Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Special Sneak Preview

Many of you know that webmaster Liz and I (well mostly she) have been working on an all new look for The PENguin.

Well, today is the day! We go live at 11:00 AM Pacific/12:00 Mountain/1:00 Central/2:00 Eastern.

Here's just a quick peek at what we will look like. Stop by later today to check out all the new features andand take advantage of our opening day special, 10% off on any purchase over $300.00. And that includes free shipping, available for the first two weeks.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MidMay News

Right now things are quiet at PENguin Central. Webmaster Liz is putting the final touches on the new website, coming June 1, and I am finishing up with final exams.

However I thought I’d see if we can drum up some interest and some sales, so while we are not adding new pens until after the 1st, here are a couple of new arrivals, I just could not wait to get up on the site.

Both are kinda special.

The first is a set, 1930s Wahl-Eversharp Gold Seal red checked hard rubber pen and pencil with the soldier’s clip. This is not a commonly found set. The nib is a fine flexible Gold Seal. The pen is 4 ¾ with a nice chunky section for a good grip, and the pencil 4 1/4The set does have some issues. The pencil works, but a bit strangely. There seems to be wear to the slider. And there is a slight crack in the barrel through three threads. It is stable. But for these the set would be $850. The price here is $575.00

The next is a 1930s Pilot (Namiki) black urushi over hard rubber. The pen is in very good condition, but showing expected wear. The nib is a superbly flexible Fine marked Warranted Pilot 14 K Made in Japan #2. I was not at all sure how to price this, so I checked with my resident expert who advised $500-600. So let’s move this one at $395.00. I have filled and used the pen. It holds ink and writes superbly, but would advise having it resealed before entrusting it to your prized kimono.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Maker Faire

Early Saturday morning when I was in a meeting, I got a text from my daughter,""Would you like to go to the maker's fair? It's where people show2 off the fire breathing robots they built in their garage." Always on the lookout for amusement my reply was, "Sure. When? Where?"

Long story short, later in the afternoon we hooked up with Anna and her friends Annie and Jay.

Here's some of what we saw:

The Tesla Stage

Apologies for the image quality, I forgot my camera and had to use the iPhone.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pelikan M1005

We have a couple of these cool, but very hot pens.

PE2458/59-2011 Pelikan M1005 in clear transparent acrylic with white metal trim. Pelikan’s latest “demonstrator” is built on the large M10XX chassis. It is an understated pen in cool tones with really very nice white metal highlights at the filler. The all rhodium plated 18K nib is a sweet finishing touch. We have two pens, a fine and medium. Comes in a nice, simple compact display case very suitable for desktop. This is one of those pens that you come to admire increasingly. $650.00, a competitive price, I believe.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sneak Preview

The next batch of pens from The 1200 are ready for final polishing and listing on the site. Intentionally these are not the blockbusters that a few of the last lot were. If you see anything you like, give me a shout.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

They're Here!

The first of the twelve hundred are up on the website, with more coming shortly during this Spring Break week. Check them out on the Parker and Others Pages!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coming Soon to a Website Near You

In early March I was contacted by someone who had brought some pens into a Bonhams appraisal clinic. Ivan Briggs, the business manager for pens, who I have worked with for more than three years, recognised immediately that there were some good pens there and directed her to me. We set up a meeting on a Thursday and I was able to review what we estimated to be about 1200 pens of all sorts, from the superb to the less so, but, in all, a collection worth having. We talked price and I left thinking that the pens were maybe, just maybe, worth the asking price.

On the way home, as I reviewed what I had seen and with the understanding, as we had left it, that the owner would shop the pens around, I called to say that I wanted to talk a bit more. We did. Bargaining ensued. I lost, and paid up.

As I came to understand it these pens were accumulated over two generations by the owner’s father and grandmother. The collection had none of the structure and theme that we associate with modern collecting. They were, in essence, an accumulation, but an accumulation of good pens. There were a handful of early Parker and Watermans eyedroppers, including a couple with overlays; a goodly number of Conklin Crescent fillers and Senior Enduras; and an assortment of later Watermans as well as Parker Senior Duofolds, several of them in red hard rubber and Mandarin yellow; and a somewhat lesser number of Wahls. You get the idea.

