PenInHand - Musings on the Hobby

Collecting With a Focus

by Jim Mamoulides, February 10, 2002

A Collection of Vintage and Modern Sheaffer Balance Pens

Many people, myself included, start this hobby with a Will Rogers outlook, never seeing a pen they did not like or want to own. I can remember when I got my first Fountain Pen Hospital catalog in the mail. The experience was not unlike the one, when I was very young, of opening the department store Christmas catalogs.

It's no better with vintage pens, where the depth and breadth of the landscape eludes all but the most experienced collectors, and even many of them will say there's plenty they don't know and new things to learn.

So where to start?

A Collection of Parker Vacumatic Pens

I recall one of the earliest pen websites I visited was Jim Gaston's, and he writes quite eloquently on the phases of collecting.

Many of us begin as hoarders, limited only by our funds and our ability to store our purchases. I remember this phase in my own experience, and still have some of those pens, some I treasure, and some I wonder about. Some have left the building.

I have also passed through a variation of the hoarding phase, which I call "focused hoarding." For me, it was "only Parkers!" Then, "only Sheaffers!" The principal difference with this phase was the clunkers I picked up all had the same logo!

A Collection of Modern Sterling Silver Pens

My next phase was a variation on the color phase, called the "Sterling Silver" phase. Good thing I'm not into purple!

A Collection of Vintage and Modern Pens Focused on the Color Black

In my personal experience, I have found that I not only enjoy writing with the pens, but understanding their history and the technology that went into them. This has added a sense of depth to what I have in my collection and helps me focus on what I want to add to it.

A Collection of Elysee Parthenon Pens

Currently I've been collecting Elysee's, mostly as they have gone out of business and their Cloisonne pens appeal to me. They write very nicely, too.

I've also been on a Sheaffer Balance and TM hunt. This may be a bad thing, as these two pens have a huge array of models and styles to absorb, so they may keep me busy for a while.

This month's PenSurvey asks the question, "What kind of pen collector are you?"

Take a minute to vote and see where others are in their collecting journey.

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Comments on this article may be sent to the author, Jim Mamoulides Bibliography