Sunday, August 20, 2017

Some Cars

I spent the weekend before the San Francisco Pen Show down at Monterey car week, an extravaganza of car related stuff that draws visitors from around the country and around the world.

As many of you know I have an active interest in cars and in BMWs, specifically. So on Friday I attended the Legends of the Autobahn, a static car show and judging that features Audi, BMW, and Mercedes cars. And my 1M was part of the non-judged display, the only one of that model there as far as I could tell.

On Saturday, the main event was the historic car races, and I brought my camera. Shooting cars at speed can be a challenge, especially if you do not use automatic settings. I took more than three hundred images to get these. (Worse odds than monkeys with typewriters, I daresay!)

I wish I could identify the cars below for you, but in addition to not being a race photographer (or driver) I am not enough of an historian to be able to do that, for the most part.

From Friday's LOTA a pre World War II BMW 328

An amusing kit car built on a Z3 chassis. Maybe a new body for the M roadster someday?

the first class, pre-1926 cars, began in the fog



This was probably my best shot of the day, shot at f16 at 1/80. I do wish I had gotten the Testarossa in focus and blurred the BoCar


These I can identify, an Alpina 2002ti,  the legendary #25 3.0CSL, driven by the head of BMWNA. Ludwig Willisch, the M1, driven,by Tom Pluscinsky.


If I could have one car from the day's racing, this would be it, a mercedes 300SLR gullwing



A legendary Ford GT40







The BMW corral, a great place from which to comfortably view the race. Were I a real photographer (one with good knees) I would have been all over the course. I did little of that.

A familiar face in the crowd, the 1M. (It is so named as to not be confused with the M1-see above).

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Some Pens from The PENguin

While the new website is under final construction (Coming Soon, I swear!), let’s use this blog for it’s original purpose, flash announcements of newly available pens, and I have a bunch from the recent Washington DC Pen Show.

The 142 was Montblanc’s smallest pen, back in the day. Unlike the current day 144, however this pen features a piston filler and all the features of the full sized pens. Priced affordably at $295.



We also have a burgundy M250 from the 1980s, an affordable, collectible, and very useable pen. $275.

Many of you will recall the Galleria Kaufhof M400 tortoise pens from several years back. Both I and several other sellers imported a bunch of these and they went like hotcakes. Back in the day they were fine alternative to the costly and unobtainable M800s, and trimmed very much like one. They, too, have disappeared, but I ran across one recently. $550.



One of the most interesting things to come across my desk in a while is a Pelikan 400 set, new in the box consisting of pen, pencil, etui, traveling inkwell and lead cassettes, all as they came from the factory. That is $850. Ten years ago I would have jealously kept this set.





Arguably the most desired and collectible is the Parker 75 Regency (Rainbow) set. This one has seen some use, but it is intact and unflawed. It has been in my collection for at least ten years and is offered only because I just got a set in mint condition. This one is offered at $1,200.



I also have some very special pieces, things that just don’t come up for public sale very often:
An early Pelikan 111 T (Toledo)-from 1931-this pen is about as good as they get. If you measure in terms of gold loss with 100% being perfection, this pen would have to be 98%. $8,500



Pelikan 112 (solid 14 Karat gold overlay) in the blue leather box- a very clean and uncommon pen, $4,500. 



A Pelikan Lauer Set factory authorized full solid 14 Karat gold overlay pen and pencil in the box. I have seen any number of the pens, only this one pencil. The set shows some wear, nothing horrible-$5,500.




Feel free to contact me with any questions, requests, even offers.

We also have a full complement of Pelikans, from the 100 to the 140, 400, M800 and most points in between. If you are looking for something Pelikan, be in touch.

Our Kaweco event is still going on full force, vintage Sports of all kinds and we still have some celluloid marbled 187 and 189 models.


Auroras, we got ‘em 88, 88K, 88P, and 98s. Just ask.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

California's North Coast 

Thought I would share a few images from the Little River/Mendocino/Fort Bragg area. This is  an experiment using a Blogger patch and unedited images. But it appears that I can only post a single image at a time. t

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Another Pen

Pens keep coming in at an incredible rate. This one is pretty special, an M111 the first and the least commonly found of the Originals of Their Time Series. Twenty years on it is not at all common to find these in new unused condition, but this one is. Get it now at a special price of $1,400. It will be more when it goes up on the site. And if you like, we can add a custom vintage nib assembly which will give this beauty not just the look, but the feel of a vintage 111.



