Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 2015 meeting details

Date: Thursday May 21, 2015
Place: Perks pen store, 5844 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC
Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm ("early birds" welcome at 6:00pm, to chat before the meeting).
Theme: ~ Sets Appeal! ~ (Fountain Pen Sets)

Please bring fountain pen sets consisting of a modern or vintage fountain pen with a matching ballpoint/rollerball/mechanical pencil. In other words, a fountain pen has to be part of the set. Not that we are fountain pen snobs or anything...but we're primarily a fountain pen club and I'm sure we'll see more vintage sets this way as they often included a nice mechanical pencil. I have a vintage Sheaffer Touchdown triple set consisting of a fountain pen, ballpoint and mechanical pencil, so I will bring that with me. Many thanks to Mido for suggesting the theme idea; we actually did this one a few years ago, but we have lots of new members who weren't around back then so I'm glad someone thought of it.

As always, Newest Acquisitions is our secondary topic, so if you have some new-pen related stuff you want to show, please bring it with you. If you don't have anything for the topic--no worries, just come and see what others have brought. Hope to see you there!

Best Fountain Pens Under $50 -- the winners!

Twenty-five members attended our April meeting (including newcomers Alejandra, Bob W, Raymond, and Ben H's young daughter Kelly), whose topic was "Best Modern Fountain Pens Under $50". We had some interesting candidates brought in for our show & tell, as you can see...
(click on photo to enlarge)
From left to right: two Chinese pens made by Jinhao brought in by Charles (one features a dragon and the other a cobra ... with bejeweled eyes!!!), Peter's Pilot 'Metropolitan', Penny's Noodler's 'Ahab' with Goulet 1.1mm italic nib, Barry's Lamy 'Al-Star' (note: Barry removed the black paint from the clip after it started flaking, so the clip is a now gold colour due to the brass material underneath the paint---a very cool effect), Willam's Kaweco 'Sport' demonstrator, my (Maja's) own Pilot 'Metropolitan' and TWSBI 'Diamond 530' (one of the first 300 made!), Leo's Kaigelu fountain pen (purchased in Hong Kong for $15 CAD), Stuart's Lamy 'Loom' and Sheaffer 'VFM', Peter's Noodler's 'Konrad', what looks like a Montblanc 'Jules Verne' LE (which clearly doesn't fit our topic---I believe it was someone's new acquisition ;) and Penny's Lamy 'Safari'

Other fountain pens brought in for the topic included: Catherine's Lamy 'Safari', William's Lamy 'Vista' (essentially a clear white 'Safari' model), Bob Morgan's Lamy 'Al-Star' (essentially an aluminum-bodied 'Safari'...can you tell which pen company was the winner of this theme???), Bill K's Noodler's 'Ahab', Ben H's Pilot 'Prera' and his new Pilot 'PTL-5000A', Ben's daughter Kelly's Pilot 'Metropolitan' and Kaweco 'Sport', Lawrence's Faber-Castel 'Basic', Kristina's Sheaffer '100', Bruce's Platinum 'Plaisir' and Retro 51 'Scriptmaster II', Glenn Marcus' Waterman 'Phileas' (sadly, now discontinued) and Waterman 'Kultur', Ben R's Sheaffer 'Compact' and Sheaffer 'NoNonsense', and a couple of Chinese pens brought in by Wei (a "China 2013" pen and another one---couldn't figure out the manufacturer, though). New members Alejandra and Raymond brought in pens they managed to find for less than $50--a Waterman 'Hemisphere' (purchased by Alejandra for £30 about 15 yrs ago) and a Sheaffer 'Intensity' Raymond found on sale (well done!).

