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    Default Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Pen Show Dynamics.

    My thread about one of the cases full of pens I bought at the Los Angeles Pen Show last weekend prompted discussion about a number of issues related to pen shows, particularly the pricing of pens found there, the difference in tenor of the show on different days within the four day event, and the hunting of pens at good prices. That thread can be seen here, with more eye candy yet to come (as of Feb 19)


    http://www.fpgeeks.com/forum/showthr...14-Booty-Shots

    Some frustration was expressed that buyers did not find bargains. I don't begrudge that emotion, and certainly will not endeavor to talk anyone out of such feelings/positions, but I figured it was time to address some of the larger issues about pen shows, to put things a bit in perspective. I certainly am not new to the pen show experience. I've been to more than 100 in my 15+ years in our hobby, and- hell- I still consider myself a proud hack amateur newbie, though some have given me grief for that claim. Something tells me this will end up as a Profile over at Vacumania.com

    Here are a couple of some of the reviews I did ten years ago 2003. You might recognize some of us, a bit thinner, with darker hair...

    Los Angeles 2003. For Stylophiles Online. 11 years later I still share room with Mike Dvoretz. Show host Boris, now 82, has not been able to attend the last few years. I bought some gem old pens from him back when.

    http://www.stylophilesonline.com/archive/jan03/03la.htm

    Philadelphia 2003, run by Berliner Pen, no longer an active dealer, though I'm happy to run into Geoff and Bernie here and there.

    Philly http://www.stylophilesonline.com/arc...an03/03phl.htm

    My friend Richard, who I met via pen shows long before he set up restoring pens on site, when he was hawking post cards with pens shown on vintage scenes/advertising, offered a guide to the show scene on his website, essentially a synthesis of jabber engaged in by those of us who ponder such things (as both of us do), but of course from Richard's perspective on it.

    “First Show” by Richard.

    http://www.richardspens.com/?page=re.../firstshow.htm

    And, “rules” by Susan Wirth, hosted by Richard, back in 2004. Susan's points are well taken, even if the Internet is bigger today than it was even then. While we had some listservs, and one threaded board, there were no forum-based pen message boards online then, yet most of us managed to do just fine. Those of you who are unhappy with pen pricing set by table holders probably should at least consider Susan's points.

    http://www.richardspens.com/?page=re...ules_wirth.htm


    Pen shows started back in the very early 1980's, and while pen friends already had hosted occasional home gatherings, the meetings in Don Lavin's basement in Chicago served as nidus for what became the first formal Pen Show, the Chicago Pen Show, now more than 30 years old and still running. Pen Shows started as vintage events, trading amongst collectors who still found many pens in the wild, when Cliff Lawrence's paperback guide and Pen Fancier's Magazine were not yet enough to set well defined structure for pen pricing such as we have today. Baskets full of old unrestored pens were tossed on tables, trading was based perhaps more on “Oooh, I like this one” as “But, my Wahl Decoband is worth $50 but your Parker red double jewel Vac Major is worth only $30; you need to come up with more for the trade”. Rivalry existed for “finding the best pen in the show”, and it really was as much or more about finding something neat as today it is “paying big bucks to buy something special”. If you're not sure of the difference, you need to spend more time at pen show dinners with me, Erano, Wirth, Binder, Lehrer, Nishimura, Hoover, Minhas and many others.

    Pen shows had started before there was an internet, before there were more than a handful of books and magazines about pens, when the only way to buy modern pens was from store or from catalogue (few at that) and when the only way to buy old pens was to find them, to buy from the very few sources (eg. Lawrence's PFM) that offered them retail, to go to a (also rare) local gathering or show to trade or to buy from those who had found old pens. Even as shows became more formal things, vintage dominated.

    Unlike my original thead with the 58-pens-in-30-minutes chat, in which some lamented that Sunday (the affordable public day) saw “retail only” sales by table holders, a position with which I somewhat disagree, in the old days Sunday was a major opportunity for bargains, since for those who had come to a pen show, paying for flights, table, hotel, food (today, this can run more than $1000 per show, and there is no guarantee of earning it back in sales), that once or twice per year event was their main chance to sell at anything other than steeeeep wholesale to the couple known dealers.

