12.23.2015

Winners to our Letters to Santa Giveaway + Holiday Hours


As you can imagine, Santa had quite a few letters to read. He was quite taken by the number of handwritten letters that came in this year. It was a welcome sight for his old eyes.

Thank you to everyone who sent us a letter to forward to Santa. The jolly old elf was overjoyed at reading your notes.

Santa said it was difficult to choose just one letter as the winner of the giveaway. So many of you wrote such lovely letters! After much contemplation, he gave us the one letter that was picked as the winner.

The lucky winner of the Letters to Santa Giveaway is Kata from Canada! Congratulations! Santa will be on his way to pick up the pen she wished for, the Sailor Pro Gear Four Seasons "Winter" fountain pen.


We also picked our 5 runner ups that will receive a Goldspot Prize Pack, which includes the one prize pack we set aside for the Rafflecopter giveaway we were running on social media. The winners are :

  • Karen J.
  • Susan J.
  • Ken A.
  • Alec P.
  • Jeff L. (our Rafflecopter winner)

These winners will be receiving the items pictured below :




If you're curious to know what all the good little boys and girls asked for as their top Christmas wish pen, here are some observations :

Most boys and girls wished for a Visconti pen over all other brands. The #1 most wished-for pen was a Visconti Homo Sapiens fountain pen.

Pelikan came in a close second, OMAS third & fourth place shared by Pilot & Sailor.

Other notable pens that were asked for :


  • OMAS Arco Brown Celluloid - in the Ogiva & Arte Italiana styles
  • Pelikan M1000
  • Visconti Divina Elegance
  • Pilot Vanishing Point Raden
  • Pelikan M805 Stresemann
  • Namiki Yukari Moonlight


Thank you again to everyone who wrote in. This was quite an enjoyable giveaway that we most likely will be running next year as well.

We hope everyone will be enjoying family & friends this holiday season. Our office will be closed early on Christmas Eve, December 24th. We will be closed on Friday, Christmas Day, and will resume business on Monday, December 28th. We will also be closed on Friday, January 1st.

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa & Happy New Year! Best of health, happiness and fortune to you all!

12.22.2015

It's Not Easy Being Green - the New Lamy AL-Star Charged Green


Lamy introduces the "Charged Green" AL-Star for 2016!!!



Another green? Do we need another green in what seems like a never-ending procession of green Safaris and AL-Stars?

Does Germany have waaay too much green pen "batter" laying around that they need to use before it goes bad?

As many Lamy fans and collectors know in their hearts, the color won't matter much, it's a new Safari / Al-Star, and Charged Green must be assimilated into the Lamy collective.

So, what makes "Charged" Green different from any other green? See our photos below.

(From Left to Right) : Lamy Safari Neon Green (2015), Lamy Al-Star Charged Green (2016), Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Green (2015), Lamy Safari Apple Green (2012, 2016), Pilot Vanishing Point Metallic Green (2014), Lamy Al-Star Bluegreen (2014, 2016).

As you can see, the Charged Green has a mix of yellow that gives it an "underripe golden delicious apple" look. It's not nearly as saturated as the Apple Green, which is being reintroduced to the Safari lineup this year. It is also not as eye-stingingly bright as last year's Neon Lime.

In this shot, we see the Charged Green laid over the other greens to get more of a direct comparison. What are your feelings on this green? Write your opinions below in the comments.

The Lamy Al-Star Charged Green will become available early 2016, along with the re-issue of the Al-Star Blue Green, Safari Apple Green and the new Safari Dark Lilac. We will have more information on those new Lamy releases as they come to us. To be the first to know about these pens, subscribe to our blog.

12.11.2015

Introducing the Exclusive Goldspot + Jinhao 599A

Hi Pen Pals,

If you've ordered from us in the last few weeks, you may have noticed a little surprise in your package of pen goods. The Goldspot elves have been toiling for many long hours picking, packing and shipping your orders. We all wanted to say "thanks" for your support with a special gift we sprinkled in a number of our shipments.

Meet the Goldspot Pens + Jinhao 599A Demonstrator Fountain Pen

For those who are unfamiliar with this model of fountain pen, it is originally produced by Jinhao, a well-known Chinese pen manufacturer that has a reputation for inexpensive, quality pens. The model may look familiar to those who know the Lamy Safari / Vista pen line.



Our variation on this pen is that the Jinhao branding has been removed and replaced with our own. The Goldspot Logo is written on the barrel and the Goldspot "G" is engraved into the stainless steel nib.

In case you've never written with a fountain pen before, we've made this handy video to give you an overview of the Jinhao pen, complete with instructions on how to fill it, write with it and proper maintenance to ensure you'll be enjoying this pen for years to come.


Check our video on Discovering the Jinhao 599A Fountain Pen on YouTube.

Happy Writing!

12.09.2015

Parker / Waterman 2015 Rebate on New Pens

Waterman Ombres et Lumieres Pen Collection - 2015
Who is up for saving just a little bit more on your Parker & Waterman Pens? Of course you are.

Even if you've already purchased a Parker or Waterman from us this past month, you may be eligible to get up to $25 back in the 2015 Holiday Rebate.

Parker Sonnet Great Expectations Collection - 2015

Sponsored by Newell Rubbermaid, the parent company of the fine writing division that owns both Parker & Waterman, this Holiday rebate includes purchases made from November 15th, 2015 to December 31st, 2015.

Purchase Amount (before tax)Rebate Amount
$50 - $99.99$5
$100 - $149.99$10
$150 - $199.99$15
$200 and up$25


To Redeem the Parker / Waterman Rebate


  1. Purchase any Parker or Waterman pen from us during the rebate period and be sure to save the sales receipt we send in the package.
  2. Complete the rebate redemption form on www.finewritingrebate.com
  3. Mail the redemption form, the original sales receipt with the Parker / Waterman purchase circled, making sure it is postmarked by January 15th, 2016.