Soooooo, the winner of the Best Modern Fountain Pen Under $50 was....Drumroll, please.... the LAMY SAFARI/VISTA/Al-STAR!! Second place went to the Pilot 'Metropolitan' and Third Place (a tie) to the Kaweco 'Sport' and Noodler's 'Ahab'. Many thanks to all who came to the meeting, whether you brought pens in for our topic or not! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Almost forgot! A big THANK YOU to Bob Morgan for his generosity with regard to the door prize draw held that night. Members who went home with prizes of ink and/or pens included: Kelly, Catherine, Ben R, Bill W, and Bruce. A good night for some brand-new members and one longtime member! ;)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Next Vancouver Pen Club meeting - Thursday April 16, 2015

Here's what you need to know...

Date: Thursday April 16, 2015
Place: Perks pen store, 5844 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC
Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm ("early birds" welcome at 6:00pm, to chat before the meeting).
Theme: Best Modern Fountain Pens Under $50 (please limit to 2 pens)

I was going to re-use an old theme, but then thought of this one as we've never done it before; I think it should be interesting. Initially I was going to call it "Best Modern Fountain Pen Under $50" ("pen" being singular) but I didn't want 25 people each bringing in a Lamy Safari, lol , so you can bring 2 fountain pens that fit the theme, if you want. If you just have one pen that you want to bring for the theme, that's fine! As always, Newest Acquisitions is our secondary topic, so if you have some new-pen related stuff you want to show, please bring it with you. Hope to see you there! No need to RSVP for any meeting held at Perks pen store.

The 3rd Annual Northwest Pen Round-Up! ( Saturday July 11, 2015)

Just passing along some information about this fun annual summer pen event held in Portland, Oregon sent to me by co-organizer Michael McNeil....

Michael writes:

The 3rd Annual Northwest Pen Round-Up! will be held on Saturday July 11th, 2015, at the Lucky Labrador in Portland, Oregon, from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. It is the same weekend as the largest antique show in the Northwest, the Christine Palmer Antique Show.

We had a good turnout last year. We hope to make this event even bigger this year. There were people there from B.C., Washington state, Oregon, California, and possibly from states that I was not aware of. There were plenty of fountain pens, mechanical pencils, and desk top items. There was plenty of commerce in writing instruments and plenty to buy, sell, trade, admire, learn about and discuss.

All pen collectors and users are invited, wherever you are. We do not limit this event to just people from the Northwest or the West Coast.

Admission is free. We only charge a nominal fee for vendors who want to set up. If you would like table space, please contact us early, as space is very limited.

If you would like to reserve table space please contact Stuart Hawkinson at or me -Michael McNeil- at

The address for the Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. is 1945 N.W. Quimby Street, Portland Oregon, U.S.A. The Lucky Lab offers very reasonably priced food and libations in a converted industrial space, near downtown Portland with easy freeway access.

Anyone coming should consider taking in the Christine Palmer Antique Show, at the Expo Center. It is the oldest and largest antique show in the Northwest. Early admission to the antique show is Friday and the show is Saturday and Sunday. The Summer show is the largest of their shows and has many booths indoor and outdoor. The weather in Portland is usually very mild compared to the rest of the country in the Summer. There are lots of things to do in Portland and it is often voted one of the more livable cities in the country.

A couple of photos from past Round-Ups.

Michael also wanted me to mention that longtime pen dealers Sam & Frank Fiorella of Pendemonium will be there with goods to sell. Sounds like it should be a fun time this summer at the Round-Up! Hope you can make it :)

March meeting photos - Topic: Green Fountain Pens

Twenty-four VPC members (including newcomers Ben, Bethany, Kristina, Greg, Lawrence and Nina) showed up at our March meeting to hear about our topic "Green Fountain Pens". Both vintage and modern pens were well-represented; many thanks to those who brought examples for the night's theme. No worries if you don't have anything that matches a meeting theme---just come and see what others have brought!