    Thus, on Sunday afternoon, facing taking all that stock home for another six months, many table holders were very happy to sell a bunch of pens at discount. The fellow with fat wallet could do quite well at 3pm on Sunday. This is far less so today, as in the era of Ebay, Message Boards, personal Websites and other online venues, returning home from pen shows with one's stock in hand is well less anxiety provoking to those who actually feel the need to move stock than it was back then

    Realize too that most of the people you encounter online, even seemingly “big names”, are still Second Fandom within the organized hobby of collectable pendom, that hobby dating arguably to 1977 when Cliff published his first book, lending a sense of organization to what had once been merely individuals hunting something they liked to hoard. Many of us date to the 1990's in the hobby, well seasoned now with 15-25 years in play, but still not the First Fandom starting in the early '80s or earlier, those who found oodles of pens at flea markets and via ads in newspapers, local circulars, the occasional national antiques mag. It was via pen shows that most of us met first fandom, the truly early players. It is at pen shows that today's newbies meet the major forces in our hobby, mostly made up of Second Fandom players

    Pen Shows today are a bit of a different beast, most dominated by modern pens, featuring tables held not just by collectors but by dedicated full time retailers of (usually) modern pens. Some shows can cost more than $1000 to attend, factoring in Hotel, Travel, Table, Food, Drink. It can be argued that modern pen collecting in America owes a great deal to the evolution of pen shows created by collectors of old pens, stimulating interest in fountain pens in general here in the USA where there were very few products available in the USA by the mid 1980's.

    I do poke a bit at the touchy-feely element that pops up a bit on internet pen chat. Realize that those who take tables at shows do so to buy and to sell pens at prices they deem appropriate, prices based on their experience, and on their choices regarding positioning themselves in the overall market. Some will succeed more than others. Many of course are happy to encourage newbies, at least philosophically, but complaining that a dealer is failing to energize the new population by cutting is price in half on some pen one just must have, is akin to opining that Lexus is failing to create a customer base if it does not drop price on its coupe from $44,000 to $31,000 to facilitate my buying one. There in fact is huge opportunity to bargain and to find bargains at pen shows, but invoking some sort of obligation on behalf of those selling their own pens seems to me not to be reasonable.

    Am I “connected” when it comes to buying pens, particularly old pens? Maybe. I'm known, I have an active website, I've networked with collectors for fifteen years, I can buy collections en masse when the time for that is right and when the opportunity presents itself. I know the market enough to pay a fair wholesale price while having the outlet to market pens to allow me to do that. It took me four years after college to become a doctor, one more year to get a license to practice, two years beyond that (completing Residency) to become Board Eligible then Certified. 7 years. I'm not sure how good I am at pen collecting, though I harbor conceit about being a pretty good doctor. But, if one can become a practicing doctor in 7 years, the active pursuit of collecting, including buying/selling/appraising, should allow for a hefty skill set/market role after 15 years in play. And I say that accounting for Richard's frequent screed that “Some people get ten years experience in ten years; some people get just one year of experience ten times over”. Not everyone grows into a force in buying/selling either d/t skills or d/t direction. Not everyone wants that. I know some 30 year veteran collectors who never have sold a pen.

    Do bargains happen at pen shows? Yes. They can happen freshly, without prior connection, without collections “meeting” one at the show (brough to the show for a pre-made deal). They can involve chunky collections. To do so with entire collections though requires a bit of luck, the ability to fairly rapidly evaluate a collection for a reasonable wholesale-retail spread and for its affordability on one's budget. If one has $20k to spend even tapping reserves, a $100k collection (wholesale value) just won't happen, though there are approaches even to that situation (partnerships, etc). But, more important than assessing the collection, when one wishes to buy pens en masse at pen show, is assessing the potential seller. This can be tricky. Figuring out directly or indirectly that someone is amenable to selling a large bunch of pens and is not holding out for retail price on each pen takes... practice. Being willing to take a whole collection or a diffuse chunk of it can be key. You can't walk over to sellers after watching a mass deal occur and hope to get one pen at a proportional price. Doesn't work that way. Learning to judge who is ready to leave the hobby and who is a full time retailer in no rush takes.. practice.

