It's all about the written word...

Celebrating three years in publication. Thank you for visiting often!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Visconti's Unita d'Italia

This year, Italy celebrates 150 years of the Unity of Italy, officially proclaimed on March 17, 1861, when Vittorio Emanuele II was appointed King of Italy. In honor of this sesquicentennial anniversary, Visconti has designed this special resin pen featuring the national colors and the important dates 1861-2011. Using the faceted shape of the new Michelangelo, the Unita d'Italia features the same magnetic closure with an engraved and enameled band. The decorative motif on the band features the colors of the Italian flag: red, white and green. The trim is palladium, and the nib on the fountain pen, which is filled by cartridge or converter, is 18-karat gold available in fine, medium and broad sizes. It is also available in an eco-roller, rollerball and ballpoint.  Prices range from $147.50 to $247.50.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Classic Pens gives away a pen...

There were a variety of giveaways at the Chicago Pen Show, May 13-15. Among them were a couple of autographed hardbound copies of the 2011 Stylus Annual and a Flame Red LM1 pen from Classic Pens. Pictured  are Andy Lambrou, principal of Classic pens, Margie Jurado, and pen winner Ed Mitchell (center).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All about the Jotter

     Author David Shepherd, who is introducing the latest in the series of books about specific Parker pen models, was at the Chicago Pen Show. The latest book is Jotter, History of an Icon, and a signing was scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at the Westin O'Hare. But it seems the books were delayed in Customs and never made it to the show. While disappointing, this tome is well worth the wait:  I perused the one sample copy in town and was duly impressed. The research is impeccable, and the book is well organized, mostly chronologically. The old photos are captivating, drawing the reader in to a specific place in time. Authors Shepherd, Graham Hogg, Geoffrey Parker and Dan Zazove collaborated on this 325+-page hardbound full-color book, which is a must-have for any serious Parker collector. The book will be available from them for US pricing.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chicago, part II

Don Lavin and Dan Zazove welcomed a number of stellar guests to the Chicago Pen Show last weekend, one of whom was Geoff Parker (second from left) of Parker Pen company fame, who graciously posed with a group of fans. Incidentally, the children pictured were thoroughly thrilled with an assortment of colorful "kids' pens" I brought with me to help incite an interest in pens among young adults. I give lots of credit to the Pen Collectors of America (PCA), which does a great job in promoting this mission with the Pens for Kids Program, coordinated by Ralph Stillwell.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chicago is my kind of town...

    Last weekend was the Chicago Pen Show at the Westin O'Hare in Rosemont, and I had a great time despite the cold, windy and rainy weather. I think this show beat my last for record sales of the 2011 Stylus Annual, and I was delighted to autograph a number of them (I offered, and what could any polite person do but accept? Overheard: one person said he was going to sell his signed copy for big bucks when I leave this mortal coil...I was flattered, I guess...).  Kenro Industries was there with a beautiful assortment of pens (the company now distributes quite a few brands, including Montegrappa, Omas, Aurora and, as of last week, Sheaffer). Brian Gray was there with his fabulous collection of Edison pens, as was Howard Levy of Bexley. Retailers included Total Office Products, Bertram's Inkwell, the Pear Tree Pen Company and the local Paradise Pen. Of course no show would be complete without Pendemonium. Show hosts Don Lavin and Dan Zazove were ever-gracious, offering Stylus the usual prime real estate at the front of the room--a fun and "safe" location, thanks to Ken and Robert.
    For Chicagoans or those planning to be in the Windy City, try the Girl & the Goat restaurant (award-winning chef Stephanie Izard). Amazing small plates, great wine list and trendy atmosphere. Thanks, Lynn and Lauren! 
    More on the show coming soon...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Come rain or come shine

Artisan Barry Gross was selected from among nearly 1,000 applicants to participate in the Paradise City Arts Festival, May 28, 29 and 30, at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, MA. Thousands of images were reviewed last September, with only 260 artists selected for this prestigious show. The applicants' work was judged on the basis of imagination, technical excellence, design and originality. Named among America's Top Ten Art Fairs since 2004 by AmericanStyle magazine, Paradise City Arts Festival's 2011 ranking is #3 nationwide. Paradise City offers innovative shows of fine crafts, paintings and sculpture, with a diverse selection of the newest work at the cutting edge of design from the studios of both emerging and established artists. Forty artists will exhibit their work in Northampton for the first time at this spring's event.

An auction will be held to raise funds for underprivileged and underinsured women recovering from breast cancer. Gross is donating two pens to this worthy cause.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Montegrappa Cosmopolitan returns...

Montegrappa is reviving one of its popular pens from the 1990s: the Cosmopolitan. Sterling silver with resin accents, with details formed in bas relief, the Cosmopolitan will serve as the medium to communicate the spirit of five different cultures. Each will be offered in an edition of 500 rollerball pens ($2,400), 500 fountain pens ($3,200), and  a special edition of 50 rollerball pens and 50 fountain pens ($20,295-$23,215) in gold. The series comprises:
Arabian Animals of the Desert
From exotic birds of prey to desert-crossing camels to noble horses, the Cosmopolitan captures the fauna, the majesty and the mystery of one of the planet’s most challenging environments: the Arabian deserts.
Mt. Rushmore
In the US state of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore bears the likenesses of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. A challenge, no doubt, to recreate on a pen.
Bohemian Paris
Paris has inspired more artists than any city in the world, becoming a magnet for the greatest painters of the past millennium. They, in turn, enriched Paris with what is referred to as a “Bohemian” atmosphere – captured in a pen. 
Victorian England
England’s longest-reigning queen – Victoria – provided the name for the richest, most-fecund period in man’s history, a time when bold men and women advanced to create the modern technological era. 
China’s Ancient Gods – Lu Fu Shou
Spiritualism moves and guides Chinese culture, its gods influencing behavior on every level. Cosmopolitan honors the Taoist triumvirate “Fu Lu Shou,” representing Good Fortune (Fu), Prosperity (Lu) and Longevity (Shou)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Refillable rollerball from Delta

Delta’s ever-expanding Dolcevita collection grows with the addition of a new and innovative writing instrument.  The Nonstop roller can be filled like a fountain pen from your favorite inkwell, so there are no longer limitations to colors available in roller refills. The pen  can be filled with any of your favorite inks. As the other Dolcevita writing instruments, the Nonstop rollerball is hand turned from solid bars of Italian resins and offers a central ring engraved by hand. The Nonstop rollerball is available in four versions: Dolcevita Slim and Mid-size with silver trim, Oro mid-size with vermeil trim and the Gallery mid-size with vermeil trim. They are priced from $325 to $355.

Monday, May 2, 2011


The iconic cat graces Cartier this spring in the new Panther Decor Collection Louis Cartier fountain pen, an edition of just 188 pieces. It features a beautifully rendered sterling silver panther with black lacquer spots and garnet tsavorite eyes perched on the cap, his paws wrapped convincingly around the black lacquer body. An onyx cabochon crowns the cap. It has an 18-karat solid gold nib engraved with panther spots. The retail price of the pen, which measures about 142.7 X 15.4 mm, is $9,800.