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Getting Started in the Hobby of Collecting Vintage Fountain Pens

Jun 10, 2008
The Golden age of the fountain pen is usually considered to have started in the late 1800s, when it became the writing instrument that dominated, through World War II when it was largely replaced by the ballpoint pen.

For approximately 60 years the fountain pen dominated the writing instrument market. There were a huge number of styles introduced, and many innovations created during this time. Because they are functional and beautiful, the different manufacturers created fountain pens during this period that are prized by collectors today as "vintage fountain pens".

Many types and styles of fountain pens are still manufactured to this day and they are still in demand as practical writing instruments. However, vintage fountain pens are normally thought to be those manufactured to prior to 1965. Vintage fountain pen collecting is a past time that many people have fun with. There are an amazing variety of pens available, enough to satisfy the most avid collector.

It's easy to get started in the hobby of collecting antique fountain pens. One thing to look for is whether your area hosts antique fountain pen shows. These are normally held in large cities, so it may not be practical for you if you live in a rural area. The advantage of antique fountain pen shows is that you can talk to other collectors, increase the amount of knowledge you have, and look at thousands of fountain pens all in one location.

If you have ever bought a used car, you know the manufacturer, model, and the condition of the car will play a large part in its value. It is the same way with vintage fountain pens. If you go online and just start buying pens that happened to strike your fancy, you would certainly build up a large collection. However, if you can take the time to become educated then you will be much more likely to buy writing instruments that have lasting collectable value.

Fortunately there are some excellent antique fountain pen books which you can use to educate yourself. As a matter of fact, you do not necessarily even have to buy a single book until you are sure that collecting antique fountain pens is something that you are truly interested in. Your library might have, or can certainly get through an interlibrary loan, most any book you want. But if you are bitten by the antique fountain pen collecting bug then you most certainly will want to add some good reference books to your personal book collection.

One of the best books recommended for beginning collectors is "Fountain Pens Past & Present - Identification & Value Guide" by Paul Erano.

This is a very complete and comprehensive book about collecting vintage fountain pens. It is considered by many collectors to be essential for their personal library. It explains how to find vintage fountain pens, how to restore them, and gives much additional valuable information. There are old vintage fountain pen advertisements, along with many color photographs. It discusses basic concepts surrounding the valuation of vintage fountain pens. You have to keep in mind actual values of vintage fountain pens can vary quite a bit, but the information in this book is enough to get started.

The original brochures published by the pen manufacturers can also be valuable collectibles. If you are more interested in details about the pen then the brochure as a collectible, you can often buy a PDF (electronic) copy which will give you the details of you want without paying the price for an actual collectible.

If you are searching for an ideal place to find a wide selection of antique fountain pens, eBay is an excellent place to start. At any one time there are usually over 1000 antique fountain pen auctions going on. It is an amazing source to just get acquainted with the variety of pens available.

In general, when competing in an eBay auction, keep in mind that there are other people who want the same pen that you do. They may be willing to pay more than the pen is worth. To avoid this you should always do your research, determine the approximate value for the pen, set your personal limit as to the amount you are willing to pay, and stick to that.

Because there are such a huge number of auctions on eBay, if you are unable to buy one particular vintage fountain pen because you are outbid, the chances are good that there will be another pen auctioned in the near future. So keep bidding and good luck!
About the Author
Sara Bondia has fun researching details on vintage fountain pens, and she loves purchasing and selling on eBay. Get more details on acquiring antique fountain pens and see some great deals at her Antique Fountain Pens website. Come over now and see some amazing pens!
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