Monday, November 29, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 291

Three weeks ago, I bought a lovely Tianzi 02 piston-filler in "skyblue" from Stephen Brown (aka SBREBrown on YouTube). Stephen had it up for sale on his website and his YT review of it was a very positive one, so I jumped at the chance to acquire the pen from him.

After it arrived, I planned to do a review of it for this blog, but Andy beat me to the punch with his excellent review of his own Tianzi pen (same model as mine, but different material). I wasn't upset at all, because Andy's review was so thorough it saved me the time I'd have spent writing a much longer review (lol), but I thought I'd share some photos of my Tianzi pen today anyway. So, without further ado.....

(please click on images to enlarge)

I couldn't find much information about the pen's manufacturer but I know they're based in Shanghai, China and I found their Instagram account. On it, I discovered they just started selling their Tianzi piston-filler pens this spring via their etsy shop . The pens retail for $53 CAD (including free shipping) on etsy, which I think is a very good deal for a well-made, attractive-looking piston-filing fountain pen.

 This pen style comes in two demonstrator options--"white" (clear colourless acrylic with white swirls) & "skyblue" (clear light-blue acrylic with white swirls)-- and three solid-colour options ("mauve", "dark green" and "mystery blue"). I think the solid colours are model "T01" and the demonstrators are model "02", based on the company's Instagram posts, but don't quote me.

My Tianzi is a great fountain pen and I really have no complaints about it. Theoretically, it can be used posted but it's very long when posted. It is, however, very comfortable to use unposted--it's a nice length without its cap on, and it has a nice heft to it. It's also very easy to clean--just unscrew the section from the barrel; there's no need to disassemble it from the piston knob end (actually, one YouTuber--not Stephen---had a lot of problems putting the pen back together when he took it apart from the piston knob end). 

My pen has a #6 size steel nib in Medium (I believe it also comes in Fine width) that writes well with just a hint of feedback, which I like. The engraving on the nib represents both a stylized dragon and the famous "Temple of Heaven" (Tiantan) in Beijing, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A nice mug of hot chocolate and a great fountain pen to write with... Ahhhh...

and speaking of mugs, here are some photos of my Tianzi pen with a better look at the cool SBREBrown mug I blogged about here a couple of days ago (link):

(note: the photo above and the next two images show the pen's colours more accurately than the other photos in this blog post---I was trying different lighting conditions with my new phone's camera).

When the pen arrived, I actually thought the material's swirls were light blue, but they're actually white swirls within a light-blue acrylic material. The material reminds me a bit of my PenBBS '355' "Misty Mountain" pen, but that pen's material is a clear colourless acrylic with bright blue swirls.

Many thanks to Stephen for selling me this beautiful fountain pen! If you want to see my pen reviewed by Stephen in his YouTube video, you can check it out here on his YT channel :)

(~ Photos & review by Maja ~) 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 290


[ murch ]

noun Informal.
merchandise, especially as marketed to a particular fan base: The band sold t-shirts and other merch while on tour.

(please click on images to enlarge)

A few weeks ago, I bought some pen-related merch from some well-known pen folks and thought I'd share it here on the blog. While they're technically not rock stars, I consider them among the rock stars of the pen world (and yes, I'm a big fan--fangirl lol--of both 😉)

Back in August, I placed an order with Pen Chalet, a well-known online retailer of writing instruments located in Mesa, Arizona. I hadn't noticed that they had a "Swag" section on their website before, but I decided to take a look and see if any of it might be of interest to me, huge pen nerd that I am. When I saw their 'Pen Chalet Classic' t-shirt , I loved it so much I immediately threw it in my online shopping cart (oh, and that's the back of the t-shirt you see directly above and below; the very first photo in this blog post shows the front of the shirt). 

It's a great design from great pen sellers who offer fast, friendly service and are always ready to answer any questions about the products they sell. When I reached out to them for help with the sizing of the t-shirt, they replied to my email promptly and were very helpful (I take a women's size M-Medium, so the S-Small size was perfect for me). I've ordered from them numerous times and have always been very satisfied with their service and the items I bought from them.

