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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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PASHA DE CARTIER BLUE SILVER GOLD ROLLERBALL PEN
Dec 18, 9:00 AM MST
PASHA DE CARTIER BLUE SILVER GOLD ROLLERBALL PEN
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$20015 Bids
Bronze Dog Inkwell On Metal Base
Dec 21, 10:00 AM EST
Bronze Dog Inkwell On Metal Base
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $50- $200
$1510 Bids
Antique French Gilt Bronze Inkwell W/ Letter Opener
Dec 06, 12:00 PM EST
Antique French Gilt Bronze Inkwell W/ Letter Opener
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $50- $500
$1003 Bids
Antique French Marble, Bronze, And Champleve Inkwell Set
Dec 06, 12:00 PM EST
Antique French Marble, Bronze, And Champleve Inkwell Set
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $100- $1,000
$1253 Bids
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HMSS INKWELL, BIRMINGHAM 1920, 345 GRAMS TOTAL
Dec 08, 9:00 AM AEST
HMSS INKWELL, BIRMINGHAM 1920, 345 GRAMS TOTAL
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD10- AUD40
AUD253 Bids
INLAID PEN BOX
Dec 13, 10:00 AM EST
INLAID PEN BOX
by Potomack Company
Est: $50- $100
$402 Bids
Cartier, Paris Gold Plated Must de Cartier Pen
Dec 08, 10:00 AM EST
Cartier, Paris Gold Plated Must de Cartier Pen
by Nye & Company
Est: $200- $400
$1252 Bids
Anthracite Coal Inkwell and Pen Stand Desk Set
Dec 10, 9:30 AM EST
Anthracite Coal Inkwell and Pen Stand Desk Set
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$201 Bid
Vintage Waterman's Lady Patricia Flex Celluloid Pen
Dec 06, 11:00 AM EST
Vintage Waterman's Lady Patricia Flex Celluloid Pen
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$101 Bid
MABIE TODD & CO. 14KT GOLD-CASED MECHANICAL PENCIL
Dec 11, 9:00 AM CST
MABIE TODD & CO. 14KT GOLD-CASED MECHANICAL PENCIL
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$2001 Bid
PASHA DE CARTIER PEN
Dec 15, 5:00 PM CET
PASHA DE CARTIER PEN
by Ansorena
Est: €60- €80
€401 Bid
PAIR OF FRENCH BRONZE INKWELLS
Dec 14, 9:00 AM CST
PAIR OF FRENCH BRONZE INKWELLS
by Jackson's International
Est: $75- $100
$601 Bid
FISHER AG7 SERIES "ORIGINAL ASTRONAUT PEN"!
Dec 15, 11:00 AM EST
FISHER AG7 SERIES "ORIGINAL ASTRONAUT PEN"!
by Vintage Auctions Online
Est: $60- $90
$101 Bid
Cross Pen In Case
Dec 08, 10:00 AM EST
Cross Pen In Case
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$11 Bid
CARTIER Enamelled tortoise-like pen.
Dec 06, 2:45 PM CET
CARTIER Enamelled tortoise-like pen.
by Capitolium Art
Est: €550- €650
€1201 Bid
Vintage Fountain, Advertising Pens, Bullet Pencils
Dec 09, 8:00 AM EST
Vintage Fountain, Advertising Pens, Bullet Pencils
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $50- $150
$251 Bid
Cartier Trinity Stainless Steel Rollerball Pen
Dec 20, 12:00 PM EST
Cartier Trinity Stainless Steel Rollerball Pen
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $25- $200
$251 Bid
19th Century Inkwell With Gold Filled Tip Pen
Dec 04, 3:00 PM PST
19th Century Inkwell With Gold Filled Tip Pen
by Clark's Auction Company
Est: $180- $225
$901 Bid
Antique Chinoiserie Paper Mache, Abalone Shell Inkwell
Dec 04, 3:00 PM PST
Antique Chinoiserie Paper Mache, Abalone Shell Inkwell
by Clark's Auction Company
Est: $200- $250
$1201 Bid
Antique Brass Deer Inkwell and Picture Frame
Dec 04, 3:00 PM PST
Antique Brass Deer Inkwell and Picture Frame
by Clark's Auction Company
Est: $150- $250
$801 Bid
Brass Inkwell with Horse Decoration
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
Brass Inkwell with Horse Decoration
by Caza Sikes
Est: $50- $100
$201 Bid
2 Brass Traveling Inkwell & Quill Holders
Dec 10, 9:30 AM EST
2 Brass Traveling Inkwell & Quill Holders
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$201 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Pens - General


Vintage Auctions Online

Vintage Auctions Online

Bodnar's Auction Sales

Bodnar's Auction Sales

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida