Mid-year Fountain Pen Giveaway

I’m really working to thin out the accumulation. I started with selling 10 fountain pens and now it’s time to give away a fountain pen. The winner will be picked at the half-way point of the year and chose one of three available fountain pens.

The Rules:
1. Leave a comment on this post and to prove you read it, indicate the pen you want. If you win you’ll be able to change your pick, put your comment must include one of the three pens offered as a selection. I’m not looking for exact names so duplicating what I wrote as the name isn’t required and having a typo won’t disqualify you. Picking a Visioneer would disqualify you since there’s no universe where that’s a typo or a good choice.
2. One entry per person.
3. This is open internationally as long as USPS will ship there. Prizes will be declared as a gift but I am required to indicate a value. While this value will be relatively small you will be responsible for any customs fees or taxes.
4. I can’t (won’t) replace any prizes that may be lost or delayed in transit. I use the lowest cost method with no insurance and often no tracking outside the US. After many years of problem free shipping my recent history has some international deliveries taking over 30 days while touring the customs house in multiple countries only to be sent back. This applies to U.S winners too, but it’s mainly been an issue internationally.
5. Please leave your email address in the appropriate comment field. It will not be made public and I won’t add it to any mailing list or share it with others. This will allow me to contact you directly if you win. I will also post the winning comment here on the fountain pen quest but the email will prevent someone from impersonating you to claim the prize.
6. You have until noon eastern U.S. time on July 1st, 2015 to post your entry. This is mid-year in my part of the world.
7. Comments will be numbered in the order received and a winning number will be picked at random.org.
8. The winner has 7 days to contact me after I post the winner. If the prize hasn’t been claimed by then I’ll pick another winner.

The Pens:

Pens for the giveaway - capped Pens for the giveaway - uncappedThese pens are the ones I can’t (or shouldn’t) sell because I didn’t pay for them. None of them include boxes or paperwork but they all include the appropriate converter.

Sheaffer 300 Metallic Gray This pen was provided by Goulet Pens for review purposes. You can read the review here. Of the three pens this is the hardest for me to part with. As I said in the review, I love this pen. Yet, among all my Sheaffers this gets lost so it needs a better home with someone who will use it. My one caveat is that if you must post your pens you may find this top heavy. The pen has a fine nib.

Taccia Staccato Black I won this pen in the Pen Addict’s 100th episode giveaway. I reviewed it here. The pen is nice but the broad nib and gold trim aren’t for me. I find it comfortable and considered having the nib ground more to my liking. But the gold trim is also a turn off for me.

Monteverde Impressa Pearl Silver This pen was provided by Pen Chalet for review purposes. You can read the review here. Others have liked this pen but reviews have been mixed. This one had issues so if you pick this one expect to fiddle with it. This has a fine nib, but it’s very wet.

So pick your pen: Sheaffer 300, Monteverde Imressa, or the Taccia Staccato. Leave your choice in a comment by noon eastern US time on July 1, 2015. The winner will be posted as soon as I can after that.

Fountain Pens For Sale

It’s time to thin the accumulation again. All the pens are in excellent shape, they just aren’t for me. Shipping is $6 in the U.S. unless otherwise noted.

Additional details and fine print:

  • I will ship internationally. International shipping is at cost which can be significant, at least $25 for a reasonable delivery time, about $16 for a delivery time that could be measured in weeks. I’ve had some recent problems with the USPS with recent international shipping (geographically challenged, sometimes sitting in customs for the wrong country, resulting in delivery times exceeding a month) so I reserve the right to not sell the pen when tracking and insurance are not available. The price of the pen is declared for customs.
  • Multiple pens in the same order pay only one shipping charge.
  • Boxes are not included unless specifically mentioned in the pen description.
  • The prices are firm. No trades, I’m trying to reduce the number of pens.
  • All the pens were recently tested and thoroughly cleaned as recently as last night. There may be moisture condensation in the pen when you receive it.

If your interested in the pen you can contact me using the form at the For Sale page or email me at ray <@> fpquest.com. A firm “I want it” and I’ll send a PayPal invoice. Square Cash is also accepted if you’d prefer. I’ll hold the pen for 24 hours after invoicing for payment and then make the pen available for sale again. I’ll ship no later than the business day (M-F) after payment is received.

