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2016 La Pen Show Report


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#1 AltecGreen

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 21:50

LA Pen Show Wednesday


The 2016 LA Pen Show will certainly go down as one of the more memorable shows in recent history.  The reason will become clear when I get to Thursday morning.  The show started well enough for me although I seem to be busier and busier with pen stuff ahead of LA with each passing year.  This year I was hauling inventory for Straits Pens from Singapore that they left with us after the SF show as well as stuff for the PCA and Farmboy.  He occupied the front seat.

The last few years I have made it a habit to go down to the show early on Wednesday.  The reason I go down so early is that a lot of deals are made before the show even begins.  I had already made arrangements to buy a collection of pens at LA in December.  Farm boy’s phone kept going off all morning as we were driving down.  He was making deals with his partners and the Syndicate.   It was all going well until we were about the exit the grapevine.  A big rig had flipped over and blocked off the two right hand lanes in the middle of the night and it was still on its side ten hours later.  Our luck ran out when Cal Trans decided to close all lanes to turn the truck over.  It did not work.  We spent an hour parked walking around while I was trying to prevent Farmboy from stealing road signs.

Fortunately, after a little detour to Pasadena, we arrived at the hotel.  The weather was fantastic.  Here was the view from my room.


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While I was standing in line to register at the hotel, dealers were already approaching me to look at pens.  This was 2:30 pm on Wednesday.  This is why I come on Wednesday.  After hauling all of the stuff I was carrying in my car and retrieving all of the stuff that was sent directly to me at the hotel, it was time to buy pens.


I went downstairs and found Laurence Prenton and Ray looking at pens.  I sat down and Laurence handed me a pile of pens and a price list and I proceeded to shop.  Soon after, Luis Leite stopped by and joined the action.  I ended up buying seven pens and a box of nibs.


Pen Dealing
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The first five pens I bought at the show
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It was a good start to the show.  I ended up eating dinner alone because everyone was scattered.  But we all returned to hangout in the lobby in the evening.  One thing I did notice was that around 11 pm, the normal outside tables had not yet been set up.  This was strange.  I went upstairs for the evening and checked the show schedule.  It was an interesting read and had a bad feeling, but I one to bed because it was too late to worry about it.


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2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


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#2 AltecGreen

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 23:11

LA Pen Show Thursday


I got up early to go workout.  It was around 6:20 am and as I got on the elevator, I saw a couple of dealers hauling all of their stuff down to the ballroom.  This was way too early so I followed them to the ballroom.  My suspicions from Wednesday night were confirmed.  The show did not have the front half of the main ballroom.  It was being used by Accenture.  In fact, the hotel had only set up the back half of the ballroom and no outside tables.  This was not going to be pretty.  When I got into the ballroom there were at least five dealers who figured this out the night before and came down early to camp out and reserve their spots.  Oh well.  I went to work out and waited to see how things unfolded.



When I returned to the ballroom with my coffee, there were a a number of people in the room doing the normal early Thursday morning buying and selling.  because we only had half the room, everything felt busier than it otherwise would be at 8 am.  The situation was difficult for the dealers and it got worse later.  For the buyers like myself, there was not as much of an impact.  Marc Shiman arrived and we went off to do business.  Farm boy and the Syndicate were buying all the 51s and trying to move a bunch of pens.  The activity was normal but there certainly was palpable tension in the room.


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You can compare these pictures with the ones from my 2015 report to see how different the early morning set-up was different this year.





Still, pen activity pushed on.  Despite the issues, it was still a good time to look for vintage pens.  Modern pens, not so much.  Those come later in the show.

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I love these kind of pen piles.  It’s like treasure hunting.
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I always hit up Sarj’s table Thursday morning.  


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Sarj had this killer Swan pen in an amazing celluloid.  I did not buy this but another Pen Posse member did.  Good choice.
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Edited by AltecGreen, 15 February 2016 - 23:24.

2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#3 AltecGreen

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 23:11

More Thursday morning pens.


Five Star pens
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Some very nice vintage pens.
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By 9-9:30 am, the one small room was getting a bit crowded.  Fortunately, the hotel started to set-up some of the exterior tables.  This really helped later in the day.  A lot of dealers had no idea of the format change.  All morning people were getting angry as they arrived to find out they did not have tables.  Almost everyone was using truncated set-ups as people shared tables.

