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Thinking About The Characteristics Of My Collection.....


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I completed conversion of a Harbor Freight Tool Box (thanks to FPGeeks!) and, as I tried to figure out which pens would go where, I gained some new insights into my 'habit' of amassing pens!


here is the short list of my pens' characteristics:

  • "Pretty" or works of art....maki-e, hand-made, one-of-a-kind
  • gifts, souvenirs,sentimental
  • varieties of filling mechanisms
  • cheap and utilitarian
  • "interesting" or "curious"
  • "cute" (little pens)

I do have mostly modern, but a few vintages fit the categories, as well.

Some, obviously, fit more than one category.

I have not focused on any one brand, country of origin, or manufacturer.

I use all my pens...none are so-called COLLECTORS that don't get inked!

Nib quality is a consideration, but can be fixed, adjusted, or replaced.

Overall performance is a consideration, so I rely on all of my FPN and FPG and Posse for reviews.


one more observation, I can justify absolutely ANY new purchase by sticking to my criteria!


How about you? How would you describe your collection's characteristics?





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My compliments on that toolbox.


I started collecting by searching for THE top pen in every brand. I quickly found out that the TOP pen was not necessarily the most expensive pen, and that sometimes lesser positioned pens were the better writers. So now I am looking for good pens from major brands.

And my interest shifted to nibs more than pens. I love a good italic. Because so few brands offer a good italic, I have tuned down my buying considerably. If Pelikan or Montblanc would offer a good factory 1.1 italic cursive italic I would go to the shop in a run.





Freedom exists by virtue of self limitation.





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Good question there.

Last year I was largely trying to stay with inexpensive pens (Noodler's, some inexpensive Chinese pens, and so on). This year it's more about vintage -- Parkers and Esterbrooks (but also some more Noodler's pens as well). For the Parkers it was mostly about the writing experience, so I was going for 51s and their ilk; but also Vectors (still leaning toward "cheap" but also sentimental about the one I lost). As for the Esterbrooks, I like the look of the Js (but not the icicles, or the pastels), but was also nib chasing -- which is why I now have so many green ones, but it took what seemed like *forever* to get a blue one: probably I wanted one because I like blue, but also possibly partly because of the blue one that I passed on, in an antiques mall last year, and of course when I went back to the store in the fall it was long gone...).
There was also a bit of grail-hunting, which is why I was so excited about the plum 51 (yes, I know another color would have probably written just as well, but I *also* know I just would not have been happy with one that was Cocoa... :blush:). Also excited about the two Sheaffer Snorkel Valiants for the same reason....

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."

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Very nicely built cabinet !

I, too, have no pens that are not to be used.

Ever pull out a drawer of pens, set it onto your lap, then, just sit and admire/fantasize ?

(Sorry, if that's too weird.)



Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn.
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen:
Verweile doch, du bist so schön !

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Congratulations. I followed the story of that toolbox conversion on FPGeeks, and was salivating so much I had to drop out. I've never seen that toolbox, or anything like it, for sale in any store here, and I've done a round of furniture stores and hardware stores. No such luck, but I would have loved a cabinet like yours...

My collection is much like yours, with maybe emphasis on inexpensive but good writers. In recent years I picked up three blister-packed plastic fountainpens, no name, for about $1.50 equivalent. All consistently good writers. Not great, but serviceable. Squarely school pens and mostly available around this time of year. Even the clip is plastic, and of course the first one broke off within a week. I'm a little more careful with the other two.

But I also do the other end of the spectrum, and a lot in between, and a second emphasis is unusual, curious. Usually found in strange places. And yes, all my pens are used. If I've fixed a problem they had, the joy is even bigger.

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks


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I read the OP with great interest as my own collection splits down in similar ways.

- "ooh pretty" - now developing into quite an interesting collection of vintage celluloids as I'm beginning to see how different brands/manufacturers used the same or similar celluloid stock,

- filling mechanisms, and also demonstrators, which I had a little spate of collecting for a while,

- Parker flighters, which I said I would never collect and now do,

- and a random assortment of Indian pens from cheap-and-cheerful to custom ebonite.

Too many pens, too little time!


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Ever pull out a drawer of pens, set it onto your lap, then, just sit and admire/fantasize ?



