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Pens That You Think Are Priced Wrongly

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82 replies to this topic

#41 jmccarty3

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 01:34

This is a great question, and I believe Cobalt's answer distills the three pricing tiers down to practical current-day market realities. Additionally, Dr. Jonathon Deans of the Pen Economics website today published a fascinating summary of price theory.

 

 

+10. Everyone should read this blog post, which has nothing directly to do with fountain pens, but everything to do with the way our perceptions of economic theory inform our political alliances. Don't miss this.


Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.


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#42 crescent2

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 01:53

^ Yes.



#43 TSherbs

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 14:41

 

 

+10. Everyone should read this blog post, which has nothing directly to do with fountain pens, but everything to do with the way our perceptions of economic theory inform our political alliances. Don't miss this.

Politics? And nothing to do directly with fountain pens?

 

No thanks.



#44 cobalt

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 15:07

Ah, bobjpage's blog suggestion is a good one. It made me think about black markets and why they exist. So is there a black market in pens? Of course. People do deals, pens fall off the back of delivery vehicles, people buy pens from overseas from dealers who label them as commercial samples or gifts, counterfeits are offered on ebay. Black markets exist when people's needs can't be met through conventional routes. If you're hungry enough, you'll pay, or go without. As for the politics, I just remind myself that pens go hand in hand (no pun) with handwriting and literacy and literacy is a powerful force against autocratic regimes that fear widespread literacy. (watch Deutschland 83 -- what is in the trunk of the car and why are some people so afraid?)

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#45 inkandseeds

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 16:55

Of course, a lot of pens are overpriced, but that can be said about all kinds of products in our economy.  Despite the mythology of much economic theory, consumers are not fully rational.  Just look at the commercials that will be airing during today's Super Bowl.  Most of them appeal to your emotions, not your rationality.  (I will not be watching.)

 

If I was fully rational, I would have no more than four or five pens for different inks, probably all Esties with different nibs,  and have spent no more than $100 for all of them.  That is all I use during any period of time.  Instead, I have more pens than I need or can use within a lifetime.  We buy not just for functionality but we also buy for pleasure, emotion, prestige, etc.  Why did I just buy a copper Karas Kustoms Ink fountain pen?  I don't need it, but I want it. I think it looks cool, like the idea of a heavy metal pen and like the idea that it is made somewhat locally (160 miles away).  I keep telling myself to stop buying pens, but . . .



#46 dogpoet

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 17:10

Despite the mythology of much economic theory, consumers are not fully rational.

Neither are producers, and that's a myth that gets taken a lot more seriously, for reasons that have always baffled me.



#47 jmccarty3

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 17:27

Politics? And nothing to do directly with fountain pens?

 

No thanks.

 

 

I should have been more clear. The post is primarily about economic theory--how it derives from philosophy, and (only incidentally) how it may affect one's political viewpoint. It is not about politics per se, nor does it advocate a particular political viewpoint.


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#48 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 08 February 2016 - 00:42

 

 

I should have been more clear. The post is primarily about economic theory--how it derives from philosophy, and (only incidentally) how it may affect one's political viewpoint. It is not about politics per se, nor does it advocate a particular political viewpoint.

Well put. Would you say less than a single paragraph about politcs/political viewpoints? That was my impression.


Brad
 
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#49 J85909266

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Posted 08 February 2016 - 03:14

While supply and demand will always be the final answer, I do believe there is something to be said for what is an appropriate price to quality/materials/features ratio.

 

There are certain things and a certain level of quality that I expect to find in a pen around a certain price. Say, around the $125 to $150 range. The pen must be made of nice materials that don't feel or look cheap. It must have a gold nib or have some other feature that makes up for it, such as being custom made like an Edison or retractable like the Pilot VP. 

 

Moving up from there, the pen must offer rare and expensive materials, rare or unique features, and a certain level of finish. I expect these pens to have something special, such as a large, garish nib, like the MB 149, an exquisite level of finish and attention to detail, like an ST Dupont, or amazing features, like the Conid Bulkfiller. 

 

Value varies from person to person, so the question isn't really about pricing in general, but what you value as a customer. It is certainly a topic worthy of discussion.


Edited by J85909266, 08 February 2016 - 03:17.

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#50 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 08 February 2016 - 22:01

Perception; yours, others of your status level that you wish to fit in with....There are more than enough folks that go :yikes:  at a $20 fountain pen, would do the same for a $20 ball point. :unsure: 

 

To think, 5-7 years ago every 'noobie' was told to get an Esterbrook.

 

Esterbrooks being addictive, jumped the $15 pen to way over $30 or more. Suddenly the 'noobie' was not told to get one. Same good pen, but great and inexpensive was no longer there, though actually $30 for one is cheap considering what you get.

