It's all about the written word...

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Montegrappa honors St. Andrews Links

For the second time, Bassano del Grappa-based Montegrappa has been asked to create pens that celebrate the famed golf course St. Andrews Links. For 2012, a new model will be offered as a fountain pen and rollerball in black resin and sterling silver or in bamboo black celluloid and 18-karat rose gold. The silver pens will be produced in a limited edition of 600 pieces each to denote the number of years golf has been played at St. Andrews, while the gold pens will be issued in an edition of only seven fountain pens and seven rollerballs to represent the number of golf courses there. 

Lastly, a special hand-etched edition called “18th Hole” completes the collection, with only 18 fountain pens and 18 rollerballs in 18-karat rose gold and green celluloid being produced. The barrel shows a golfer in period dress, about to complete a putt, skillfully reproduced by Montegrappa’s in-house engraver, Mario Rossetti, from an original photo. The cap ring is engraved with golfing images. 

In 2010, Montegrappa created a green celluloid collection detailed with a golf ball cabochon on the cap, and the St. Andrews Links’ logo engraved on the barrel.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Swann Galleries pen auction recap

The inaugural auction of Fine & Vintage Writing Instruments hosted by Swann Galleries on September 13 was a great success, bringing in nearly $250,000. 

Swann president Nicholas Lowry says, "Our first vintage pen auction was a crowded affair with active bidder participation both in the room and online. We are looking forward to the second auction, taking place this coming spring, as we have now firmly established ourselves in this field."

The first 45 lots sold without exception, and many met or exceeded expectations. A Montegrappa Luxor Blue Nile limited edition 750 was the top lot, bringing $5,520. Montblanc's Catherine the Great and Peter the Great, Patron of the Art Limited Edition Series, sold as a pair for $4,320.

Rick Propas, Swann's Fine & Vintage Writing Instruments specialist, said, "This sale showed the vintage Montblanc pens continue to be the "gold standard" for pen collectors around the world and that the market continues to focus on high-quality and good value pens."

Early Montblanc highlights were a1920s Simplo Original #8, $3,840; a Baby 18-karat solid gold night and day overlay safety pen, $3,600; and two Rouge et Noir pens with coral stars at cap tops, a #6 and a #6M, $3,840 each.

For complete results of the September event, an illustrated auction catalog, with prices realized on request, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Les Miserables mosaic in pen parts

Artist Nathan Wyburn of Wales recreated the iconic image from Les Miserables using empty Bic Cristal pens. The mosaic took 2,436 empty barrels and 3,591 lids to produce, totaling 6,777 pen parts. He produced it to launch the 2012 Bic Challenge in the UK.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Montblanc Honors Pablo Picasso

This limited edition writing instrument from Montblanc honors the famed Spanish modern artist, known for catapulting the cubist movement forward in the twentieth century. This piece will be issued in a worldwide limited edition of 91 pens to honor his prolific lifetime.

The design is mainly inspired by the Picasso writing and sketch “Portrait de Jeune Fille” from 1936. The shape of the fountain pen is based on a simple pencil shape, symbolizing the minimalism of Picasso. The cap is made of 750 solid gold, with a Montblanc emblem in mother-of-pearl. The body of the pen is made of black lacquer and 750 solid gold with red lacquer. Finally, the instrument features a rhodium-plated 18-karat gold nib. The Pablo Picasso is priced at $33,500.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Audrey Hepburn and S. T. Dupont

The Audrey Hepbrun collection was inspired by the famous Riviera bag created by S. T. Dupont at the beginning of the 1950s. The actress discovered it in 1953 and adopted it immediately. Serving as both a travel bag and handbag, this unique model went everywhere with the actress, who loved its form and feminine detailing--like the secret compartment it had. Today's Audrey Riviera is made of grained pink calfskin with white straps and can also be produced upon request in all kind of leathers and colors, crafted by hand in S.T.Dupont's Faverges workshops.

