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Thread: Newbie question re Pen shows.

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    Default Newbie question re Pen shows.

    Middle aged Pen lover, in the UK, never been to a pen show.
    Thinking of going to one. (when this covid flap is finished).
    What will I find at a show? (Am I gonna need a bucket of cash?)
    London or Bristol are the closest.

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    Senior Member RobJohnson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    There is usually a pen show in Bristol in february but that has been postponed until 2022.

    https://ukpenshows.co.uk/

    The next London pen show is planned for June, usually at Russel Square.

    What will you find there? You will find many dealer tables with hundreds and hundreds of pens for sale, plenty of ink and notebooks, you can spend a little or a fortune, some dealers will take cards instead of cash but they are in the minority.

    I really do not know what will happen to pen shows in 2021, I cannot think of a worse environment for the transmission of the virus than in a very crowded exhibition hall with too many people in close proximity to each other staring down at dealer tables and handling pens and so on, social distancing being very difficult.

    If I have a criticism of pen shows in the UK it is that they are less of an event and more to do with dealers selling stock with not much in the way of manufacturers participation.

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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    Primarily, you will find wisdom and answers to questions you've had, and answers to questions you didn't know you had until you walked through the show. Vendors and fellow pen fans will be eager to share their knowledge. You will also find camaraderie with people who share your interests, and you'll likely make new friends. There will be a wide variety of pens that you can actually try before you buy, and there will be plenty in your price range. As a result, you will feel happier and more confident in your purchases and more motivated in your search for your perfect pen(s). You will make contact with specialists who know how to maintain and repair your pens, and they may show you how if you want to DIY. Oh, you will enjoy yourself!

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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    Here is a Youtube vid of the London Pen Show, it includes me but is still worth watching if you want a good idea as to what a pen show is like.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_wVv9ozKjw

    eta Just watched it again after many years, nice to see Henry Simpole again.
    Last edited by RobJohnson; January 1st, 2021 at 09:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Primarily, you will find wisdom and answers to questions you've had, and answers to questions you didn't know you had until you walked through the show. Vendors and fellow pen fans will be eager to share their knowledge. You will also find camaraderie with people who share your interests, and you'll likely make new friends. There will be a wide variety of pens that you can actually try before you buy, and there will be plenty in your price range. As a result, you will feel happier and more confident in your purchases and more motivated in your search for your perfect pen(s). You will make contact with specialists who know how to maintain and repair your pens, and they may show you how if you want to DIY. Oh, you will enjoy yourself!
    This post really provides a terrific and accurate response to the OP's question.
    And it makes me realize just how much I miss the shows!! Usually by now (first of the new year) I am chomping at the bit to get to the LA Show and I have all my arrangements like hotel and airplane reservations set.

    Resumption of the shows and all the good things which come with them..... as FredRydr has so nicely detailed..... cannot come soon enough!!

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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karen View Post
    Middle aged Pen lover, in the UK, never been to a pen show.
    Thinking of going to one. (when this covid flap is finished).
    What will I find at a show? (Am I gonna need a bucket of cash?)
    London or Bristol are the closest.
    You will find more pens than you can shake a stick at - and then some.

    I would suggest maybe arranging to meet some fellow FPGeeks through this forum for lunch so that you can discuss pens and swap ideas about what is up for sale.

    Have a think about what you want - or don't want - that will help you focus - and the sellers are very helpful. An idea of brand/nib/colour can be useful

    "Do you have an X with a broad nib?" helps you navigate the stalls with much more ease than - "Do you have any nice pens?"

    A lot of the stock is vintage/2nd hand - if you want a Parker 51, you will be in luck.

    Do not be afraid to haggle, and do not be afraid to walk away. Some of the vendors charge a premium for limited edition pens, which you may find cheaper elsewhere.


    At the last pen show a lot of retailers had card machines - so cash was less important that a couple of years ago. There is a cash point around the corner at the London show.

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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Karen View Post
    Middle aged Pen lover, in the UK, never been to a pen show.
    Thinking of going to one. (when this covid flap is finished).
    What will I find at a show? (Am I gonna need a bucket of cash?)
    London or Bristol are the closest.
    You will find more pens than you can shake a stick at - and then some.

