Who doesn’t love the look and mystique nature of fountain pens?
Every fountain pen collector or user has some sort of emotional attachment to the written word and the pens they use for writing.
You’ve probably used different types of fountain pens and loved how they write. And, with the pen enthusiast network always growing, you’ve likely thought of starting a fountain pen collection.
Why do people collect pens or even use them in the first place? Most people collect fountain pens for everyday use, as a hobby, or an investment. But, it takes the right planning and choice of pens to create an amazing collection of fountain pens.
Whichever direction you take, here are the things to know about creating a fountain pen collection:
4 Things You Should Know about Creating a Fountain Pen Collection
- Modern vs. Vintage Fountain Pens
How do you intend to use your fountain pen collection? Determine if you’re collecting pens for display or everyday use.
- Modern fountain pens
Modern pens are a great way to begin collecting pens as a beginner. You’ll find less expensive pens to start your hobby and get acclimatized with all the different types of fountain pens out there. The pens are built to deliver great writing experiences.
What’s more, modern pens come with a warranty against likely problems, especially the more expensive types. Whereas affordable luxury pen brands cost about $27 or less, their more elegant counterparts cost at least $30.
- Vintage fountain pens
A fountain pen was always at the foreplay when writing words to impress young ladies or inspire nations. Historically, people mainly communicated using fountain pens through the written word.
Penning of novels, ratification of amendments, signing of treaties, and writing of letters were done using fountain pens. Vintage pens have witnessed history and taken part in it over time. The pens have a rich legacy of being used to write.
Vintage fountain pens have a rich story behind them and make writing a fun and enjoyable activity. The pens range from antiques to those that have been around for over a century.
- Top Fountain Pen Brands
The top fountain pen brands in the United States and the most successful at the turn of the 29th century include:
- Waterman – this brand designed pens with feeds that allowed reliable ink flow and reduced the rate of ink blots. It allowed air to flow in and out of the pen to make this possible. Designed for nib flexibility and beauty, the brand produces both vintage and modern fountain pens.
- Newton Pens
- Kanilea Pen Company
- Hardy Pens
- Country Made Pens
- Broadwell Studios
- Additive Pens
You can also consider custom pen makers that give fountain pens a personalized touch and bespoke look. Custom pens are generally more costly than pre-made variations. Some popular brands that customize pens for a unique touch include:
- Where to Buy Your Fountain Pens
Knowledge of where to buy fountain pens is important to start your collection. Some places to consider include:
- The internet – websites such as Amazon, eBay and vintage pen resellers make it possible for new pen collectors to access a wide range of modern and vintage pens on the internet.
Although buying pens online lacks in-person inspection, high quality photos and asking the right questions can help you assess the condition of pens before purchase.
- Pen shows – shows of varying sizes take place across the U.S. Vendors fill ballrooms to sell old and new fountain pens in varied styles and conditions. The shows give a hands-on experience when looking at different pens.
- Antique stores, flea markets and garage sales – buying your pens from these places is riskier than online vendors or pen shows. Vintage pens may require parts replacement or cleaning to make them look new.
- How to Assess Pens
Check the parts of individual pens and assess them before making payment to get value for your money. Some things to look at when evaluating fountain pens include:
The nib – bent nibs aren’t appealing and impair the smooth writing experience that comes with using fountain pens. When assessing nibs, look out for the following:
- Nib flexibility
- Flexibility grading
- Bent nibs; opt for straight nibs (assess nibs from the sides)
- Cracks near the slit, around the breather hole, or on the sides
- Sprung nibs; either the tines are separated or one is higher than the other as a result of excess pressure exertion when writing.
Photos displayed online should show pens’ nibs at different angles for easy assessment. The more the photos, the easier you can assess pen nibs online.
The filling mechanism – as a beginner collector, you’ll want to avoid pens that require repairs or restoration. However, you can eventually learn basic pen restoration processes such as replacing broken ink sacs (they usually break down over time, hence require part replacement).
Learn about the different filling systems and how they operate to understand the ones your ideal pen is built to use.
The barrel, cap and case – after the first two pen evaluations, assess the body of pens for the following:
- Brassings – the casings of gold pens are usually gold-filled or plated, but not made from solid gold. Brassings don’t impact a pen’s integrity because it isn’t a chemical reaction and can be re-plated.
- Dents, scratches and dings – these issues impair the beauty and price of pens but not functionality. And, they can be fixed.
When starting a fountain pen collection, don’t buy pens in bulk. Instead, buy one pen at a time, until you’ve mastered the art of choosing and buying reliable fountain pens, especially if they’re vintage. Also consider online contests for free giveaways on Facebook and Instagram.
Learn how fountain pens work and how to care for them. Opt for strong and reliable pen cases for protection. The best fountain pens to add to your collection should be bulletproof, comfortable, and stylish and fancy, atop being pocket-friendly.