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2018 La Pen Show Report


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#1 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:25

Background
This year’s show was a interesting to say the least.  We knew going into the 2017 show that the show hotel had been sold to a new ownership group.  The new owners moved the property higher-up in Marriott’s line to the high end luxury Autograph level.  Thus the Marriott became the Westdrift and began a major renovation in 2017.  The renovations were slated to be complete by January 2018.    Part of the renovation included filling in the staircase on the lobby level and created a revamped lower ballroom that is bigger than the upstairs ballroom.  At the 2017 she, we all know about the upcoming renovations but did not know what was to happen and how the show was going to respond. By late 2017, I got word via Sunny Koh of Straits Pens that the show was moving to the downstairs ballroom.  This was a major change since the layout of the space is very different.  The change to the downstairs ballroom meant less overall space since there would have been no outside area.  Tables were quickly sold out and many people did not get tables.  

On Feb. 1st, I get a message from Sunny that something changed at the LA show website (he has monitoring software).  The show was now back in the old upstairs ballroom because the downstairs ballroom would not be completed by the time of the show.  I quickly verified this with someone who was in the know.  Great.  This was now really going t be interesting.  By Monday Feb. 12th, An Tran visited the hotel and put  pictures on Facebook.  It was not pretty.  I guess I was going to experience this first hand in a few days.
 

 

Wednesday

 

Unless works gets in the way, I usually arrive on Wednesday so I can do some big pen deals before the show starts.  This was the state of the hotel on Wednesday.


Hotel still in mid-paint job
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The main entrance was closed
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Just so don’t get confused
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Luxury cranes
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My room came with this lovely view
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I should be thankful.  Many attendees got rooms that had the plastic tarp over the windows.  Although this may have been a good thing (see Thursday coverage)




YMCA….YMCA….
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On Wednesday, there was only one functioning elevator.  It was fun.


When you get to the elevator, you see this sign.
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This is how you summon the elevator.  They cut a hole in the barricade so you can reach the button.
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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 19 February 2018 - 20:27

The rooms were finished on my floor.
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Red Rum
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The hotel only consists of a makeshift registration/lobby area and a short hallway to the one elevator.  The hotel had no other facilities open.  The bar and restaurant were outside….in a tent.
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It was not a great situation made worse by the poor attitude of the hotel management.  I do have sympathy for Chris because we had to endure the same thing last year in SF because our hotel was also  doing renovations.




Of course, I don’t let any of this stop me from buying pens.  Once I got settled in and took these pictures, I ran into the dealer I was looking for.  We always do business on Wednesday.  So we sat down by the tent and started pen dealing.

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My first purchase of the show.
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Later that night, we were dealing pens till midnight.  Letizia Jacopini came to the LA show this year and we concluded sone business
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There was not a lot of communications and no one had any idea of what was going to happen Thursday.  We did finally get confirmation that the show would not start until 1 pm because the fire Marshall had not signed off and was due to be at the hotel in the morning.  
 


Edited by AltecGreen, 20 February 2018 - 06:00.

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 19 February 2018 - 20:31

Thursday

There was a flurry of activity at the hotel on Thursday morning.  The crews began to take down the barricade and open up the other two elevators.
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We got our first glimpse of the lobby and main entrance
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They were also spraying paint at 8:00 am.  The tarp over the windows did not sound so bad after all.  
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Since the show was not opening till the afternoon, a bunch of us drove into the next county for lunch.  We drove to Garden Grove in the OC to eat at PHO 79 and their delicious ox-tail.   Errrr……what do you mean closed for the lunar new year.  Someone in the car was going to burn the place down.  I scrambled and found PHO 86 down the street.  (We do not know why they name these places with numbers).  This place did not have oxtail but instead giant bowls of tasty beef bones with tendon and meat and fat.  We had two whole orders.  One order is shown in the picture below.

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So we headed back to the hotel after stuffing ourselves.  We arrived back at 12:45 pm just in time for registration.  Yay!.

People waiting for registration to open
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So they open registration and I get my badge.  I was down the hallway thinking we could get into the ballroom.  The hotel staff tells us it would be at least two more hours before they are ready.  People were milling around the hallway until chased off by the hotel.

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Edited by AltecGreen, 20 February 2018 - 06:01.

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 19 February 2018 - 20:31

So everyone headed outside to wait and wait and wait…… (at least it was sunny)

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Since I was waiting, I might was well buy some pens.  So I found Letizia and she brought out some of her pens which I quickly ended up buying
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The dealers started to line-up and they waited in line for a very long time for the show to actually open.

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By 3:30 pm, they finally let everyone in.

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Our first look inside
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People started setting up but it was already 4 pm

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So the show finally started
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Musubi Diaries

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Swedish fish that you are not supposed to eat
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A bunch of Wyvern 101 leathers I would have bought had there not been so many vintage Japanese and Italian pens
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Thursday was pretty much a wasted day.  The dealers spent most of the day waiting.  The ballroom did stay open really late because people did not want to stop en stuff once they started.  This ate into dinner time and killed my original dinner plans.  So we re-adjusted our dinner plans which ended up affecting my lunch plans for Friday,  Despite the rough going, I spent money faster than any other show.  I ended up needing to go to the back late Thursday afternoon so I could pay Stylo Art for a pen I reserved.  The $10K I brought was already spent Wednesday and Thursday.


