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Pens - General

The first pens were reeds or rushes that ancient people cut, sharpening one end to use as a writing tip and dipping the end in ink or soot to write. These simple writing tools were replaced with bone and metal by the time of the ancient Greeks. The first quill pens, made from feathers, were used beginning around 500 B.C. and into the 18th century.

The oldest fountain pen was designed by M. Bion, a Frenchman, in 1702. Numerous fountain pen designs and styles followed, but pens leaked and smeared until 1884 when Lewis Edson Waterman invented the first practical fountain pen. This style of pen was the most common writing instrument until 1938 when the ballpoint pen was invented by Laszlo Biro.

Collectors acquire vintage pens for various reasons. The design of the pen, the pen brand name, the materials used, or decoration and advertising are all areas of interest to collectors. Many pen collectors focus on one brand name or one particular style of pen. Vintage pens are easy to locate and many can be purchased for reasonable prices.


Quick Facts

  • Pen collectors in the United States refer to four specific pen manufacturers as the Big 4. These companies are Sheaffer, Parker, Conklin, and Waterman
  • The stylographic pen, which uses a hollow, tubular nib and a wire as a valve, was invented in the 1870s. Today, stylographic pens are used for drafting and technical drawing
  • The Pen Museum, a museum of pens in Birmingham, England, was owned and operated by Arthur Twydle. He displayed his collection of more than 3,000 pens and pencils that he acquired over a period of 60 years

Recommended Items at Auction

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Seven assorted bottles of ink marked Mont Blanc, Jacques Herbin, Sailor etc.
Nov 30, 6:00 PM AEDT
Seven assorted bottles of ink marked Mont Blanc, Jacques Herbin, Sailor etc.
by Theodore Bruce
Est: AUD50- AUD80
AUD6515 Bids
Six assorted 50mL ink bottles marked Pilot Iroshizuku
Nov 30, 6:00 PM AEDT
Six assorted 50mL ink bottles marked Pilot Iroshizuku
by Theodore Bruce
Est: AUD50- AUD80
AUD657 Bids
(8 Pc) Collectible Pens with Display Box
Nov 30, 12:00 PM EST
(8 Pc) Collectible Pens with Display Box
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $100- $1,000
$1805 Bids
TIFFANY & CO ELSA PERETTI PEN STERLING SILVER
Dec 05, 10:00 AM EST
TIFFANY & CO ELSA PERETTI PEN STERLING SILVER
by Imperial Auction
Est: $200- $300
$503 Bids
Hand Crafted Glass Beaded Pens by Local Artist
Nov 28, 9:00 AM MST
Hand Crafted Glass Beaded Pens by Local Artist
by R & R Auction INC
Est: $0- $0
$153 Bids
TIFFANY & CO T PEN STERLING SILVER
Dec 05, 10:00 AM EST
TIFFANY & CO T PEN STERLING SILVER
by Imperial Auction
Est: $200- $300
$202 Bids
Bead Art, Beadable Pens, Jewelry Bags New
Nov 28, 9:00 AM MST
Bead Art, Beadable Pens, Jewelry Bags New
by R & R Auction INC
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
TIFFANY & CO T PEN STERLING SILVER
Dec 05, 10:00 AM EST
TIFFANY & CO T PEN STERLING SILVER
by Imperial Auction
Est: $200- $300
$101 Bid
Antique Figural Brass Double Inkwell Pen Stand
Nov 30, 12:00 PM EST
Antique Figural Brass Double Inkwell Pen Stand
by Old Kinderhook Auction Company
Est: $50- $100
$251 Bid
Henri Chapu (France,1833-1891) Bronze Inkwell
Nov 30, 12:00 PM EST
Henri Chapu (France,1833-1891) Bronze Inkwell
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $200- $2,000
$1001 Bid
French Louis XV Miniature Secretary Inkwell
Nov 30, 12:00 PM EST
French Louis XV Miniature Secretary Inkwell
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $200- $2,000
$1001 Bid
Konvolut Schreibutensilien
Dec 04, 11:00 AM CET
Konvolut Schreibutensilien
by Auktionshaus Schwerin
Est: €0- €0
€101 Bid
18th century Continental silver inkwell
Dec 04, 12:00 PM EST
18th century Continental silver inkwell
by South Bay Auctions Inc
Est: $150- $250
$751 Bid
MONTEGRAPPA SOPHIA LIMTED EDITION ROLLERBALL PEN, LIMITED 036/331
Dec 05, 5:00 PM HKT
MONTEGRAPPA SOPHIA LIMTED EDITION ROLLERBALL PEN, LIMITED 036/331
by Antiquorum Genève SA
Est: HKD10,000- HKD15,000
HKD10,0001 Bid
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14K PENCIL PENDANT
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
14K PENCIL PENDANT
by Leighton Galleries
Est: $300- $350
$1501 Bid
Moser, Paris parquetry inkwell desk set
Dec 02, 10:00 AM EST
Moser, Paris parquetry inkwell desk set
by Millea Bros. Ltd.
Est: $500- $700
$2501 Bid
VINTAGE DEER PARK PENCIL CASE - ORIGINAL SOUVENIR
Nov 28, 1:00 PM EST
VINTAGE DEER PARK PENCIL CASE - ORIGINAL SOUVENIR
by Simonetta Auction Service
Est: $10- $25
$51 Bid
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VINTAGE METAL INKWELL
Dec 01, 12:00 PM EST
VINTAGE METAL INKWELL
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$11 Bid
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After Canova, Circa 1900 French Gilded Inkwell, Napoleon
Nov 30, 9:00 AM EST
After Canova, Circa 1900 French Gilded Inkwell, Napoleon
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $150- $300
$101 Bid
Cold Painted Austrian Metal Figural Inkwell
Nov 30, 12:00 PM EST
Cold Painted Austrian Metal Figural Inkwell
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $20- $200
$201 Bid
Pens
Nov 28, 3:00 PM CET
Pens
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€300 Bids
Pens
Nov 28, 3:00 PM CET
Pens
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€800 Bids
19thC English Ink Stand, Neptune and Seahorses
Nov 27, 10:00 AM EST
19thC English Ink Stand, Neptune and Seahorses
by Kaminski Auctions
Est: $350- $550
$1750 Bids
A 19TH CENTURY EUROPEAN SILVERED BRONZE EAGLE INKWELL of naturalistic form. 21 cm high.
Nov 29, 10:30 AM GMT
A 19TH CENTURY EUROPEAN SILVERED BRONZE EAGLE INKWELL of naturalistic form. 21 cm high.
by Hannam's Auctioneers
Est: £60- £80
£400 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Pens - General


Omni Auction Corp

Omni Auction Corp

Veilinghuis de Ruiter

Veilinghuis de Ruiter

Keystone Auctions LLC

Keystone Auctions LLC

Auktionshaus Weiner

Auktionshaus Weiner