Dan Lavin has given a great write up on the Zoss List of his experience at the Ohio Pen Show this year. If you’re not familiar with the Zoss List it is a free internet mailing list created by Tom Zoss for discussing and selling vintage and modern fountain pens. I highly suggest you check it out and subscribe to the digest edition to get a feel for what it’s like. You can also browse through the archives going back to September 2005. Also, please be sure to read the rules and visit the FAQ in case you have any questions.
Dan Lavin’s part of the Ohio Pen Show conversation is given below. Please subscribe to the Zoss List or check out the archives for more great discussions of the show and other items related to fountain pens.
It has to be somewhat brief as I can always wax poetic about attending pen shows. This show was particularly successful for me thanks in part to the Zoss list and Pentrace where I placed a WTB list a week before leaving. As a result of my ad, looking for an oversize Conklin Nozac nib and a blue on blue Parker Lapis Duo Sr., barrel and a white on blue Duo Sr. cap I realized my highest expectations when Tom Heath brought me the nib I needed and Jeff Krasny sent me another nib with Andy. Voila – 2 oversize Nozac nibs for 2 pens I can now write with!!! And Dr. David saw my post and brought me the exact parts I needed and after a brief, amicable, enjoyable swap, I now have 2 Parker Duo. Sr. lapis pens made from my parts.
Starting on Thursday the energy was once again, wonderful. Terry, Ben and Matt go out of their way to make everyone feel at home and they are always successful at that and in running a wonderful pen get together. On Thursday a single room was used by anyone wanting a limited set up as this is actually a pre-show day. I met with lots of old friends and spent the evening in the bar talking = what else? Pens.
On Friday, dealers with tables could begin setting up at around 7:00 am and by 9:00 most who had already arrived at the show were set up. The Lott brothers had their 4 tables of parts ready to go and I was a constant visitor. If you cannot find a nib or a part or a pen at their tables you just are not looking. Close to the Lotts was Ariel Kullock and his now fiancee showing their new masterpieces and already doing a brisk business. On Friday, dealers and collectors straggle in throughout the day. For me, success was in buying some Parker mini jotters, however, that being said, had I brought $20,000.00 to spend on pens and desk sets, I could have been emptied out by 2:00. Many very fine and rare pens available.
Some collectors who have been pretty much out of the hobby for years for a variety of reasons suddenly were here, much to my delight. Especially nice to see Doug Berg from Michigan and Lee Anderson back with their brothers in arms.
The Thursday night auction was fun and I was content to sit back and relax but I ended up assisting the M boys and while walking pens around the room during the bidding I ended up buying lots I had no intention on bidding on and in bidding on many more lots. So much for self restraint. Only a very few lots did not meet reserve so many buyers went away very happy such as Rob Bader, who provided a lot of entertainment with his bidding technique, if you can call it that.
The show closes down around 5 or 5:30 on Friday with over night security in place so collectors gathered in groups to go out for dinner and then back to the hotel for drinks, smoking and lots and lots of pen talk. To an outsider we must have looked pretty boring but to those participating, the discussions were enervating and entertaining. A lot of knowledge about pens was exchanged and many stories were exchanged.
On Sat. Dan and I only had a half day to complete our missions so I had to make a lot of quick decisions. Word to the wise – be very careful before buying that desirable pen you are holding and coveting – be careful because you can be very disappointed if you do not do your due diligence. In my case I found what appeared to be a great # 6 Leboeuf sleeve filler for a very reasonable price. But as good as the pen looked, before pulling the trigger I took out my LED magnifying glass and examined the pen closely, knowing that this plastic was volatile. And I was very disappoint to uncover not one but 2 very tight and almost unnoticeable cracks moving up the barrel. This pen is destined to disintegrate in the future and has to be considered a parts pen. In the darkened hallway without my lighting a glass, I would have bought that pen in a NY minute.
So many happy campers by Saturday morning. Much fatigue also. Trying to buy, sell and trade non stop exacts its toll. By mid-afternoon many dealers are toast. Nap time anyone? I missed the Sat. night auction but there were a number of very nice items. Lucky for me I had already run out of the cash I had brought and I was not about to start hitting the old checkbook. But I will miss the Wahl coral desk pen with hand painted work – very rare piece which I knew would not go cheap enough to suit me and my pocketbook. Because of Terry and his sons and the high degree of devotion to vintage, I always look forward to the Columbus show and have not missed many of its 17 years. And I always go home with having had the pleasure of meeting so many of my friends, having made new friends, having caught up with people I have not seen in years and always with some new items for my collections. Sales? I did not bring anything for sale. I am just interested in every other aspect of going to pen shows, as I have for the last 30 + years. Don Lavin