I spent 25 hours over three nice days at the 2017 Triangle Pen Show. Lots of friends and pens. Actually the show was four days, but I did not go Thursday. It was a trader day and I knew there would be plenty for me to look at the rest of the time. And I was right.
Friday started off with a little browsing and chatting with the vintage dealers who setup early. Two friends, Brooke and her mother Moki, rolled in just in time for the Franklin-Christoph special tray to be shown. It was the first time I had met Moki in person and she greeted me with a big hug. We spent a little time at the Franklin-Christoph table. I saw four pens I would be happy to own. Since two of them were regular production models, I decided I could wait. Brooke and Moki were only at the show for Friday so they were more aggressive. I won’t steal their stories, but they both got some nice pens on Friday. My biggest mistake was not getting a picture with them.
My Friday haul was fairly modest. I bought a Sinclair in waxed canvas from the younger Dowdy at the Nock Co table. I also picked up a Danitrio, a Streamer Snapper Retro 51, a Life notebook and some black ink cartridges. The black ink is for an upcoming project. So stay tuned. If you read this blog much, you will see plenty of Retro 51s. In fact there are more coming up in this post. The Life paper is one I did’t have. Another choice for thought, pen, ink and paper for the day entries. Wait. Did he say a Danitrio? Aren’t those crazy expensive? Like over $1000, way over $1000? Well, generally that is true. But it turns out they used to make a much more modestly priced steel nib pen. That is what I bought. I am sure I will write more about it later. Another thing I did Friday was check out the items for Saturday night’s auction.
Saturday brought a full day at the show. I restricted myself to a lot of browsing and learning. The only purchase during the show was a $10 Skyline parts pen which gives me some options for fixing a broken Skyline I own. Mostly I was waiting for the auction. I did pass some time in two enjoyable sessions. First, Nik Pang’s Copperplate Script class which was a quick introduction to dip pens. Second, Tom Baley’s history of Pelikan from just after WW II to about 1980. Tom has a tremendous collection and a lot of knowledge of the models and variations. He even seems to understand the complicated and ever changing and reused Pelikan model names.
The auction was a three hour affair with over 120 lots. I bid several times but some of those items quickly went past what I was willing to spend. I spent half my budget at the auction but I am happy with the two lots I won, one vintage, one modern. My first lot was a pair of 2nd generation major Parker Vacumatics. The real prize was a Visconti Davina Desert Spring with an 18K nib. I will definitely be writing more about and with this pen.
Sunday’s plan was more visiting. I didn’t have a lot of budget left, but enough for stuffing the corners as a Hobbit would say. Fortunately, a pen show is not all about spending money. The Vacumatics I bought at the action were my first ones. I showed them to some people and learned a lot about the sizes and how to tell they are first or second generation. Brian McQueen was a big help. I did buy a few odds and ends from the Andersons and the new Bigshot Cigar Retro 51 fell in my bag. I found an interesting Sailor nib. I showed it to Jonathan Brooks before I bought it. My idea is to have him make a pen around it. He said he could, so I bought it. Brian Anderson told me it would be hard to find the original pens that used these nibs. Since that is not my plan, I am not worried. Evidently Sailor produced a wood pen that used this particular style nib. For now I am going to dream about what a pen built around this nib should look like.
Up to this point, I was doing great on my budget. Then a combination of things produced a temptation beyond my ability to resist. First a couple of vendors had to leave early. One of the empty tables was right behind Carl’s Pens of disINKtion table. Late in the day Sunday he used that space to layout some pens he had on consignment. I was magically drawn to the four largest Retro 51 boxes I had ever seen. They were Double Eight fountain pens circa 2005, not vintage but they have not been available for a while. The four pens were in three different colors. It was budget busting time. Out came the credit card and three of them, one of each color, came home with me. Left me with mixed feelings, I felt like I had failed by going over my budget. But three rare Retro 51 fountain pens in the really cool original boxes? I am delighted to add them to my Retro 51 collection.
I talked to so many people. I just mentioned a few of the them in this recap. I will follow up with more stories on a few of the others.
Feel free to share in the comments if you picked something interesting at the Triangle Pen Show or any other show.
p.s Write to someone you met at a pen show.