Desire

Every now and then, people ask me which sort of fountain pen I collect. The answer is complicated; the simplest version is ‘I collect pens that sellers undervalue’ — that is, bargains. This is in part because of our family finances, and partly because of the fun of hunting (it doesn’t really feel like ‘collecting’ if you walk into a shop and pay list price for a pen).

That being said, even bargains don’t interest me much at a certain point. England overflows with Parker school pens; no, thank you. I’m not the world’s most enthusiastic Parker supporter in the first place, and yet another Parker 17, or Arrow, or Vector, really isn’t going to delight me enough to make it worth the purchase. I greatly admire Parker 45s and could be won over to one at a very good price, but even then…

Other pens would almost always interest me as bargains: Sheaffer almost anything, but especially lever-filling Balances, Flat-Tops, Crest, or Targa. Esterbrook Js in good nick. Parker 51s and 21s, but only in good condition and at a bargain price. Watermans, but Waterman has such a good reputation that their used pens almost always come at a premium.

If I were awarded a pen collection grant, here are some pens I’d look for at a higher price:

    Sheaffer PFM — I shy away from Snorkels, since I haven’t learned to service their fill system, but I’m PFM-curious. They look like a handful, and I do like a big pen.
    Parker 50 Falcon — I love the design of these. I have the matte brown and the gold plate, so I am always on the lookout for the chrome/steel and black Falcons.
    Parker T1Rara Avis, but the Parker integrated-nib style.
    Pilot Murex/Myu — the star of the integrated-nib sky. I have a vague memory of my Uncle Bob of blessed memory having picked up a Murex on his business travels. I’d like one of these some day.
    Pelikan pens in the tortoise-shell pattern. I have an M200 (Old Style), but the tortoise-shell colour is so seductive…
    (I may update this later, as my desires wax and wane.)

There are also some pens I’ll make it a point to collect, perhaps even at fair-market prices when I’m flush. I have a black Sheaffer Connoisseur; I’d like, if I can afford to, to add other models of the Connoisseur line. Likewise, I have a few Targas, but I would always pick up another. These appeal to me for their own sake, and if I see a style I don’t have, I’d think hard about adding it.

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Coveting, and utterly shameless about it. A man of the cloth. Imelda Marcos and her shoes, and now Akma with pens. Think of the thousands of children with no fountain pen whatsoever.

  2. I penitently confess, Happy Tutor, of my bondage to certain species of avarice. As a penance, I do give away pens to anyone who asks — but next time I pass the dumpster, I will kneel and seek reconciliation. Say, does Audrey lack a fountain pen for transcribing her lessons?

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