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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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Tiffany & Co Branded Silver Pen in Original Box
Jun 27, 9:00 AM EDT
Tiffany & Co Branded Silver Pen in Original Box
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$408 Bids
Collection of Miscellaneous Bygones from One Estate
Jun 23, 6:00 PM EDT
Collection of Miscellaneous Bygones from One Estate
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$305 Bids
Vintage Desk Inkwell, Sterling Salt & Pepper, Tobacco
Jun 22, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Desk Inkwell, Sterling Salt & Pepper, Tobacco
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$505 Bids
Group of 15+ Pens and Mechanical Pencils
Jun 22, 9:00 AM CDT
Group of 15+ Pens and Mechanical Pencils
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$504 Bids
(4) Antique Carved Bone Stanhope Pen NIB Holders
Jun 22, 10:00 AM MST
(4) Antique Carved Bone Stanhope Pen NIB Holders
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$304 Bids
An early tortoiseshell inkwell storage drawer featuring floral inlay c.1830s (L:28cm)
Jun 27, 1:00 PM AEST
An early tortoiseshell inkwell storage drawer featuring floral inlay c.1830s (L:28cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD250- AUD350
AUD1003 Bids
Two Stylus Pens, Marked Samsung & Bauhn, Untested
Jun 29, 10:00 AM AEST
Two Stylus Pens, Marked Samsung & Bauhn, Untested
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD252 Bids
A gold and enamel writing case and pen
Jun 25, 9:30 AM CEST
A gold and enamel writing case and pen
by Nagel Auction
Est: €300- €500
€2802 Bids
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ART & CRAFTS BRASS INKWELL WITH BRASS LIDDED INK BOTTLE 22 X 14 X 7CM H
Jun 27, 9:00 AM AEST
ART & CRAFTS BRASS INKWELL WITH BRASS LIDDED INK BOTTLE 22 X 14 X 7CM H
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD10- AUD40
AUD152 Bids
An Everpoint silver propelling pencil with engrave…
Jun 24, 9:00 AM BST
An Everpoint silver propelling pencil with engrave…
by Claydon Auctioneers
Est: £20- £30
£81 Bid
DELTA Profili Collection -Penna roller- Corpo in resina nera…
Jul 04, 6:30 PM CEST
DELTA Profili Collection -Penna roller- Corpo in resina nera…
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€201 Bid
NIB PARKER JOTTER 2004 PREMIER EDITION PEN
Jun 25, 6:00 PM CDT
NIB PARKER JOTTER 2004 PREMIER EDITION PEN
by Dallas Auction Gallery
Est: $50- $100
$501 Bid
CINQUE PENNE E UNA MATITA LAMINATE IN ORO
Jun 26, 3:30 PM CEST
CINQUE PENNE E UNA MATITA LAMINATE IN ORO
by Benedetto Trionfante Auction House s.r.l
Est: €400- €450
€1601 Bid
Group Lot of (3) Vintage oversized Advertising Pencils and pen
Jul 10, 11:00 AM EDT
Group Lot of (3) Vintage oversized Advertising Pencils and pen
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$101 Bid
A pencil in sterling silver case. Birmingham 1904. 5 grams
Jun 23, 12:00 PM AEST
A pencil in sterling silver case. Birmingham 1904. 5 grams
by Christian McCann Auctions
Est: AUD50- AUD75
AUD401 Bid
TWO INK PENS MUST DE CARTIER
Jun 25, 9:30 AM CEST
TWO INK PENS MUST DE CARTIER
by Nagel Auction
Est: €200- €300
€1801 Bid
Two Pens
Jun 30, 8:00 PM EET
Two Pens
by Clar Auction
Est: ₺2,000- ₺3,000
₺1,0001 Bid
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OLD WOODEN BOX WITH WOODEN INKWELL, LADIES PURSES, INK BLOTTERS ETC
Jun 27, 9:00 AM AEST
OLD WOODEN BOX WITH WOODEN INKWELL, LADIES PURSES, INK BLOTTERS ETC
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD10- AUD40
AUD101 Bid
NIB PARKER JOTTER 2004 PREMIER EDITION PEN
Jun 25, 6:00 PM CDT
NIB PARKER JOTTER 2004 PREMIER EDITION PEN
by Dallas Auction Gallery
Est: $50- $100
$501 Bid
A antique oak ink stand with organizer (H:23cm x W:33cm x D:25cm)
Jun 27, 1:00 PM AEST
A antique oak ink stand with organizer (H:23cm x W:33cm x D:25cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD151 Bid
CHAMPLEVE ENAMEL ONYX INKWELL MARKED TIFFANY AND CO
Jun 22, 10:00 AM EDT
CHAMPLEVE ENAMEL ONYX INKWELL MARKED TIFFANY AND CO
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$501 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Pens - General


Nomisma S.p.a

Nomisma S.p.a

Setdart Auction House

Setdart Auction House

Dallas Auction Gallery

Dallas Auction Gallery

Duran Arte y Subastas

Duran Arte y Subastas