    I would suggest maybe arranging to meet some fellow FPGeeks through this forum for lunch so that you can discuss pens and swap ideas about what is up for sale.

    Have a think about what you want - or don't want - that will help you focus - and the sellers are very helpful. An idea of brand/nib/colour can be useful

    "Do you have an X with a broad nib?" helps you navigate the stalls with much more ease than - "Do you have any nice pens?"

    A lot of the stock is vintage/2nd hand - if you want a Parker 51, you will be in luck.

    Do not be afraid to haggle, and do not be afraid to walk away. Some of the vendors charge a premium for limited edition pens, which you may find cheaper elsewhere.


    At the last pen show a lot of retailers had card machines - so cash was less important that a couple of years ago. There is a cash point around the corner at the London show.

    All good.

    I like to take a break and go for a coffee half way through the morning, the coffee at the Holiday Inn where the London Show is as horrible as it is expensive but if you want to chat that is where most people go. This is one of those times when it is useful to join strangers at their cofee table and say 'Hi, what have you found that is good.' There is usually one dealer near the entrance who has a 'pen show special'. last time he had new coin filler Conklins for 10. Year before it was a display case, year before that it was some crackin' notebooks for 1/10 regular price.

    The trouble with the London Pen Show is limited space and too many people although I cannot see that being a problem, or a big problem anyway. The other issue is table size, the tables are not that big and the dealer wants to use every inch of space so in Fred's ideal pen show you would sit down with the dealer and try their stock and have a chat, at London, at least during the early part of the day, that is just not going to happen.

    I agree with Sandy, it is better to arrange a meeting with someone similar to yourself so that you can get the most out of the show.

    In terms of where to eat for lunch , I know I am a fussy bugger - I like good food at a reasonable price, every place I have found around the London Pen show has been a) crap and b) expensive so I would rather have a coffee and a sandwich at a Pret a Manger, where you know the quality is right, there is a large Pret opposite Russell Square tube and just 2 minutes walk from the show.

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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    In terms of where to eat for lunch , I know I am a fussy bugger - I like good food at a reasonable price, every place I have found around the London Pen show has been a) crap and b) expensive so I would rather have a coffee and a sandwich at a Pret a Manger, where you know the quality is right, there is a large Pret opposite Russell Square tube and just 2 minutes walk from the show.[/QUOTE]

    dapprman introduced me to Pizzeria Sofia at 50 Tavistock Square - it's a 5 minute walk from the pen show and has rather delicious Roman style pizzas that are not expensive.

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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    If only the shows were not on a Sunday. I could easily do any other day, but a Sunday. One year, I looked at getting to the show in Cambridge, but the place I would stay at does not have a Sunday train service. A not-Sunday, would also mean I'd be able to get down to London and back within a day on the train. .

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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    London is the big one; best to get there early if you want to be able to have a chat with people before it gets busy. John Sorowka was very friendly and helpful the first pen show I went to (Cambridge IIRC), really helped me get orientated and understand more about pens. I also keep a lookout for the parts box/breaker pens boxes at London, there are almost always some user grade pens which can be a cheap way to get into vintage.

    It's best to go with cash, but there are ATMs nearby of course. And it's also best to go with a postcard on which you've written the things you're really looking for, or want to find out about, otherwise you'll never keep on track.

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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    It should be noted that the London Show when it resumes is not to be in The Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury, it was considered it had grown too big for that location and is now to be in a hotel to the western end of London, can't remember where exactly. Link to the UK Pen Shows site https://ukpenshows.co.uk/london-spri...7th-june-2021/

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    Senior Member RobJohnson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie question re Pen shows.

    The nearest tube station is Hammersmith which is on the District Line. The walk is about 0.3 mile along Talgarth Road although there looks to be good parking next to the hotel

    DATE: 27th JUNE 2021

    Novotel London West

    1 Shortlands

    Hammersmith

    London, W6 8DR

    It will be interesting to see how well attended the show will be, will people be hungry enough to take a Covid risk, assuming restrictions have been lifted.

    Will buyers and sellers want to come to London and travel on public transport and go into an exhibition hall, we wouldn;t have thought twice in 2019.

    A wait and see scenario.
    Last edited by RobJohnson; January 11th, 2021 at 12:27 PM.

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