The pens are listed in the same order as in the group photos (L -> R). Click any of the pictures for larger photo.

Pens for sale - cappedPens for sale - uncapped

Pilot Vanishing Point 2012 Limited Edition – $190

Excellent condition. This is #1659 and is the last of my metal VPs as I make room for the new wooden models. Includes your choice of a 18K gold rhodium plated fine nib or a 18k gold gold colored medium nib. The con–50 converter and the cartridge cover are included. The presentation box is optionally available. If you want it there will be an additional $5 shipping charge or see the bonus offer below.

Bonus offer – add $60 for the following:
* The second nib unit, with a second con–50 converter and a second cartridge cover.
* The presentation box.
* Free US shipping or $11 off international shipping
So the total of everything would be $250 with free US shipping or $11 off international shipping. This offer is only available with the Pilot VP pen.

Kaweco AC Sport Carbon Red – $90

Fine steel nib. Excellent condition. Includes a Kaweco Eco single pen leather pen sleeve (reviewed here).

Edison Herald Amber Tortoise – SOLD
Edison Herald Amber Tortoise nibFine steel nib, excellent nib tuned by Richard Binder when purchased. Excellent condition. Includes a Schmidt converter. No box or paperwork.

Sailor 1911 Dark Blue w/gold trim – SOLD

Sailor 1911 music nib21K gold music nib. This is a dark blue, nearly black pen. The nib and pen are in excellent condition. The converter is included. The zoom nib isn’t for me so the pen got little use and it’s time to give it a better home. This is the full size 1911.

Sailor 1911 Black w/gold trim – SOLD
Sailor 1911 Zoom Nib21K gold Zoom Nib. The nib and pen are in excellent condition. The converter is included. The zoom nib isn’t for me so the pen got little use and it’s time to give it a better home. This is the full size 1911.

Sailor 1911 Burgundy w/gold trim – SOLD
Sailor 1911 medium nib21K gold medium nib. The nib and pen are in excellent condition. The converter is included. This is the full size 1911.

Sailor 1911M Yellow w/gold trim – SOLD
Sailor 1911M broad nib14K gold broad nib. I reviewed the pen here and as I mentioned I already sold the pen once and it came back to me with flow issues. I pulled the nib and cleaned it thoroughly and this seems to have resolved the issue. I’ve priced the pen with the assumption you may need to adjust/clean it so I won’t take the pen back for flow issues (the pen retails new for about $150). The pen is in better cosmetic shape than before since as part of the cleaning I was able to get some ink stains out. Excellent cosmetic condition and an excellent writer the last time I used it, but as I mentioned it has a history of flow issues. The converter is included.

Pelikan 200 Green Demonstrator w/gold trim – SOLD
Pelikan M200 nibFine steel nib. The nib is gold colored. The pen and nib are in good condition but the pen show minor signs of use such as fine scratches. There is some moisture condensation above the piston.

Pelikan M605 Dark Blue w/rhodium trim – SOLD
Pelikan M605 nib14K gold medium nib. The pen and nib are in excellent condition.

Kaweco Classic Sport clear demonstrator – SOLD
Kaweco Classic Sport nibExtra fine steel nib. The nib is gold colored. There is some ink staining between the feed section and the barrel.

Favorite 5: Inks

It’s been over a year and a half since I last listed my Favorite 5 inks, so it’s time for an update. This was much harder than picking favorite pens, which is one reason I kept putting it off. Three of the inks from October 2013 remain on the list.

I also ended up with four Montblanc inks on this list. I would have said it’s my favorite brand overall, if I was forced to pick just one, but going into this I wouldn’t have expected it to dominate the list and I looked for inks to replace one or two of them. But I kept the list as-is since I do think these inks give me a nice spread across the spectrum of ink colors I like to use the most.

1. Montblanc Bordeaux

Photo of a bottle of Montblanc Bordeaux ink

Montblanc Bordeaux Ink

Easily my number 1 ink. This is always in one of my inked pens, at least since I decided to stop hoarding it and actually use it. I did pick up another bottle from eBay to replace one I recently finished. So now I’m back up to four bottles (minus one pen fill). Montblanc Bordeaux ink notes.

