Guess How Many Parker Jotters Contest

Hello Pen Fans,

It's been a while since our last post, but we're finally wrapping up the catalog and moving on to bigger and better things. We had a shipment yesterday of Parker Jotters that weighed in (packing box included) at a whopping 10 pounds. We're running a contest this weekend to guess exactly how many Parker Jotter pens equals 10 pounds.  It's a take on the "guess how many jellybeans are in this jar" game. Simply post your guess as a comment below our blog post here. The winner will receive a Parker Jotter pen of their choosing, completely free.

Contest : Guess how many Parker Jotters would it take to make a 10 lbs shipment.
Deadline for guesses : May 4th at 11:59PM Eastern Time (Wednesday)
Rules : Register a comment below to enter with a numeric guess. Only one guess per person (so make it count!). Closest guess wins. If two contestants guess the same correct answer, the earliest guess wins.

Have fun!


Montegrappa Baselworld Press Release - Stallone and Sinatra

As you may have read in our previous post about the new Montegrappa Icon Frank Sinatra. Here is the whole press release from Montegrappa regarding their show debut at Baselworld in Switzerland.
For both the show attendees and for Montegrappa, BASELWORLD 2011 will go down in history as a spectacular highlight. The World Watch and Jewellery Show closed its doors after eight highly successful days in the end of March, with 103,200 visitors up 2.5% over 2010. Marked by outstanding sales and optimism, fueled by innovations and fascinating new trends, BASELWORLD’s position as the leading show for the watch and jewellery industry was the perfect venue for Montegrappa to launch its new line of NeroUno watches.

Visitors were able to see, alongside Montegrappa’s most impressive display yet of limited edition pens, the new NeroUno quartz and mechanical wristwatches. Along with the new watches, display cases overflowed with exceptional and exciting new pens for 2011, including the Sylvester Stallone-designed Chaos, the Frank Sinatra and Bruce Lee Dragon "Icons" pens, Montegrappa's colourful homage to Italy's 150th Anniversary, the Thrilla in Manila pen sets commemorating the historic Ali-Frazier boxing epic, the revived Cosmopolitan range, the limited edition dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first flight to space, and the new Privilege Gioiello and Parola lines.

Montegrappa’s stand was busy throughout the week, with 30 to 50 appointments per day, resulting in 30 new accounts and the potential opening of five new territories.

Since 1912, Montegrappa has been manufacturing high-quality writing instruments in the same historic building in Bassano del Grappa, North East Italy.
Here is a link to the Montegrappa image gallery showing off their booth at the show. Although the images are not very large and detailed (you have to double click on each one to get a larger view, but really still can't see the pens), you get an idea of how sharp their presentation was. Hopefully, we'll have more information on release dates and prices fairly soon.

Pen Spotlight - New Caran d'Ache and Sinatra

Courtesy of Nancy Olson's (editor-in-cheif of Stylus Magazine) blog, we would like to share this new collection from Caran d'Ache that really looks stunning and sharp. Enigmatically named the RNX316, this new pen has a modern style available in a steel or PVD black finish (common to the stealth black trend). What truly seems amazing with this collection is the engraved design that spires up and down the barrel and cap of each design. If you've seen the CdA Ecridor, you know how precise and beautiful the Swiss-made engraving looks. Check out the RNX page on Caran d'Ache's website for an awesome introduction video and more information on this new series.

Continuing in the tradition of their "ICONS" collection, Montegrappa's newest inspiration is none other than the Chairman of the Board, Ol' Blue Eyes - Frank Sinatra. He follows Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Bruce Lee as the next icon to be immortalized in pen form. More details to follow as the collection nears release.

Lots of new products on the horizon, subscribe to our pen news feed for the latest info on all the newest fine writing releases of 2011.


5 Best Beginner Fountain Pens

If you're getting back into the old-fashioned way of writing by using a fountain pen, there is a core curriculum, a "required writing" of pens that every fountain pen enthusiast can start with to re-kindle the love of writing.

Lamy Safari
The Safari is like the marijuana of pens. It's the gateway for many, while others will swear by it and buy every color that comes out, including the new 2011 color, Aquamarine. You can search "Lamy Safari Review" and come up with hundreds of opinions, mostly ones that champion its value (costs under $30). It has a sturdy ABS plastic body, strong wire clip and a stainless steel nib that is interchangeable in a variety of point sizes including extra-fine, fine, medium, broad and calligraphic stub nibs.

