My 2022 pen new year resolutions (and laminated list)

2021 was a good year for pens for me, and for this blog. I discovered so many amazing creations, from Elbwood’s fabulous Pocketmaster up to Santini’s bonkers Giant. But it was very, very expensive. (And don’t forget, you can support the blog with a quick donation through PayPal!)

So for 2022, my main resolution is: stop spending so much money on pens, inks and notebooks.

I’m currently, at time of writing, at 15 pens in my tray, with a Pilot Capless Bamboo Forest, Stipula Primary Manipulation, Scribo Mariana and Eboya Flute incoming. Much more than half of my active pens were new to me in 2021, which is quite a churn rate.

In the coming year, I hope to slow down and enjoy the pens I have. There was nothing wrong with my 2020 pens, or my 2019 pens, but I got itchy for the new and, well, here we are.

My bank balance simply can’t sustain that behaviour.

So here are the rules:

Rule 1: If I do want to buy a new pen, it’s a one in, one out situation.

Rule 2: It’s one in, one out not simply in terms of slots in the pen tray, but balancing the cost, too. So if I want to spend £500 on a new pen, I need to sell £500 worth of stuff. Cost-neutral collecting.

I’m putting a couple of time-locks on myself, too.

Rule 3: I have to do the one-out before I do the one-in.

Rule 4: I have to wait 14 days before buying a new pen that takes my fancy. A pre-purchase “cooling off” period.

Rule 5: If I want to buy a new ink, I need to ditch a bottle (my ink problem is less about money than about space and duplication).

Hopefully these five rules will be easy enough to stick to — especially if I can cut down my Instagram exposure.

Of course, review samples get a pass. I am hoping in particular for one that would otherwise be out of my budget. Fingers crossed for good news in January.

But I’m planning one more loophole.

Are you familiar with the term ‘laminated list’? 

If memory serves it was popularised by Friends, and the idea is simple: say you’re happily married, but you bump into George Clooney or Rachel Weisz (delete as appropriate) in a bar, they come on to you, one thing leads to another… well, if said person was on your ‘laminated list’, it’s your get-out-of-jail-free card. No repercussions. You write down five or ten girls or boys that are absolutely way out of your league, laminate it, and there you go. It’s official.

Obviously, the point is that the names on your laminated list are A-list actors, supermodels and pop stars — you will never actually end up at the bar with them, so it’s a fun exercise rather than an adultery checklist. 

At the risk of stretching an analogy, I’m kinda getting to the same thing with my pens. I have a ring on my finger saying that I’m really, really trying hard not to buy more pens.

But if I’m out there, just walking down the Instagram street minding my own business, and somehow a personal grail winds up in my hands for an unbeatable price… well, guys, you can forgive me, right? That would be like turning down Gillian Anderson. I’m not going to wait 14 days for cooling off, am I? The rules above just don’t apply.

So which pens would go on my laminated list, that I have permission from myself to pursue?

First up, Conid Kingsize. I’ve already said that the first day Conid reopens I’ll buy one. I can’t believe I had two of these and sold them both. FML.

Second, Hakase. If I get to a financial position in 2022 where I feel comfortable committing a grand to ordering a Hakase, I’ll do it. Of course, it won’t arrive until 2023…

Third, Oldwin arco, impero, burlwood, or similar. I’ve owned a couple of Oldwins and while they’re really too big for me, they’re the best canvas for fancy materials. At the right price, I can see myself going for one, especially since I’m now comfortable with big pens like the Santini Giant.

Fourth, the perfect Onoto. I’ve been too long without an Onoto. The Magna has the best ergonomics and the best gold nibs of practically any pen. My favourite production model is the Sequoyah, but let’s think big: if I could get one with a hammered Seigaha cap band in mediterranean blue celluloid, with a two-turn cap and a plunger filler… I would be a happy man.

Fifth, Aurora Goccia nib. I’ve grown more excited about this special nib grind, and I’m thinking more often about the perfect Aurora for me to put it in. With the number of editions they release each year, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. Right now I like the Viola but I’m not a fan of the Optima, so I’m holding fire.

See, I’m not going crazy. There are no pens on this list over £1,500. That’s reasonable, right? Right…?

Let me know your pen resolutions in the comments.

9 thoughts on “My 2022 pen new year resolutions (and laminated list)

  1. These are some wise and useful rules and resolutions! I especially like the pre-purchase 14 day cooling off period! How many fleeting fancies would we forget in that time? As for the one out one in rule, Mrs A has a similar idea when I see a nice new leather jacket: I am yet to find any that I would prefer to my twenty years old one, which is not going to a jumble sale.
    The Onoto that you describe, could happen. You would be a happy man, but for how long?
    It is easy for me to preach (sorry): I am just fortunate not to have such expensive taste in pens. I have never had any craving for Arco, maki-e or urushi pens or special edition Viscontis, for example. They do nothing for me. I seem to flourish at the lower end of the food chain.
    Anyhow it will be interesting to see how you get on and how often you need to use your get-out-of-jail card. I seem to remember there were rules about sticking to a limited ink menu before! Good luck, and I really mean that!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like I can take a small amount of credit for a couple of these rules! Definitely a smart way to approach the new year.


  3. Laudable goals, Anthony. I’ll be interested to know, a year from now, whether you found them freeing or restrictive. I have been trying to winnow out my collection. It’s only recently that I’ve felt as if I’ve had enough experience with different fountain pens to have developed a sense of which ones I definitely want to keep and need to start considering without which ones I can live.

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, so much for a frugal 2022 — I had the same resolution about spending less on pens but then I see your reference to the Scribo Mariana, of which I was previously unawares, and boom, it took all of ten five minutes on the Write Here site to see another $500 or so out the door. I guess I will console myself that it is not yet 2022…


  5. The only pen I really want to get is a Leonardo Mosaico in mango, which is due out next year, assuming I can afford it. My aim for 2022 is to use what I already have, as all my pens, new and old, have seen little writing love due to just not being in the right frame of mind.

    Good luck with your intentions.


  6. I have an Oldwin arco, an Onoto, an arco Omas, several Nakayas and Danis, numerous Visconti, stipula, Montegrappa and hundreds more pens over 40 years of collecting but I have recently gotten 2 Gravitas and 2 Narwhals.

    It never stops. I admire your optimism….


  7. My resolution is NO PENS and NO INKS. I’m still signed up for InkJournal’s Ink Flight, so I’ll get some stuff to play with each month. That’s my exception. It should keep me from exploding.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. An interesting and inspiring set of new year resolutions for all of us! I particularly like the 15 day cooling off period, as (and I am sure we collectors all experience this) a few days after receiving a new pen and using it, the urge or interest to buy just that other, new pen stirs inside…

    Another rule I have set myself to avoid buying ridiculously expensive pens is to limit myself to a maximum of £400 for a pen (US$525), with almost no exceptions made: I did make an exception when a Pelikan Piazza Navonna with the original box and papers came up on ebay for c. £440… Otherwise I have kept to this rule, and it has stopped me being inveigled by offers of gorgeous limited/rare/unique pens.

    I am not sure I could apply a £500 in then £500 out rule, as I can’t really find any pen I would be happy to see leave the collection. And as for inks, well… I calculate I have enough inks to last about 20 ears (at a rate of a bottle every 3 months) but that does not prevent me making the occasional new addition.


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