2. Rohrer and Klingner Blau-Schwarz

Photo of a Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz bottle

I’m not a fan of blue or even blue-black inks, yet this blue-black is a favorite and even moved up the list a couple of slots. Unfortunately it’s a limited edition ink. This ink is a regular in at least one of my pens. Ink Notes

3. Montblanc Permanent Grey

Sheaffer Balance Aspen LE medium nib with Montblanc Permanent Grey ink bottle

A new addition to my list but I’ve grown to really like this ink despite its potential for boredom. It’s a regular in my favorite modern fountain pen which has a nib that brings out the best in this ink. Despite its relatively high cost I bought a second bottle to have on hand. No review yet.

4. Montblanc Toffee Brown

Bottle of Montblanc Toffee Brown Fountain Pen InkI like brown inks and this is my current favorite. I don’t have much to add other than my Edison Menlo is my favorite choice for this ink, although mainly because it’s color coordinated. Montblanc Toffee Brown Ink Notes

5. Montblanc Irish Green

Photo of an open Montblanc Irish Green bottle

Whenever I want a true green ink I keep reaching for this bright green. Ink Notes

Wrapping Up

I obviously have a preference for Montblanc inks, despite not having any of their pens. It just turned out this way. It helps that I trust their ink for my vintage or hard to clean pens since Montblanc intends them for use it their own expensive pens.

The last two inks, Toffee Brown and Irish Green are the most likely to vanish from this list since they aren’t inks I always have inked up. But the first three inks on the list are always in a pen and were easy choices as favorites.

What are your favorite inks?


For Sale – Three Pilot Vanishing Point Barrels

These have been sold.

Time to thin the accumulation a bit. While I like Vanishing Points I really love the Maplewood and the metal VPs aren’t getting much use. So I’m selling off some of the barrels. The nib units are not included. Converters, boxes, and cartridge covers are NOT included either, just the barrel. Nib units are available from retailers such as Goulet Pens.

Shipping in the U.S. is $6 per order (any number of pens in one shipment) and includes tracking and insurance. US addresses only, no international shipping for these pens. I found that USPS has been geographically challenged on my last two international shipments and I don’t want to take the risk at this time. Sorry.

You can use the contact form on the For Sale page or email me at ray [at] fpquest.com. A firm “I want it” along with your email address and I’ll send a Paypal invoice and then will send the pen(s) within 2 days of receiving payment. I’ll also take Square Cash on request.

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black barrel only – This is in good condition with minor signs of wear – Sold

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black for salePilot Vanishing Point Chrome barrel only – In good condition with minor signs of wear – sold

Pilot Vanishing Point Chrome for salePilot Vanishing Point Gunmetal w/black trim barrel only – In good condition with minor signs of wear – Sold

Pilot Vanishing Point Gunmetal for sale

Favorite 5: Vintage Fountain Pens

It’s been just over six months since I last updated my Favorite 5 Vintage Fountain Pens. As I mentioned when I updated my Favorite 5 Modern Fountain Pens, I have instituted a new rule – to be considered the pen must have been used since I last published my favorite five list. In this case this made picking the pens a non-event, I only used 5 vintage pens since October. I do group my Esterbrook J’s and nibs together which does reduce the overall number. A vintage pen is any pen manufactured before I was born. Here’s my current list.

1. Parker Vacumatic Maxima (1942) Silver Pearl with Nickel Trim

Parker Vacumatic Maxima (1942) Pearl GreyThis moves all the way up from the fifth position six months ago. I love this particular finish, it seems I’m attracted to black and gray finishes, and even though the finish is worn through use, that merely enhances its beauty.

The nib is very nail-like but that’s what I like. It’s performance never disappoints me.

2. Esterbrook J (any of them)

Esterbrook J with 8440 nibThis is certainly my most used vintage model. It’s a rare day when at least one Esterbrook isn’t inked. I’d prefer a bigger pen but like my modern KarasKustoms Ink this pen makes the list thanks to its variety. No real review of the pen but the nibs are indexed here with links to their reviews.