Now the photos (group photos by Richard, the rest by Maja) ~ Click on images to enlarge ~
Photo above: Going around the table counter-clockwise, from lower left corner: Ralph, Maja, Bethany, Penny (hiding behind Bethany), Bill M, Mido, Tony, Kiyoshi, Ben H, Glenn M, Michael Q, Lawrence, Bill S, Arvin, Kristina, Greg, Stuart, Peter and Bruce. Not pictured: Suzanne (Bill S' wife) and Richard (photographer).
Photo above: From L-R, from center of photo: Jeff, Nasya, Richard's friend Joyce and new Perks employee Assaad.
That's Mido's vintage Sheaffer flat top, a fountain pen which was first produced in 1924, and was the first successful plastic fountain pen (there's an interesting article on this model here on Jim Mamoulides' invaluable website). These particular flat-tops were made of cellulose nitrate (Sheaffer's called theirs "Radite"), a celluloid material that discoloured over time due to outgassing from the rubber sacs holding the ink. In any case, it's a classic vintage pen from a pen company that is still around!
Penny brought several green pens and you can see my own 24-pen case in the background. I forgot to snap a photo of it, but I might add one later to this post.
A close-up of the green fountain pens Penny brought. If you click on the image to enlarge it, you will see (from top to bottom) a TWSBI 'Diamond 580' in green, a vintage Waterman '3V' model, a Monteverde 'Prima' in Green Swirl, a vintage Parker striped 'Duofold', a modern Waterman fountain pen (sorry, don't know the model), a Parker Vacumatic, a vintage Wahl-Eversharp 'Skyline' and a Parker '17 Lady' fountain pen. A nice mix of modern and old pens!
Glenn M brought in some really nice modern fountain pens in green, including (from L-R in the pen case above) a three-pen modern Waterman 'Patrician' set, a lovely Satin Green Dolcevita Fusion Star (Glenn did a nice writeup on it here ), a Waterman 'Edson' set and a Pelikan M800 (I think...or it could be a M1000!).
That's Glenn trying out the green TWSBI Diamond 580 Penny brought to the meeting. It's a great value for the money, and will probably be one of the pens members bring in for this month's meeting, whose topic is "Best Modern Fountain Pens Under $50".
That's Bill S, one of our club's founding members, talking while new VPCer Lawrence looks on. Bill brought an assortment of green fountain pens:
Included in the pens Bill brought are a couple of lovely green Sheaffer 'Targa' pens, a model by ClassicPens, and some rare Parker '75' pens in green.
This is Stuart's beautiful vintage Sheaffer ringtop...Note that there is less discolouration of the celluloid material in this example compared to Mido's flat top above. Pens with no discolouration tend to fetch higher prices compared to their discoloured counterparts.
That's Bruce's Retro 51 'Double Eight' in the limited edition green colour. A lovely modern pen made of gorgeous material.
Bruce giving us a writing sample of the pen above. It's not a small pen and can be held comfortably unposted.
The ever-popular and highly-desirable Omas Arte Italiano Arco fountain pen. I believe Bruce's example in the "Verde Green" colour is the old style pen.
Now a couple of new acquisitions! The uber-cool pen above is Arvin's Visconti 'Opera Master' Demo Clear fountain pen ("Demo" being short for "Demonstrator")...
...and this is Peter's Platinum 3776 Demonstrator in Chartres Blue, a new pen he recently bought. It is filled with Noodler's Baystate Blue, a lovely ink that can stain materials, but with a blue pen that isn't so much of a worry ;) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Well, that's all for now! Our next meeting will be held on Thursday April 16th at Perks on Cambie Street, at the same time (6:30pm - 8:30 pm or so) and the topic will be "Best Modern Fountain Pens Under $50" (please limit to 2 pens). Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Los Angeles pen show report - part 3 (old friends)

Pen shows are a great place to reconnect with old pen friends, and the L.A. Show was no exception. I had a wonderful time talking to people I'd met at pen shows and kept in touch with (via email and/or letters) over the years.

