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Robert Oster Signature - Gold Antiqua


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Robert Oster Signature - Gold Antiqua


Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. On his website, he describes our shared love quite eloquently: “Robert Oster Signature originates from one of the most famous wine producing regions of the world, the Coonawarra district of South Australia, an idyllic setting with great influence on the senses. There is my inspiration. It’s a joy to share it with you.” Well, we are certainly fortunate to have inspiring ink makers like Robert Oster to satiate our thirst for glorious inks.




In this review I take a closer look at Gold Antiqua – a yellow-gold-brown with a very pleasing appearance. Yellow-leaning inks often suffer from insufficient contrast with the paper, making them less suitable for writing. But this Gold Antiqua also leans towards brown, which enhances the contrast. As it turns out, this makes it a very pleasant-looking colour that looks great on paper. A playful ink for happy times. Gold Antiqua came to my attention through one of LizEF’s excellent Efnir video reviews. Turns out I had a small sample I received from Catherine of Sakura – just enough to give it a test drive.




To show you the impact of saturation on the ink’s look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles on Tomoe River where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. As you can see, Gold Antiqua has a rather broad tonal range, with quite a bit of contrast between the light and dark parts. This translates to a strong shading ink.




Like most Robert Oster inks there is zero water resistance.  Short exposures to water completely obliterate the text, leaving next to nothing on the page. The chroma for this ink is definitely interesting, and shows some amazing complexity. I see a multitude of component dyes, that miraculously combine to form the ink’s golden glow. Master mixer at work!




I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band of paper I show you:


  • An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip
  • 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
  • An ink scribble made with an M-nib Lamy Safari fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib Lamy Safari
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib Lamy Safari
  • Origin of the quote, written with the B-nib Safari
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Lamy)


Gold Antiqua behaves well on most paper types. I didn’t notice any feathering, and only a tiny bit of show-through and bleed-through on the Moleskine. Drying times are quite low in the 5-second range with the Lamy Safari M-nib. The strong shading is very present on all papers, but a bit less pronounced on more yellow paper. The yellow paper seems to reduce the contrast between light and dark parts of the writing – the yellow background darkens up the light parts a bit. As a result,  I personally like this ink best on the more yellow paper.






I’ve also added a few photos to give another view on the ink. In the scanner samples above, the shading contrast in the written text is a bit exaggerated, making it look too harsh. The photos below show a more realistic view of the ink’s shading.






Writing with different nib sizes
The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. All samples were written with a Lamy Safari, which is typically a dry pen. I also added a visiting pen: a wet-writing Lamy Dialog 3 with M-nib. I personally find the ink a bit weak in the EF/F nib – if you use fine nibs, you’re advised to use a wet pen (the dry-writing Safari is no good match). The ink is clearly a very heavy shader. Normally, I don’t like this, but with Gold Antiqua the interplay between light and dark gold works, and results in an interesting look. It makes for a great ink to use on greeting cards – my guess is it will look just stunning in a wet pen with a broad stub. 



Related inks
To compare Gold Antiqua with related inks, I use my nine-grid format with the currently reviewed ink at the center. This format shows the name of related inks, a saturation sample, a 1-2-3 swab and a water resistance test – all in a very compact format. 




Inkxperiment – In Flanders Fields
With every review, I try to create an interesting drawing using only the ink I’m working on. Limiting myself to one ink allows me to showcase its colour-range nuances. For me, this is the fun part of every ink review. Having only a 2.5 ml ink sample meant that I had to make every drop count. So I reused the Q-tips from the text-sample swabs to paint the drawing.  I started with a 10x15 cm piece of HP photo paper, and used the Q-tips to draw the sky and Flanders Fields. A Q-tip with my last drop of pure Gold Antiqua was used for the sun. The trees and the accents in the field are added with the M/B nibbed Lamy Safari. 



Yellow inks are often amazing for drawing, and Gold Antiqua is no exception. This one is born for creating your own greeting cards. I enjoy the way it looks on the photo paper – add a “Happy New Year” and you’ve got a greeting card with a personal touch that beats any you can buy in stores.

Robert Oster Gold Antiqua truly is a beautiful golden ink, with good contrast on paper and very strong shading. Although I’m not in general a fan of strong-shading inks, this one manages to pull it off. A fine ink for personal correspondence or for use on greeting cards. I really liked this ink for drawing – it just looks amazing! A playful ink that I loved experimenting with.

Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib




Back-side of writing samples on different paper types







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Wow. Wonderful review. I was under the impression you loved pastel inks and by extension shading ink :)


The ink, For writing I'm not so sure, I get a slight headache, when I look at the written text...

 but for drawing I might be tempted :)

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I have a sample of this ink, and put it in my Edison Beaumont Molten Ores pen with a 1.1mm italic nib. I hope to use it in Christmas cards, though time is running out. 

You wrote a very excellent and thorough review. Thank you for all the paper you used, the nib sizes. It really showcases the ink in (most likely) all its properties. 

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Oh wow - this is such a thorough and thoughtful ink review! I'd love to post some of my own reviews as I get deeper into the hobby and reviews like this will definitely be the standard to live up to. Thanks for this!

 🐌 💌 📬 Snail mail enthusiast & ink swatching fiend. Trade inks with me here🎨🌈🖋️



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