The mailing address for the Rebate promotion is as follows :

Fine Writing Promotion 2015
PO Box 2511
Grand Rapids, MN 55745-2511

There is a limit of one rebate claimed per person & per household during the promotion period.

The offer is valid only in the United States. Goldspot Pens is not responsible for payment for these rebates and they cannot be exchanged for a discount at the time of purchase.

For more details, please check out the official rebate voucher below:



12.02.2015

Letters to Santa Giveaway

Ho Ho Ho...


What if you could ask Santa for any pen your heart desires, and he left it neatly wrapped under your tree on Christmas morning?


That's the idea of our December giveaway. Write a letter to Santa Claus (or Santa Pens) and mail it to our office address at :

Goldspot Pens
ATTN: Letters to Santa Giveaway
1230 Highway 34
Aberdeen, NJ 07747

Tell Santa which pen is the one that you would treasure in your stocking. It can be anything, really. Shoot for the stars (or snowflakes . . . pen humor).

Mail it to us as soon as possible before he begins his flight preparations on the 22nd of December. We'll make sure that the big man in the North Pole will get your letter.

One letter will be picked the winner of this giveaway, and the wish on that letter will be granted.

"Wait a sec, they'll probably pick the person who is asking for a Pilot Metropolitan for Christmas."
- A Rightfully Skeptical Person

Not so. We've got a BIG budget for this giveaway. Our biggest yet. Bigger than the last two giveaways combined!

In addition to the grand price wish, we're also sending pen stocking stuffer prize packages to 3 lucky runner-ups.


Our Pen Stocking Stuffer Prize Pack includes :
(1) Jinhao 599A Goldspot Demonstrator Pen
(1) 2mL Ink Sample
(1) Rhodia Notepad
(1) Parker Leather Single Pen Case

We're hoping you would spread the word about this giveaway, so we're giving away an additional Pen Stocking Stuffer Prize Pack using this Rafflecopter form below:



On Dasher, on Dancer, on Fine Print....
All entries for the Letters to Santa giveaway drawing must be received by December 21st, 2015 at 11:59pm EST. By participating in the Letters to Santa contest, you are giving us permission to share your name and images of your mailed-in submission on social media (your address and email will not be shared). Entries will not be returned to you and will become the property of Goldspot Pens. Please limit one entry per person.

No purchase is required to participate. Odds of winning will depend on the number of entries received, estimated to be 1/200.

11.24.2015

OMAS 90th Anniversary Icons Celluloid Set Review



So, there's a lot going on over at OMAS that serves as a pretext to this 90th Anniversary celebratory set. Presently, the Chinese holding company that owns 90% of the Italian pen company want to liquidate the company. To save it, the employees at OMAS are making a bid to take back the company. The OMAS US distributor has indicated that two companies are interested in purchasing the company.

We wish the employees of OMAS the best of luck during the trying time. All OMAS pen fans are pulling for this transition to continue the manufacture of their writing instruments for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, a capable company will purchase OMAS and allow it to keep making awesome fountain pens like the ones included in this 90th Anniversary Set.

It seems rather ironic that a company would go to such lengths to produce a limited edition that celebrates a milestone in glamorous fashion. Meanwhile, the rug gets pulled out from under them with the possibility of never seeing the 91st anniversary. Well, lets cut short the commentary and talk about this awesome, limited set of delicious, celluloid fountain pens.



First, a little history and background on the creation of this set, taken from Kenro Industries' website :

Exactly 90 years ago, on June 15, 1925, Armando Simoni founded in Bologna Officina Meccanica Armando Simoni. Thus was made OMAS, a workshop that would become in later years one of the most significant expressions of "made in Italy" and prestigious player of high-end writing instruments.

The set celebrating the 90th Anniversary dedicated to Historical OMAS’s Shapes, has been therefore made with the same passion of our Founder. Created by hand entirely in celluloid, the set is composed by The Paragon Vintage piston filling fountain pens, designed by Armando Simoni in 1931, Ogiva model original designed in 1927 and 360 model created in 1996. The set is realized with historical celluloid Pearl Grey.

The exclusive Limited and Numbered 90 Sets are enriched, for the first time, by special engraving on the ring, placed to celebrate the nine decades of history.

Available in silver finish with odd numbers and gold trim with even numbers.
The 90th Anniversary "Icons" perfectly fits the bill when it comes to what you would expect of a pen that celebrates the history and distinction of this pen company. They take three of their most recognizable and beloved models, cast them in a material (celluloid) that isn't used often by other pen manufacturers and fit nib sizes that no contemporary pen maker can match. In short, this isn't just a run-of-the mill re-hash of a glory-days pen model with a cheap stainless steel nib slapped on it (*cough* Esterbrook *cough*). The 90th Anniversary Set is a legitimate collection of pens that, while expensive, totally cater to the fountain pen enthusiast that loves to write.




The Epic Unboxing

Anyone who has purchased an OMAS pens know that the Italian company does not skimp on packaging. The pen boxes are usually given a substantial amount of attention, with soft, fabric-lined interiors and a single pen sleeve that carries your brand-new pen. The 90th Anniversary set takes packaging to the next level with a pen chest with a rose, velvet-like top. Opening the top reveals all three pens, laying in their own spot. Each pen is slid into a textured, leather pen sleeve imprinted with the OMAS logo. A special booklet is also included that talks about the history and includes the edition number that matches your set.


The Arte Italiana Milord with 18kt BBB Nib

The Arte Italiana is one of my favorite OMAS models. The 12 faceted sides are excellent for taking photos. You never have to worry about one rolling off on you! The Milord model is usually built with a cartridge or converter, but for the purposes of this limited edition, a piston-filling mechanism is installed in this pen.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the 18kt triple broad nib. Originally, I was thinking that it would be just a really, really broad nib.  And yes, it is broad. I can almost paint the trim in my room with  how thick it is. What I wasn't expecting was the stubbiness of the nib. A thick, vertical stroke is contrasted with a noticeably thinner horizontal line.

