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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

DC Pen Show 2013 Vintage Pen Haul



I published this blog post last week before I went to the 2013 DC Pen Show asking for advice on vintage pens to pick up, and I got a lot of great advice! Admittedly there were far more pens I wanted to buy than I actually walked away with, partly because of time constraints at the show, and partly because of budgetary constraints. Thankfully, Rachel was there with me to keep me in line ;)

Here are the pens I ended up walking away with:
  • Parker 21 (gift, from Harvey, thank you!), fine steel burgundy with metal cap
  • Parker 51 vac-fill medium gold nib, black with metal cap
  • Esterbrook J, green lever-fill with medium 9556 steel nib
  • Esterbrook SJ, amber lever-fill with fine 9556 steel nib
  • Sheaffer Snorkel, medium gold nib, burgundy 

There were a lot of other great suggestions and pens that I wanted to walk away with…Parker 45, Parker 75, Parker Vacumatic, Parker Duofold, Sheaffer Targa, Sheaffer PFM, Sheaffer Imperial, Sheaffer Balance, Wahl/Eversharp Skyline, Waterman Ideal….but they were all either not within my sight or my budget. C'est la vie.

Vintage pens are a slippery slope, and I can definitely see the appeal because there's well over 100 years of history behind most of these companies. If you love pens and love history, then you're basically hopeless if you ever start to fall down this rabbit hole…for me though, I am not diving in deep. I really wanted these pens just to have some of the most iconic and classic vintage pens just for my own education, enjoyment, and appreciation for what pens have stood the test of time. I'm pleased to add these to my already existing collection of a Waterman 52 and Mabie Todd Swan.

Thanks to all of you who helped point me in the right direction!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

30 comments:

  1. That Snorkel is way cool!

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  2. It is, isn't it? I'm having fun playing with it :)

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  3. Nice haul! I think you made some great choices. These are great pens for getting started with vintage. Have fun!

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  4. Congrats!


    (don't tell anyone, but I never liked either of my Parker 51s . . . they probably needed major resoration and I sold them . . . but my lowly simple Parker 21 and my 2 Parker 45s are among my favorite pens ever. Enjoy!!)

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  5. Way to go Brian! I picked up an aerometric Parker 51 and a Sheaffer Snorkel as well. Saw a few Esterbrooks, too, but couldn't pull the trigger. Introduced myself to you and Rachel very quickly about 11 a.m. -- wearing yellow ball cap.

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  6. Congrats! You definitely picked up a great variety of pens that provide insight into different styles and pretty much all the vintage filling mechanisms.

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  7. You aren't stopping. Watch.

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  8. Excellent choices! The first pen I ever restored for myself was a green Esterbrook J. It's still one of my favorite pens. Collecting different nibs for the Esterbrooks can be a slippery slope all on its' own! Have fun! :)

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  9. I have two gold nibbed Parker 45s, an X and an M, that I'd be happy to lend you so you could get writing samples with them if you'd like! Both work perfectly, if a bit scratchy, and are just sitting uninked at the moment.

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  10. Great choices, Brian. Welcome to the rabbit hole. LOL! ;-)

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  11. Congratulation Brian, you have already "started to fall down the rabbit hole". I also started with the idea of just having some iconic pens for my own education and out of curiosity for history and have ended up with over 60 of those pens. I'm now into expensive vintage Montblancs, BUT I love the simple Esterbrook J-pens with their incredibly well performing steel nibs. Your green J-pen is just beautiful, looks glossy and in great shape. I'm also fascinated by the Snorkel mechanism. Your pen is an Admiral (they follow a complex designation system depending on whether the nib is an open nib like yours or a triumph nib and whether they carry the white dot on the cap or not). The only shortcoming of these pens is that it is a nightmare to get them cleaned when they are to be stored or unused. This is so because there is no way to flush the nib. I think you should include a Vacumatic, a sterling Parker 75, a Parker 45, a PFM and a Targa in your representative pens collection ;-)

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  12. I'm going to enjoy watching you from here on out, sinking deeper into that rabbit hole. I hereby confess that at some point in the last few years I tossed all my old Esterbrooks, Osmiroids, Parkers, etc (none of them expensive when I bought them) and some neat Levenger Sheaffers into the TRASH! All were gummed up with uncleaned ink reservoirs (tsk tsk I was quite ignorant in my youth about such things) and I assumed they were dead. Maybe they were ..... but now I'll never know. Oh well. Moving forward --- I have Ink Nouveau and Goulet Pens to supply me with an ongoing new desktop tray of fabulous pens. Glad you had fun at the show. I missed the one in Portland, Oregon a few years ago. I hope to attend the next one in the Pacific Northwest. What else can I say but 'write on'?

