Collecting Vintage Pens

by David E. Silber

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.,,,, 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 (,).  Admission is nominal, and display of pens is awesome.  Also, exhibitors LOVE to talk pens, so it's a good way to expand your knowledge,