A pen and lighter set for a touch of glamour
Taking inspiration from the hat worn by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, the Audrey Hepburn™ collection has an elegant bow design in powder pink and white Dupont lacquer for the Line 8 lighter and the Liberté fountain pen and ballpoint. Liberté is a line for women, launched two years ago.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dallas Pen Show this weekend!

Don't forget the Dallas Pen Show, just a few days away. Held at the Doubletree Hotel near the Galleria, it is one of the most hospitable and fun shows around. Vintage and contemporary writing instruments will be on display, and admission is just $5. The schedule is as follows:

Friday, September 21

8:00AM to 10:00AM—Exhibitor Setup (exhibitors only)
10:00AM—Show Open
8:00PM—Show Closed

Saturday, September 22

9:00AM—Show Open
10:00AM—All About Sheaffers, by Dan Reppert
11:00AM—All About Esterbrooks, by Lisa & Brian Anderson
12:00 noon—Fountain Pen Repairs by Joel Hamilton & Sherrell Tyree
1:00PM—Pens for Kids, by Allen Quait
2:00PM—All About Nibs, by John Mottishaw
2:00PM—Silent Auction Closes
3:00PM—The Latest in Modern Pens, by Susan Bowen
3:00PM—Checkout for Silent Auction Items
5:00PM—Show Closes

Friday, September 14, 2012

Are pens and pencils things of the past?

This is from a recent issue of The Standard, Missouri State University, entitled, "Pens and Pencils are SO Last Year," by Dayle Duggins...

When kinesiology major Tim Williams was told to take out a pen or pencil in class last week, he and his classmates exchanged confused looks and laughed. No, it wasn’t because Williams and his peers didn’t want to take a departmental survey, it was because they had yet to pick up a pen or pencil in Dr. Sarah McCallister’s classroom this school year.
As of the start of the school year, kinesiology majors are required to have an iPad, while those taking kinesiology courses — besides Fitness for Living — must have access to an iPad.

McCallister, who is in her seventh year as the kinesiology department head, said the tool not only helps students with coursework, but gives them a major advantage in the real world, as the technology is prominent in clinical establishments and many of the jobs kinesiology students seek.
Kinesiology — or the art and science and study of movement — incorporates physical education, exercise, and movement science, radiography, respiratory therapy, and much, much more.
Because students are learning about the complex workings of the human body, tools like the iPad make the subject much easier to understand, according to McCallister.
“It touches on all the different learning styles,” McCallister said. “It can do things a computer can’t; it’s portable and less expensive for students.”
How, exactly, is purchasing an iPad that can cost up to $829, if loaded with a ton of memory, cost-effective?
According to McCallister, the iPads most of the kinesiology students purchase can pay off in a semester. By introducing students to e-books and extremely relevant — and free — applications, it offsets the cost of books. McCallister also said if something, such as an iPad, is required for a class, it can be covered by financial aid.
Williams, a senior in the program, said he couldn’t be more pleased with the technology he, at first, was extremely skeptical about. Now, after two weeks of classes with the iPad requirement, Williams said he plans to use the tool when he becomes an elementary physical education teacher.
“My first thought was ‘here goes a pretty big chunk of change,’” he said. “Now, I absolutely love it. The educational uses far outweigh any negative thoughts.”
Above all else, Williams said being better prepared and more qualified as a teacher is the ultimate benefit — something McCallister had hoped for from the start of the process last January.
“We want our students to be the best and most marketable,” she said. “We couldn’t see sending our students out not prepared to use it (iPads) in their jobs.”
Not only is the tool preparing students for the future, but it makes it easier to communicate, incorporates interactivity, immediate feedback, and makes it simple to collaborate in the classroom, McCallister said.
Brenda Goodwin, an assistant professor in the department, agrees.
“It’s created excitement and passion for what we know and love,” Goodwin said. “What I have tried to do is take this tool and do two things: show kids how they can, as a teacher, use it and manage their classes with it and how they can use it to get their students to buy into the content of their class.”
Goodwin, who was concerned about the additional cost at first, now sees the tool as a cost-saver for students. Williams, who has taken Goodwin’s classes, is on the same page.
“I definitely think it’s feasible for students,” Williams said. “Money saved over time is a huge plus.”
Having a tool he can use in his class and engage his students is a huge plus as well, according to Williams.
“The biggest benefit is that I’ll be more prepared and qualified as a teacher,” he said.
While the iPad takes away some teacher-student interaction, McCallister said the educational tool will never replace the value of face-to-face learning.
“We don’t want to be behind; we want to be ahead,” she said.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Are you a Snake? Sneak peek from Cross...

