Recapping My First Pen Show

Photo of my pen show haul

I just got back from my first pen show, the Long Island Pen Show. The photo above shows my new additions. All-in-all it was an enjoyable day.

I left on time with 24 oz. of fresh brewed coffee for the two hour trip. I arrived shortly after the 10am public opening and was a bit surprised that initially there wasn’t much of a crowd and there were several empty tables. But vendors were still arriving and setting up. Before long the tables were full and the crowd had grown. Since this is my first show I can’t compare it to any others. I’d estimate there were 40 – 45 tables (most – vendors had more than one table). I’m guessing, but vintage tables seemed to considerably outnumber modern.

So how did I do on my pen show list?

Upon arrival I decided to do a quick lap around the room to get an idea of what was there. When I got to Richard Binders table I saw his list wasn’t very long so I added my name and went on to continue browsing, A couple hours later the factory medium nib on my Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage had been stubbed and adjusted. I’m using it to write the draft of this article and the pen now writes as good as it looks.

CS Marlborough with Binder Stub Nib

While I did a lot of browsing, all my purchases came from Anderson Pens which had a entire row of tables to themselves, just inside the door.

I got my third list item first since that was the easiest – a Delta Vintage in Green with a Fine Nib. It’s a small pen and I’ve been hesitant on small pens since I’m finding some of them less comfortable to use these days. But this one seemed comfortable and I’m lacking in green pens despite it being my favorite color, so I bought it.

I did make one stupid mistake. The pens doesn’t come with a convertor and it’s too small for a standard size convertor. I had planned to work through my various cartridges with it. But since I was at a pens show I really should have looked for a Monteverde Mini convertor, which apparently fits, to see how well it fits. The first ink in this one was Pelikan Brilliant Green cartridge. Although I haven’t actually used it yet.

Delta Vintage Green with Fine Nib
Delta Vintage with fine nib

Then it was time for my first vintage pen. There were several Parkers and Esterbrooks to choose from. I was in a green mood I guess, because I was drawn to several green Esterbrooks. I ended up picking this one because of its fine, firm nib.

Esterbrook Dollar Bandless with 9555 nib
Esterbrook Dollar Bandless with 9555 nib

When I got home I looked up the 9555 nib and found it was a “Firm Fine – Gregg Shorthand”. I purposely din’t ask too much about the pen, I was looking for a pen I liked and didn’t want to be swayed by history. Brian did mention it was a Bandless. I did some quick research and found it’s a dollar pen made for a short time just before WWII. Finally, something in the house that’s older than me.

Those were my only pen purchases. I did get some ink. Montblanc Burgundy Red and Irish Green. The now discontinued Bordeaux and Racing Green where two of my favorite inks. While not the same color, the new inks looked good on the swabs.

I did see some Faceted Vanishing Points but didn’t pull the trigger. None really caught my attention and I didn’t want to buy one just to be able to check a box off my list. I did see that it will be comfortable enough for me (the modern ones are too) so at least now I’d be willing to buy one online if I see one I like. Otherwise it will be back on my list for D.C. and I’ll search harder.

I compared the Pelikan M800 and M1000. I like them both but the M800 was a bit more to my liking, mainly because of the nib. I suspect I’ll add one eventually. Maybe I’ll win the Tortoise that FP Geeks is giving away.

I did see the Delta 82’s. The pen looks great but I’m passing for now.

I didn’t compare the Montblanc 146 & 149’s. I’m sure they were there but I didn’t see them. I have to admit, I didn’t look very hard or ask if anyone had them.

While there were Edison production line pens there I was more interested in the material for the Signature Line pens. I have Signature Line pen on my list for this year. I’m sure Edison Pens will be in DC so I can see the selection there. Also, as expected, no Nakaya’s so I’ll wait until DC.

Wrapping Up

I’m happy with my first show and it was a good day. I was able to restrain myself and stick to my list. I even decided to wait  and see what other VPs might be out there, It’s very unlike me to show that much restraint when I have pen money in my pocket. But the promise of the D.C. show makes it easier to show restraint.

Just looking up the Esterbrook information has me hooked. It gives me some focus and a starting point, rather than just reading a bunch of information. I wanted to limit myself to one vintage pen and pick one strictly based on whether or not I like it, rather than a specific model. Buying it in person also avoids potential disappointment when the pen arrives.

Now that the show is over (for me that is – it runs through Sunday) I’m really looking forward to the Washington D.C. show.

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