In the days before flea markets and upscale antiques shops one can only imagine these folks prowling dark, dusty junk shops picking up these pens for pennies. Ahh, the days.

On the following Saturday, I brought a cashier’s check to her home and took possession of the pens. What follow are images of the purchase and first examination and some images of the pens as they are readied for sale, followed by images of the first pens to be offered on The PENguin in the next few days. In the meantime, if, among them, you see something you want, give me a shout.

The pens barely fit into the shortened trunk of my wife's Hybrid Camry, no way I could have carried them in the roadster.

Lots of Parkers, the yellows and reds jumped out at me.

A first attempt to seriously examine and assess what I had bought.

A real mixed bag of early eyedroppers. I'll be sorting these out for a few months.
These are the first forty pens that I examined and restored. Some still need touching up.

These will go up on the site in the next few days. From left to right, 1897 Waterman’s 402 sterling overlay in the “Chased” Pattern, 1910s Parker 45 alternating abalone and mother-of-pearl slabs with chased barrel and cap bands, 1927 Parker Lucky Curve Duofold Senior in Mandarin yellow, 1920s LeBoeuf 55 in what I believe they called Tiger’s Eye, golden celluloid, 1920s Waterman’s 455 Sterling Silver Filigree overlay, 1920s Waterman’s 7 in red ripple hard rubber, Parker Lucky Curve Duofold Senior in red hard rubber with Large imprint, 1920s Moore Safety Pen in red mottled hard rubber, 1932 Parker Lucky Curve True Blue in blue and white celluloid, 1930s Waterman’s 52V in olive ripple hard rubber, 1928 Parker Lucky Curve Duofold Jr. in white on blue lapis celluloid

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bonhams February Sale of Vintage and Modern Pens

The Bonhams February sale is coming up in just over two weeks. Many of you know us for our auctions of modern limited edition pens. This year we are selling nearly 300 lots of vintage pens and I have tried to showcase some of the truly exotic examples. Lest you think that is all we have to offer, here are some more accessible pens that we will be selling.

For more information see our online sale catalog

Or visit our pens webpage

Friday, January 28, 2011

It Takes a Village (to Make a Happy Pen Collector)

I don't have a whole lot of modern grail pens, most of the pens I burn for are vintage. But every once in a while I have to have something that's modern. A few years back it was a Montblanc PoA Medici, something I had burned for since handling one in 1992. It only took about 15 years for me to get there, and only after a used one came up on the boards at a price I could justify.

More recently, it's been the OMAS Paragon Arte Italiana in blue saffron celluloid. But one never seemed to come my way. And then one did.

Recently Charlie Harles, whom I have known for more than ten years, offered a saffron ballpoint on one of the sales boards along with another OMAS I have wanted, the Bibliotheque Nationale. I figured that if I ever got a saffron, I would then have a set. Riiiight.

Soon the ballpoint arrived and within minutes I was out on the 'net searching "OMAS Paragon saffron."

Oh joy. Classic Fountain Pens (John Mottishaw) has one on his page. Cool. Ring, ring "Is John there?" Sadness, he looks for the pen and it is sold. Woe! But while we're here, I could use another one of those remaining 14 K Flessible Extra nibs like the one on my modern Extra Lucens Ommagio. Grind a Broad to a stub? Sure. Cool, "Thank you, John."

But there's still a little matter of the pen. Novelli has one on their site. Do they? Yesss! Back and forth a couple of times with Marco, who has provided some of my best pens, and voila. It's here and, wonder of wonders, in time for the first day of classes.

So here it is, with a little help from my friends, my newest acquisition.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bonhams February Sale of Vintage and Modern Pens

We have just completed the catalogue for our annual February Pen Sale in Los Angeles.

What is most exciting to me is that we will be offering close to three hundred lots of vintage pens on Monday, February 22, in addition to our regular sale of modern limited edition pens later the same day.

A selection of these pens will be available for viewing at the LA International Pen Show on both Saturday and Sunday.

You can preview the sale online at

Also please check out the new Bonhams pen page at