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What Would You Elect To Have Engraved On Your (Or A) Pen?

engraving inscription personalisation tasteless vandalism spoiling resale

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36 replies to this topic

Poll: What would you choose to engrave on a pen? (30 member(s) have cast votes)

What would you get engraved on a pen, and why?

  1. Absolutely nothing! It's pointless / tasteless / uncouth. The very thought of it offends my sensibilities, irrespective of the price of the pen, and whether I intend for it to be resold one day. (7 votes [18.42%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 18.42%

  2. Nothing. I wouldn't want to jeopardise the resale value of the pen, regardless of whether I might enjoy the idea of having or using a visibly personalised pen while I own it. (5 votes [13.16%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 13.16%

  3. My name, of course, and nothing else. It's my pen, and I want everyone to know that at a glance. (5 votes [13.16%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 13.16%

  4. My initials only, without disclosing my name to every stranger nearby when I write with that pen. Maybe someday it will end up in the hands of another person who shares the same initials. (5 votes [13.16%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 13.16%

  5. Something to commemorate an achievement, event or occasion that is of personal significance. (4 votes [10.53%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 10.53%

  6. The name of my business, or an organisation to which I openly belong, or an event that I or it organised. Why let an opportunity for marketing or self-promotion slip? (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  7. The name of the recipient, because the pen will be a personalised gift to someone else, and not for my own use. (2 votes [5.26%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 5.26%

  8. Only something graphic such as a logo, seal, my autograph, or at least a monogram. No plain text for me, thanks. (1 votes [2.63%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 2.63%

  9. Nothing personally identifiable per se, but a motto to live by, or a proverb that bears remembering, a quote I find inspiring, et cetera. I want to see it every time I look at the pen or use it. (1 votes [2.63%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 2.63%

  10. "So Say We All" or some such with (quasi-)religious connotation, or that alludes to scripture. Writing with a pen is meditation in motion, or akin to spinning a prayer wheel for me. (1 votes [2.63%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 2.63%

  11. Some mathematical equation or formula that speaks to my intellectual pursuits. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  12. Something more unintelligible than the above to the average person. I like to talk in riddles and/or speak in tongues. (3 votes [7.89%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 7.89%

  13. Something else not listed above. (Oh, do share!) (4 votes [10.53%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 10.53%

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#1 A Smug Dill

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 11:11

Let's assume for a moment that a retailer/seller of new pens (at any price north of US$10, say) offers a 'free', optional engraving service for your new purchase if you so choose; the upfront cost of acquisition is not at issue, but only the value the engraving brings to the buyer/owner, and perhaps the impact of it on the item's value for potential resale.
What would you choose?
Along the lines of the Platinum Plaisir and Balance pens I have, I'm contemplating buying five Pilot MR/Cocoon pens tomorrow, and will probably go with inscriptions such as:...

I ended up only ordering two Pilot Cocoon pens, in orange and in titanium (colour only, not actual material for the barrel and cap), and opted for the two I marked above with ⬅︎.

Instead of extra Pilot MR/Cocoon pens, I ended up ordering three Pilot Prera pens because they come with (the now-discontinued) CON-50 converters, according to the product page, for the same price as (a Pilot Cocoon + a CON-40 converter). Compared to 'market price' for Prera pens here or on eBay, that's a win (whereas not so much the Pilot MR/Cocoon pens). Engraving service is not included with the Prera pens for the price, though.

Edited by A Smug Dill, 06 November 2018 - 08:00.

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#2 inotrym


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Posted 05 November 2018 - 12:03

Just yesterday I was watching sbrebrown's video on his Parker 75 pen set. Apparently these pens belonged to his late granfather and per his request Steven engraved the words "VAN OPA" (from grandpa) and that's the sweetest engraving I've ever seen. 


I have never had any pens engraved as of yet because a) nothing big has happened yet in my life and B) my collection is still a little fluid and I haven't decided which will be *MY* pen. When the time comes I will probably engrave a quote that speaks to me and is relevant to the occasion.

#3 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 12:40

Makes it easier when filling out a police report, so they can have people watch Ebay for me, with my name on the pen....they can scour the pawn shops, for someone selling his dead uncle's Metropolitan.

Had to be worth something with a gold engraved name on it, you know.


I could see initials too.

Some I have are only a last name, others a full name. No initials. But those were old German pens, different culture.


Full names help when laying a false clue for the Police....two with one stone, the boss and someone else you don't like. You will have to B&E to scatter engraved fountain pens and ink bottles & cartridges around the scapegoat's house.



Graduating from HS or Collage, a round birthday or Retiring, are good reasons...spur of the moment works just as well as the rest.


To me an engraved fountain pen is still a mark of Class and more so when it belongs to the named person..........so just do it and don't matter if it is """THE"""" fountain pen or just a nice one.


One could wait ages, a decade for "the" fountain pen....and then not put your name on it.....because it would ruin the worth to someone else....???? huh?


 First find someone that can do the job..............I have someone for me....What style, not what pen, but which pens...do I want in my pyramid?