Sunday, May 21, 2017

The PENguin Spring and Summer News


We are currently loading new pens only onto the home page pending the June arrival of the new website. But we have some really good stuff and more coming in this week. Check us out.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Farewell to Cuba: Final Days

Final Days

First my apologies for letting this last Cuba post take so long. I’m not sure why, other than the fact that February and March seemed to be very busy with both random personal stuff and lots of pen sales. And maybe I just didn’t want to let go of this final phase of our Cuba adventure.

February 10 was our final day in Cuba. We would depart from José Marti Airport on the morning of the 11th. Neither Jim nor José, our group leaders, made any secret of the fact that they wanted us to go out with a splash, that they were going to make that last day extraordinary. Spoiler alert: they did.

But let’s start. We began, as we did, with a lecture. This one nominally on architecture and preservation, but the lecturer ranged much more broadly into demographics and the problem of a declining and aging population.  I did not record it but it was quite interesting and gave us a lot to think and talk about.

From there we went to the La Cabaña fortress, mostly to see the sights there, we did not tour the fortress itself and that was OK. The fort is sited on a prominatory across the harbor from the city and gives a great view of Havana from a distance.



The city from across the bay

Unlike so many modern cities, the lack of population pressure has easily preserved open space

Warning: there will be people pictures. Up to now for the most part I have not included them since most of you do not know these folks. But as I do this entry I'm waxing nostalgic. First, our crew: From left, Juan Antonio who so ably drove us, then José. Most of were pretty well educated, but whatever we asked José seemed to know. And to the right Jim Fitch who hopefully is now in the Dominican training ballplayers for the Cards.

From there we got some retail therapy at a massive Almacenes de San José market near the port of Havana which offered a bit of everything from fine art to t shirts and all in between. I got a couple of typical guayabera shirts, we bought trinkets and t shirts for all. You get the idea.

Suresh (see below) enjoys a coconut

while José checks his look


Our last cultural stop of the trip was to see and meet with a group of young dancers. Apart from their talent and enthusiasm what was notable is that they worked with no government subsidies other than some very primitive performance and rehearsal space in a school.

The troupe

their acrobatics

In conversation

Cindy enjoys a last dance, and the kids enjoyed her as well

From there we retired to our hotel for a brief rest before our final evening in Cuba. Earlier in the trip Cindy and I decided that we needed a ride in some of the vintage taxis in Havana. We mounted a minor insurrection which group leader Jim cut off with the announcement that a cab ride along the Malecon and city tour was planned to transport us our last group meal which would be at La Torre, the restaurant atop the Edificio FOCSA, the 1956 monolith that remains the tallest building in Cuba. It was a finely nostalgic evening with festivities, cake, speeches, the whole thing.

OK, people pics--I didn't get everyone but . . .
John and Claire (not a couple)

Tom and Sarah (a couple)

Linda, Rosalie and Bob. Still hoping to catch up with Rosalie and Bob.

Ursula, Joan, John, Claire, Jane and Suresh, a learned, erudite and amusing fellow.

Jim herds Cuban taxis. Cats would have been easier. The only time in two weeks that he seemed at all ruffled.

Me in a '54 Roadmaster with Tom, Sharon and Sarah.

Our procession

Riding along the Malecon

Note the wave in the background, the seawall is under constant pressure from rising seas

This one would be Linda taking a picture of me taking a picture of Linda
This may be my favorite image from the trip, the Hotel Nacional and the city through clouded glass from atop the FOCSA building. One of my few regrets of the trip is that I just never seemed to hit it photographically. I'm slow and we were in a group.

 Our flight the next morning was not too early and so after breakfast we bade farewell to Cuba, Havana, the Hotel Nacional and finally to one another. In truth we hung together for another day not just when we arrived in Miami in early afternoon but later back at the hotel where it had all begun two weeks earlier. On the twelfth Sharon and I flew home.

Us waiting at the airport. The plane was only two hours late, which, we were told, was very fortunate

Linda and Laurie


Some final thoughts: I write this on the 19th of April, some two months after the trip. Our group, which pledged to keep in touch and share photos, have all returned to our own lives. Dunno how it is for any others but Sharon and I have had only intermittant contact with any of our fellow travelers.

We both enjoyed the trip immensely. At times the heat proved a real challenge for Sharon and, in truth, it got to me a few times. Otherwise I sweated happily through it. The exposure to another society, one with very different values and assumptions about levels of material comfort, the value of community and culture, was invaluable. You are never too old or too “cultured” to learn.  


Thorughout this segment of the blog I have tried to convey our joy and wonder. It was more than eye opening. Seeing life in Cuba from their side was invaluable. In short, it was great, as good as any trip we have ever taken in forty-five years of traveling together. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. But this fall we will resume our touring of the US and Canada with a trip to Yellowstone and up into the Canadian Rockies. Until then, happy trails.