    The collection I bought at LA this year is a prime example. It did not meet me there. The seller had had no particular plan to sell it to me. He did not have a firm plan how to sell it. He had a hoard of mostly near-modern pens he in turn had bought en masse years ago. I won't... and really cannot... offer a protocol to you for how to do that dance, but I explored with him if he was up for a mass sale. I discussed how it could work from my perspective. I found out if my view was in sync with his view. Had he not been up for mass sale, had my view of value been out of sync with his, I would have passed. There were plenty of people who had for sale as many pens of this sort, but had a goal set not in sync with my approach. I don't complain about that or about them. I just moved on. I myself would not (at least not in my current state of life) have sold the pens at the price I bought them. Someone approaching me could not have made this deal, were the pens mine. That's the gam. But, the arrangement of pens, the discusison that ensued suggested this was my kind of deal. Pen bud Ed Fingerman (First Fandom no doubt) who was hanging out during the chat (and who was making similar overtures) and I each took a a huge chunk of the fountain pens, and were able to skip the BP/RB/Pencils for the most part. The few nice vintage pens were icing on the cake. And after all that, a hefty degree of bargaining still was required. Here are those pens; absent are one of the black/pearl Duofolds, a Mosaic Duofold and a purple Connaisser by Sheaffer, all of which I in turn sold from my table within a day. I bought these on Friday, and early trading day.

    To buy modern-ish pens at good prices one also should recognize the sweet spot in depreciation for these things. Most modern pens lose value within a couple years of issue. Some never regain it. Some do, but usually after a lull. Some dealer/collectors have made a business of buying hoards of these things near nadir, then waiting sometimes 5-10 years for the pens to gain a collector following. This can be risky. But, they don't expect to find recent issue high demand pens at bargain prices. There might be a lesson there for those unhappy about attending a pen show and not finding a recent issue high demand pen at bargain price



    Ahhh.. pen shows, no doubt one of my key joys in the hobby.

    When you go to a pen show, you should consider paying the $50 to be an Early Trader, to join the fun 2-3 days before the “retail day”, for those shows that still reserve Sunday for that. At least several multi-thousand dollar vintage pens traded hands Thursday and Friday. Keep in mind that four figures is non-trivial for an old pen, though modern monstrosities-- I mean masterpieces-- cross that line indeed rather trivially. The people who bought those old pens did not get bargains. What those Early Traders got via early attendance was... access. Of course, to appreciate that one must be steeped in the hobby enough to recognize what is special to serious collectors. I see and can turn down all day Parker Vacumatic Senior Maxima. But the two little Vacumatic prototypes I scored at this show? Just marvelous.

    Bargains for the non-connected non-player? They happen. Anyone could have bought the Stipula Etruria 991 tenth-anniversary pen that was sitting on a collector's table this weekend. I don't collect modern pens, though if I did so, Etruria would probably be the one with which I were to start. I had the original fat cigar amber pen back in 1997, a few years old already iirc, back before I was into old pens, found at Bertram's Inkwell at nice discount from retail. I regret selling it. During the 15 years since the Etruria that most appealed to me was the 991. Vintage-look cellulose acetate with glorious trim. I think it retailed $700, eventually drifted down in a couple years (there is that pattern again) to $350 or so, now back up selling around retail. I found one in box on a table asking $275. So I bought it. But, the price hardly was special for me. Hell, some of the “special prices” for me at pen shows are prices raised above normal, by those anticipating negotiation when I wander through But, this was a rare Happy David modern pen buy, no doubt.

    Realize that at the pen show, traders have a huge agenda range. Some need (whether admitted or not) or just want to blow out half a collection. Others are secure retailers with (today) a huge internet buying base or with a large brick-and-morter operation. They are quite fine with your not buying a pen because they won't cut it below a gray-market internet price. Bargaining, whining, wheedling, posturing... won't help. Others are collectors like you, who take a table to move a few pens and to have a place to chill. No joke, after my first two pen shows (Boston and Philly) in 1999, I ended up taking a half table at my next show even though I had nothing to sell, just to have a place to rest. Pen shows are more exhausting for me than a 12 hour shift at the hospital. But, the collector-owned tables do offer opportunity, for deals both on new and on old pens. But, watch out for those with problems, revealed and hidden. You can get taken for a ride on a pen that has been, as we say, played with. But, collector-tables offer better chance to trade, better chance to find a new-ish pen that was bought to begin with below retail and that is not dear to the owner's heart, perhaps to be offered for less still than its original cost to him. But, again, you have to explore the psychology involved and have to know your market. There is no tag to wear that says, “I came to pen show only to find a discounted pen, so damn it, sell me a discounted pen!”