Now I know why black pens were so popular before the Used Pen Market, Black and Gold lettering. :thumbup:

Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 05 November 2018 - 12:58.

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.




#4 Jaywalker



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Posted 05 November 2018 - 13:57

I do not care for "Look at me" attempts, whether it's engraving on a pen to personalize it, or a highly-visible brand name during manufacturing, or model of my car in faux chrome, or a logo on my shirt. I would certainly never buy a fountain pen that's had that done. Let the design speak for itself.

#5 JakobS


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Posted 05 November 2018 - 15:01

I wouldn't engrave any of my pens, not because I find it offensive or uncouth, perhaps pointless and pointless alone. I mean you don't want to make it easy for future generations to know if that is "your" pen, it is nice to keep some mystery in inanimate objects! Create a whole folklore around them...


I am not opposed to buying vintage engraved pens, have yet to, but if the pen is otherwise in great condition I wouldn't pass on it.  


I agree that manufacturer brand names on many modern pens can look a bit tacky, it seems vintage pens were a bit more tasteful at doing this, even if they took up a significant part of the barrel...


If you are interested in resale at some point, personalized and many corporate engravings do tend to decrease the value of the pen...

Edited by JakobS, 05 November 2018 - 19:03.

FP Ink Orphanage-Is an ink not working with your pens, not the color you're looking for, is never to see the light of day again?!! If this is you, and the ink is in fine condition otherwise, don't dump it down the sink, or throw it into the trash, send it to me (payment can be negotiated), and I will provide it a nice safe home with love, and a decent meal of paper! Please PM me!For Sale: TBA

#6 inkstainedruth


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Posted 05 November 2018 - 18:44

I'll admit that having my name engraved on the pen I lost over the weekend at the Ohio Pen Show would have made it easier to track down if it had been turned in to the check-in table....   :( 

But overall, I don't worry about engraving, one way or the other.  I only have a few vintage pens which are engraved, and the only one that bothers me is on a little off-white Welsharp I picked up, where the initials engraved in it are very large and very black (so much as to be obtrusive, because it's such a little pen).  In the other two cases, I actually tried to track down the name because I was interested in learning the history behind the pens.  One was a Wearever, and the name was that of a jewelry store in Canonsburg PA in the 1940s (which later became an antiques mall).  The other, the Red Shadow Wave Vac I got in the PCA auction a few years ago at DCSS, I wasn't able to get info about the former owner, but I would have liked to say to the person's heirs "I have the pen now, and am taking good care of it, and hope that whoever ends up with it after I'm gone will take equally good care of it!" (it's been in constant rotation for over 3 years now, without flushing or other maintenance -- just refilled with Waterman Mysterious Blue as needed...  :thumbup:).

Of course this thread is making me think of something I saw written on a five dollar bill once....  It said "[name] -- This will be the last money you ever get from me!"   :lol:  (Sorry, don't remember the name of the recipient....)

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

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#7 JollyCynic


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Posted 05 November 2018 - 19:30

I don't see anything wrong with making pens more personal by ... well, personalising them.  I've only done it once, myself, in a pen for my wife that's tagged with the phrase, "There is no Level 3," which is horribly romantic if you're one of the dozen or so people on the planet who know what level 3 isn't.  (So I ticked the "puzzle" box above.)


On the other hand, I have a pen that's been engraved with the phrase, "Mi hijo," from (obviously) a parent.  I hate the pen, I hate the engraving ... It's all I can do from tossing the thing in a bin.  I've moved it from home to home for the last 25 years, and keep it in the box it came in because I can't stand the sight of it.


Finally, the pen I have which is most dear to me is not a fountain pen, and not engraved per se.  It's an old Sheaffer Reminder ballpoint pen with a perpetual calendar.  It's silk-screened with the name, address, and phone number of a plumbing supplies company.  The company was one my grandfather started, and handed over to my uncle.  Both have passed away, now.  It also has the (not exactly custom) phrase, "From a good friend," on it.  It's the pen I signed my marriage certificate with.


So engraving for the point of engraving isn't a good idea in my mind.  But in the right circumstances, it can make a pen much more personal and special.

#8 NinthSphere


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Posted 05 November 2018 - 19:48

Name or initials. I actually had a pen engraved as such, but it was shallow & done on a surface that didn't make for a good lasting impression. It's no longer visible. I would have had my L2k engraved had I bought it new, but I went for a NIB example from an individual for the better price. I don't go into buying pens with the idea that I'll be reselling them, so if someone has trouble selling my pens because of an engraving, oh well. I actually appreciate well done engravings on pens & pencils & may pay more or go to more effort for one I like, contrary to the idea that they automatically devalue an item.

Edited by NinthSphere, 05 November 2018 - 19:49.

#9 Driften



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Posted 05 November 2018 - 20:05

I don't like the idea of having my pens engraved unless it was for advertising my company or product, in that case they would have to be cheep pens since I don't have a lot of money for giveaways.

