State of the collection: May 2019

It’s time to give you another tour of my pen drawer, since I last posted one back in March. Let’s take a look.


Italy and Visconti

On the left are my Italian pens.

You may remember the Visconti Van Gogh Room in Arles, which I retired a few months ago when I discovered cracks in the cap. I’ve put it back into rotation temporarily as part of a nib-swap exercise. I’ve put the lovely steel Bock 076 nib from the Van Gogh into the Karas Starliner, so the Visconti now has a Karas-branded Ti nib. I’m struggling to tune it, but it’s nice to have another Van Gogh in hand. They’re great pens.

Next up is the Visconti Medici, inked with KWZ Walk Over Vistula. What a great pen. The evening sunlight shows off the acrosilk to its best.

I flushed my Homo Sapiens Steel Age yesterday, to give it a rest after a long run with KWZ Azure #5. The lava-resin feels wonderfully cool and grippy in the hand.

Rounding out the collection of oversize Viscontis is the London Fog, inked as always with Edelstein Topaz.

My final Italian is the Montegrappa Extra Colori del Mare ‘The Sea’. It’s not seen a lot of use in the last couple of weeks, but I wouldn’t dream of selling it. In fact, I’d like to add a Black Bamboo to the collection if I can find one at the right price.

Missing from the list is the Scribo, winging its way back to me.


Germany and Montblanc

Next up: the Germans, starting with my four Montblancs.

The Montblanc Heritage 1912 stands out in the lineup as the second-shortest pen, after the Kaweco Sport. Still inked with Poussiere de Lune, it’s been resting since my last trip.

The Geometry is loaded with Sailor Studio 123, its double-broad nib showing off the shading and varied colours to perfection. This ink is stunning, so much so that I’ve ordered a second bottle.

I reconsidered selling the Petit Prince LeGrand. I have reinked it with Kobe #51 Kano-Cho, which is a good colour match and one of my favourite inks. I probably should sell it — it ranks below the other three Montblancs — but I actually turned down an offer for it this week.

The 149 Platinum had a good run this week, and I keep wondering which other pen would show off Homer Greek Blue so well, but maybe I’ll keep it just for the 149.

The Graf Classic is inked with Lamy Crystal Amazonite, which has a vivid charm and is well-behaved. Next to it is its cheaper cousin, the Faber-Castell e-Motion, which I just reviewed.

My old faithful Lamy 2000 received a fresh load of Sailor Kiwa-Guro this morning, just because I couldn’t remember the last time I used a truly black ink. I remember why.

The Pelikan Ocean Swirl has become a specialist weapon since I fitted it with an italic broad nib, and I use it most days.

I flushed the Kaweco Art Sport today — it was nearly dry, and I wanted to change over to an architect nib.


The rest of Europe

Representing England is the Onoto Magna, which I have to keep leaving in the drawer just to give other pens a fighting chance. It’s that fun to write with. The Conway Stewart Winston I pulled from sale, at least temporarily. This is a super rare pen with a factory italic nib and I wanted to give it a fighting chance, although it’s longer than I normally like.

Two Conids next from Belgium. The Regular still has Tsuki-Yo in it and a gold fine nib. The Kingsize I flushed today — I was so bored of orange from a fine nib. I mixed my own bled of Edelstein Olivine and Akkerman #28 to make a mid-green today, and for now I’m quite enjoying it.

I pulled the Oldwin Art Deco out of sale and inked it up with Montblanc Psychedelic Purple, and fell back in love with it. I think it’s still for sale at the right price, but I remember why I bought it.


To the land of the free!

I’ve ended up with four USA-made pens, with a fifth on the way.

The bright orange Karas Ink, with its EF Titanium nib, is proving a loyal companion, despite its propensity to unscrew. It’s a keeper.

I’m not so sure about the Starliner XL Reentry, although it does make great use of the steel Visconti nib, and the vibrant blue colour is very pretty.

My two Soubriquets have had plenty of attention recently.

My remaining Sheaffer hasn’t had a lot of use, but it’s always ready to go — despite the slip cap, it doesn’t dry out.


At last, Asia

I’ve journalled with the Nakaya Decapod quite a bit recently, enjoying the tactile nib and the way it makes Robert Oster Bronze look. This pen is a keeper.