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 19 February 2018 - 20:34

Friday

 

 

I was dying by Friday from some allergic reaction.  A lot of people at the show complained about the same thing.  We wondered if it was the dust from the construction.  I woke to the gentle sound of rain.!?!  Ah….no.  They were spraying water outside my window.

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Watering the window sill???
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I get downstairs by 8 am and the show finally looked normal.  People were in the room setting up and dealing pens.
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A went to see Stan who was set-up.   He’s selling more pens from his collection and I was now out even more money.  Then An chases me down with a handful of Italians.  I’m almost out of cash.  



On Friday, I was able to gauge how much more the work the hotel needs.

Pouring concrete outside.  One day there will be a pool again.
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I walked around and looked at stuff while waiting for lunch trying very hard to avoid buying more till Saturday.



Tim setting up his usual area
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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


#6 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:36

I stopped by nibs.com to chat with Jonella and took random shots of Nakaya pens.
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I always did like this one.
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They were running a contest.  Win a small Field Notes notebook if you can guess the number of Swedish fish.  I almost ate some of the fish.  That would have been bad.
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Nakaya Baby shirt
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Mike Matsuyama gave nibs.com a prototype pen which is basically a 1911 with a custom overlay.  It was very nice.
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Someone looks guilty
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I went over to Syd’s table and sat down.  Manu’s wife gave him a bag of swarth. (Cuttings from a celluloid rod left over from pen making).  So I took this marketing shot.
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I stopped off at Letizia’s table to chat.  She was my kryptonite.  I’ve been dealing with her for almost nine years but this is the first time we met in person.  I gave her a lot of money this weekend.
She brought a lot of very nice and hard to find vintage Italian pens.

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She had this incredible overlay Zerollo (double nib pen)
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Like everyone else, she also had a bunch of modern Omas pens.  Modern Omas celluloid was on almost every table.
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Speaking of celluloid, Manu and ASC were here.  They had all of their new ASC celluloid pens as well as trays and trays of modern Omas pens of all types.  There certainly no shortage of Omas pens in the room.

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Manu also owns Conway Stewart
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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


#7 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:37

I always spend some time looking at the Artus Pens and talk to my friend Maxim.

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They always have beautifully painted pens. (Flowers and the Snake)
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I love the inlaid moon
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New Akebono pen.  This one is in red.  They have another in blue.
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Somewhat over the top
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Since I was outside, I stopped at Toys in the Attic.
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Ooo…Look…..more Omas
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With the demise of Delta, the YAFA table looked different than in years past.  This year Peneider took center spot with YAFA
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YAFA also had a lot more Marlen pens out
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Jim Rouse of F-C with his Coke in hand
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F-C tables
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F-C Color Prototypes
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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 19 February 2018 - 20:37

To complete the Grand Tour, stopped by Kenro to look at the Auroras and Montegrappas

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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


#9 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:37

It was time for lunch.  Since our plans for Thursday were dashed by the late opening of the show, we headed to Koreatown for lunch.  It was good to get away for several hours.   Can’t buys pens if you are miles away from the show.   The highlight for this trip was not the pens but Korean BBQ at Magal Korean BBQ in K-Town.  It is all about the magic tea.


Getting started
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Magic tea
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Beef sushi
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Oh So good.
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Starting the Volcano Fried Rice
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Getting there.
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The volcano is forming
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All gone
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We went back to the hotel and I fell asleep from the allergies and food coma.  I took a good nap and headed back down to the show.


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 19 February 2018 - 20:38

The Vanness team
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Mr. Vanness is looking good.
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Therapy session
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How many of these does Jon Corwin have?
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Last Customer of the day
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Friday night is our annual Pen Posse dinner over at the Tin Roof Bistro.   So we headed off to our annual get together between the Bay Area Pen Posse and our LA counterparts plus others.


After dinner it was back to the tent with Port that Yuan brought
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Traffic was really light on Friday.   I’d say 25-33% down from last year.  While I was buying a lot of stuff, the general feel in the room was very slow and disjointed.  Hard to say why.  The renovations certainly played a role as did some of the events from the last two years.  Another contributing factor was that a very large collection was being sold privately upstairs.  It was only down to the few who were invited to participate.  This was a very large dollar amount collection and most of the bigger vintage guys participated.  This sucked up all of the money for the show sine the proceeds went to the widow rather than another dealer who could pump the money back into the room.  I was still dying from the allergies.
 


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


#11 LanceSaintPaul

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:39

Thanks! I needed that.



#12 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:39

Saturday

 

 

Saturday was another slow day for the show.  Not me though.  I went downstairs and looked at the new pens Stan brought.  I bought two using up the last of the cash I had.  Then he pulls out the rarest of the rare,  I gave Daryl Lim the chance to buy it and save me but he passed.  Thus I was on my way to the bank.  To add insult to injury, the bank manager said “Hi Ricky, you’re back again.”.  I don’t even live in So Cal.  Ughhh.    I got the cash and bought the pen from Stan.  I took out a few extra hundreds just in case.  Then Darek finds me and then I’m out of cash again with one last pen.  In fact, I still owe him money.