I've been a mug collector for years, so when I heard about this one, I couldn't resist buying it from Stephen Brown's Redbubble store. Stephen (better known as SBREBrown) is a popular fountain pen reviewer on YouTube who's been uploading his reviews regularly since January 2011--no small feat. I've known Stephen since he started his YouTube channel and, over the years, he's become a friend, so I wanted to support his channel by buying some of his merch (swag). It arrived safe and sound (Redbubble packs mugs very carefully) from within Canada, which was great for me because I didn't have to worry about paying customs/duties on it.

The mug's clever design (done by pchykeen Studio) is a reference to the phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", the pangram that Stephen uses in the writing sample part of his excellent video reviews. Congrats to Stephen on his YouTube 10th anniversary, and my personal thanks to him for his friendship and all the videos he's posted over the years--they've never failed to entertain and enlighten me :) If you haven't seen any of Stephen's videos, I'd highly recommend checking out his YouTube channel here.

(photos & review by Maja)

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Nikaido Winter sale! (November 26-28)

It's not an anniversary sale (although they have been around since 1988!) but Nikaido ( is having a 3-day Winter Sale, which starts this Friday:


We hope that you can join us for
a 3-day
25% off almost everything*

S T O R E W I D E S A L E !


Days of Sale

Friday, 26 November

Saturday, 27 November

Sunday, 28 November




Please note space is limited in our store so some things to keep in mind:


  1. Please wear a mask, and try to limit the amount of people in your group to one or two and be mindful of those who may be waiting in the line up for their turn.
  2. If you would like to browse our Fine Pen department (the pens that are located in cabinets), it is by appointment only. Click here to book your 30-minute appointment.



Cannot attend the sale in-person?

You can still participate in the sale by emailing us at with a list of items you would

like to order. We will then send an invoice, which is

payable via e-transfer or with a credit card.

Order can picked up on a later date.



*Nikaido Tea is excluded from sale

Sailor and Twsbi pens are 15% off

Sale applies only to in-stock items



Thanks so much for your continued support, and hope to see you then!


the team at Nikaido 

                                                          Logo 2020

Their store is located in historic Steveston (in Richmond, BC) and there's plenty of free street parking nearby. Hope you can make it!

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 289

And now, a review by Andy of a handsome modern fountain pen made by a manufacturer from Shanghai, China:


Hello pen friends!

Behold...the Tianzi Mystery Blue Mountain Fountain Pen.

I made this purchase around fountain pen day while at Whistler Mountain.

Tianzi Mountain is a mountain in Zhangjiajie in the Hunan Province of China.

I’ve never been to a Chinese mountain...I don’t know what it looks like...I don’t think I will ever visit it!

This new mountain pen from Tianzi will be the closest I’ll ever get to it, figuratively.

It’s a mountain of a good value at $52 CDN and can be purchased on ETSY:

Google translate butchered this translation mountainously...doesn’t make any sense!

I’m not sure where the color Mystery Blue comes from but that acrylic looks like it would come from a mountain of inspiration.

I would have to say...this is a well manufactured pen.

The acrylic is stunning and has quite the weight and you can feel the mountainous mass.

As mentioned above, this acrylic is fairly thick walled, like a mountain.

And the section comes apart for ease of cleaning just like most Penbb’s.

The cap band is beautifully reeded like a coin edge.

Like miniature mountain caps or ranges.

The clip is nicely shaped and functional.

It doesn’t resemble anything mountain-like though.

Here’s the endcap finial with the same consistent misty mountain swirly snow storm effect.

The super smooth piston mechanism is mostly metal which contributes to most of the pen’s weight.

The number 6 size “fine” nib is ultra smooth to write with and apparently is made in house.

Hey!!!....guess what the dragon insignia looks like.......yes! guessed it.......a mountain!