    So, Sunday. Sunday used to be a day for bargains because many sellers had no outlet to sell pens besides the show. That day is gone. Pens you see on tables in some cases have traded hands a couple times at the show, priced up each time. Big collections offering bargains have been scooped up. Many owners don't mind taking pens home to sell on websites or on ebay, but still there are opportunities.

    My suggestion is go to the pen show for what it offers uniquely, an opportunity to immerse in the culture of collectable pendom among a horde of like minded collectors. Connect to the connected crowd and/or old guard. Do dinners. Sit in the lobby on Friday until 1 am and talk to those who have been to dozens of these, who have owned and/or sold some of the Great Pens. Circle the bourse on Thursday and Friday, when there is no public crowd pressure and show you gem pens to those who sit behind the tables. You might be surprised what you learn. Acquiring superficial pen knowledge and learning the trappings and simple facts today is perhaps depressingly easy. What once took major hunting of info now often requires just reading a book or peeking at an online profile or seeking crowd-sourced answers on message boards, the latter sometimes of dubious value. If you talk to some who are First or Second Fandom, you might hear some disdain for the mass answers found online, where five newbies who “know” shout down a valuable tidit offered by a Nishimura, Erano, Hamilton. But, gaining depth of knowledge is difficult even today. Pen shows give you the chance to see how seasoned collectors interact, to watch a 30 minute back and forth about clip evolution for the Parker Vacumatic, to preview new pen books, to watch restoration masters do their work. You might find a Visconti at lower price than the best gray-market website, but you might not. But, you should be going to pen shows for reasons beyond bottom feeding on a specific pen.

    Different shows offer different opportunities. LA is a massive show and one of the best in my view. The last five years I have done my largest scale show buying for my website and collection at this show. But Sunday indeed is nuts, probably the biggest public presence on any pen show on any day. You won't catch the pen show culture or benefit from the willingness to share wisdom by dealer/collectors if you go only then.

    Thoughts?

    Regards

    David
    Last edited by david i; February 23rd, 2014 at 04:29 PM.
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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    David, your comments are insightful, valuable and instructive! Thank you for the effort you put into this post. It is a real contribution to learning to appreciate the culture surrounding pen collecting in general and the pen show environment in particular. When we began collecting, Roger Cromwell's class in Philly addressed early on identifying what kind of pen person one is: A user, collector or investor (or a mixed-breed). His perspective helped refine our goals and confirm our identity within this experience. You, too, have done a fine job, using your own life experience, explaining how you have accomplished your own goals and perhaps as an outcome helping newbies better understand how to best navigate within pendom. It is always fun to learn new things from you at a show about the pens you manage to amass. Those of us who will never do what you do still can appreciate what you have put together that you so beautifully write about, photograph and catalog for posterity. You are a fun mentor at the shows. Thanks again for all the clarifying comments you made. I am sure it will help many going forward.

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    David, thanks very much for the very informative post. As one who only has 35 pens and has never attended a pen show, I found this post to be very helpful indeed. I was most interested by what you said concerning the difficulty of gaining "a depth of knowledge". While I have found pen forums to be helpful in general, I have also found that people on the boards can be confrontational and dismissive. This can make it difficult the newbie to find the needed information. I have also turned to books for help and have found them to be helpful and yet still wanting. I guess one needs multiple sources of information. While this can be mildly frustrating at times, it also makes to journey more interesting. Thanks again for your perspective.

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Thanks for giving us 'newbies' a little history of pen shows from a decades-long perspective of experience. Though I've only been to one show, the one in DC, I did find sellers cutting prices, sometimes drastically, in comparison to previous days, in the last hours of the show; maybe in LA the expectation is that the general public has deeper pockets?...While I'm sure that a buyer/collector/pen enthusiast who knows what they're looking for and is knowledgeable about the history of pens would be better equipped to recognize the value of a pen at a show when it comes up, those bemoaning the high prices on Sunday were not the general public, and it does seem like the prices on pens have gone up in the last few years, just looking at the prices in archived sales. Speaking of 'depth of knowledge', even at the show, it was interesting to observe some variation, not only in prices, but also in each seller's perspective on the nib variation of certain brands of vintage pens, depending on their particular area of specialization, or interest.
    Last edited by bluefeathers; February 19th, 2014 at 11:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    David, I think you are definitely well connected. :P

    I'm sure pen shows differ, the one I attended didn't even have a public day and private day. It just had its weekend and you paid to enter whichever day you went.