Pen Case display at the Anderson’s
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Sailor pens seem to be popular agin with a lot of the new colors being very desirable
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Musubi is a venture run by Daryl Lim from Singapore.  He’s making incredible ultra high quality products using the most traditional Japanese crafts.  He was selling a line of diaries made from Tomoe River paper and Japanese hand crafted paper.  The books are bound using traditional Japanese sewing techniques and the fabric hand worked into nearly perfect books.  The cool thing is that all of the workers have some form of physical or mental handicap.  The profits are funneled back into the company to support these artisans.  

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Ink has become big business and pen companies are beginning to catch on.  The new Monteverde inks are an example.
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Michael Sull and Brian
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Michael Sull had these for sale.
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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


#13 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:40

Taccia had a bunch of new urushi pens on display.  I really like the new pens.

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These two are really cool
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David Broadwell’s custom pens are unique and elegant
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Hello Kitty Marshmallows at the Peyton Street Table
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Ranga pens and a selection of rolls tops
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Sunny Koh from Straits Pen doing some nib work
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There were people at the show but it never really got crowded.  It was light just like Friday.
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Daryl of Musubi photobombs me
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Ryan Krusac without the ponytail
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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


#14 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:41

We stayed locally for lunch.  There’s a new Shake Shack that opened across the street so we went there.
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After lunch, I fell asleep in the new comfy chair in my room.  The show was low energy and so was I.  Housekeeping woke me so I headed back downstairs.



Random Saturday shots.
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After dinner, I went to bed early to prepare for Sunday.  The show was very light again on Saturday but it did not stop me from being broke.
 


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


#15 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:42

Sunday

 

 

 

Sunday in LA is always a unique experience.  I was chatting t Greg Minuskin and I pointed out that no matter what happened on the earlier days, the general public will not care and generally have a god time.



Setting-up
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Mike was already grinding before 8am
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Urso Pens are fairly new.  They are Italian and was showing off a lot of higher end pens.  They pens do have very nice silver  and metal work.
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This pen was really nice
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Eagle cap
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You can apparently put a piece of the Torah in this pen
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Elephant pen
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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


#16 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:43

Sam and Frank
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Susan Wirth ink.  When Susan passed, Jon asked the community for a large Parker Quink bottle to hold Susan’s ashes.  Sam and Frank had two bottles so they emptied the ink into these wine bottle and sent the empty Quink bottle to Jon.  So here are the two wine bottles with the Quink.
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May the Force be With You
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In Spanish
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The Line
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Meanwhile back inside
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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


#17 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:44

Sunday Weirdness
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Back to the line
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Last minute look at pens

Ryan Krusac’s Scrimshaw work
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Paul Rossi Pens
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Sailor ink display
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Mr. Vanness
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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


#18 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 20:45

The Opening
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Sunday seemed very crowded and more lively than last year.
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There a line to get in well into the afternoon
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Lisa Vanness
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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 19 February 2018 - 20:46

Sunday Miscellany

Rui and her Hankos
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Wet Noodle
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Sarj and Jas
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Signal Lights.  You can spot these a mile away
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The youngest pen dealer
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Cool Tuffwriter pen
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It glows
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Shawn’s Family
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Closing Thoughts

It was an interesting show.  To me it felt weird the entire time. I had a hard time getting into the show.  Of course, I bought a lot of pens.  There was so much good vintage stuff to buy at this show.  But I could have just met the few dealers I dealt with at a Star Bucks and bought the same pens.  I think Farmboy nailed it when he called me while I was driving back.  It didn’t feel like a pen show.  However, it is all perspective.  The first time one show attendee was probably super excited no matter the state of the hotel.  The general public had a great time on Sunday.  Sunday did feel like a pen show and I did get that vibe.  I do find it odd that the highlights of the pen show for me were things not even pen show related like the two trips for lunch.  The magic tea at Magal was literally the highlight.  I did spend a large chunk of time away from the show unlike years past and I don’t regret it.  I talked to a lot of people at the show and many feel they have to come to LA for various reasons but dread doing so.  Farmboy and I said the same thing.  “We probably will be back next year”.   However, I will plan a lot more time away from the show since my pen buying is normally fast and furious.  There are other factors in play but it is best not to discuss this in a public forum.

I do feel the LA show is at a crossroads.  I know a few collectors who have been coming t LA for years that did not attend.  The word on the street is that they are disappointed in the show (see above) and decided not to attend.  Dealers like Bryant Greer did not attend this year also.  The attitude of the hotel is troubling.  The management seems almost dismissive of the pen show attendees.  I don’t think the LA show is a good fit for this hotel anymore because the hotel is moving much higher end and they may just not care to have the show anymore.  So we will see next year when the show will be using the downstairs ballroom.   That will be another adventure.  
 


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


#20 da vinci

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 21:25

Thank you very much for posting this nicely narrated, document by picture, report. It is incredibly informative and it is also great to see some of your own purchases! :)






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