The Ogiva with 14kt Extra Flessibile Fine Nib

I'm still fawning over the Ogiva Cocktail that was recently reviewed (and I recently purchased...yay employee discount). My Ogiva has the extra flessibile nib and the one on the 90th Anniversary pen does not disappoint. The flex on this nib offers excellent variation and soft springiness that allows you to throw additional flourish into your writing.

The pearl grey celluloid is especially striking on this smooth, rounded profile model. The gold bands on the cap and before the section threads are intricately engraved with Greek key frets. The band at the section has "9OMAS" and "Anniversary" engraved on it.

The 360 with 18kt Medium Nib

The triangular 360 is one of the more recent OMAS models that has a distinctive, three-sided profile. In contrast to the Arte & Ogiva, the 360 is a snap cap design with a triangular grip to match the body of the pen.

The 18kt gold nib in medium point is a perfect, middle-of-the-road writing nib. The triangular section is easy to hold. The girth and balance of the pen would make the 360 an ideal choice for long writing sessions. In comparison with the flexible 14kt nib on the Ogiva and the ultra-thick 18kt BBB nib on the Arte, the medium writing nib on the 360 is a welcome, moderate choice for those who may not need to do flex in their writing or paint a house with the triple broad.

A Few Final Words

Summary :
  • Writing Quality : OMAS has put themselves forward as one of the premier "writing" fountain pen brands that focuses on enhancing the writing experience. Offering a new nib along with nibs that simply don't exist in the current market make these pens hard to imitate. (grade A)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Celluloid is steadily becoming harder to find in the world of pens. And, when a pen is made of it, the price is usually much higher due to the rarity and difficulty to manufacture the material. The grey celluloid has plenty of chatoyance and the trims are sublime. (grade A+)
  • Utility : Every pen fills via piston, so points for ink capacity. The packaging isn't the most shelf-friendly, but if you're planning on showing off the set in a glass display, the box is rather impressive. The pen sleeves are a nice touch to protect your pens. (grade B+)
  • Price : $3,550 Retail. Yikes! The sticker shock is overwhelming for most. Each of the models separately are  being currently sold in other materials (besides celluloid) for a fraction of the cost. To argue for the price, the set is only a 90 piece edition and they are made of celluloid. (grade C)

Final Grade : A-
Regardless of the fate of OMAS after 2015, this 90th Anniversary Celluloid Icon set is a testament to a company that is built upon artful quality and an excellent writing experience. 3 classic models, all in piston-fill with 3 fantastic nibs. What else can an FP Geek ask for? Maybe a second mortgage?

11.18.2015

Filofax 2016 Calendar Diary Inserts in BLUE Ink

To all of our Organized Filofax Fans,

Maybe it was the changeover in US distribution to "Blueline" Rediform, or it was the need for ruffling the feathers of dedicated Filofax users worldwide, but Filofax has printed a number of their 2016 organizer refills in blue ink instead of black.

This may not seem like Earth-shattering news for the rest of us, but for those who have been faithfully scheduling, to-doing and note-taking in their Filo's for years, this is a matter of grave importance. It's like when Spotify changed their logo color to a solid, electric green. It's offensive and irritable to its core users.

We've recently updated all of our 2016 calendar refill photos to show the correct ink color appearance and layout of the inserts. Oh, and that's another thing - the layouts on certain week-to-view style inserts have been slightly tweaked.

See the 2016 week on two pages below. Filofax added a "This Week" section to the top-left of the layout. The left-side was originally divided into larger sections for the first three days of the week. The right side would have had Thursday, Friday and the weekend would have been split in the lower right-hand side.
New 2016 Blue ink refill with updated layout
So far, the response to this refill change hasn't been the most welcome. We've forwarded all complaints to Filofax to provide them valuable user feedback. Perhaps they may learn from this lesson to keep their core organizer users happy by sticking with a format that wasn't broken to begin with. Or perhaps crowdsource the design change by getting feedback from online Filofax communities like Philofaxy.

ORDER ALL SIZES OF 2016 FILOFAX CALENDAR REFILLS HERE

Best,
The Goldspot Team

11.16.2015

Platinum #3776 Century Chartres Blue Fountain Pen in Music Nib Review


This week, we're giving Platinum some love, as one of the big 3 Japanese manufacturers of fountain pens. Platinum sometimes takes the backseat to Pilot and Sailor. While it is arguable that both are stronger in terms of being fan favorites, Platinum has it place for high quality fountain pens and the 3776 Century line is proof of this.



The 3776 Century is Platinum's flagship model of fountain pen that has a classic, cigar-shaped profile, simple, yet elegant trim design and a 14kt gold nib. The look of the pen is close to the Sailor 1911 and serves as a basis for comparison, especially since a Sailor was reviewed quite recently.

Sailor 1911S vs Platinum 3776 Spec Comparison
Platinum 3776Sailor 1911S
Length (Capped)5.43”5.3125"
Length (Uncapped)4.68”4.625"
Length (Posted)6.06”5.875"
Section Diameter0.41”0.375"
Cap Max Diameter0.61”0.5625"
Weight0.85 oz0.7oz
Nib14kt Gold14kt Gold
Price (USD)~$175~$155

As you can see by the comparison chart here, the 3776 has a little bit more to offer in girth and length than the 1911S. My personal taste prefers a larger pen, especially in regards to the section diameter, for a surer grip.

The Finish

The 3776 Century "Chartres blue" takes its name from deep, translucent blue stained glass of France's Chartres Cathedral. Designated a World Heritage site in 1979, the stained glasses are known worldwide for their beauty. Although the material is translucent, this pen is not a demonstrator. The body and cap has a high opacity, allowing only an aura of light to pass through, radiating a deep, royal blue. It isn't possible to see the ink level inside the pen's converter. You can somewhat make out the the nib's silhouette inside the cap when it is closed.

Personally, I love the gold trim on blue pens. Most pen makers put silver or rhodium trim. Platinum recently released a rhodium trim version of the Chartres Blue, but I do prefer the gold, as it is more unique and beautiful.