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Enough negativity.  Back endless pens.
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Laurence Prenton is an antiques dealer living in Japan.  He’s one of my main sources for vintage Japanese pens.  Here are some of the pens that did not get sold on Wednesday.

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He did have a few non-Japanese pens including this wonderful vintage Montblanc.

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Here is the same pen next to a normal sized Sailor Hieroglyphics pen from the 1970’s
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Arts pens are one of the few modern makers who set-up Thursday.  Maxim showed me the new pens for this year as well as some new larger #8 sized nibs on the larger pens.

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Here are some pens done with Sailor pens.
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Stunning
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By mid-morning, the hallway was useable and this helped.  
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The Syndicate in action
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Shark Feeding time was moved to later in the day.
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Earlier in the year, I acquired a vintage Radius pen for Brian with a nice flex nib.  The pen was missing a blind cap.  I told him to bring it to LA.
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Al was getting a laugh
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In the end, Brian was able to find a blind cap that fit.  This is what you have to do when you want parts for vintage pens.  You have to try and find the one that fits.




I often talk about the pen stuff that goes on away from the ballroom.  There lots of deals made at big shows in hotel rooms.  I was invited up to look at something.  This was someone’s room upstairs.

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I ended up with a piece of Japanese antique (not pen related).  The next person up in that room was the dark lord.  



Speaking of the dark lord, here he is.
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On my way to lunch I ran into Michael Sull in the bar.  Here he is trying one of my Stylo Art pens with a Pilot WA nib.

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Edited by AltecGreen, 16 February 2016 - 16:20.

2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#4 AltecGreen

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 23:11

While we were chatting with Michael Sull, Stylo Art and Eboya arrived at the hotel.  Motoshi handed me one of the Stylo Art modified Pilot Vanishing Points we were all gushing about on Facebook.

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After lunch, I decided to focus on modern pens for a while.  

I went over to the Anderson’s who only had pens out due to the problems with the ballroom.


A tray of Visconti Van Gogh 120th Anniversary pens
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Here is a tray of Lamy 2000s.  (Just so I don’t get accused on not giving them any attention)
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Here are some Sailor’s.  The Andersons went to Sailor US on Wednesday which is in Orange County  (So jealous)
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Giovanni Abrate brought a bunch of new brands to the show.


Here are some modern Neptune pens made by Aurora.
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A rare Columbus LE pen   (I’m a big Columbus collector albeit vintage)
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Giovanni also brought a new brand Magna Carta which is made in India.  These look totally different than the typical Indian pen.  They were well made with Bock nibs and some nice finishes.  They look a lot more expensive than the actual price.  ($150-$320)
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Giovanni also brought the last of the Filcaos.  It is an end of an era.
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Nibs.com showed up after lunch and I filled them in on the show situation.  They scrambled and managed to get some tables at the back.  I go to meet, Gena, John Mottishaw’s apprentice.

The Nakayas had to stay in the cases.

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The Eboyas too
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Pen case view of Nakayas  (I was bored)
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Dayne always has some interesting vintage pens  (We share very similar tastes in pens)


Pullman Meteore (one of the first retractable nib pens (early 1930’s)
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Dayne acquired a collection of Conway Stewart pens earlier this year.  He brought the pens along which came in an original Le Tigre case (Le Tigre was the export name for Conway Stewart pens in the Benelux countries)  

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Edited by AltecGreen, 15 February 2016 - 23:18.

2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#5 AltecGreen

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 23:12

Paul Rossi polishing a pen
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Ray and Jas
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24418625124_014ae2cba0_b.jpgIMG_2828 by Ricky Chau, on Flickr



Some Pelikans because according to the analytics on the PCA FaceBook page, these are really really popular pens.
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John, Jon, and Mary    (because Peter and Paul were on a coffee break)

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Late afternoon on Thursday
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The show was very tense.  And I spent money like a drunken Sailor.  Fortunately, Brian and Christina invited me out for dinner away from the show.  Brian made reservations at Osteria Monza in Hollywood and it was good to get away from the show.  Oh BTW, the food was very good.

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fresh burata from Puglia
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Octopus and Crispy pig’s trotters
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Chilled Squid ink pasta with dungeness crab, sea urchin and a lemon dressing
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Taglitelle with Ragu and Penne with Ox Tail Ragu
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Whole Roasted Orata, Crispy Duck Leg, Shell beans and cipollini onions
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Dessert
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Edited by AltecGreen, 15 February 2016 - 23:47.

