September 2002: Let Me Count the Ways I Love Thee

Extra Fine Points Index  ]


BY DON FLUCKINGER • After the (Washington) D.C. Pen SuperShow, I was inspired to write about my experiences. But who wants to read another travel diary, or a long hip-hop-style “give a shout out to my friend Jimmy Tom from Can-a-daaah” laundry list of my peeps?

So, in everyone’s best interest, I’ll write about D.C. in that time-tested, entertaining, David Letterman “Top Ten List” format. Here we go!

The Top Ten reasons to attend pen shows Extra Fine Points

#10: Renewing acquaintances with fellow collectors such as Kristi Keller.

#9: Authors of all your favorite pen books are there and are quite willing to inscribe your copies with their (or your) favorite fountain pen.

#8: Why overspend on eBay when you can go to a show and overspend on nicer pens from competent sellers who let you actually dip and write with a pen before you buy it?

Don at the DC show, photo © 2002 Jimmy Tom#7: Meeting pillars of the pen collecting hobby such as Abe Schwartz, John Mottishaw, and Mr. Frank Dubiel. (Don’t anybody email me to dispute that they are pillars, either, unless you’re itchin’ for a flame war with a writer who sometimes has too much time on his hands and loves to hear himself talk.)

#6: Getting a glimpse of Dr. David Isaacson’s world-class, museum-quality Vacumatic collection and, through his infectious passion for the model, being inspired to jump on the Vac-collecting bandwagon.

#5: Understanding how your collection should be more narrowly focused: Which pens don’t belong and should be sold, and how to make a list of what pens should be next acquired.

#4: Getting your table blessed by Israel Pen Club co-founder Dov Randel at the beginning of the selling day.

#3: Two words: Free blotters.

#2: Fondling more cool pens than you will ever get to own in this life or the next.

#1: The look on author and renowned Pelikan dealer Regina Martini’s face when you hand her a Triumph 2000 to sign her book, right before she says in mock indignation, “You give me a Sheaffer?”

I have many more reasons and could ramble on at much greater length, but the nice thing — at least for you, gentle reader — is that Letterman only gives us ten slots. So I leave you with this until next month: Don’t eat too much hotel food, and I’ll see you around at the next show.


cover Further Reading: Access Washington, D.C. (7th Edition), by Richard Saul Wurman

When traveling, Don prefers “Access” guides. They provide not only a concise description of a city’s tourist staples, but also suggestions for great out-of-the-way restaurants, interesting music clubs, and funky shopping venues (including junk shops where pens turn up) that more well-known guidebooks miss.

Freelance writer Don Fluckinger lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, and is the son-in-law of Richard Binder. His articles have been published in Antiques Roadshow Insider, The Boston Globe, and on the Biddersedge.com collectibles Web site. Please note: Any opinions stated in this column are Don’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Richard Binder or this Web site. Don Fluckinger
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