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Should I Stick To Buying Used Fountain Pens If I Wish To Monetary Value?


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So, I'm going to use the Pilot Metal Falcon as the example for this considering it's by far my favorite fountain pen.


About 6 months ago I purchased a used one off of Ebay for 158.00$. They are about 240.00$ brand new.


Whoever previously owned the pen either didn't use it very much at all, or they took excellent care of it. If i were to show it to you when it arrived (and even now) and told you I bought it brand new, you would have been lying if you could claim to tell me you knew for a fact it was used (without *extremely thorough* visual evaluation).


When I bought this pen there were only 3 colors available but now there are about triple that, so I decided that eventually I want to have one in every color.


The thing is, I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination, and it's a rather expensive pen especially for myself, and had I purchased the pen brand new and then decided to sell it on Ebay or elsewhere 6 weeks later I wouldn't get anywhere close to the 240$ I would've had to pay for it even if I never even touched it (other than opening it). So, I'm almost wondering why I'm even asking the question considering that the answer seems rather obvious to me, but.......


If I want to collect these pens not only as a hobby but as a sort of asset, should I always search high and low for the best price and ***ALWAYS*** buy used fountain pens?


Also, if the answer to that question is as obvious as I assume it is, I have an additional question that I could use some advice on: Is there a way to know what a good deal is when buying a used fountain pen?


The example pen I used I purchased for ~66% of the price I would have paid had I purchased a brand new one. That sounds like a good deal, but I had absolutely nothing to compare it to as it was literally the only use Pilot Metal Falcon on Ebay at the time.


Thanks in advance for any input. =)

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To answer your first question (I think) -- if you're buying pens hoping to turn a profit on them later as resale, I think you're going to have to wait a long time (and it might not work even then). That is to say, they're not really something to buy for the potential investment value, for the most part (unless you're buying specific mint condition NOS vintage pens (and I'm not sure even then you'll recoup your initial costs).

To answer the second, you have to know what you're looking at, and (in particular if it's someplace like eBay, where the photos are often bad) know what questions to ask -- and then hope the seller understands those questions and can answer you accurately -- or honestly....

I buy a lot of vintage pens, but I'm also kinda a cheapskate. So if I think the price is more than I want to pay, I try to dicker (but often just walk away -- especially on eBay, since another, often better, deal is likely to come along). OTOH, I have gotten some great deals because I knew what I was looking at and the seller (or, in the case of some antiques store finds, the person opening the case for me). Of course I've often gotten burned a few times, but more often than not I do okay (if I'm not outbid, that is... :rolleyes:).

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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Pens are like cars. They tend to lose value, especially with use.

They're an expense, rather than an investment.

Few pens, like few cars, will rise in value.

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Fountain pens are not a good investment and if you are trying to sell to a collector to get the best price it will have to have been never inked. For personal use, buying good used pens will be the best value for your money in many cases. Waiting and buying a new pen on a close out sale also can get you a high cost pen sometimes bellow what the dealer paid for it. In general that is going to be on higher priced pens than your Pilot.


In general you can expect a pen bought new to drop in value the moment you get it. If you happened to have bought a Arco pen from Omas before they went out of business then you have something, but that ship has sailed.

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Hoping to sell for profit later, you might run into a period of time like 2007 when the economy tanks and people aren't buying except at reduced or bargain prices. Sometimes the market value of a used pen can go down temporarily when you want to sell or permanently.


Otherwise I have tended to buy used pens. I bought pens to try them and see what they were like. I usually sold them, usually for about the purchase price. It was a good thing, because I didn't like most of the pens I tried.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.



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Hi TT,


Well, it seems as though your first question has been duly answered... and I concur... fountain pens are not what successful investments make.


Your second question... varies... but first, never "always"... just as you should not always "never." :D


Also remember that the cheap usually comes out expensive... or... there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.


