Collecting vintage pens: After 30 years of collecting pens—I started in 1968–I found out that I had been doing everything wrong: I bought on the basis of price, not on whether the pen wrote well, or I liked its looks.
For the past fifteen years I have been collecting pens on the basis of my interest in them, and potential value. What follows is my viewpoint, which I urge everyone to compare with others via pen chat websites (e.g., www.pentrace.net, www.fountainforum.com, www.fourtainpennetwork.com http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fountainpencollecting, or the Zoss forum, etc.)
1. Rules. The first rule is, there are no rules. If you find a pen you like, and it writes the way you want it to (and you can afford it), buy it. What seems like a lot of money today may turn out to be a wonderful investment in writing, fun, and even value.
2. Compare prices. It’s a good idea to check with more then one seller, as pen prices vary widely. Also, as with any hobby, there are fads in pen collecting. A different file discusses general influences on prices and collecting value (Valuing pens.).
3. Join the Pen Collectors of America. Not only do you become part of a group of like-minded folks, but you get the use their extensive library, and receive the really wonderful Pennant magazine quarterly.
4. Attend a pen show. If you haven’t done so, try to find a pen show nearby where you live. A listing of pen exhibitions is maintained by the Pen Collectors of America (www.pencollectorsofamerica.com,). Admission is nominal, and display of pens is awesome.