Sam & Frank Fiorella are the good folks behind Pendemonium, a great online pen store (and, until they moved to Arizona recently, a brick & mortar retail store) that has been around for a long time. I first met Sam & Frank at the Portland Pen Show (which ran from 2004 to 2008) and purchased many things from them over the years, so it was nice to see them in person again in L.A. As usual, they brought a wide variety of items with them to the show, including print ads, books, inks and ephemera, in addition to writing instruments. I bought a couple of really nice ads from them (and included a late photo of them in part 1 of my pen show report), as well as a book on the Parker '51'.
( ~ Click on images to enlarge ~)

Here's me with Bruce Hirschman, the pen maker extraordinaire behind Bruno Corsini Pens. I had a great time hanging out with Bruce (whom I also met in Portland) and his friends in the Pan Pacific Pen Club (which meets in San Francisco's Bay Area) on Friday night, as well as pen people from as far away as Portugal and Brazil. Thanks for inviting me along, Bruce!

A quick & candid shot of Sherrell Tyree, who runs Ink-Pen with her brother Joel Hamilton. Sherrell and Joel are super-nice people and it's always a pleasure catching up with them at pen shows. We first met at the Portland pen show back in 2004 and I've bought several pens from them over the years. They are experts on Sheaffer and Parker pen restoration and always have lots of nice pens to sell at pen shows.
Oh, and seated to Sherrell's right is Sam Highsmith, with whom I chatted on Saturday. Sam is a member of the very-active Arkansas Pen Club and is a real Southern gentleman. It was a pleasure making your acquaintance in L.A, Sam :) Oh, and P.S -- I managed to try some grits on this trip, but in an odd setting---the Amtrak restaurant on my way back home!

Here's Nibmeister John Mottishaw of examining a client's pen. John is a mainstay at many pen shows in the U.S (I first met him in Portland, too) and is a master at repairing fountain pen nibs. He delivered an excellent seminar on Saturday that was well-attended and much appreciated. Thanks again, John!

Photo above: That's Kim Sosin of Penquest talking to Sarj Minhas, who (with his lovely wife) came all the way from England to attend the show. Sarj is fondly referred to as "The One-Man Pen Show" because he always brings many, many lovely pens to sell. I hadn't met Sarj before, but I knew Kim from the Portland shows. I bought my amazing Stipula Gaudi Casa Batllo LE pen from Kim at the L.A. show this year (see part 1 of my L.A Pen Show report for photos of it) and I am thrilled with it. Many thanks, Kim!

Kim is the Executive Assistant at the Pen Collectors of America (PCA) which runs a free program called Pens for Kids (PFK). The aim of PFK is to "foster(ing) an interest in pens and pen collecting in the next generation." To this end, the PFK program has free workshops at some U.S. pen show which "also stress the importance of handwriting and personal expression in communication." At these workshops, each child is given a fountain pen to use and then take home.

That's Stuart Hawkinson and Jim Leonard, both from the Portland Pen Club. Stuart is one of the first pen people I met at the very first Portland show back in 2004. I bought a really cool vintage Eversharp Skyline pencil that he converted to a modern ballpoint at that show, and I still have and use that pen. Stuart is an amazing pen repairperson and a very nice guy, so it was good to catch up with him and see what he's been up to.

Last but not least....the one-and-only Dave Moffat from our own Vancouver Pen Club! I thought I'd be the only person from Vancouver there but I wasn't (as far as I know!). Dave is one of the very first pen people I met in Vancouver and he's been collecting pens for decades, having amassed an amazing collection of both vintage and modern pens.

To finish up this long post, I thought I'd end with some photos of some very special Dupont pen sets--the Medici and Pharaoh---that were being sold by Toys From the Attic, the online store from whom I bought my nice new 3-pen leather case. My photos don't really do these gorgeous works of art justice, but I thought I'd include them anyway. Enjoy!

