So it might be a little surprise to some that last year in my final year of university I would occasionally buy vintage pens with the intention of restoring them and selling them on, just to make a little bit of money for odd bits and pieces. What is considerably more surprising is that I never kept one. Despite coming across some seriously beautiful pens I never decided to sod things and keep one. And there were some pens amongst them that should really have tempted me, a beautiful snakeskin celluloid Swan self-filler, a brilliant red ripple Waterman #7 and a very rare solid gold Onoto from 1912 as well as several pens with wonderful flex nibs. I’d restore them, enjoy writing with them as I tested them and happily sold them on. What’s more there haven’t really even been any I’ve regretted selling, occasionally when lost in the bowels of my Onedrive I stumble across some of the photos I took to sell them and this prompts some slight nostalgia, but no particular regret.
Fast forward to the present and I’m trying to do some gentle pruning of my collection, nothing drastic, but I know there are some pens that don’t really get enough use and it’s time to free up both some funds and some space. The problem? It’s really difficult, and I’m not quite sure why. A good example would be a Waterman Carene, it’s a pen that I probably haven’t used for a couple of months, so I don’t think it’s very likely I’d miss it. It’s a pen that also doesn’t work very well for me, I find the section quite slippery and often end up with ink on my fingers. Neither is it a pen that I have any sentimental attachment to, I bought it from Amazon before I started my one man boycott of amazon. There’s no back story to it and yet selling it feels like a real wrench.
I had contemplated giving it to a friend who also likes fountain pens, maybe under the notion that I could go and visit it on weekends and check that all was well, I don’t really know, but getting rid of it seemed oddly heartless, especially given the fact that it’s an object to which I have no real attachment. I’m not generally a hoarder (honest, I swear). I’m usually quite brutal with myself when it comes to getting rid of things I either don’t need or don’t use, and yet with pens this seems to all sort of fall apart. I’m also not someone who feels the need to have a giant collection for reference purposes, as is evidenced by the often eclectic nature of my collection. In short, there is no rational reason for holding on to pens like this, and given my previous experience with selling pens I feel like I should be able to sell some of my own pens. But alas, not yet.
As the collection monitoring goes on I’m sure it will throw up some more pens that it makes sense to axe, as to how I’ll cope with that, who knows. I want to be able to sell them, to get them so that they’re actually used and so that I have some more room in my pen draw and some new funds to buy pens that would see more frequent use. So what about you? Do you still have pretty much every pen you’ve ever bought or are you a bit more disciplined when it comes to trimming your collection?