The pen posts securely, but not deeply at all, which makes for a very long mountain of plastic.

This writing sample was written on a notepad made by The Mountain Stationery Co.

“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb mountains.”

-Author unknown


Our thanks to Andy for another entertaining review, and the great photos he took for it! We've had a few reviews of another famous "mountain" pen, but this is the first Tianzi fountain pen review on our blog, although I suspect it won't be the last (hint, hint ;)

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 288

Sticking with vintage pens for today's blog post, here's Christopher's newest vintage fountain pen- a handsome flat-top from the 1920s:

(all photos courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Christopher: "I do not know how many serious vintage pen collectors have considered the Diamond Medal line of pens but, trust me, they are an impressive fountain pen with a very high quality standard. So when this one came my way, I was nothing but impressed with it as I restored and serviced it. The finish is similar to a rose mahogany which took to polishing like no one’s business. This is a big pen, posting at a full six and a half inches with a substantial girth. Saying that, it does cap back to a pocketable five and a quarter inches. It is a lever filler taking quite a large ink sack. The fittings are 14K gold filled and the flat top cap has a medium width gold cap ring and a tapered ball-ended company branded clip. The grip section is just terrific to hold and sports an impressive Diamond Medal engraved number 8, 14K gold nib. And this nib is a fine writer with just enough flex to impress the user."

"But there is a mystery to me yet to be solved with a cap top 14K gold circular insert. And if anyone can shed some light on what is engraved on this insert and in part enameled royal blue, I would be most receptive. I gather it would relate to something in the late 1920s from which time this pen was produced. In closing, I have been using and enjoying this pen for the last two weeks and loving ever minute of applying it to paper."

Editor's note: Mystery solved! I did a bit of detective work and discovered that Sears, Roebuck and Co. offered personalization of the Diamond Medal pens they sold (see ad + ad detail below), including stylized initials, like the one on Christopher's pen:

(ad detail below ~ click on images to enlarge) 

(ad courtesy of the 'old fountain pens just for fun' pen blog)

Our thanks to Christopher for sharing another wonderful vintage acquisition with us!

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 287

Today we're shining a spotlight on another great vintage Sheaffer desk set acquired by Stuart!

(all photos courtesy of Stuart ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Stuart: "This is the mystery thing I was teasing about - it arrived this afternoon after only five days! If you remember the Sheaffer desk-set I got last year, with a bronze base and a slot for mail, this is by the same maker - Silver Crest, a famous producer of decorative bronze items."

"The pen-holder gives this one away as another Sheaffer item. From the little info I found online, it seems these Silver Crest ones were sold through dealers that sold their things, and not through Sheaffer’s usual outlets. That may not be strictly accurate, but what I found out seems to indicate that."

"It dates from about 1927 to 1932. The holder is Sheaffer’s first adjustable one, introduced in 1927. A pen didn’t come with this one, but it would have been sold with one originally. I’ve photographed it with a Sheaffer desk-pen of the appropriate vintage. As you can see, the lid of the base lifts up to hold a small supply of writing paper. It’s decorated with what I think is an Art Nouveau motif. It has quite a patina to it after all these years, and I’m going to leave it like that - it’s authentic, and it looks very handsome! The lip of the pen holder is slightly warped, which is likely due to the age of the old plastic.

Another beauty for the collection! I watched this thing on eBay for about a year and a half - the shipping was high. The payoff is it arrived very quickly, excellently packed and secure. I’ve not seen another, and would assume these are very rare. BTW, I found this when I searched eBay for other Silver Crest items, not while hunting Sheaffer desk-sets."

Congrats to Stuart on a great find, and our thanks to him for sharing it with us!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 286

Just a quick review of a couple of affordable German ballpoints that arrived in the mail recently--an apricot Pelikan 'Jazz Pastel' (model K36) ballpoint and a blue Senator ballpoint:

(~please click on images to enlarge~)

 The 'Jazz' is a newer (circa 2019) Pelikan pen that I bought on, while the Senator ballpoint is an older model I found on eBay (I'm assuming it's older because the Deutsche Bank advertising imprint was changed to just the DB logo in 2010). The Senator was actually a bit tricky to find because the auction title was "Senator Werbekugelschreiber", which means "Senator promotional ballpoint" in German.