The thick cap ring with engraving, paired with a thinner ring above, creates an elegant point of interest on what would otherwise be a plain, cigar-shaped pen design. The oblong clip is also quite plain, lacking the distinctiveness and personality that other brands have utilized in their identity (Lamy Safari's wire clip, Visconti's arc clip & Pelikan's beak, for example).

Filling Up

The Platinum 3776 Century uses a cartridge / converter filling mechanism and is provided with both options in the box with the pen. The proprietary converter fits in deeply and snugly into the section. No surprises with this standard filling system. Drawing up ink is a breeze. Although not used for purposes of this review, the cartridge that is included with the pen is a proprietary style made by Platinum.


Writing with the Platinum Music Nib

As I mentioned previously, I had the pleasure of writing with the Sailor Pro Gear Galaxy with a Music nib a few weeks ago. While the two-tined Sailor music nib isn't a true music nib like the 3-tined Platinum nib is, both were very similar in their output. As you would expect with a music nib, there is a thick downstroke and thinner horizontal line.

The ink flows smoothly and the feed keeps up with the higher demand the music nib makes. The thick/thin line variation is good with Platinum's music nib, but the Sailor 2-tined music nib had slightly better variation and wrote slightly wetter than the Platinum nib.

A neat feature of the 3776 Century is a "slip seal" cap that helps prevent an inked nib to dry out. When screwing the cap on the front end, the last quarter turn has a secure, tightened feel. More extensive testing would have to be done to see if this design would provide an advantage over your typical fountain pen cap. From the week or so I had to experience this pen, the nib always wrote immediately and without hesitation, even after being capped for hours or a day later.

Overall, the writing experience is quite pleasant with Platinum's music nib. The 14kt gold isn't flexible or soft, but it still provides ample flow and coverage to keep up with the demand that a thick nib requires.


A Few Final Words

Summary :
  • Writing Quality : The Platinum 14kt gold music nib writes with good flow, smoothness and always starts up right away. The size and shape of the pen's profile makes it comfortable to grip and write with for long stretches. Excellent balance with the cap posted. (grade A)
  • Aesthetic Quality : The Chartres Blue is a gorgeous, deep color that looks great paired with gold trim. Classic cigar profile is fairly unimaginative. (grade B)
  • Utility : The Platinum slip seal cap is billed to keep the nib fresher for longer, but that would be a claim that would need more testing over time. Cap posts well. Cartridge & converter are proprietary, which makes it harder to obtain replacements. (grade B+)
  • Price : ~$220 Retail. The Platinum 3776 is priced at the same tier as Pelikan Tradition m2xx, Lamy 2000, Pilot Custom 74, and Sailor 1911. Looking at the competition at this tier, the 3776 Century would be a bigger standout if it was priced lower to differentiate itself from it's relatively close analog in the Sailor 1911. (grade C+)

Final Grade : B+
If this were a shootout between the 1911 and the 3776, I'd give the round to the 1911 in terms of writing quality and the craftsmanship of the design. Although the Chartres Blue resin is a stunning color, the effect is too subtle for a pen that needs to have more personality to stand out amongst the other Japanese fine writing instruments.

11.09.2015

Retro 51 x Goldspot Pens Introduce the Coffee Tornado


It's no secret that the Goldspot office has a love affair with coffee. Most mornings, one can smell the first pot being brewed before getting in the door.

So, when we were discussing the design of an exclusive collaboration with Texas-based Retro 1951, we thought an ode to the mighty bean was in order.

Retro 51's Tornado twist-action rollerball pen has rapidly become an iconic writing instrument, with many styles that take on a variety of themes. Cats, zombies, space rockets, baseballs and ugly sweaters were the topics of several recent limited edition Tornadoes. So, why not coffee?


Brewing a Cup of Retro

We approached Retro with a tall (or venti) order. We placed a great deal of trust in their stellar graphics department, who really came through in achieving our vision of a caffeinated Tornado Pen.

The base of the pen's barrel takes its texture and color from the burlap sacks that transport the whole coffee beans. Retro's acid etch technique, combined with a matte finish, achieve this rustic effect.



Icons of coffee beans and espresso cups are imprinted on the textured finish. Coffee terms, written in varying typographic styles, are poured over the beige colored barrel in varying tones of brown. This design will be right at home with your coffee wall decor that may already be adorning your breakfast nook or kitchen.



The antique metal accents, clip and knurled turning mechanism complete the style in a way that is distinctively Retro. An espresso brown disc tops the crown of the pen.

The Ink

The Tornado rollerball includes a short, capless rollerball type refill which has smooth-writing, gel type ink that lasts for some time in a retractable pen. The Tornado pens can also accept Parker-style ballpoint refills, which are available in a wide array of colors, even in gel inks. So, it would be possible to match your Coffee Tornado with a brown or sepia ballpoint cartridge.

Retro x Goldspot Coffee Tornado Packaging (no beans included)

Packaging

As with any special edition Retro pen, the Coffee Tornado received the full treatment with a matching art for the tube packaging. The label has a big mug with the Goldspot logo, along with our website address.

Is It a Limited Edition?

We decided the Coffee Tornado is too good of a pen to limit in number. After all, don't you hate it when the last drop of coffee is gone? We do, too.

So, when this batch of Coffee Tornadoes are sold, we will obtain more. However, our first shipment is limited for the Holidays, and we wouldn't expect the next shipment to arrive until after the New Year. If you're looking to get the Retro 51 Coffee Tornado for yourself or as a gift for Christmas, we would recommend to jump on this as soon as possible so you don't miss out on your hot cup of pen awesomeness.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR RETRO 51 x GOLDSPOT COFFEE TORNADO TODAY

11.03.2015

Cast Your Vote for 2015 Pen & Ink of the Year

Today is Election Day 2015, and the first official day open for voting on the Goldspot Pens Readers' Choice Pen of the Year.