    And I'm sure it makes a huge difference that I'm not really a collector, I'm a user. I happen to have a niche I love to use which creates a "collection" so to speak. But I'm not really a collector. I look for pens I want to use, not pens to fill a "hole." And my budget is a fraction of what we're talking about above. A $700 pen for $350 isn't a bargain for a user like me, because my whole pen show budget (when I went) was $150. (Plus the money I brought to have a nib ground.) That puts things in a whole other range. I buy antique, I have really zero interest in most modern pens either. And maybe pen shows post internet really just cater to the higher rollers? Perhaps the lower end antique collecting market has moved almost entirely online? Because I found it very, very difficult to find those fun quirky pens for under $200 that I enjoy.

    My other question to pen show expects... Frequently dinners and drinks events are mentioned... Yet as someone who I think is at least a familiar name on a board like this, and would love to meet folks in person, how does one even find out about, or snag an invite to these events? I would have loved to spend some time with pen folks just talking pens and passing things around and sharing stories, but I suppose I'm just not well known enough? Again, this is probably linked to my inability to buy and sell at the level of many others and I understand that. I'm really not trying to be whiney, just wondering how a small change pen enthusiast might get to rub shoulders with the pen elite a little tiny bit.
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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    A lot of information here and answers to questions I never even had before I read the answer, so thank you, David!

    tandaina, I also swim in very shallow waters, for similar reasons. My local pen show is smaller than some, and is coming up - a few people have posted here that that they are going, how to find each other, etc. I am hoping that this will be useful in meeting some of the more local pen people. I suspect dinners with known names has to do with a combination of hanging out long enough and just generally getting to know/be known and being in the right place at the right time, at least for the first dinner. Just hanging out with other pen users like myself is a more attainable goal for me at the moment, I suspect.

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Regarding those dinners (and late nights in the lobby/lounge). They're often very organic. It's fun to just watch things happen.

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    I only go to the Chicago Pen Show, because I live here, so that's my only experience. But I see a lot of pens for less than $200 and less than $100. I see a lot of vintage pens, as well as a lot of modern pens. There's everything.

    If you want something particular, whether it be an early Parker 75 Vermeil, a modern Omas, or just "vintage pens under $100," the best thing to do is ask. If a dealer can't help you, he or she will definitely tell you who can. It's a small world, and the dealers tend to specialize, so they all know each other and what everyone else has. Go around once and do a quick scan. Then go back and step up to the table of the dealers who look most promising, or most friendly or most lonely -- however you do things. Then keep walking around, and keep talking to everyone. You will miss things the first time around. Heck, you will miss things the second time and the third time, too.

    The best part of the pen show for me is talking to people. You will learn a lot from the dealers, if you have an open mind and are willing to spend the time. Try something you've never thought of. Learn about something you don't know. Talk to the fellow manning the table with hundreds of vintage Sheaffers, for example, and ask him why he likes Sheaffers. The dealers love talking about their pens -- they want to get you interested.

    I actually don't bargain hunt. But I've gotten a lot of great deals at the pen show. Mostly I've met a lot of great people and learned a lot. I don't buy hundreds of pens, because I'm not a collector. I buy a few, and those always remain among my favorites as the years pass.

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    I'd like to address a couple of points that T raised, because I think they reflect many people's thinking...

    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    And I'm sure it makes a huge difference that I'm not really a collector, I'm a user. I happen to have a niche I love to use which creates a "collection" so to speak. But I'm not really a collector. I look for pens I want to use, not pens to fill a "hole." And my budget is a fraction of what we're talking about above. A $700 pen for $350 isn't a bargain for a user like me, because my whole pen show budget (when I went) was $150. (Plus the money I brought to have a nib ground.) That puts things in a whole other range. I buy antique, I have really zero interest in most modern pens either. And maybe pen shows post internet really just cater to the higher rollers? Perhaps the lower end antique collecting market has moved almost entirely online? Because I found it very, very difficult to find those fun quirky pens for under $200 that I enjoy.
    I left that entire bit intact purposely, because it just ain't so! I got into pens about 4 years ago, and around that time my wife started putting up with it. The only show I've been to is LA, for the last three years, and it is a remarkable way to educate yourself, even if you *don't* buy anything. Well, as the years have gone, she has picked up a few pens (one I am very jealous of!), but she is not a geek or nerd, just likes a nice pen to write with. She outbought me 5:2 on this trip, and only one pen of substance (but still remarkably modest by, say, David's standards). What I love is that she is a different set of eyes, and finds things I don't. So she says to me "Come look at this...":



