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Pen Collecting thoughts.

Updated: Apr 16





The vintageparkerpen.com website was set up to accompany our first site based on collecting vintage pens, collectablepens.co.uk. This post is from that site:


collectablepens.co.uk is a new website venture based around the fascinating hobby of collecting fountain pens, mainly vintage, but with some more modern ones thrown in for good measure.


Many excellent sites offer superb pens in the hundreds or even thousands of pounds but that is not our area of interest.  The decision to name the site, 'Collectable pens' rarher than 'Collectible Pens was  made after a great deal of head scratching and discussion about what made a pen 'collectable'.  Incidentally the jury is out on whether it is 'collectable' or 'collectible'.  The most satisfying answer seems to be that something that is 'able to be collected' is collectable, the adjective, and that an item that is collected is a 'collectible', the noun.  Persons of a particular nature can spend many happy hours musing on this most interesting aspect of semantics and the English language.


So, what makes vintage pens so hugely collectable?  (why are vintage pens collectibles)?  Why do people dream about pen collections and not, say, collections of spanners, screwdrivers or tin openers, they are all tools after all.  A nice pen is a very 'handleable' item, it feels good, it is a nice size to hold, it has a good balance, it is shiny, it is well designed, and often a beautiful thing. They offer variety in shape, size, colour, nib type, filler type, age, origin, and condition. Pens are widely available, do not take up much space and are very 'postable'.  I note that Microsoft does not like 'handleable' or 'postable', it thinks I mean 'handlebar' and 'portable'.


Vintage pens often have a 'story' to tell, for example why does a pen that originally had a gold nib sixty years ago now have a steel one?  Did the owner get hard up and sell the gold?, did it belong to a company that owned dozens of gold nibbed pens and replaced all of them with steel ones when it fell upon hard times?  Did a sudden rise in the price of gold precipitate this?  Did the gold nib simply wear out?  Does the overall condition of the pen help to answer these questions? and so on.


Pens are generally 'affordable', what ever that means, I suppose the idea is that one can build a reasonable collection over a period of time without it putting a large burden on a reasonable income. It certainly beats drug taking, gambling, alcoholism etc. although none are mutually exclusive.


But the main thing that makes vintage pens so collectable is that they are so very, very 'NICE'! I have lost count of the number of times 'non-pen people' have said  'Oh that's a very nice pen', and they are always right.

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