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August marks the end of summer for many of us, a start back to work and/or school. For me it is a start to the pen year. Over the next six months I will attend the four shows of the year we regularly visit and I will do my best to update the website, though I’ve not been terribly good at that recently.

Our big news this month is the availability of The Howerton Collection. I’ve been processing it on and off for several months now, and finally it is ready.


I have to admit that I did not know Tom well. We met once or twice over the years and I was always pleased to exchange e-mails and to be able to contribute to his collection. And while I was saddened to hear of his death, I am honored that the family have asked me to help disperse his collection.

Every collection bears the imprint of its owner and this collection speaks to Tom’s careful attention to material objects. This is not one of those collections of spectacular pens that no one would ever write with. It is what, borrowing from architectural terms, I call a vernacular collection. The pens in it are the pens that an ordinary man or woman would have used and cared for. All of them came to me in excellent plus condition, ready to write with (which I assume Tom did) and enjoy. And so it is a privilege to be able to pass them along.

For now, you can best access them from the Howerton Collection sales page and feel free to ask for details and/or additional images.

Apart from the Howerton Collection we still have a fine, robust collection of the usual Pelikans, Montblancs, Parkers and other fine pens.

In 1987, having gone to the brink of extinction and being saved by Swiss bankers and Asian investors, Pelikan built its first oversized pen, based on the early postwar design of the famed Pelikan 400. The M800, as the new pen was designated, was intended to compete with the larger pens of its long-time rival, Montblanc. The new pen was a departure and, presumably, a necessary risk, for the company. The gamble paid off and over the next few years the Pelikan M800 emerged as arguably the finest pen of its era.

For those of you who want to wear your allegiance to Pelikan front and center, we are pleased to offer these belt buckles. They are cast in bronze by a leading pen collector who is also a jewellry maker. They are just under two inches in diameter and have a bracket that allows you to put them on any 1 ¼” belt. We can also offer them in sterling silver.

The brass buckles are $175.00 plus shipping and we can supply them with a belt for $205.00.

Click here to buy this item or get more info.

Purpose, Pens and Pelikans

This year marks twenty-seven years of pen collecting for me. I began with Sheaffers and Parkers and then looked to the classical "big four," of American pendom, Parker, Sheaffer, Watermans and Eversharp. In the mid-1990s, I decided to focus narrowly on Parkers. Then in 1997, I became interested in Pelikans. More recently I have added an interest in oversize German pens, modern and a few vintage Italian pens and a representative sample of the classical American greats.

Today my collection is probably smaller than it was a decade ago, but far more coherent. For more see the About Me page. If you wish to learn more about Pelikan pens please follow this link to the illustrated Pelikan History article I wrote for PenTrace. The purpose of PENguin is to offer other collectors, and anyone else who is interested, first rate, fully restored pens to add to your collection or for daily use. All pens offered here have been fully restored by me or by German craftsmen who I trust and are guaranteed to you for two years. (Please note that this guarantee is not transferrable.) I want you to be able to use or enjoy your pens as much as I do.


It’s been a while since we updated the Pen Traveler. As many of you know, we love to travel and now that we are both retired (me, sort of) we are doing more. Our most recent trip was to Spain. We began at the Madrid Pen Show and then spent a couple of weeks going from Bilbao to Zaragosa, to Barcelona and then Valencia and ending up in Granada. If you follow my blog, you know, since it now seems to deal more with travel than pens. So above you see a few of my images from Spain.

In January we went down to Southern California for a quick trip to see friends, and I’ve not yet blogged that. Next up will be the Northeast Corridor edition of our Lap of America, starting in April with the Chesapeake and taking us all the way up to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward’s Island. Stay tuned.

In the meantime enjoy a sample of images from our travels past and recent.

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