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  13. Thanks! Yeah, I'm pretty happy with what I walked away carrying ;)

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  14. Haha, I won't tell anyone ;) The 21 and 51 I got here both write great, I'm very happy with them so far. I can see what the fuss is all about.

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  15. Yeah, hey Rob! Seems like we have similar tastes ;) It was great to meet you, I hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did.

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  16. That's exactly what I was aiming for, and I'm pretty happy with how everything turned out.

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  17. Neat! Yeah, I think the nib swapping on the Esties is a big reason why they're so popular. It's the same with modern pens, we carry as many swappable pens as we can, it greatly increases the versatility and cost effectiveness of a pen! I am having to be really careful not to fall deep into this hole, haha ;)

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  18. Really? That's pretty cool! Shoot me an email and we'll coordinate that: brian@gouletpens.com

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  19. Haha, thanks! I'm making sure to tether myself to ground level so I don't fall down too deep ;)

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  20. "You're basically hopeless if you ever start to fall down this rabbit hole…for me though, I am not diving in deep."


    Famous last words.

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  21. Noted, thanks! Every one of the pens you suggested was on my 'to buy' list, but I either couldn't find the ones I wanted or blew my budget, so I'll have to take another stab at it in the future.

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  22. Haha....you're probably right ;) After all, it was the DC show in 2009 when I decided 'hey, I need to find out what this fountain pen thing is all about'...the rest is history.


    I was a bit confused at your first comment b/c I couldn't tell if you were commenting about my not stopping talking, and suggesting I get a watch so that I wouldn't ramble on too long, haha! ;)

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  23. Oh no! That's too bad, but I think we all laugh at our earlier, more ignorant selves in our fountain pen journey. It's amazing how many people don't realize at all that pens need to be cleaned...ever. That's part of what I'm here for, I want to help anyone interested to get the most out of this amazing hobby, so I just try to educate, educate, educate.

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  24. I think you do a good job of not rambling. You go relevantly deep.

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  25. Yes, well, thankfully, I never owned any really expensive pens so the loss of these 'vintage' pens is only mental and not financial. My college roommate and I went crazy for fountain pens for a while and we amassed a fine stock of Osmiroids, Esterbrooks, Rapidographs and more. Which then went into boxes that went into closets that maybe followed us to our houses when we moved out of the family homes, and then sat ....... ink bladders dried into crystallized masses .... for 10, 20, 30 (!) years. But my own inner fountain pen renaissance of the last 10 years or so has brought me new beloveds that are, honestly, better than the old ones in most aspects. I lust after the goldfish pen -- but will probably have to content myself with lovely Lamys and my few cherished Pelikans for a while. I learn so much from you! Thanks for being there!

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  26. I'm jealous. :)


    I can remember my dad using a Parker 51. Man I sure wish I had that pen - I am sure he dumped it. Now holding on to all my pens to hand on to my nephews someday (if they can appreciate them).

    Glad you had a good time Brian (and Rachel), and a safe return. Thanks for your incredible service and attention to detail to you and your staff. Hoping to make it to the show in 2014.

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  27. You got some excellent pens. There is a ton of wonderful information at esterbrook dot net. Met the Andersons at the LA Pen Show this year - great people, have brought a lot to the pen fancy. Glad you got a couple of Esties, now you can look around for other nibs.


    PS - you mentioned in today's email that you've lost some weight, and it shows. Bravo!

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  28. You have no idea how envious we in Australia are of yor pen shows we have nothing remotely like them.
    BTW the Sheaffer Snirkel is similar to the new Visconti mosquitto filler but the built in snorkel is so much cooler

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  29. Sent you that email a couple of days back, check your inbox for it. :)

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