    (Thanks to Ricky for catching this by chance!) Here's a box with a really nice selection of daily use pens, almost all of them vintage. They do (from what I could tell) all work, and the fellow did very nice restoration on them. She picked out one that caught my eye, and this came just after we returned from Fred Krinke's talk on "copy-cat" pens. It was so close, I thought at first it *was* a striped Duofold, but it was a Wearever knockoff. Pretty pen in red/grey/blue stripes, and while their nibs aren't killer, I though I could always slip in another. But, heck, Mr. Mottishaw is right over there! She gets the pen, we take a walk, and in 5 minutes she has a really smooth daily writer that looks sweet.

    $35.00. Could have picked up a handfull. (I chose not to buy any because I have my own of that bracket that I need to practice restoring).

    So the bargains are there. I don't look at a pen show as a flea market, I expect that the sellers for the most part know what they are doing, and I shouldn't expect "well, it was in Grandma's dresser drawer, you can have it for $10..."). While at the show we took a cousin out for dinner, and he mentioned that when he was in college in the 60's, he had a Snorkel, long lost. The next day we went back, found a nice Clipper for $55.00, went over to Pendemonium and got a 4oz bottle of vintage Quink (Horrors! Parker ink in a Sheaffer!) for $10, and gifted him on Sunday at a family dinner.

    Frequently dinners and drinks events are mentioned... Yet as someone who I think is at least a familiar name on a board like this, and would love to meet folks in person, how does one even find out about, or snag an invite to these events? I would have loved to spend some time with pen folks just talking pens and passing things around and sharing stories, but I suppose I'm just not well known enough? Again, this is probably linked to my inability to buy and sell at the level of many others and I understand that. I'm really not trying to be whiney, just wondering how a small change pen enthusiast might get to rub shoulders with the pen elite a little tiny bit.
    I'll tell you: it has precisely ZERO to do with your level of purchasing or selling! The first year I went I had only been in a few months, but simply by reading the boards, I knew some of the names. I just went up and said "Hey, Pendleton Brown! You are the greatest guy, I'm happy to meet you!" and off we went. Same with all of them. David himself was very welcoming, and I was hesitant because he obviously is in monetary categories a couple order of magnitudes above me. He simply said "we're hanging out on the patio tonight, c'mon by".

    The dinner on Saturday night was one that Joi Edwards put together and, like last year, was mentioned on FPN. Anyone could come, and it was a lot of fun. But putting aside someone else posting, do what others have done: "Hey folks, I'm going to the Fairbanks Pen Show, and would love to meet up with some of you! Why don't we find a time and place to meet (you'll know me, I always wear a pink and chartreuse bow tie) and get to know each other and talk pens?"

    It is as easy as that.

    Last little bit: as I said, virtually everyone in this hobby seem to be convivial people. Walk up to the Anderson's or Frank and Sam of Pendemonium, and you'll find happy, welcoming people. So one thing you can treat yourself to, probably about the best $40 you'll spend on pens, is to join the Pen Collectors of America. Besides everything else, their magazine, The Pennant, always has a wrapup article of the pen shows that have happened in the last press cycle (comes out three times a year). You'll see all the peeps there, get to know names, and see how each pen show has a different personality. I think Lisa did a good/bad thing, because she has got us thinking about travelling to the pen show in Columbus this fall! Those roundups really help give a flavor of the fun and excitement that comes with the show.

    Well, that's my take on it all. I can't wait for the next show to attend, to see all those pens, and to see all the friends I've made, old and new.
    Last edited by Jon Szanto; February 20th, 2014 at 11:47 AM.
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    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    I'd like to address a couple of points that T raised, because I think they reflect many people's thinking...