The Year of the Snake will be celebrated in 2013, and Cross of Lincoln, RI, is commemorating it with a new writing instrument collection coming this fall. The Year of the Snake writing instruments feature a snake design etched into hand-polished lacquer in translucent blue or high-gloss black with rhodium-plated detailing. Each pen comes in a lift box with a removable presentation stand. The fountain pen is priced at $450, the roller ball is $325 and the ballpoint is $275. According to the Chinese Zodiac, individuals born in a Year of the Snake are enigmatic and wise, thriving on new ideas and innovative thinking. Well-known "Snakes" include Daniel Radcliffe, Kanye West, Marlon Brando, Sarah Jessica Parker and Brad Pitt. Snake birth years include 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013 and 2025.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Swann holds special preview with Rick Propas

Waterman Patrician Turquoise, ca. 1931;
Lot  394
This Wednesday, a special preview event (6 to 8 p.m.) will be held for Swann's upcoming inaugural auction of Fine & Vintage Writing Instruments. Swann's pen specialist, Rick Propas, will be available to display pens and answer questions; light refreshments will be served.

The auction will be held in New York City on September 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm. It includes over 400 lots featuring vintage Chilton, Montblanc, Pelikan, Parker pens and many more, as well as a fine selection of modern limited editions; the exhibition schedule began September 8. For more information, take a look at the exquisite 3-D auction catalog

Swann Galleries is at 104 East 25th Street, Manhattan, 212.254.4710.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Click and write!

Cross is  introducing its new Click pen that combines gel ink technology with a clever "click" mechanism. The pen is priced at around $25 and comes in a variety of colors and finishes, including satin black, satin chrome, pearlescent teal or pearlescent white--all with black trim. The pens are available this month. I think they offer good value and a good look, from the Century line.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

In time for Halloween...

ACME Studio has just announced its Dracula pen set commemorating the 100th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s death. The pen comes in a "coffin" that plays Bach’s “Fugue in ‘D’ Minor” when opened, and the entire set is encased in a Dracula book that includes a bottle of blood-red ink and a red refill. Dracula is a limited edition run of 999 fountain pens; the set includes an interchangeable rollerball option. 

“We were so thrilled and honored to translate Bram Stoker’s classic tale into a limited edition pen for our collection,” says Adrian Olabuenaga, co-founder of ACME Studio. “Each little detail was so exciting to craft, from the blood-red ink color to the haunting music that plays when the coffin is opened. We wanted to create something that would honor Bram’s memory while adding a touch of fun and spookiness – and just in time for Halloween!” 

The set retails for $500.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

For that not-so-fresh feeling...

Not sure if any of you have been following the hilarious aftermath of BIC's launch of its pens "for Her." They've gotten a ton of press of late, so I thought I would give them some attention, too--especially since my lady hands are sorely in need of just such pens after a long summer of barbecuing and other tough stuff. And, frankly, they make me feel pretty. Here are a few choice quotes, thanks to the Huffington Post

  1. "What's next, ladies attending universities? Pens to encourage literacy in the lower orders?" 
  2. "My excitement turned to tears when I realized that they do not come with paper-for-her."
  3. "When I saw these I just had to have them, so I asked my Husband to buy them for me. He refused, as he said that owning a pen might make me Think, and then have Ideas of My Own."
  4. "What do I do with them?"
  5. "I can barely adjust my crotch, I am so angry. Make pens For Him. Strong pens. Manly pens. Pens that dress on the right." 

I guess there is no such thing as bad publicity, but what were you thinking, BIC? Anyway, check out the new and sleek and pastel BIC for Her; batteries not included.