A new addition, and one that couldn’t be more different, is the Opus 88 Demonstrator. I bought it used with a broad nib, and it’s fantastic. Huge, comfortable, juicy. I inked it with Edelstein Star Ruby and it looks awesome, especially since I took the clip off. I’m in love. Along with the e-Motion, it’s proof that cheap, steel-nibbed pens can still raise a smile.

Trends and insights

Number: That’s 27 pens including the incoming Desiderata Soubriquet number three. I’m steadily creeping up despite sales.

Inks: Yep, I have somewhat broken my 12 inks for 2019 effort. It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve been getting a little bored with the limited pool of inks, and when a new pen comes in and I’m stressed about work, it feels fun to try out a new ink. I’m not beating myself up about it.

Colour: If you asked me my favourite colour, I’d have said blue. But there are eight pens here ranging around the orange, red and brown part of the spectrum, and at most seven that could be called blue. Surprisingly, there are only FOUR black pens in my collection now!

Materials: Ten pens are made from non-plastic materials, including metal, lacquer, wood and lava-resin. Five are demonstrators.

Filling mechanism: 11 are cartridge-converters. Seven are vac fillers, bulkfillers or vacumatic. One’s an eye-dropper. The remaining eight are piston-fillers. Frankly, I thought there would be more piston-fillers. I guess I’ve gotten over my hatred of C/C…

Nibs: Six have steel nibs. Three are titanium. Three are palladium. All the rest are gold. I’m surprised at how many steel nibs I have.

Countries: I have pens from eight countries. Six from Italy, nine from Germany, five from the USA, plus UK, France, Belgium, Japan, Taiwan. I hadn’t realised I was so stars-and-stripes…

Caps: 20 pens have conventional screw-caps. Three are hook-safe. Four are slip caps (including the Van Gogh’s magnetic cap).

Clips: Only the Kaweco Art Sport is naturally clipless, but I removed the clip on the Opus 88 Demonstrator. That makes two clipless pens.

What’s changed?

17 pens on my list from March are still in my collection today (plus the Wheatfields Van Gogh which is now in my daughter’s pen box). That’s more continuity than I expected, given my perpetual sales!

One from the March list is up for sale (the Aurora), and another four from that list have sold. But that’s missing the fact that I bought and sold a number of other pens too in the intervening period, including the Wahl-Eversharp Decoband and Pilot Vanishing Point.

In terms of additions, seven pens are truly new since March (Opus 88, Conway Stewart, amber Soubriquet, Onoto, Karas Reentry, Medici). Both the Geometry and Petit Prince were absent from the last roundup because they were away in Hamburg for nib swaps.

11 thoughts on “State of the collection: May 2019

  1. The nibs? What about the nibs? :o)
    I was amazed to discover how many medium nibs I have, as a percentage of my motley collection. It was rather more than I’d imagined given that I am a nib snob and always apt to go to extremes for something different.
    It was quite late on that I found I actually really like a good medium and that there’s nothing wrong with ‘middle of the road’. Not least because they suit my hand and the spacing on most of the lined paper I use…


    • I appreciate a good medium too. I have 11, compared to seven F/EF and five B/BB, and various others of less usual grind! I went through the journey of different nibs too, but an M is both practical and shows off the ink. A happy medium you could say!


  2. This was the first time I read about the Sailor Studio 123 and it just came back in stock at The Writing Desk so I finally have my own bottle and it doesn’t disappoint, the tone-shifting is amazing! However, do you find it on the dry side? My Lamy 2000 is often uncontrollably wet but it didn’t want to write with this ink on Rhodia, coped ok on Midori paper but it’s now in my Pelikan M800 IB which could be a perfect match.


    • Hmmm, I’ve used it in my Kaweco B nib and Montblanc BB nib, and it’s performed great in both. I planned to try it in my very wet Scribo next. I’ve not noticed it feeling particularly dry, but it’s certainly not the usual Sailor wet…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m starting to find that too. Finally fell in love with my 3776 soft fine last month once I started using it in my leuchturm note book with Herbin Lie de The. It never felt right on Rhodia, super thin lines then blobby when it flexes.


  3. Pingback: State of the collection: June 2019 | UK fountain pens

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