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What to buy next...
SO, you're a "stage two newbist"?
by Robert Helfrich
What you should buy next is BOOKS. Even a wildly expensive book like Lambrou, Andreas, Fountain Pens of the World (reprinted 1998) which can be picked up for anywhere from $100-$150 (but which is no longer published) ( so get a copy at whatever price you can get a copy). This history of major and minor manufacturers along with good color pictures is like having 1,000 pens.

If this is a bit rich for your blood. Pick up a new Copy of the Schiffer Guide: either the Fischler & Schneider, "Fountain Pens and Pencils" (ca. $85)" or the Schneider & Fischler " Antiques Writing Instruments".( ca. $20) The Hardbound "Blue Book" is the Pirce Guide generally accepted as valid. The smaller paperback is a useful book.

The Alexander Crum Ewing, "Fountain Pens: A Collector's Companion" (ca. $20) is another 'must have book" The Jonathan Steinberg "Fountain Pens" (not the Identifing FP's)(ca. $20) is another must have.

The last of the 'musts" is Frank Dubiel's "Fountain Pens: The Complete Guide. . . " -( ca. $20) even if you aren't going to repair your pens, its important to know how they work. Good to have books Dragoni & Fichera,"Fountain Pens:History & Design" (ca. $50) could have been better translated, but has a section of Great Pens that is a pen education. Paul Erano's "Fountain Pens: Past & Present ( ca $25) is another useful book.

Unless your desperate for a pen book, the Regina Martini "Pens & Pencils: A Collector's Book" ( ca $30 ?) has wildly inflated prices ( its also published by Schiller, like the Fischler & Schneider works, but is not of the same quality.) Also unless you are a fan of poor b/w copies of color ads and b/w pictures of fountainpens, avoid Glen Bowen's "Collectible Fountain Pens". The vast majority of the book is photocopy quality ( or less) b/w reproductions of Vintage Pen ads ( many of which were in color) There's about a dozen color pages - a couple of which are ads.

Now if you simply must have a pen that's under $100, large, eye catching, and writes well. (drum roll please )The Colibri Mickey Mouse Scribe ( or Goofy) a three way pen: fountain pen, rollerball, and ball point (No, only one at a time). All the necessary adapters are included. It has a medium, fairly rigid, very smooth nib. It takes small international cartridges. In red with a Brass Overlay, its a stylish pen. Its about $75. Even if you decide not to use fountain pens 9for any reason) you still have an excellent rb or bp pen.

Pens in the $100-$250 to avoid: Waterman L'Etalon, Expert II, Perface and Opera.{If you want a Waterman, Carene or Carene Delux is the pickk of the litter.} Pelikan's smaller than the M-800 unless you have small hands). Delta 365 and 366. OMAS ACS pens. Any MB smaller than the 149 or with precious resin. Aurora Talentum and Ipsilons ( the plastic feels so greasy/cheesy like precious resin). Waterford (has anyone ever read a post about Waterford ?)Rotrings other the 600 and 800. Bexley (unless you can find an Ebonite for this price.)

Pens no one's mentioned Marlen Chagall and Shuttle, Cartier Diabolo, Namiki Impressions, VP, Falcon. Cross Pinacle (they'se are being sold off by a lot of dealers) Sheaffer Legacy II, Tombow, Laban Presidential.

Finally, only a person with monet to burn overlooks the Super Specials at FPH or other dealer's specials, close outs, or demos. (My Edson was a demo, same with MB149, 360, Merlot Urushi, M-900, M-1000.)

Remember the Pen Zen Mantra:

Never pay Retail
Never Pay Retail..

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