The Pelikan 'Jazz Pastel' is a twist-action ballpoint pen that takes Parker-style refills. The Senator takes a completely different type of refill--a very thin, tubular metal refill with a very narrow tip end. I've seen this latter type of refill used in some older ballpoints and it's a bit challenging to find, but I've had good luck at the Vancouver Pen Shop in downtown Vancouver in the past..


The Pelikan ballpoint has a nice heft to it, and it feels really good in the hand. It's an all-metal pen with a matte lacquered finish that is pleasantly cool to the touch. Total weight: 24 grams.

Coming in at a feather-light 8 grams, the Senator ballpoint is a much lighter pen. The Senator was also lighter on my wallet--the Pelikan cost me $16.56 CAD + $4.99 shipping from Austria, whereas the Senator was a
mere €4.88 ($7 CAD) including shipping from Germany (to be fair--the Pelikan is new, whereas the Senator was second-hand). Both ballpoints are approximately 5.25 inches / 13.3 cm in length.

(above: the 'Jazz' ballpoint with Pelikan's famous beak-shaped clip and the Pelikan logo below it).

The ballpoint is from Pelikan's "Jazz Pastel" line, which comes in blue, lavender, limelight, mint, rosé and apricot colours. Mine is the apricot, but to me, it looks like a peachy shade of pink, rather than a light orange colour (which is how I'd describe "apricot"). I really love the colour of my 'Jazz' ballpoint :)

There are three other 'Jazz' ballpoint lines---the "Jazz Classic", the "Jazz Velvet" and the "Jazz Elegance", but the "Jazz Pastel" line appealed to me the most because of its lovely, gentle colours and all-matte finish. The ''Elegance' ballpoints seem to have a similar matte finish as the 'Pastels', but they only come in white or black. The only fountain pens in the 'Jazz' line are the 'Jazz Elegance' fountain pens, but they also only come in white or black, and are only sold as a set (steel-nibbed fountain pen + twist-action ballpoint pen).

~ Photos & review by Maja ~

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 285 (part 4 of 4)

(And now, the conclusion to Lawrence's four-part review of his Graf von Faber-Castell 'Pen of the Year 2008' fountain pen!)

Lawrence: "So we can now put the whole thing together: "

"So, my theory is that this whole setup is BOTH a retailer display and most likely how the pen is to be sold (for greater unboxing effect). I got the pen direct from Graf von, so it shipped with the components separately. If I had gotten this from a boutique, then I would have no doubt been given the pen in this put-together setup for extra worship/unboxing points, I guess.
This is the entire group in their boxes: "

"The pen's box gives a "fake import factory box" vibe LOL. Which reminded me of when I worked as a designer for a wholesale giftware company, this is how they ship and make things. The item sometimes ships separately, with the display on its own box. To protect both. And normally the box is called a POS display (point of sale display) and is not sold to the customer, but as a unit to be replenished. In this case, because of the limited edition nature of the product, it gets sold together.

I love this pen, I feel guilty, but I have no regrets. One bonus (if we can call it that) is that I did not pay full price for this pen. It was discounted to a point where it is the same price as my little prince solitaire. If it was the original price, I most likely would not get it. The pen itself looks very subdued and, at a glance, it will pass as one of Graf von's higher end pens, but not a POY. Most of the POYs have a very over the top and opulent look to them. This one is just elegant and beautiful. Pictures don't do it justice.

I am not super familiar with the Graf von line, I do have the reasonably priced Faber-Castell pens and they write the same way as this POY. They are all reliable pens that don't skip and write smooth (not as soft as my other pens, but decent writers). This pen is not a regular part of my grail pen group, but it does get used regularly. I know that a lot of people buy this pen as "investment" and more likely will not open nor use the pen, but I am in the camp that believes that a pen (no matter the price point) needs to fulfill its "divine destiny" and write something already LOL."