Voting is currently open until Fountain Pen Day, Friday at 10am Eastern US Time. At that time, the polls will close and we will release the results later that day.

Our previous winners include : 
  • Edison Glenmont 2014 Limited Edition (2014)
  • Edison Menlo Fountain Pen (2013)
  • Edison Beaumont & Conid's Fountainbel Bulkfiller Demonstrator (2012)
  • Edison Collier Fountain Pen (2011)
  • TWSBI Diamond 530 Fountain Pen (2010)
  • Pelikan m205 Blue Transparent Fountain Pen (2009)
  • Online Newood Fountain Pen Calligraphy Set (2008)

Edison is our reigning, 4-time champion, but has some big-time competition this year with a flock of Pelikans and the TWSBI Eco to compete with.

For the first time this year, we're also holding a separate contest for inks as well.

CLICK HERE TO CAST YOUR VOTE
(Edit 11/08/2015 : Voting has ended, but you can visit the above link to see the outcome of the vote!)

Get all your friends involved! Share the image in this post on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #2015POTY


10.29.2015

Writing with a Sailor Zoom Nib


Sailor Pen of Japan hand-crafts a wide array of specialty fountain pen nibs. Only a small set, including standard writing points like fine, medium and broad, are distributed to the USA. Part of this core nib offering is the Zoom nib. Whereas the other writing nibs could be matched with a Western counterpart, the Zoom has no familiar analog.


Think of the Zoom nib like the zoom tool, it can either thicken or thin the line width by the angle that the nib meets the paper. For a double-broad, wet line, keep the nib at an acute angle to the paper. For a medium thickness, change the pen angle to about 45 degrees to the writing surface. To get a dry, thin line, flip the nib upside down.

In our short video demonstration, we show how the Zoom nib works simply by changing the way you hold the pen. It's like having 3 different point sizes with one pen!

The Sailor Zoom nib is offered in both the 14kt or 21kt style, depending on the model of Sailor pen you choose. The pen in the demonstration is the 21kt Sailor 1911 Large nib. The regular Pro Gear model also has the 21kt gold nib while both the 1911 Standard and Pro Gear Slim sport the 14kt gold.

If you have any questions regarding this nib, or with Sailor pens in general, please feel free to leave us a comment below.

10.27.2015

What Should be the Pen & Ink of the Year 2015?

Hey Pen Lovers,

Need your help in putting together a nominations list for Pen of the Year 2015.

Every year, we (Goldspot Pens) run a "reader's choice" vote for Pen of the Year. We set up a poll online of all the nominees during the first week in November, coinciding the the US Election Day.

Last year, Edison Pen Co completed a 4-peat with their 2014 Pen of the Year, the Glenmont limited edition.

Previous winners of the Pen of the Year

  • Edison Glenmont 2014 Limited Edition (2014)
  • Edison Menlo Fountain Pen (2013)
  • Edison Beaumont & Conid's Fountainbel Bulkfiller Demonstrator (2012)
  • Edison Collier Fountain Pen (2011)
  • TWSBI Diamond 530 Fountain Pen (2010)
  • Pelikan m205 Blue Transparent Fountain Pen (2009)
  • Online Newood Fountain Pen Calligraphy Set (2008)


What qualifies as a Pen of the Year 2015 candidate, you say? Any pen that was released during this year, including new colors and styles of established pen models (like the Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight, for example).



Here is a list of what I've got so far :

  • Edison Collier LE Black Rose Acrylic Ltd Ed
  • Pilot VP 2015 Twilight Ltd Ed
  • Pelikan M205 Amethyst
  • Pelikan M800 Stresemann
  • Pelikan M200 Cafe Creme
  • OMAS Ogiva Cocktail Ltd Ed.
  • Sailor Pro Gear Galaxy Starburst Ltd Ed
  • Retro 51 Tornado Popper "Liftoff" Ltd Ed
  • Cross Townsend Star Wars Darth Vader
  • Lamy Al-Star Copper Orange
  • Kaweco Brass Sport


Please COMMENT BELOW any others that you feel should be on this list.


Ink of the Year 2015


For the first time, we're also going to have a simultaneous vote for the Ink of the Year, 2015. This will be run in a similar fashion with an online poll that we will run here on our blog. Inks have become such an integral part of the fountain pen experience that some "blockbuster" inks truly deserve recognition.

Here are the nominees I came up with :

  • Diamine Shimmertastic Inks
  • J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Emerald of Chivor
  • Pelikan Edelstein Amethyst
  • Sailor Storia Pigmented Inks
  • Mont Blanc Blue Hour Blue-Black


Again, please COMMENT BELOW any other inks that you feel should be on the list of nominees.

The voting page will be up on Tuesday here on the blog. So, check back here or sign up for our newsletter so you can get the update directly in your e-mail inbox.

10.19.2015

What is My Pen Worth? Part 3 - Determining Value

This is Part 3 in our series "What's My Pen Worth," where we discuss the details of how to evaluate and successfully sell older writing instruments for their maximum value. In Part one, we show how to accurately identify the writing instrument. Part two gives a checklist for describing the condition of the item.

For this last part, you should have noted the following about your pen :

  • The brand, model, approximate year of manufacture and country of manufacture.
  • Whether the pen actually writes and/or can be filled using the filling mechanism.
  • If a fountain pen, the nib size, material and gold content (if applicable).
  • The cosmetic condition of the pen, noting and photographing any scratches, dings, dents, engravings etc.
  • Whether it has the original box and paperwork.

Next, we are looking to get an understanding about the market value of the pen in order to accurately value the piece in your possession.

BONUS - Find out where to sell your pens at the end of this article.

The internet is an amazing tool for figuring out the going price of virtually anything that is sold. Gone are the days of the collectors reference books, blue books or any other printed price guides that assign dollar values to particular collectibles. Not only is that information dated as soon as the ink dries on the paper, it also doesn't take into account the wild bonanza that is the internet marketplace.