3. Esterbrook Dip-Less with #7550 nib

Esterbrook Dip-less in an empty #407 inkwell

Esterbrook Dip-less in an empty #407 inkwell

This has been inked, so to speak, since August 2014 and I use it almost every day, at least for a few words. Part of the attraction is that the pen is different. But I do enjoy writing with it. Review

4. Sheaffer PFM I

Photo of a Sheaffer PFM I on a mirrorThis is borderline vintage. Since most were sold before my birth I choose to believe my specific pens were manufactured before I was born. This is the low end trim for the PFM line but it works well for me. The photo and the review are of my first PFM which was blue. I bought a second PFM I in green which is my color preference. The pens are identical in every way except color. Even the nib performance is identical, at least as much as I can tell. Review

5. Parker Duofold Senior c1928 “Big Red”

Parker Duofold Senior This has always been the classic fountain for me so this makes the list based strictly on emotion, and the fact that is was one of only five vintage pens I used since October. This pen has a tendency to leak a bit from the nib into the cap when being bounced around in my bag, so it tends to stick around the house. While it’s never actually leaked I also hesitate to carry it in my shirt pocket since it is one of the few vintage pens I have where I am paranoid about it leaking. Review

Wrapping Up

I was a little surprised that I only used five vintage fountain pens in the last six months. I have a couple that could have challenged these if I had used them. The Duofold certainly has the a tenuous grip on the list which is no surprise since it’s been on the list and then dropped in the past.

What’s your favorite vintage pen?

Favorite 5: Modern Pens

It’s been a little over six months since I last picked my Favorite 5 modern fountain pens. This time around I decided to impose a new rule – only fountain pens inked since my last favorite five list can be considered. Since I’m fickle with my fountain pens one of the worst things that can happen is I use it so much I get tired of it and move on simply for variety. This rule is what kept the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 from being on this list. It had been inked, on my desk, and used regularly for years. It’s still a fine pen and will be back, but it went on hiatus. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

For the record, a modern pen is anyone manufactured after I was born. So in my accumulation that puts the Sheaffer PFM I’s in the transition period and I classify those as vintage since they were probably manufactured before I was born. One of them could have been used to sign my birth certificate, none of the ones listed here could have.

1. Sheaffer Balance Aspen SE

Sheaffer Balance II AspenThis was my favorite six months ago and remains my favorite today. It’s been inked constantly for the last six months, getting an immediate refill when it went dry. The nib was tuned by Mike Masuyama which certainly helps it hold the #1 position. It’s a medium nib, which isn’t my typical point of choice, but it’s on the fine side of medium which makes it great for all but my smallest writing. Review

2. Pilot Custom 823

Pilot Custom 823 not postedThe Pilot Custom 823 has the classic cigar shape that I love. It moved up from the fourth to the second position on the strength of the nib. I love the fine nib on this pen. I’m not a flex nib person but this nib has a nice spring which enhances the writing experience. It’s a large pen but light and seems custom designed for my hand. Add its large ink capacity and it defines a perfect pen for me. Here’s my review.

3. Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite capped on mirrorA new pen for me and the newest to make this list. Part of the reason it’s here is because of that new pen glow. It’s extra fine nib is almost what keeps it off the list. The nib is a little wetter/wider than I want in an extra fine nib, much wetter and as wide as the Sheaffer Aspen. If I had to pick one, this would be the fountain pen most likely to be missing from my next fav 5 list. We’ll have to see how much that new pen glow contributes to its place on the list. No review yet but I did write my initial thoughts here and here.

#4 KarasKustoms Ink

Gold fountain pen Ink with copper section

Another relatively new fountain pen for me. I didn’t have any the last time I published this list. Now I have several of them. These are excellent pens, and an excellent size for me, but they make this list because of the variety of choices. As I said, I’m fickle. These let me change up barrel colors, gripping section materials and nib sizes. I admit, if I had one of these pens it probably wouldn’t be on the list although it would be frequently used.

#5 Edison Huron Grande

Edison Huron Grande Extra Fine Nib and R&K Blau-Schwarz LE inkThis big, bright fountain pen is new to my favorite 5 list. It has an extra fine nib and I use it as a eye dropper filler so it lasts a long time. This replaced my F-C Model 66 as my desk pen for several months. It was my first, and remains my only, custom pen. No review yet but my initial impressions are here and I wrote about it with one of my favorite inks here.

Wrapping Up

I’m sure this list will be different in six months, but for now these are solidly in the top five. Pens that I have inked get an immediate bump in my opinion so it’s no surprise that the first three pens on the list are currently in my rotation.