#10 JayKay3000



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Posted 05 November 2018 - 20:31

I think if I had done something significant in life such as graduation and the pen was a gift, it had something relevant and timeless engraved on it then I wouldn't dismiss the engraving.


But, I am a purist at heart. I like the design of something to speak for itself and don't care for words on a pen.


So - if it was a gift then I wouldn't mind, but if I buy it myself then not really because I know I will want to sell the item eventually and keeping it original will potentially keep any residual value.


Plus most of the pens I go for don't have wide open space for an engraving. You can put an engraving on say a parker 75 cisele, but it's going to be a bit of an obnoxious stamp on a nice design.

Edited by JayKay3000, 05 November 2018 - 20:33.

#11 praxim


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Posted 05 November 2018 - 21:11

Nothing, because I do not know why I would.


Inconsistently, I appreciate having my father's 1928-30 Wahl-Eversharp pencil with his initials engraved in the overlay. I have no pen that has been mine for a lifetime though, that would naturally be associated with me.


While I prefer non-engraved pens, I have a few which are engraved sufficiently discreetly that pretty much no-one would notice, so it does not bother me to use them. Thus, I could not choose one of the first two options in the poll.

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#12 Barkingpig



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Posted 05 November 2018 - 21:27

I enjoy the beauty of nicely done engraving but wouldn't want it on any of my fountain pens.  


Silverware for the table (personal & gifts) or metal cigaret lighters are another story & I have happily paid for hand engraving to be done on both.


Sheaffer made pens with suitable cap bands for engraving & I have Parker Flighters, both 51 & 61, with small spaces left "open" between their engraved lines, which seem obviously manufactured for engraving, but I haven't seen the need to mark either of mine.


But it is a personal choice & each person should feel free to do as they please.

#13 penwash


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Posted 05 November 2018 - 21:30

My Dad's name, when I find (still searching) the pen I'm going to give him on his 80th birthday 3 years from now.

- Will
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#14 Karmachanic



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Posted 05 November 2018 - 21:32

I don't have anything engraved on my toothbrush either

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#15 sandy101



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Posted 05 November 2018 - 22:08

I have Sandy ~ Writer engraved on one, and then I wrote a book.


I have Sandy ~ poet engraved on another, and I wrote a ton of poems. 


Not all my pens are engraved (not all of them are engravable), but engravings can be inspiring. It comes down to choice. 

#16 pajaro


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Posted 05 November 2018 - 22:12

Pen engraving is not so much the style today as it was about sixty or seventy years ago.  Still, I might have "EL SUPREMO" put on a pen I meant to use and wouldn't consider selling.

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#17 ISW_Kaputnik



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Posted 05 November 2018 - 22:27

I almost certainly wouldn't have a pen engraved at all, simply because it's not to my taste to do so.  Nothing wrong with it.


It's conceivable that one day I may sell one of my pens for which I have no further use.  But I haven't done so yet, and resale value has never been a consideration when buying any of my pens.  Admittedly, I haven't bought any of the really, really pricey pens that some FPN members get.  I have not yet reached $300 for a pen, and probably won't do so.


But if this were "free" in the sense of being the same price whether I had it done or not, I would look at samples of the seller's other engraving work.  I would think about how the engraving would look on the specific pen I was getting (how well I thought it went with the overall look of the pen).  And if I did decide to have it done, then just my three initials.


And although it's not something I look for, if I did run across a vintage / used pen which had been owned and engraved by somebody with the same initials as my own, there might be an extra temptation to get it.  But only at a bargain price.

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do." - Benjamin Franklin

#18 ISW_Kaputnik



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Posted 05 November 2018 - 22:30

I don't have anything engraved on my toothbrush either


My first name has a somewhat unusual spelling.  Many years ago, my parents, while on a trip, found a display of toothbrushes with various first names on them, including one with mine.  They bought it for me.  I don't brush my teeth with it, but have kept it in the original blister pack as a memento.

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do." - Benjamin Franklin

#19 grainweevil


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Posted 06 November 2018 - 09:36

Engraving a pen is, for me, right up there with getting a tattoo. Putting aside the aesthetics, I'd never be able to commit to a decision as to what to have engraved/tattooed!


Having said which, I actually like to find pens with names engraved. Recently I had a bundle of FPs from my brother's father-in-law's estate to play with, and one was a Waterman Dauntless of no great merit, but it had been engraved with the FIL's name. Odds are it was his school pen, given the dates, and I eventually realised he'd had to go over part of the professional engraving with the point of a compass or whathaveyou to restore it where it had been worn away in use. It was a very neat job, and made it even more of a personal item. As such it's now returned to the care of my nephew, his eldest grandson, who appreciates that personal connection and memento of his granddad. Without the engraving, it would have been just another rather beaten-up old pen.

#20 Honeybadgers


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Posted 06 November 2018 - 10:20

Honestly, nothing. Ever. But if I had to, a funny swear word or insane nonsequitor like "I sometimes tape my thumbs to my hands to see what it would be like to be a dinosaur."

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: engraving, inscription, personalisation, tasteless, vandalism, spoiling, resale

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