You're online reading this article, so you may as well pull up another browser tab or window to get started with your pricing research. Since we know the make & model details from part one, get started by searching the full name of your pen on Google, making sure to include the mode of the pen as well. For example :



"Parker Vacumatic Blue Azure Pearl Major Fountain Pen"

[Manufacturer] + [Model] + [Style / Color] + [Mode]

The point to Googling is to find current or completed listings on eBay, retail websites, or discussion board forum posts that match your pen.

Your query should be as descriptive as possible to start. However, if your search is coming up short on listings, then you should eliminate the additional key words to get a more general result.

eBay will most likely be your most helpful tool in this research, as this will be the most richest resource of older, antique items that are being sold by folks just like yourself. Two other specific sites to look at would be Fountain Pen Network's classifieds and the Pen Swap subreddit.



eBay power seller tip : use Completed Listings filter. Just searching an item on eBay will return all the active auctions, showing you starting bids and items that are way overpriced and will not sell. See what items have sold and their final sell price by check-marking the Show only : Completed Listings filter in the search menu options. Your query will then only show the listings that have been successfully sold and for what value they were sold for.

It is important to note the conditions of the items that are listed. Are they similar to your pen? Are they working or for parts? Are they being shipped from outside of the US or locally? Before getting excited that your pen may be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, read the description of the auction listing to see if is being sold with the original box or if there was anything special about the item that differs from yours.


Price within the Neighborhood

Consider this process like an appraisal for a house. An appraiser heavily weighs the recent sale values in your particular neighborhood to determine the value of your entire property. The condition of the house itself matters significantly, but you need to understand the price "neighborhood" first and foremost.

Even if you find only one listing for a pen that is similar to yours, it would still be possible to gauge an appropriate value for your pen. Consider the condition value scale we diagrammed in Part 2 :

Brand new, in box with original papers - $$$$$
Like new, recently restored, gently used - $$$$
Used, working, with some cosmetic issues - $$$
Not-working, dings, dents, but all pieces intact - $$
Broken, for parts - $

Hypothetically, lets say the pen you have is in good condition and writes well. If the listing you had found is missing a clip and doesn't write, but still sold for $30, you could easily price your pen in the $80 range since it is higher in the condition value scale.

If you're lucky enough to have a pen that is brand new in box or hardly used, you're always going to be looking at the top-end of the price spectrum.  It is rare for pens that are 20 + years old to be brand new, with original box and paperwork. However, this doesn't mean that you should value your pen 4 or 5 times higher than a gently used version. It still needs to be within the same ballpark.

When there are multiple auctions or completed listings that are in varying conditions, it is easier to determine the value. If there are several pens listed with the same condition as yours, simply take an average of the auctions to get your approximate dollar value.


BONUS : Where to Sell your Pens

Now that you're armed with all the information you need about your vintage pen(s), you may decide to liquidate their value for some cold, hard cash. If you followed the instructions in this article to find the market value for the pen, you should have all the details you need to successfully find a buyer for your pens.

Option 1 : eBay
eBay is one of the largest websites that deal antiques and collectibles. This is a great place to start to find a market value for your pens, and you should be able to find a buyer just as easily and get a good value for your pens. You can easily add images, write a description (using your notes accumulated during your research) and price your item with shipping costs.

Pros : Large audience of buyers. Great visibility on Google. User ratings and eBay dispute system.
Cons : You're giving roughly 15% of your sale to eBay and Paypal in fees.

Option 2 : Private Classifieds
Listing on a forum like Fountain Pen Network or Craigslist usually comes without any fees, but you have to have faith that the other person you are dealing with isn't going to scam you. Take extra precaution, because the anonymity of the internet is at play in these instances since particular users do not have any reputations to uphold (like eBay feedback) and there is no dispute system to handle transactions gone awry.

Pros : Direct sale gets cold, hard cash without any transaction or commission fees. Listing on a pen-related discussion forum can attract many interested buyers.
Cons : No reputation management or dispute resolution.

Option 3 : Retailer / Reseller
Certain pen companies, like Fountain Pen Hospital, deal in vintage pens as well as modern pens. You would contact them directly, send information regarding all the pens you have to offer, and they would give you a quote on what they would pay for your pens. If you have a number of pens to offload in a fairly short amount of time, this may be an ideal option if you don't have the time to individually list them.

Pros : Quick and straightforward sale. Work directly with a reputable company. Good option if you have a lot of pens that need to be sold in a short timeframe.
Cons : The company needs to make a profit on your sale and you may end up getting 50% or less of the market value of your pens.

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We hope you found our three-part series on "What is My Pen Worth" informative and useful in determining the value of your pen collection. If you have additional questions or other recommendations to help other pen enthusiasts, please feel free to comment below.

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Disclaimer : Although I'd love to help every one of you that are trying to do your own detective work, there's not enough time in the day and we're not official appraisers of pens, nor do we purchase our inventory from private sellers.



10.18.2015

What is My Pen Worth? Part 2 - Evaluating Condition

This is Part 2 in our series "What is My Pen Worth?," where we discuss the details of how to assess and successfully sell older writing instruments for their maximum value. If you missed part one, click here to see how to make an accurate ID of your pen.

Now that you've successfully identified your pen's make and model, your next task is to give an honest evaluation regarding the condition of the pen.

Why be concerned about the condition?

On the value spectrum, it matters greatly whether the pen in question is new with the original box and papers or if it is in pieces and requires restoration. Here is a simple chart to give you an idea of value based on condition.

Brand new, in box with original papers - $$$$$
Like new, recently restored, gently used - $$$$
Used, working, with some cosmetic issues - $$$
Not-working, dings, dents, but all pieces intact - $$
Broken, for parts - $

Hypothetically speaking, let's say that "Pen X" recently sold on eBay for $100. It was in mint condition, in the original box with paperwork. You have a "Pen X" that you would like to figure out the value of. It is the same make & model, but it is missing the box and still writes nicely. It would probably be worth about $80. If it has a few cosmetic scratches and dings, but still works, it would probably be worth about $65. If it isn't working and has dings & dents, but all the pieces are there, it might go for only $30. If the same pen was broken, missing parts or in otherwise poor condition, it may only fetch $10-$20, depending on what parts are intact.