All the time... But I freely admit I have too many pens, so sometimes to appreciate them, I just have to hold them and inspect them.


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That's why I term mine an accumulation. No clearly definable theme worthy of calling it a collection.


Wish I'd have thought up the FPN member's idea of getting a sample of the flagship model from every major manufacturer. That's a collection I'd relish putting on display.

I always get a kick out of these "no affiliation" notations when it's blatantly obvious the poster has absolutely nothing to do with the brand, company, etc. beyond being a customer. It must be a feel-good/feel-important thing. So I'll note up front that nothing I write here on this forum is influenced by any financial-gain motivation.

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My only real requirements are that they write well and are affordable. I have been able to do that fairly easily. I was very happy with two very different pens for a long time. Both at a price point of $50 or less. (Waterman Phileas - fine; Lamy Al Star - don't recall what it had in it originally - medium maybe? Had to replace the section/nib and bought a fine, it is now sporting a 1.1 mm.) That was good enough for over a decade. Since December 2012 I have bought four others (not counting the 3 pack of Pilot Varsity's I bought - gave them all away)


"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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I have to work hard... sometimes... to rationalize purchasing more pens, so I tend to buy them as a reward for an accomplishment, or an event. Then I also see things that just seem... cool. I never thought of myself as "collecting pens" but when I hit 50 pens... I figured I had a collection on my hands... how DO these things happen?

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Good question. ;)

I'm also having trouble finding a "theme" for my flock of pens but there are very different ones. In general I like large pens, heavy pens, with large and broad nibs but I also own pens that are quite the opposite of all that and I still like those as well for very different reasons. I like surfaces covered with Urushi but also celluloid, resins and even metal at times. Many purchases have been based on impulse but there's only a few I've regretted and I've parted with these by now.


Funnily enough, the pen that gave me the biggest headache in terms of "should I buy it or not" turned out to be my best "investment": Faber Castell's Pen of the Year 2003 which I bought at way below listing price and which I could resell for quite a bit more if I wanted to (still I prefer to use it).

Read more about me, my pens, photography & so on my little blog

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I realized just now that if I had to characterize my collection of 50+/- fountain pens, it would be that it is numeric.


That is- first I got this one, then I got my second one, then I bought this third one...etc., etc.


I only buy the next pen I find if I like it and can afford it at the time, otherwise it has no place in my collection!


If you saw my pens you might think it is an unfocused collection of random writing instruments acquired without rhyme or reason...but now you know there is a method behind my madness!

Can I borrow your pen?

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Looks like I am in a minority. I did not want to amass a bunch of random pens, instead I decided very early on that I'd need one set of everyday pens and then I could have a collection of limited edition pens.


My first set of everyday pens were Montblanc Meisterstuck Classiques. I then decided I liked the Starwalkers more so bought a set of these and gave the other pens to my Mum as she liked them and it seemed pointless to have a set of unused pens.


In regards to my limited editions, I've focused solely on the Montblanc Writers Edition pens. When I completed this set, I bought an Einstein as I loved the pen and I was lucky enough to have the cash sitting in the bank at the time.


I don't want to dilute my collection of pens so I can only see myself buying the new WE pens each year and then possibly the odd random MB limited edition should one take my fancy. I can't see myself buying anymore non limited edition pens as I have a set which ticks all the boxes.

My Collection: Montblanc Writers Edition: Hemingway, Christie, Wilde, Voltaire, Dumas, Dostoevsky, Poe, Proust, Schiller, Dickens, Fitzgerald (set), Verne, Kafka, Cervantes, Woolf, Faulkner, Shaw, Mann, Twain, Collodi, Swift, Balzac, Defoe, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Saint-Exupery, Homer & Kipling. Montblanc Einstein (3,000) FP. Montblanc Heritage 1912 Resin FP. Montblanc Starwalker Resin: FP/BP/MP. Montblanc Traveller FP.

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I started with whatever caught my fancy which was great because it allowed me to try many classic pens both modern and vintage. As my taste evolved, my collection is now strongly characterized by Pelikan brand pens. I'm trying to amass a few representative pens from each generation/size category. It's funny how the shape of a collection changes over time.

PELIKAN - Too many birds in the flock to count. My pen chest has proven to be a most fertile breeding ground.


THE PELIKAN'S PERCH - A growing reference site for all things Pelikan

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