2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#6 AltecGreen

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:29

LA Pen Show 2016 Friday


Thursdays LA is kinda of a soft start day where many dealers do not even set-up.  However, Friday is traditionally a heavy business day especially for vintage.  The Accenture people were still using the front half of the ballroom and would not be done until the afternoon.  This meant that there were not enough tables for everyone.  Many dealers one to the room and set-up as early as 4:30 am.  As always in such situations, some made the best of the situation while others showed their ugly side.  Many dealers shared their tables with other dealers until the afternoon.  For example, John Mottishaw normally has three tables but he let Ryan Krusac use one of the tables since Ryan arrived on Friday to find he had no table.  This meant that John did work on nibs for that period of time because the table he gave up was the one he normally uses for pen work.



Mikey with Jim Rouse
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Franklin-Christoph tester tray
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The very popular FC “Coke Bottle” pens.  I told Scott he needed the Pepsi bottle pens next.
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An Tran
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Brian Anderson setting up
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Paper finally (I had to hunt down some paper for Michael Sull on Thursday since no one put out paper)
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More Lamy pens to appease the rabid Lamy fans
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Tim’s pen stand in the foreground.  
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Tim
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Vanness Pens came to the LA show for the first time.  They brought a mountain of ink.
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Edited by AltecGreen, 16 February 2016 - 16:24.

2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#7 AltecGreen

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:32

More Pelikan Pens because the analytics say they are popular
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Syd did not come to LA this year because he was in Md for the grandson’s bar mitzvah.  Whale Eversharp was represented by Syd’s partner Manu.
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Prototypes for the upcoming Decoband Demonstrators
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John Mottishaw has to move his own furniture
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There was traffic in the rooms
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Joel Hamilton
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Nakaya time.  Nibs.com were able to set-up in their traditional spot.
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2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#8 AltecGreen

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:32

Pen Padawan.    This is Gena, John’s apprentice, who was attending her first LA show.  She did really well.
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Style Art and Eboya have become fixtures at the LA show.  They are great people and make beautiful pens.

Here is a tray with rankaku pens.  New for this year are rings made from leather that have been covered with urushi with both rankaku and raden work.
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Urushi pens
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More Stylo Art pens
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The custom Stylo Art Vanishing Point pens (aka Capless)
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Edited by AltecGreen, 16 February 2016 - 01:33.

2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#9 AltecGreen

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:33

The Accenture folks left it late and did not leave till around 1 pm.  The hotel staff did their best to turn the room and the outside space around for the pen show.  You could cut the tension with a knife as dealers were anxiously waiting for the space to open.  I was eating lunch at the time but captured the moment when the doors opened and the great migration took place.  Within a span of 45 minutes the whole show unwound itself to take its more natural form.

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The opening of the walls
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Edited by AltecGreen, 16 February 2016 - 01:37.

2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#10 AltecGreen

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:38

John was back to working
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Michael Sull was doing what he does best (once he had a table)
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Franz was chill the entire time
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Things were much more relaxed once the ballroom was opened up.  I was talking to someone and they said they had a hard time selling earlier.  Once the wall came down, they did 4 figures in the remaining three hours on Friday.  

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Nothing helps people unwind than some wine.  Luis Leite is very gracious and brings wine and cheese from Portugal each year for us to enjoy at the show.  
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Pen demonic setting up  (You’ll have to go to Facebook to understand this one)
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Sam and Frank were finally able to set up
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Edited by AltecGreen, 16 February 2016 - 01:45.

2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#11 AltecGreen

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:38

New to the show was Von Moos.   I do not know much about them and did not get a chance to talk to them.  Nice workmanship though.

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Staedtler Mars were once again at LA.  They are growing their presence in the pen world.

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The latest Ryan Krusac design
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Greg Minuskin specialty nibs
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Some of the most intriguing pens were the new offerings from Cross.

The person holding this one took it home.
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A John Twiss pen done in casein.  This one came home with me.
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Pen Citrus
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Urushi pen holders from Stylo Art
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Edited by AltecGreen, 16 February 2016 - 01:44.

