Thursday, January 13, 2005

Fountain Pens!

OK, now I KNOW most (normal) people aren't excited by fountain pens, but if you're into collecting, or even just frequenting flea markets and the like, it's not a bad item to watch out for. Although maybe I shouldn't increase the number of people competing for the remaining treasures? Ah well....Fountain pens are one of the few/the only collectible that is still used in the way it was originally designed. They're small, and collecting them won't entail building a new addition onto your house. They're portable and (mostly) non breakable, so you can pack them off to new quarters without sweating blood that they'll be wrecked. Your whole collection can even go in a modest sized safety deposit box.
And it's so neat to hold a pen made in, say, 1938, and picture who might have owned it, what they might have written with it: love letters? bank foreclosures? prescriptions? Maybe a novel, or a historical treatise? Where might it have been carried, back in the days when one had ONE pen and used it everyday everywhere--to the War? Europe? the coalfields of appalachia? And the satisfaction of seeing how your (mundane) penmanship assumes character when you write with a REAL pen. Never mind the inky fingers. The occasional smudge. THIS is what real penmanship is about.
And in this throw-it-away (even before it is used up) era, these were things of beauty that were made to be used and to last. Gold, colored brightly, engraved, fancy shapes and a range of sizes, from Debutante to Mammoth, there is some collector for all of them. There are even teeny little pens that were worn, via a ring on top, by the lady of the house, on a ribbon 'round the neck, or on a pin. The prices for these overlooked treasures is still modest (mostly), although that probably won't last for too long, but they can still be found for a song in estate sales and so forth, not like all the art/collectibles seem on the antique shows.
So poke through that box of miscellany you got from Grandpa's house and see if an old Eversharp Coronet is in there, waiting, like a secret friend, for you to find it and once more put it to use writing that next masterpiece. And if you don't want it, for gods sake find someone who does, and keep it out of the landfill. Grandpa would approve.

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