Many thanks to the organizers for putting on a great pen show! The hotel and setting was marvelous and I had a wonderful time (and hope to attend another one in the future ;)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Los Angeles pen show report - part 2 (new faces)

(To clear up any possible confusion...The 2015 L.A. Pen Show ran from Thursday Feb 12th up to & including Sunday Feb 15th. The Sunday was the only public day; the other days were for dealers & traders only)

I've always maintained that at least half the fun of attending a pen show is the people, and this year's amazing show in L.A. only reinforced my belief. Part two of this report is about some folks I've never had the pleasure of meeting until last month's show. For example, I've been buying pens from Lisa & Brian Anderson of Anderson Pens for years, but never had a chance to meet them in person until I went to L.A.
(That's me--Maja--with Brian & Lisa ~ Click on photos to enlarge ~)

They are among the nicest people you'll ever meet...and know their stuff when it comes to writing instruments, both vintage and modern. It was a pleasure talking to them and seeing their professionalism in action when dealing with customers. Brian & Lisa --- many thanks for the TWSBI pen & cool Retro 51 pencil!
Oh, and this is what they brought to L.A:

Another pen person I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time was Dan Smith, from FPGeeks . Dan & I have traded emails and letters, but I've never talked to him face-to-face until we met up at the show. Dan is a great guy and is just as funny and personable as he is on those "FPGeeks TV" podcasts you might have watched.

I didn't have a chance to talk to Eric Schneider of FPGeeks, but he swung by the Andersons' table and I got him to pose with Lisa for a quick shot:
And here's a photo of Lisa with Dan:

It was nice to finally meet Bryant Greer of Chatterley Luxuries . I'd been buying lovely Italian pens from Bryant for many years, so it was great to chat with him and see what pens he brought with him to the L.A. show.
As you can see, he brought a lot!

That's me with Ross Cameron of YAFA .Ross helped our pen club import the gorgeous Delta Delta Dolcevita Caruso Vancouver Pen Club limited edition pens from Italy late last year, so it was nice to thank him in person!
YAFA had a really nice display at the L.A. show, as you can see:
I forgot to photograph the one-and-only Susan Wirth, she of the famous pen show calendar , but I had fun chatting with her on the first day of the L.A. show. To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed by the size of the show and didn't photograph much until day three! Here's Susan's display from this year's L.A. show. It's is very "user-friendly" and consists of tables & chairs and inked pens ready for potential buyers to try---a great idea!
I feel really badly for not photographing the awesome new friends from FPN (the Fountain Pen Network) I met on Saturday (day three)--- Amberlea ("amberleadavis" on FPN) and Frank ("Frank C") from Vegas, Steve ("stevesurf") from Arizona and Pierre ("PrestoTenebroso") from Chicago. Amberlea was kind enough to invite me to join them for dinner at a great sushi place in Manhattan Beach on Valentine's Day. Thanks for making my day, guys, and thank you very much for the meal, Steve ;) Incidentally, Pierre is the man behind the amazing creations at Desiderata Pens. I had the pleasure of trying one of his amazing flexy-nibbed fountain pens at the dinner, and I was suitably impressed. Well done, Pierre!

Here is the ink specially made for FPN by Noodler's that Amber was selling at the pen show, on behalf of FPN. She drove down from Vegas with her daughter Eleanor (a very cool fountain pen person in her own right :) on Saturday and spent the day promoting the FPN website and the three FPN Noodler's inks--Noodler's Galileo Manuscript Brown, Noodler's Van Gogh Starry Night Blue and Noodler's Dumas Tulip Noire:
Amberlea had the great idea of pre-filling fountain pens with the various FPN inks (the red pens below), so that people could try them out on paper. She also brought some Noodler's ink made for Dromgoole's pen shop in Houston, Texas, including Noodler's Texas Live Oak (a lovely dark green ink) and Noodler's The Alamo's Twilight (a very interesting dark red ink):
Many thanks for the ink, Amberlea, and for your thoughtfulness in including me in your group's dinner plans; I had a blast! :)

Part three of my L.A. pen show report coming later today (March 14)...! (Update: Part 3 was posted on a bit late---a few minutes after midnight on March 15th!)