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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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Hallmarked sterling silver Victorian capstan inkwell made in London 1888. Total gross weight 544.2g.
Mar 03, 7:00 PM AEDT
Hallmarked sterling silver Victorian capstan inkwell made in London 1888. Total gross weight 544.2g.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD907 Bids
An Italian sterling silver pen (L:9.5cm)
Mar 07, 1:00 PM AEDT
An Italian sterling silver pen (L:9.5cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD60- AUD80
AUD354 Bids
A Pen Reader, Marked C-Pen Reader 2, Untested
Mar 12, 6:00 PM AEDT
A Pen Reader, Marked C-Pen Reader 2, Untested
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD504 Bids
(2) US Automatic pencil sharpeners
Mar 23, 9:00 AM EDT
(2) US Automatic pencil sharpeners
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $100- $500
$1003 Bids
Antique French Bronze & Champleve Enamel Inkwell
Mar 17, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique French Bronze & Champleve Enamel Inkwell
by Main Auction Galleries
Est: $60- $100
$503 Bids
Sterling Silver Frames and Calligraphy Dip Ink Pen
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Sterling Silver Frames and Calligraphy Dip Ink Pen
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $1,000
$253 Bids
Ink set silver.
Mar 06, 11:00 AM CET
Ink set silver.
by Goudwisselkantoor Veilingen
Est: €50- €150
€603 Bids
A Pen Reader, Marked C-Pen Reader 2, Sealed Box, Untested
Mar 12, 6:00 PM AEDT
A Pen Reader, Marked C-Pen Reader 2, Sealed Box, Untested
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD453 Bids
Bronze & Champleve Enamel Inkwell and Enameled Portrait Dish
Mar 17, 12:00 PM EDT
Bronze & Champleve Enamel Inkwell and Enameled Portrait Dish
by Main Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$702 Bids
Lot of Desk Articles
Mar 05, 12:00 PM EST
Lot of Desk Articles
by Old Kinderhook Auction Company
Est: $50- $100
$402 Bids
Vintage Items
Mar 05, 12:00 PM EST
Vintage Items
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$22 Bids
ROYCROFT HAND HAMMERED COPPER ARTS & CRAFTS DESK BLOTTER PAD SET
Mar 10, 10:00 AM PST
ROYCROFT HAND HAMMERED COPPER ARTS & CRAFTS DESK BLOTTER PAD SET
by Taylor & Harris
Est: $200- $250
$1501 Bid
Wooden "The Perfect" pencil pointer or sharpener
Mar 23, 9:00 AM EDT
Wooden "The Perfect" pencil pointer or sharpener
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $100- $500
$501 Bid
WROUGHT STEEL INKWELL.
Mar 08, 11:00 AM EST
WROUGHT STEEL INKWELL.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $150
$501 Bid
Albin Denk Eisgrubel Wien Bronze & Porcelain Inkwell
Mar 17, 12:00 PM EDT
Albin Denk Eisgrubel Wien Bronze & Porcelain Inkwell
by Main Auction Galleries
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
vtg ink pens, tobacco roller rizla, stereo, tube
Mar 03, 6:30 PM EST
vtg ink pens, tobacco roller rizla, stereo, tube
by A KLEINS AUCTION GALLERY LLC
Est: $10- $30
$51 Bid
lot of 3 ink pens wood carved too!
Mar 03, 6:30 PM EST
lot of 3 ink pens wood carved too!
by A KLEINS AUCTION GALLERY LLC
Est: $30- $50
$51 Bid
Inkwell silver.
Mar 06, 11:00 AM CET
Inkwell silver.
by Goudwisselkantoor Veilingen
Est: €25- €100
€251 Bid
Cross Gold Filled Ball Point Pen and Pencil Sets
Mar 12, 11:00 AM EDT
Cross Gold Filled Ball Point Pen and Pencil Sets
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$501 Bid
ANTIQUE MID 19TH C CHAMPLEVE ENAMEL INK STAND
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
ANTIQUE MID 19TH C CHAMPLEVE ENAMEL INK STAND
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$501 Bid
A group of pens incl Hansa, Onoto the Pen and Dinkie
Mar 07, 1:00 PM AEDT
A group of pens incl Hansa, Onoto the Pen and Dinkie
by Lawsons
Est: AUD80- AUD120
AUD401 Bid
WMF Art Nouveau-pennenschaaltje met lezende vrouw …
Mar 03, 2:00 PM CET
WMF Art Nouveau-pennenschaaltje met lezende vrouw …
by DVC
Est: €150- €250
€1201 Bid
Miscellaneous Office Items
Mar 05, 12:00 PM EST
Miscellaneous Office Items
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$11 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Pens - General


Venduehuis Dickhaut Maastricht

Venduehuis Dickhaut Maastricht

Taylor & Harris

Taylor & Harris

Because Auctions

Because Auctions

Auction Plus, Inc.

Auction Plus, Inc.