That is a hypothetical scenario, but I hope you see the point. The perceived value of an auction can change greatly if you can accurately gauge the condition of the pen rather then list it blindly with a simple picture of a pen that you're unsure if it works or not. Even a mention of including the original box can increase the value of the pen by 15% over an auction that doesn't include the box.

Seriously, What is a Box Worth?

Having the original box and papers that accompany a writing instrument is a big deal, especially in the vintage market. These older boxes and paperwork give the collector a clear window into the world of yesteryear when that pen was originally sold. Even magazine advertisements for vintage pens can sell for $5-$10 a page.

It's always a good laugh to see how much the pen was originally sold for back in the 40's and 50's. Adjusted for inflation, they were still a significant expense!

If you have a box that came with the pen, you would want to make sure that the box actually belongs to the particular pen you are looking at. See if the brand names match. Look for any paperwork that may match with the make and model of the pen in question. Check other auction listings online to see if others are selling the pen with the original box. Does that box match yours? Note the condition of the box and be sure to photograph it with the pen inside if you are planning on listing it for sale.

4 fully functioning Parker Vacumatics from the 1940's

Does the Pen Write?

The working / not-working part is the most important aspect that is the easiest to test. However, not many laypeople know how to test a vintage fountain pen to see if it is functioning. That is where the additional detail research we talked about in part one of our series comes into play.

If you've done your homework and looked at what type of fountain pen filling system you have (lever, button, vacumatic, snorkel or otherwise), you should be able to find out how to test if your pen can be filled or not. If you need visual help, Google "how to fill a FILLING SYSTEM fountain pen," where you replace the words "filling system" with the type of filling system your pen has. Most likely, someone has done a YouTube video on the subject and will give you a visual step-by-step to fill the pen.

A simple test to see if the pen fills with water can determine whether your pen's filling system is working or in need of repair. Pens that are found after years and years of being neglected will most likely need a replacement sac or other part that usually disintegrates or degrades over time. If you're lucky, the pen may fill up and hold water just fine.

If the pen passes the water test, the next test would be to ink it. Find a safe ink made for fountain pens. Nothing fancy, just something safe to test with, like Waterman blue. Expel the water from the pen and fill with a small bit of ink. How does the nib write? Is ink coming out of the tip smoothly? Is there any hesitation, stopping, leaking or anything else that seems odd with the writing experience? Of course, it takes an experienced hand to understand the nuances of writing with fountain pens, but you should be able to get a gist for whether the pen will actually write or not.

Keep notes of how the fountain pen wrote so you could include it later for an auction listing.

In the case of a ballpoint pen, rollerball or mechanical pencil, you may have to replace the cartridge that was installed in the pen. Sometimes, the older cartridges may be difficult or impossible to obtain, but there is usually a modern version of the cartridge that would be reverse compatible.

The general rule is, if it can write correctly from the get-go, then it would be valued higher by the potential buyer or collector.

Waterman 14kt Ideal Nib with Flex - 1940s

How Does the Pen Look?

While looks aren't everything, the cosmetic condition of the pen matters a great deal to collectors. Look at the pen, preferably with a loupe or magnifying glass, and note any major dings, dents, scratches or cracks in the surface of the material. Inscriptions other than the typical brand markings (like the previous owner's engraved initials) should also be notated. Unfortunately, any engraved modifications usually lowers the value of the pen.

"VACUMATIC" Imprinted on barrel

If you are intending to list this item for sale or auction, it does help to photograph any dings, dents or engravings that may be on the pen. A macro lens can clearly capture the up-close, fine details. Note them as well to include in the listing description.

You can put a little elbow grease into improving the condition of the pen, which, in turn, increases its perceived value. Metal trims and certain resins can be polished up using some Simichrome polish to remove minor imperfections. I've used the polish with great success on metal trims and clips to resurrect the shine that was hidden by years of tarnish. However, unless you're a professional craftsperson, I would not recommend to take a full restoration into your hands. You could do more damage to the pen, which would further lessen the value.

Restoration (top photos before, bottom photos after) of Parker Vac

Particular points to look for in assessing the cosmetic condition of a pen:

  • Are there any parts missing? (Clip, cap, blind cap, lever box, converter, etc)
  • Are the nib tines aligned and straight, or bent and misshapen? (this would usually effect the writing quality mentioned previously)
  • Are the imprints on the nib and anywhere else on the pen crisp? Or are they faded / illegible?
  • Is the clip strong or loose and wobbly?
  • Does the cap thread on to the top of the pen easily?
  • If there are any transparent areas of the pen, can they bee seen through clearly?

Parker 45 Classic - Notes for Auction


Note Everything

Along with your notes from the first step in identifying the pen (including he brand, make, model and approximate year of manufacture), you should also note the nib type / writing mode, and have a full list of condition notes. All of these notes will help tremendously in writing a full description for your item listing if you were to choose to auction or sell it.

Now that you're armed with the information regarding the condition of the pen, you can take the final step and determine the current market value of your pen.

If you have some suggestions or particular points about pens that you look for when determining the condition of your pens, please feel free to drop us a note here in the comments.

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Disclaimer : Although I'd love to help every one of you that are trying to do your own detective work, there's not enough time in the day and we're not official appraisers of pens, nor do we purchase our inventory from private sellers.

10.13.2015

OMAS Ogiva Cocktail Limited Edition Fountain Pen Review

Go ahead and sit while I fix you a drink. What'll it be?

OMAS Ogiva Cocktail : Blue Angel, Vodka Lemon & Bloody Mary

Some prefer a mixed cocktail to unwind and loosen their tongues. I think you'll agree that a beautiful fountain pen in hand is as enjoyable to hold and is capable of the same effect.