2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#12 AltecGreen

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:38

Waiting for pen repair
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Greenie made this cut-away
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Some notebooks that Mrs. Kazuno from Stylo Art gave me for the Pen Posse to try out.
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Menlo Pump pens from Edison
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Friday Night was the annual Nor-Cal/So-Cal Pen Posse dinner.  This event keeps growing.  It was a blast.  I thank Joi Edwards for organizing again and the staff at the Tin Roof Bistro for being so accommodating.
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It’s all about the Brussel Sprouts
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When I returned t the hotel, there was some lounge singer in the lobby.  Note to hotel.  How about not doing this ever again?  I had to go upstairs to my room and put headphones on and play death metal.  
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The usual crowd was out back by the pool.
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Some of us hung out as far from the singer as possible,  The music made us do strange things.

Farm boy, “You need to buy this blue pen (to Franz)”
Ricky,” That’s a blue pen if you are color blind”
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Then there is this.  A Hemingway?
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To answer the people on my Instagram feed.  That’s the cap from Franz’s prototype Classic Pens Pen and the barrel from the 58.


2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#13 ArchiMark

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 02:29

Wow!

 

Almost like being there.....

 

Feel exhausted after reading through the entire thread.....

 

but it's great and thank you so much for sharing the whole show with everyone....

 

:thumbup:


Digerati & FP Addict

Current Pens: Aurora, Cross, Delta, Laban, Onoto, Parker, Pineider, Scriptorium, Sheaffer, Visconti, Wahl-Eversharp, Waterman


#14 Susan3141

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 02:48

Thank you so much! This really gives those of us who couldn't be there a sense of what it was like.

Susan

I can't stop buying pens and it scares me.


#15 da vinci

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 03:06

The usual exceptionally high quality show report, thank you :)

#16 markiv

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 03:11

Awesome coverage. Thank you.


Posted Image

#17 dms525

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 03:18

Thanks for posting your great photos, with annotations!

 

David



#18 AltecGreen

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 03:46

LA Pen Show 2016 Saturday



Everything was back to normal except the temperature dropped like 15 degrees.  I went down Saturday morning and saw the normal activity.  Saturday was a big day since with the weekend, the show changes a bit.  There were also planned evening activities for Saturday night.  Unfortunately, I missed all of them due to a prior commitment in the evening.


Foggy morning
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It all felt normal.


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The obligatory Pelikan pictures
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Rosa the Pelican big is really big according to my market research
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Speaking of German pens, Diplomat pens were represented at the LA Show.  They are an old German brand but have not really made that breakthrough in the US market.  

I like the colors.  Not easy for the Germans to pull off.
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2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#19 AltecGreen

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 03:47

The Pen Collectors of America had a presence at the show.  Ron Zorn, the current president flew out to represent the PCA.  The PCA held a reception Saturday night.  (For disclosure, I’m on the board of directors of the PCA).
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Speaking of pen repair…….
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Eboya not only makes great pens and the actual ebonite rods (as Nikko Ebonite) but they make one of my favorite guitar picks
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Kenro, Vanness pens, and Brad Dowdy (aka the Pen Addict) organized a get together in the evening.  Kenro was giving out copper ‘Mule’ mugs to the lucky few as part of a promotion of the line of pens by Montegrappa.  There is a lot of copper and seriously cool.

The still
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The Pirate Pen (I think is part of the Stallone series)
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The Mule Pen.  
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When these go on sale, the mug will be included with the one and probably the recipe for the drink.
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Speaking of metal.  This is seriously cool and heavy.
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We can finish the metal theme with Karas Customs.  Pretty cool guys.
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2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#20 AltecGreen

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 03:47

Then there are knives.  

Takeda knives from Japan brought by Stylo Art.
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William Henry at the Penchetta table
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At the SF Show in 2015, we unveiled the ink testing stations.  It was such a hit that people started asking us stations.  AT LA, I delivered to Lisa Vanness, the first Mark II ink testing station.  I traded the ink station for ink.  :)

Of course, the station is useless unless inked.  So Saturday, Lisa got Franz and Richard to ink the unit up.   Franz is a veteran having been there for the assembly and filling of the 500 inks for SF.  Richard is a bit new at this.
 
This always happens.
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Just don’t spill the ink…..
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You sunk my battleship!
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Here it is.
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One of favorite things is the chocolate and pen pairings that Ryan Krusac and his chef friend Brandon do at shows.  Nothing like a tasty snack while pen shopping.
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Speaking of Ryan Krusac pens, Ryan had a new prototype model.  (the slender one on the right).  I like the new form factor.
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Time for the obligatory Pelican break.  Everyone on Facebook like this picture.  We just need sound effects.
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2019 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 23-25th, 2019
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065







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