In addition to the previously mentioned F-C Model 66 I also dropped the Vanishing Point Maplewood and the Lamy 2000 from the list even though they were used, and enjoyed, in the last six months. I look forward to inking them up again, but I wasn’t wishing for a pen to go dry so I could ink one of them up. I don’t have an KarasKustoms Ink in the rotation (well, a Ink rollerball is in my bag) but I am looking forward to inking one up as I do the Huron Grande since I do miss them.


Fountain Pen Show Season Is Here

Delta Vintage Green with Fine Nib

My first ever pen show purchase

This year’s pen show season is already well underway with Philadelphia and Arkansas, along with the Eastern Pen Show in the UK, already part of history. Although for me it begins (and may end) with the Long Island Pen Show coming March 14th and 15th. I’ve only been to four pen shows (Long Island twice, Boston and Washington DC) so I’m far from an expert, but here’s my pen show strategy.

Pre-Show Prep

  • Check the pen show’s website or Facebook page, if they exist, to see who’ll be at the show and any workshops that may be available.
  • I keep a wishlist of pens I’m interested in buying. If it’s not updated I research typical prices and what I’m willing to pay. Plus any other info about the pen such as finishes or nib sizes I’m interested in. When I was collecting Esterbrook nibs I kept a list of the ones I didn’t have along with what they were generally selling for if they became available along which which ones were on the rare side.
  • I make of a list of pens or brands I want to see even if I’m not particularly interested in purchasing one of them. For example, when considering Pelikan M800 and M1000 I took a look at several samples at a show and was able to write with one of each. This let me know that the M800 was more my type of pen, but I wasn’t ready to buy until recently.
  • Set a budget. It’s easy to go crazy at a pen show so I set a budget. This also forces me to be more careful about what I buy. I don’t want to hit my limit and then find something I really want.
  • Generally, pen shows are more vintage than modern, although Washington DC is big enough so almost all brands and models of modern pens are represented. Smaller shows, like Long Island may not have a lot of modern brands. So adjust your expectations accordingly.

Part of the pen show fun is finding and learning about new things so I certainly don’t limit myself to these lists.

Esterbrook Dollar Bandless with 9555 nib

My first ever vintage purchase was at a pen show.

Things to Bring

  • Bottled water and energy bars/snacks. Most shows (if not all) have some sort of restaurant or cafeteria at the show so this is optional but it does make it easier to stay in the show if you’re pressed for time.
  • A loupe to examine nibs.
  • A pen case to hold any pen purchases, especially used pens which may not have a case.
  • A bag or backpack to carry any purchases. Many vendors will have bags so this is optional and also depends on how much you could potentially buy.
  • A vial of water. It can be used to test vintage pens for leaks. It’s not a bad idea but I admit I’ve never used it and didn’t bring one my last show. Some vendors will allow you to dip pens. But always ask before filling with water or ink.
  • A pocket notebook and pen to make any notes.
  • Cell phone. You’ll probably already have this just because you carry it all the time. But it can be used to take pictures of things you want to remember. You might be considering a pen but decide to move on and see what else is available. Take a picture of it and the table it’s at. This can also replace your pocket notebook, but where’s the fun in that?

At the show

CS Marlborough with Binder Stub Nib

My first nibmeister visit – also at a pen show

  • If I want nib work done the first thing I do is find the nibmeister I want to do the work and get on their list. Maybe not all of them maintain a list, but the three I’ve been to at nib shows did. While it may vary by person, if all you need is a nib tuning it’s probably OK to be inked, but if it’s going to be ground to a new point it should be empty. It never hurts to bring the pen empty since they’ll have ink to test it with. Richard Binder has a pen show FAQ, while specific to him it will give you a general idea of what to expect from anyone else.
  • Either first (if I don’t look for the nibmeister) or second (if I do) I make a pass around the entire show to get a general lay of the land pen show. Unless there’s something I want and it’s rare or a really good price I won’t do any actual shopping yet.
  • Enjoy the rest my time at the show.
  • I usually buy ink and paper when I’m getting ready to leave (unless, of course, it’s a bottle of Montblanc Bordeaux for $10) so I don’t have to carry around the heavier items.

Anything suggestions or anything I missed?

Additional Reading

I wrote about my first pen show and the Washington DC show.

2014 Atlanta Pen Show – The Pen Addict

2014 Commonwealth Pen Show (Boston) – Modern Stationer

2014 Long Island Pen Show – EDJelley.com