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Do You Buy Pens At Auction?

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#1 CalebBond

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 14:50

A friend of mine who also likes fountain pens put me onto a local auction house, Scammells, some time ago. The auctions are 9am on a Monday, so were rather inconvenient because I had to go to school and my funds weren't abundant, but I graduated a bit over a month ago and I've been going each Monday. They usually have at least one pen a week and you can pick up some great bargains. I won a Parker Slimfold there about 3 weeks ago for $30 that I've been using as my daily writer since, very nice nib. My friend got himself a Montblanc of some description in new condition for $70.

 

I rather enjoy the thrill of the bidding. They have all manner of interesting things there for collector types.

 

Does anyone else prow the local auctions for pens? I usually take a bottle of ink and give them a small test to make sure the nib is up to scratch, pardon the pun.



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#2 gweimer1

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 16:12

Any place that you might find pens is a good place to frequent.  I've purchased a number of pens, including part of a full collection, at both live and online auctions.  Estate sales are also good.  Flea markets can be rewarding, but generally take time and patience.

 

I've ventured into a new area, art prints, and my first stab has been wildly lucrative.  It may be too good to be true, so I'm going to see how it goes over the next year.



#3 Chrissy

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 17:02

I have looked at auctions for pens, but they usually go too high here.

 

When I first read your post I totally misread the word 'Scammells'  :yikes: and had to read it again to make sure I got it right.


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#4 inkstainedruth

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 17:39

Back before I got into this hobby, I occasionally went to auctions.  Auctions can be dangerous if you're not paying attention -- the first one my husband and I went to we bought a bunch of things -- furniture, oddball stuff (a couple of plaster piers that we think came out of a church), a pachinko machine, a couple of stained glass window panels -- and a player piano which we never ended up getting because we couldn't arrange for transport (it was only $2 (!) US, so we didn't mind horribly; but no, I was NOT the person who bid on it...).  We got caught up in the swing of things and didn't realize until we went to pay -- and then it was like "Did we REALLY just blow nearly $800 this afternoon?"  :yikes:  But since then I got some good deals if I was careful, including a really nice dining room table with 6 chairs at an estate auction a couple of towns over for $200 (the chairs alone were probably worth $100-$200 apiece), and another table as part of a set: sideboard, china cabinet and silverware cabinet, along with a chair, for $75 (I had only been going for the sideboard...  :rolleyes:, but everything went as a set).  Ironically, I had gone to the auction because there was supposed to be a weaving loom, but the loom was a two-harness piece of junk....  I also got (for a whopping $2) a butt-ugly ceramic basket and a red Olsen horse (one of those carved Swedish tole-painted folk art horses); no-one was bidding on the basket so they threw in the horse, which is what I wanted.  There used to be a store in Pittsburgh called The Sweden Shop, and I went in there one time for curiosity -- the size horse I bought was selling at retail for about $40....  (I've since found a slightly larger blue one at an antiques shop for $2.50.)

The only auctions I've been to in the past four years have been at pen shows -- this year at DCSS and at Ohio Pen Show.  At DC I got a Vac Red Shadow Wave for a decent price -- it was the only pen I really wanted, although I did some desultory bidding on the Green Shadow Wave as well.  At the Saturday night auction at OPS, the things I wanted went up too high too fast for me to even get my hand up -- and then I figured that for one of them I would wait and pick up the similar pen with a better (i.e., more interesting) nib Sunday morning for about the same amount of money, once you factored in the buyers' premium.  I didn't stay for the entire auction because I was really tired and had to still drive back to my hotel, but I did hang around just long enough to sort of see what the the Fiesta Snorkel went for.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

ETA: I did go to an auction a couple of summers ago because there were some pens, but didn't stay -- the pens all looked like they were in really poor shape, and at least one of them was a desk pen (sans base), which I wasn't interested in -- desk pens don't appeal to me.


Edited by inkstainedruth, 18 December 2015 - 17:41.

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#5 JotterAddict62

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 03:42

Every year now in the area when an estate auction has the tell tale signs of a good pen day.

I do pay attention on what I will be bidding on. Sometimes the budget for the day goes right out the window.



#6 CalebBond

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 06:02

Back before I got into this hobby, I occasionally went to auctions.  Auctions can be dangerous if you're not paying attention -- the first one my husband and I went to we bought a bunch of things -- furniture, oddball stuff (a couple of plaster piers that we think came out of a church), a pachinko machine, a couple of stained glass window panels -- and a player piano which we never ended up getting because we couldn't arrange for transport (it was only $2 (!) US, so we didn't mind horribly; but no, I was NOT the person who bid on it...).  We got caught up in the swing of things and didn't realize until we went to pay -- and then it was like "Did we REALLY just blow nearly $800 this afternoon?"  :yikes:  

 

Ah yes, this can most certainly happen. A few weeks ago some malachite bangles got down to $10 so I figured what the hell, I'll bid and I got them. As a teenage boy I didn't really want much with women's bangles, but I managed to flip them on eBay for a few extra bucks. My friend was bidding on a set of historical number plates last Monday and dropped out at $2,000. Not cheap.



#7 dojocho

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 21:42

I won an auction two weeks ago but it turned out to a bummer: a Duofold advertised as a blue marble Centennial was in reality an International...I'm still in the proces of returning it and getting a refund.

 

regards,

Hugo


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#8 sidthecat

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 23:49

It's a sickness.



#9 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 00:25

Often I buy at live auctions, in all you have to beat are the dealers who want at least 1/3 profit. There are at the auction houses I go to outside of MB's the other pens are cheaper on the whole than Germany E-bay, and I get a chance to check out the nib.

 

I take only my 10X loupe and my thumbnail. I only chase semi-flex and better. I expect old pens....vintage to need a very small tad of smoothing, getting rid of 'iridium' micro-corrosion or 'rust'. I can proof what flex it has on my thumbnail.

 

Going for Pen of the Week at the Auction House, is as bad as being a member of The Pen of the Week in the Mail Club.

 

You end up with pens you don't need, in they are "cheap".

Well I chase the nib first; flex and width, not the make or model. There are some 45 nib widths and flexes counting every other one as a stub/CI.

I find through my reading it is too easy to get all 51 versions of the P-51 and 48 of them will be nail nibs.

I don't have fun with nails.

 

Get your self a nail EF, and B. Try to find semi-vintage '90'-70's 'true' regular flex in M&F, before chasing semi-flex....then maxi-semi-flex and finally superflex. Do work your way up the flex ladder. If you buy a superflex too soon, you could be disappointed or ruin the nib due to inexperience and thinking it should do Olympic Splits.

One does have to learn to draw the letters before buying Superflex.

 

'True' regular flex (sometimes described as springy) is found in semi or vintage pens, in most modern pens are semi-nail instead of real regular flex, in they don't break/bend as easy, so the company don't have to repair as many.

Many who are new to fountain pens are Ham Fisted....I was.


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www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.






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