Dream Fountain Pens

For a Lifetime

For a Lifetime

The Polish fountain pen market is growing. The “Pen Show” held in Katowice, akin to similar events in western Europe, is already in its second year and has attracted both distributors and collectors from all over the world. The third such event is scheduled for April 2015. Wrocław, in turn, has its “Pen Salon Steinhaus”. Kings and politicians have always liked pens. Writers, unsurprisingly, have often found their writing instruments of extreme significance. It was, however, only in the late 19th century that Lewis Edison Waterman, an insurer in New York, invented the fountain pen after he lost a lucrative contract because of an ink blot. Some people collect vintage pens, frequently giving them a new lease of life, while others centre their interest on contemporary rare series and unique editions adorned with gold, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and even mammoth tusks. Collecting pens does not greatly differ from collecting paintings or drawings. Each pen has a number, is often decorated by hand, and the equipment used for its manufacture is destroyed to guarantee that there will be no more pens in a given series. And a series of pens can be very short. Visconti produced a limited series of 17 pens studded with diamonds which now fetch as much as PLN 80,000 apiece. To collect pens or invest in them you need not only a fat wallet, but also patience. The prices of contemporary limited editions typically start at a few thousand złoty, but there is no shortage of buyers and many limited editions are now sold out or can only be bought if you place a special order which might take months to be fulfilled. Then there are specialist auctions. Good fountain pens have guarantees for the life of their first owner. The first pen with a perpetual guarantee was the Scheaffer Lifetime model produced in 1920. Such durability does not mean, though, that pens do not require meticulous care. The pen should be well-suited to the hand, stored and cleaned  properly. Only then will it serve its owner for years without losing value.

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