First I’m curious to know who these people are! Do they have a particular kind of personality? Do they come from similar backgrounds? I myself do not collect a thing. My mother was a depression child, so she has a hard time throwing anything away…. as a result, in my household now that I’m all grown up, you better not set anything down for too long or it will end up in a bag headed for Goodwill or some other charitable organization.
After doing a little research I’m finding pen collectors do not really stand out as any one particular personality type, in truth, I really cannot get a good answer about who these mysterious people are and why they like pens so much. From what I can gather, pen collectors come from all different walks of life, have all different types of personalities and are scattered all around the world!
Interestingly enough, I did come across a woman in Germany, Angelika Unverhau, the world record holder for ballpoint pens…. 220,000 ballpoints from over 146 countries! Now that would be an interesting household to grow up in. I wonder what affect she’s having on her kids?
With the emergence of the electronic age you think you would be hard pressed to find a pen show; not the case, you can still attend pen shows all over the world….from Chicago to London to New York and beyond. There are vast numbers of pen online forums, clubs and trading sites as well.
I don’t know what rock I have been under for the last four decades but it seems that these things we use to write things down with have quite the following.
You too can join the thousands across the globe that have joined the fascinating world of pens. Where shall you begin? Montblanc, Waterman, Cross, Krone, Aurora, Libelle, Fisher, Lamy….the list goes on and on!
This is part two in our three part series by Tracy McCusker.Tracy is an avid pen buff & unrepentant word-slinger. Fascinated with pens from a young age, she converted to fountain pens in 2000 after being introduced to the Parker Frontier and Parker Vector. Today her pen collection numbers in the hundreds. Tracy is a staunch advocate of “going analog” for writing & creative brainstorming. When she’s not hanging out at her local fountain pen shop, her digital presence can be found guest posting at the Surly Muse.
In an effort to help our loyal fans and customers find the perfect pen gift this season, Tracy has put together an in-depth guide culled from the experiences of her own pen obsessions. Last week she talked about buying pens in the up to $50 price range. This week she tackles luxury pens in the $50 – $100 price range. Take a look at her suggestions.
For the 50 to 100 dollar range, most fountain pens start to have steel nibs that are worth writing with. The Lamy Studio and the Libelle Nature Mosaic are both pens that come from well-respected pen companies. The pens mostly differ in their outward aesthetic. The Lamy Studio is a reserved German modernist design that prioritizes smooth lines over outward flashiness. The Libelle Nature Mosaic, on the other hand, has a glorious retro flourish from its chrome Grecian-inspired trim and its inlaid pearlescent resins. The Nature Mosaic from Libelle Pens is most likely similar to the Regatta or Paloma from Monteverde Pens which also use inlaid resins—a heavier pen, more likely to be used for shorter tasks… or to sit on a desk as a piece of functional art rather than to be used as a heavy workhorse.
The Lamy Studio would fit comfortably into an artist, designer, or writer’s hand. The Libelle Nature Mosaic would be a great gift for someone who liked a retro touch of elegance on their home office desk, or in front of their yellow legal pad.
The Cross ATX Rollerball (and its smaller cousin the ATX Ballpoint) are the number one gift pen that I give out to friends and loved ones. I have given these mostly on the occasion of graduations—their serious exterior brings to mind the idea of future success—but they work as holiday gifts too. The ATX gently tapers at the ends to create a subtle and beautiful profile that is reminiscent of the Cross Verve (a discontinued pen; it would have otherwise earned its own spot on this gift guide). The ATX’s chrome appointments don’t overwhelm the pen’s final weight; it feels very comfortable in the hand. I have heard a few complaints about the chrome grip being slightly too slick for some folks with damper palms, but I have personally never had a problem with the pen being slippery or hard to hold, even after marathons of frantic note-taking. Cross pens are quality instruments. My oldest ATX has taken 10 years of beatings from being shoved into bags, jammed between desks, and run over by my office chair with little wear or chipping. Still, the ATX should warrant gentle treatment; with good care, this pen could easily last me another ten years. Cross rollerball refills are some of my favorite; they are dark, quick drying, and provide a reliable line.
The ATX is an all-purpose pen to give to anyone who enjoys writing. I’ve given mine to grads; the pen will look equally classy writing out notes to the latest novel as it is for doodling proofs to Fermat’s Last Theorem during lunch break.
Ballpoint: Cross Spire ($75.00 – $95.00)
It should come as no surprise that this guide is biased towards thicker pens; however, for the lover of thin pens, there is the Cross Spire. Cross’ classic style thin pen is a staple amongst luxury gifts. If you’re familiar with a thin, silver or gold pen, adorning pockets of office workers around the world, you know what the standard Cross has to offer. However, Cross has recently revamped its classic look in the Cross Spire; even I am tempted to return to trying thin pens (even though the fat ones are much better for my carpel-tunnel addled wrists). The Gold, Black, and Silver cross-hatched Spires are like dressed-up Cross Century pens; hardly any weight, and a bit tricky to hold for long periods of time. The Black & Red Spires are the ones that really catch my eye. They’re like the classier big brothers to the Cross Sport, with an eye-catching triple ring around the twist-action mid-section and the glossy lacquer that makes me such a big fan of the Cross ATX.
The Cross Spire is useful with calendars, planners, journals, or any other leather accessory that might have a pen loop. The Spire, as a thin pen, fits well into compact spaces. If your giftee is a fan of thin pens, the Cross Spire is a must-buy.
So take the time to browse the Executive Essentials catalog to see these great gift pens. Also, remember to come back and hear Tracy’s suggestions on pens over $100. Not to be missed!