. It takes bigger dealers to bring new stuff, though collectors can have anything from recent back to antique.

 

Expect kilts, and probably grape juice and pickled vegetables in stemmed glasses.


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#9 82Greg

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 20:32

Three items:

 

a) A good breakfast,

 

B) Wear sneakers,

 

c) Drink plenty of water and take breaks.



#10 MusterMark

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 23:52

Get there early if you have a particular pen in mind. Also, another vote for Richard Binder's website. 



#11 schen

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 15:12

Thanks everyone for the responses. They have been really helpful thus far. What about handling pens that I want to try out? Should I ask how to take the cap off? Some threads seem so delicate...

 

Someone also told me I should never cap someone else's pen because it might scratch the barrel. Is that true?

 

I feel like there's so much pressure handling an expensive, vintage pen!



#12 superglueshoe

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 16:12

Thanks everyone for the responses. They have been really helpful thus far. What about handling pens that I want to try out? Should I ask how to take the cap off? Some threads seem so delicate...
 
Someone also told me I should never cap someone else's pen because it might scratch the barrel. Is that true?
 
I feel like there's so much pressure handling an expensive, vintage pen!

Probably a good idea to ask first to see if they mind you posting the pen or handling it.
Whenver someone posts my pens, I resist the urge to punch them.





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