August 13, 1996 in Nation/World

And Besides, They’re Mightier Than Swords

The Washington Post

Forget cars, wine or Faberge eggs: The hottest collectible today is a pen.

Not 59-cent ballpoints, of course. We’re talking expensive or vintage fountain pens - Montblanc, Cross or Waterman. And collectors are rapidly growing.

Just ask Bob Johnson, a coordinator of the annual “Collectible Pen Supershow,” which was held over the weekend in suburban Virginia.

“The attendance at the show is up 40 percent from last year,” Johnson said. “I think it’s a backlash against the computer age. Pens are kind of the new Rolex now.”

More than 1,000 exhibitors and collectors bought, sold and admired fountain pens. Boston-based Parker Pen Co. was among several companies that showcased pens used by presidents or to sign treaties.

And there’s always the matter of a good investment.

“A (Parker) snake pen with a serpent design on it sold for $30,000 at an auction in Europe,” said Vicki Hearing, Parker Pen spokeswoman.

The pen’s original price when sold in the early 1900s? $11.

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