    I left that entire bit intact purposely, because it just ain't so! I got into pens about 4 years ago, and around that time my wife started putting up with it. The only show I've been to is LA, for the last three years, and it is a remarkable way to educate yourself, even if you *don't* buy anything. Well, as the years have gone, she has picked up a few pens (one I am very jealous of!), but she is not a geek or nerd, just likes a nice pen to write with. She outbought me 5:2 on this trip, and only one pen of substance (but still remarkably modest by, say, David's standards). What I love is that she is a different set of eyes, and finds things I don't. So she says to me "Come look at this...":



    (Thanks to Ricky for catching this by chance!) Here's a box with a really nice selection of daily use pens, almost all of them vintage. They do (from what I could tell) all work, and the fellow did very nice restoration on them. She picked out one that caught my eye, and this came just after we returned from Fred Krinke's talk on "copy-cat" pens. It was so close, I thought at first it *was* a striped Duofold, but it was a Wearever knockoff. Pretty pen in red/grey/blue stripes, and while their nibs aren't killer, I though I could always slip in another. But, heck, Mr. Mottishaw is right over there! She gets the pen, we take a walk, and in 5 minutes she has a really smooth daily writer that looks sweet.
    I should be clear that I don't just go looking for antiques under a certain price range. Likely part of the issue is my favored pens are German. I saw tons, and tons, of American made pens for very good prices. A LOT. (This was in Dallas). But the German pens were in general very expensive, rare, Montblancs and Pelikans for a pretty penny. That's my fault. I could chose to use American pens, I just don't like them much. That's my fault, but it does change things like pen shows and swap meets for me. Now I'd bet a pen show in Germany would be like a dime store heaven to me and super frustrating for a Parker collector.
    ---
    Current pen rotation: way too many!

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    The German Mountain Pens are indeed a curse on the poor...

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Ahem. You are being difficult.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Ahem. You are being difficult.
    I know... I know...

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Ahem. You are being difficult.
    My husband would completely agree with you.
    ---
    Current pen rotation: way too many!

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    My husband would completely agree with you.
    Well, truth be told, you could have saved me a bit of typing (about the Pels and MBs), but I hope the other stuff will give you a more pleasant perspective on the topic. Frankly, even if I didn't buy any pens (last year I only picked up one, this year, two) it would still be worth it. For me, that is.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    My husband would completely agree with you.
    Well, truth be told, you could have saved me a bit of typing (about the Pels and MBs), but I hope the other stuff will give you a more pleasant perspective on the topic. Frankly, even if I didn't buy any pens (last year I only picked up one, this year, two) it would still be worth it. For me, that is.
    I agree, it's fun even if you buy hardly anything. Like you I love talking to the folks the most. And that's how you learn.

    But now I am sad because you got a thanks for your post and I didn't. Sob.

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura N View Post
    But now I am sad because you got a thanks for your post and I didn't. Sob.
    I have corrected that. Now, I want you to count your blessings, because part of my situation is that I am lying in bed with my laptop, an icepack on my... down there, because I had hernia repair surgery the day after I came back from LA. Outside of perfectly legal loopiness from the meds, I really would rather be... doing something else!

    I know, TMI, but I'm not above trolling for sympathy.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Laura N View Post
    But now I am sad because you got a thanks for your post and I didn't. Sob.
    I have corrected that. Now, I want you to count your blessings, because part of my situation is that I am lying in bed with my laptop, an icepack on my... down there, because I had hernia repair surgery the day after I came back from LA. Outside of perfectly legal loopiness from the meds, I really would rather be... doing something else!

    I know, TMI, but I'm not above trolling for sympathy.
    Enjoy that legal relief!

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we get from Pen Shows to, um, er, not-pen-shows in 18 steps...

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    Default Re: Pen Show Dynamics. Los Angeles and far more...

    As I mentioned in another thread here, at the pen show I saw several Pelikan 140s for $80, a gray 400 for $250, a tortoise 400N for $250. There were also several 120s, both the '50s version and the later M&K version, for less than $150. I also saw a beautiful Montblanc 244G with a broad nib for $225; another, with a slightly bulked barrel was on sale for $100, IIRC. IMO these are very good prices, and I'm sure there were others that I simply didn't notice. Like you, tandaina, I consider myself a user with collector tendencies and for some reason or other have come to favor German piston fillers from the '40s and 50s. Many of the more common models (the ones I find myself most interested in, fortunately) can be found for not too much money, with a little patience and luck.

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