Big thanks to Lawrence for this comprehensive (and entertaining) review of a very special fountain pen, and for all the photos he included with it :)

Fellow Vancouver Pen Club members: if you have a new pen-related acquisition you'd like to share on our club's website, please email me your photos and reviews! The photos don't have to be professional-quality...and no, the items don't have to be expensive; I recently posted about an old National Geographic magazine (with a great Sheaffer ad) of mine a few days ago, lol!
Thanks in advance,

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 285 (part 3 of 4)

(Part 1 and Part 2 of Lawrence's review of his new Graf von Faber-Castell 'Pen of the Year 2008' covered the unboxing of the fountain pen, the elaborate packaging it came in, and Lawrence's first impressions. Now, here in part 3, Lawrence shares his thoughts on the rest of the pen, and an accessory he bought specially for it...)

Lawrence: "Okay, now a close up of the nib: "

"We can see the coat of arms for Graf von again here. The nib is fairly smooth, but not "magical" like my MB Daniel Defoe. It does not skip, but writes stiffly and kind of on the dry side. I got a medium nib (it comes in F, M, B), but it writes like a Fine. I guess I should have gotten the B nib instead but, oh well, it is still nice. 

We see that darker strip of transparent dark blue window for the ink. I don't like it as much, to be honest, as it ruins the flow of the piece. We are talking metal, wood, metal...interrupted by a utilitarian plastic ink window..then metal, and then the nib. They could have a more elegant solution to this, perhaps by making an ink window as part of the metal section....but it's a tiny pet peeve..the rest of the pen is awesome. I do find myself using the ink window because it's there and it is useful, but if I have a choice, I can certainly live without it. My pens, the demonstrators aside, have no ink windows and I survived just fine.

Because of the impractical box, I decided that I would get a pen case for it. And the pen case comes, of course, in a fancy box with a drawstring bag (like seriously WTF excuse my typing....):"

"The pen case is black leather (I think it comes in camel too, but black is a safe colour): "
"The case is specifically made for POY (Pen of the Year) pens. It is larger in size and is supposed to show them off better."

"And it has this button with the coat of arms (but, of course....)"

One more part of Lawrence's review to go! (link to part 4)

Monday, November 15, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 285 (part 2 of 4)

(Continuing Lawrence's unboxing/review of his new fountain pen, the Graf von Faber-Castell 'Fountain Pen of the Year 2008' - part 1 was posted here ... )

Lawrence: "So I kind of explored this over-the-top box to see if it's as "impractical" as I think it is...."

(all photos courtesy of Lawrence ~ please click on images to enlarge)

"So the "pen holder" is some sort of flimsy plastic. The other part with the 2008 thing is solid plastic (with the 2008 plaque made of some polymer). You can see that the top compartment can be potentially repurposed for other things.
I have no intention of using this box and I have promptly put it back to its double packaging and then back into the cabinet for safe-keeping.
Now on to the pen itself.....
The pen came in a smaller box that looks like this: "

"It is enough to protect the pen from shipping I guess. But we can see that the pen is definitely not meant to be sold in this box (like I mentioned before, I will take a guess and elaborate more later).
The pen, once taken out, is beautiful to behold."

"The wood inlays are apparently done by hand and very difficult to do, I can appreciate that. The inlays are made of Satinwood. There is a historical / sentimental choice for using this wood. The word satin visually describes the glowing effect on the barrel. The cap has the company coat of arms."

"The end cap (which unscrews to reveal the actual piston) has a gemstone on it, a citrine (my birthstone for November...I guess it updates...I remember it being topaz...anyway, this is a bonus as I did not know about citrine, only that I like the color)."

"The piston once the cap is off: "

"The pen uncapped:"

We'll continue with parts 3 & 4 of Lawrence's review on Wednesday (Nov. 17) !