That said, every once in a blue moon, a sumgai deal may come along... but their rare... we usually get what we pay for... so if buying used, expect to pay moderate prices if want quality. You got lucky with your first used purchase, but don't expect that every time. Today, even buying new can be a gamble with fountain pens... and nibs are easily damaged by the unaccustomed,... so buying pens used is best done when sticking with dealers that have a good reputation here at FPN.


In sum, buying used is a smart way to go, but it has to be pursued with less exuberance and more due diligence. ;)


Be well and enjoy life. :)



- Anthony

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sometimes it's a great idea. I got my justus 95 for like $120, it's a crazy good pen and was nearly new.


If you're interested in a monteverde invincia deluxe /w box, with nearly no use for a cheap deal, PM me :P I hate the polished section on that pen.

Edited by Honeybadgers

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

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Cars actually hold value pretty well comparatively, there's a liquid/wide market to resell as most ppl still have need/desire for a car.


FPs are probably more like motorcycles :ninja: depreciate faster than cars, smaller market to resell as there's much less riders than drivers usually. Plus you've gotta buy the seller/owner as these things are easily damaged from user error so you've gotta know what to lookout for.


Amongst many other hobby "investments" I'm still owning shares in defunct companies (that I can't even sell to get the capital loss offset against gains elsewhere, so they're worse than worthless) so I'm selfdeclaring as an expert in capital loss :D feel free ask any questions.


And yes I've long lost count of how many pens we've got.


Long as they make me happy. :)

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I try to not buy pens at MSRP by either waiting for great sales or by buying them used. I don't mind that someone else has owned a pen, I guess that comes from my vintage buying where they are almost always pre-loved.


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I should have made it clear that I wasn't looking at fountain pens as an investment. I do know I will (except in rare cases) lose money over time with them,


The question was asked basically with the idea of losing the least money possible over time; to clarify. (And I take excellent care of my pens).


The idea was something like...Okay, it's a hobby, I want to collect the Pilot Metal Falcon collection at the moment, but just in case somewhere down the road I'm in huge trouble. I don't take a loss from an initial 240$ purchase to a 130$ sale but rather a 158$ purchase (in the the case I mentioned) to a 130$ sale (Same sell price whether I originally purchased it new or used, considering I would only buy a "used" pen in "new" condition).


If that clears anything up perhaps anyone might have some different input now that it's understood I'm not attempting (or expecting) to make a profit? We'll see =)

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Of course to 95% I buy old used...cheap pens.............even if some cost E150 (expensive in my books for a vintage pen).....an Esterbrook :notworthy1: can still be had for $35.


What use is having all 51 of the colors of the P-51? Can't really have any fun with the same pen 51 times. A broken record.


Try other pens, ones with different balances,different girths, different flexes of nib....try a '50-65 stubbed semi-flex 400-400nn (great balance)..........can be had on German Ebay....as long as one is not stupid and pushes the buy now idiot button, for E100-120....the Hunt is half the fun.

Push the idiot button and pay Stateside prices....$190-220 or more!!!!...........those dealers are not stupid....they see the fortunes folks in the US will over pay for a pen.




Look at Sheaffer Snorkel and silver Imperial pens. P-51, P-75 a pen with great balance, like the Snorkel. Those are classics for many reasons.

'50's Sheaffers are close to Japanese thin in nibs....if skinny nibs is your thing.


Can't have much fun with ink with XXF nibs.....the so called Japanese EF nib. That limits the choice of inks....no shading inks, no sheen inks and no glitter inks.....nor Laid or Linen Effect papers.

Get a spectrum of nib widths.


You can get one time Flagship models at affordable prices if you buy old used pens........semi-vintage and vintage.

Used modern pens you have discovered.

If you look in the sales section here, you will get a pen worth it's money with out worries it has something wrong with it. Perhaps not the cheapest buy on earth but a fair price. The guy is backing the pen with his good name.

Edited by Bo Bo Olson

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.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:


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




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