In particular, the 2015 limited edition from OMAS is intoxicating and absolutely irresistible for fountain pen writing enthusiasts. The Ogiva Cocktail is the sequel to the 2014 Ogiva Alba limited edition demonstrators. If their popularity is any indicator of how quickly these pens will be imbibed by collectors, you better belly up to the bar quick before it's "last call."

Limited to 327 pieces of each color, the Ogiva Cocktail is available in three colors : Blue Angel, Vodka Lemon (yellow) and Bloody Mary (deep red). The Ogiva model has a rounded profile and flutes that run down the cap and barrel. The classic appeal of the profile is matched with silver trims and a cap band that has engraved Greek key work.




The translucent cotton resin on the Cocktail is stated by OMAS to be more durable than standard acrylic resins. The bright yellow of the Vodka Lemon is cheery and, by far, the most transparent of the three. The rich, blood red of the Bloody Mary is trumped by the cobalt blue of the Blue Angel for the most opaque material.

OMAS deluxe gift box for the Ogiva Cocktail


Dimensions:
  • Length - Body 105mm (4.13in)
  • Length - Cap 70mm (2.76in)
  • Length - Overall (Closed) 146mm (5.75in)
  • Length - Overall (Posted) 172mm (6.77in)
  • Diameter - Body 13mm (0.51in)
  • Diameter - Section 11mm (0.43in)
  • Weight 22g (0.78oz)
From a fountain pen geek point-of-view, there's a lot to love about this pen. The heart of the argument is the nib. Most pen manufacturers are sizing down their inventory of nib variations, with most only offering fine and/or medium in their fountain pens. OMAS is going in the opposite direction and is offering this limited edition in a whopping 9 nib types : double broad, broad, medium, fine, extra-fine, stub (18kt) / extra-flessible extra-fine, extra-flessible fine, and extra-flessible medium (14kt).


The 18kt gold set of writing nibs are non-flexible and offer a high-quality writing nib for general purpose use. The stub 18kt gold nib offers a great deal of line variation with thick vertical strokes and thin horizontal lines. The extra-flessible 14kt nibs are a whole other experience that is to be savored for those who appreciate writing with a flex nib. The extra-flessible can be written with like a standard extra-fine, fine or medium writing nib. Once you flex the tines by applying gentle finger pressure at the right angle on a downstroke, the tines spread to paint ink on the paper like a brush. Much like the Pilot / Namiki Falcon, the OMAS extra-flessible is your go-to for contemporary flex nib writing quality.

The Ogiva has an internal piston mechanism that drinks in the ink much more than your standard cartridge or converter. Being able to see through the tinted, cotton resin, a writer can see exactly how much ink is left sloshing around inside the barrel.

Grabbing a drink of Kon-Peki, the OMAS Ogiva Cocktail Blue Angel gets taken for a spin around some paper to get a feel for how this pen writes. The pen posts rather long, at over 6 1/2 inches in total length. It is a shallow post, so I was concerned the cap is connecting directly on the blind cap that operates the piston. Thankfully, it doesn't, and I was able to post & un-post the cap without moving the piston (and getting ink all over the place). The pen does not feel too long with the cap posted. Due to the lighter weight of the cotton resin, the pen is comfortable to write with for long periods of time.



The section steps down twice from the fluted barrel. There isn't much of a lip between step from barrel to section and screw threads to front nib section. The section between the threads and the barrel is where the limited edition number is engraved. This area is particularly useful to grip if you are writing in "flex mode" and need to hold the pen at an angle more acutely to the paper. The same Greek key design on the cap band wraps around the end of the section and is a classy accent to the overall design.



Writing with the extra-fine, extra-flessible 14kt nib, I immediately went to testing out the flex. I routinely write with vintage flex nibs and can tell you that the OMAS extra-flessible is the real deal. With no pressure, the nib writes a delicate extra fine. With flex, the tines spread out to provide a thick, double-broad line. Easing up on the pen returns the tines back to their original position smoothly and quickly. Take a look at the writing samples and the video to get a sense for how well this nib performs in providing flourish and high degree of line variation.


Writing with this pen is an absolute pleasure. The size is just right to either write posted or with cap-in-hand. The flex on this "flessible" nib is a writer's inky dream. I like to take detailed notes, and being able to write with a standard, extra-fine writing nib is perfect for quick jotting. When I'm writing thank you notes or signing consignment forms, then I can bust out the big, bad flex to really let this nib do what it was made to do.



OMAS kindly provided us with a 90th anniversary 5" x 7" journal for us to do with as we please, so we're giving it away in celebration of this mighty fine writing instrument! Use the form below to enter. You have until Tuesday, October 20th at 2pm Eastern time to enter. Be sure to tell your friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Few Final Words

Summary :
  • Writing Quality : I get #drunkonflex every time I write with this pen. Although writing with the pen normally is quite satisfying, flexing the tines allows the writer to experience writing on a whole other level (grade A+)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Classic profile with fluted, column-like barrel and cap with greek key fret silver bands is like a renaissance in pen design, taking influence from greco-roman architecture. The colors of the cotton resins are outstandingly beautiful. (grade A+)
  • Utility : The wheel clip is a bit tight, which is my one and only gripe about this pen. You can get loaded on a ton of ink with the large, internal capacity. The cap posts nicely and feels great in-hand for long writing sessions. (grade A-)
  • Price : $495 Retail. Not an inexpensive value pen, but certainly worth the money, considering the level of nib quality from OMAS. Add in the fact that these are part of a small limited edition that is destined to sell out quickly, these pens will be going for a premium sometime in the near future. (grade A-)

Final Grade : A
If you ask me which pens I'm going to be writing with for the next few months, this OMAS will most likely be on the top of my everyday carry. With the vintage-style, flexible nib, large ink capacity and classic style, this is a pen that I can't stop looking at, let alone put away in my pen case. Be sure to get your OMAS Ogiva Cocktail pen before supplies run dry!