 

There are still many decent cheap pens, but that don't pat your back. There is depending on the wages, various levels one travels through...Is a 'name' $100 pen actually better than a great $50 dollar Duke Chinese pen? Actually the Duke pen could be as good as a Graf Castell one, that costs much more than the $100. To me they are just nails, no matter what they cost. My perception is different than many folks.

Both the Duke and the Graf von Castell are heavy nails. Both are well made. The Graf pens offer a bit more western style, as they were designed to do. Graf gets talked about here a lot, Duke seldom.

 

If you are after the better writing nib....great vintage pens can be had. If you want a bling nib, modern has more bling.

Hey, I remember my first two tone bling nib. :rolleyes: It certainly looked more classy than the old plain gold nibs of yesteryear.  It is noticeable across a table. Bling. :thumbup:

 

I have a MB Woolf...it's blingy enough. The nib though is monotone gold, the engraving though is my eye only, not across the table. Fine by me...I really like those trees on the nib. :puddle:

Luckily it was on sale for 1/3 off and my wife was buying it for me for my birthday. (Why I couldn't afford another pen or even ink for a year had to do with the old our money situation.) Is a MB Virginia Woolf even on such a sale worth that sort of money? No. Is is worth buying for that sort of money. Yes. In beauty has it's own price.

 


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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

 

 

 


#51 ac12

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Posted 08 February 2016 - 23:27

I want a NEW BMW 540 with full factory warranty. And if it is over $10,000 USD, it is overpriced.

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#52 IrishEyes

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 09:43

These pens are worth what someone is willing to pay. How much should a pen cost? Are you paying for just the raw materials? Are you paying for the machinery to create the pen? Are you paying for the design of the pen? Are you paying for the people (whether skilled machinists or assembly line workers) who made the pen? Are you paying for the brand name? Are you paying for the delivery to the retailer? The retailers costs (building, staff,...)?
In my opinion several pens are overpriced, some are cheap for what you get. Some are packaged essentially as a piece of art, and priced as such, not as a pen.
Recently there was some discussion about a pen with a mechanism to extend the nib. The price was $105,000.


I have to agree with my husband on this one. But in the end, just about anything for sale is worth whatever you're willing to pay for it :-).

"In the end, only kindness matters."

 

 


#53 sirgilbert357

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 16:46

I want a NEW BMW 540 with full factory warranty. And if it is over $10,000 USD, it is overpriced.

 

Sign me up for that $10,000 USD Porsche 911 GT3 too while we're at it! LOL...



#54 zwack

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 23:39

Sign me up for that $10,000 USD Porsche 911 GT3 too while we're at it! LOL...


Meh, I NEED the $10,000 1930s Auburn boattail speedster.

Hey, if we are going to make unrealistic requests... :)

#55 Drafty

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 00:07

Take some materials and a design and give it to a frenchman to make by hand in Paris

 

Give the same materials and design to a machine in China

 

What's the pen worth? - both the same intrinsically

 

All else being equal, cost of labour is the biggest variation. 

 

If that's irrelevant, then...meh!


"Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes."

                                   

 

 


#56 LionRoar

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 00:58

MB is a status symbol, Pelikan is moving that way.

 

MB is the only pen brand that the average person recognizes.

 

That's another reason why pens are overpriced, because you're not even getting the benefit of having the average person notice that you are using an expensive pen (unless you buy MB in which case you do get recognition for owning expensive stuff).


Edited by LionRoar, 25 February 2016 - 01:02.


#57 Tootles

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 01:11

 

MB is the only pen brand that the average person recognizes.

 

That's another reason why pens are overpriced, because you're not even getting the benefit of having the average person notice that you are using an expensive pen (unless you buy MB in which case you do get recognition for owning expensive stuff).

 

That maybe the case where you are, but if EoC asks his UK contemporaries to name a fountain pen brand the most likely answers are going to be Parker and Sheaffer. 



#58 ian1964

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 01:27

 

MB is the only pen brand that the average person recognizes.

 

That's another reason why pens are overpriced, because you're not even getting the benefit of having the average person notice that you are using an expensive pen (unless you buy MB in which case you do get recognition for owning expensive stuff).

 

Not were I work. The average person will say "Bic" or "Papermate" if they are trying to impress :)



#59 inkstainedruth

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 02:47

This is for ac12 and sirgilbert357 (slightly off topic, but still strangely apropos ;)):

BTW -- the artist's restored convertible is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#60 LionRoar

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 05:33

 

That maybe the case where you are, but if EoC asks his UK contemporaries to name a fountain pen brand the most likely answers are going to be Parker and Sheaffer. 

 

Parker makes those "Jotter" ballpoint pens that sell for $7, not a luxury brand like Montblanc. (Not that there's anything wrong with those $7 pens, they're a pretty classic design.)  







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