The Pen And The Piggy Bank


How many crammed-full piggy banks would it take to buy the fountain pen at the top of your wishlist? Prices especially for new pens have climbed dramatically leaving some buyers in the dust. What’s a collector to do?

Take a look at the offerings at Fountain Pen Network today. Perhaps few of them sell but folks certainly are asking amazingly high prices for some of them. No bargains there.

At least based on my search parameters, good deals on eBay are rare and winning bids remarkably consistent. In other words the same seller gets virtually the same price every time he offers “X” pen. Hmmm. Either a lot of buyers are willing to pay almost exactly the amount for that “X” pen or the deck is stacked. So much for eBay.

Unless some bloke on a sidewalk opens his jacket to reveal a plethora of pens rather than the expected display of fake Rolexes, I’m sunk. I haven’t purchased a quality pen since 2009 and could be out of date on current market values. But it does leave me puzzled. Assuming you wanted to find a good pen at a decent price, where would you look?


  1. I do best with a few reliable dealers who know my budget and preferences and are willing to knock a little off for good customera, knowing we’ll buy more pens that way and they’ll have faster turnovers.


  2. It is amazing to me what pens are sellng for, never mind what people ask. My wish list includes Parker Duofolds and Swan Eternals. Forget buying a decent one of either of those at bargain prices. I do get some eBay deals now and then, but it’s a job. I check in every night, watch the auctions. I lose a lot of bids. Patience and persistence do pay off however.


  3. Most of pens unaffordable, so I am checking Ebay, Jetpens, HisHibs.com… and hoping to win the lottery when will decide to play.


  4. I am no expert on fountain pens, but I happen to receive many great pens as gifts. Once I start checking their retailed price, I am agape. From my perusing of various blogs, many would argue that a nice fountain pen should not be as high as skyscrapers. When I set my eyes on certain pens, I will usually do a little research on them, to find justification on their price. I will then do a price comparison on the web to see what is the best offer. This process is usually long, but I believe patience will eventually pay off.


  5. Well recently there have been quite a few good deals on FPN which I unfortunately missed like an Aurora Optima Mini for $135 which has been on my list for several years. So it does pay off to check the classifieds quite regularly. You can usually get quite a good deal on pelikans (german sellers) and asian pens (engeika) on ebay. I still see quite a few bargains going. Although I do agree with you that generally pen prices have gone up far too much in the past few years and can be difficult to get. Almost all major pen sellers have done a 50-100%markup in the last 2-3years which I find dreadful considering the bad economy.


  6. Ebay is often the place – but look every week. I recently got a 1 year old MB, hardly used for 40% of new price and a Parker Duofold Centennial with broad nib for less than1/3 new price – both in boxes with all papers.

    FPN is usually VERY expensive and I hardly bother to read the adverts these days


    • So there are the occasional good deals on eBay. Good for you, Tony. I check daily but haven’t seen anything thrilling for quite some time. Maybe an exciting auction is just around the corner.

      Not only are the prices high on FPN but the “new” configuration leaves me cold. I don’t check there now even as often as monthly though I would like to trade a few of my least used pens. That category has disappeared since the latest board update. I wonder if the PenTrace PenMarket Board might be worth visiting. I’ve purchased a few pens there in the past and the prices were fair. At least that format makes an easy distinction between items for sale or to trade. Guess where I’m off to?


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