Pilot Varsity
The uninitiated writer often fears the maintenance and upkeep of a fountain pen and will never attempt buying one due to the inconvenience. The Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen gives you the experience of writing with a fountain pen without the bother of upkeep. The multi-pack array (under $15) of colors also gives the writer a taste of what it would be like using a fountain pen and being able to change out the color with every fill.

Pelikan Pelikano
Thankfully, Europeans still carry a torch for teaching penmanship and writing with a fountain pen, especially when it comes to our younger generations. Pelikan (Germany) offers their Pelikano line specifically as a "beginner's" or "school-age" fountain pen. The molded grip design instruct the writer of proper finger positioning. The bright colors used for the plastic barrel and clip are nice for children, but also appealing to adults as well. The "A" nib is considered a beginner nib since it has a larger area at the tip that allows for a variety of hand positions while writing.

Waterman Phileas (discontinued)
Although Waterman has discontinued its famous Phileas pen, I thought it was still worth mentioning since we (Goldspot Pens) do have ample stock of the fountain pens and they happened to be one of the most popular pens in many collections. As you can see by its style, the Phileas is about more than utility, it provides an Art Deco appeal with writing comfort and smoothness. This is a fountain pen for a beginner who desires a classy look and a great, inexpensive writing experience.

Pelikan Tradition Series m205
Last, but not least, another offering from Pelikan that introduces the neo-fountain pen enthusiast to piston-filling, which is the internal, bottle filling system. The other pens mentioned above use cartridge or converter (except for the Varsity), which means you have the option to purchase disposable ink cartridges or use a converter that you can fill with bottled ink. Many people feel that to truly experience a fountain pen, you have to fill it using bottled ink. As we've discussed in a prior article, there are benefits to using bottled ink over cartridges, and the Pelikan m205, m200, m215 series are certainly the best value in the class of piston-filling fountain pens. Extremely smooth stainless steel nib available in an array of nib widths, large ink capacity, great size and weight with the cap posted and reliable piston mechanism make this pen an exceptional value (most models under $100).

When you talk to any one that likes using a fountain pen, they most likely have one of these in their collection. For the more advanced fountain pen user that has moved on to exploring other brands like Sailor, Aurora or Montegrappa, they will still fondly use the pens that started their addiction long ago. Personally, I can attest to having two of these pens on this list and I have one of them inked to write the outline of this post!

If any of these pens started your journey into the wonderful world of fountain pens, please share your experience and drop us a comment. If you have a beginner fountain pen that is not on this list that started your love of writing, please share!


Interview with Shu-Jen of Taccia Pens

Last week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Shu-Jen Lin of Taccia Pens about her latest pen creation, The Palatial Pearl Collection. Using mother of pearl and abalone with deep, colored resins, Shu-Jen was able to create her, in my humble opinion, best mother-of-pearl pen series to date.
Goldspot: To give our readers some background information on you and Taccia pens, please briefly explain how you started Taccia and your goals for designing pens.

Shu-Jen: I founded TACCIA on my core belief that pens should be affordable, stylish, and well-built. I believe pens are the perfect accessory –fun to collect, display, and wear, and an intimate form of communication often lost in this internet age. Inspired by many cultures, including traditional and modern American, Asian, and European styles, I strive to develop and produce pens that cater to both males and females, young and old, for all occasions – casual and formal. A pen, like a watch or a car, can help define a person’s style. TACCIA currently carries several colorful and attractive lines, and we will be releasing many more in the future.

GS: Taccia is one of the few pen manufacturers that still use mother of pearl and abalone in manufacturing pens. Why do you believe that is so?

SJ: At TACCIA we are always trying to come up with innovative new ways to apply beautiful materials on our pens. Our tradition with Mother of Pearl dates back several years and collections—all of which have been very popular and successful with pen aficionados and as a fine luxury accessory. This experience with mother of pearl and abalone gives us an formidable technical and artistic background to design and produce great-looking pearl pens. We believe the Palatial Pearl is our most beautiful pearl pen yet.

GS: Would you be able to explain how mother of pearl is technically used in the pen-making process?

SJ: Strips of mother of pearl and abalone are hand-cut and hand-inlaid onto a precision-cut barrel. Each piece needs to be cut to precise, exact standards to ensure a perfect fit and seal.

GS: What was your inspiration behind the Palatial Pearl? How did you come to decide the pairing of the color resin cap with the barrel?

SJ: In 2009 and 2010, we launched 3 Limited Edition lines that have gone on to build TACCIA's name and help us push forward a streamlined design and a solid technical build. The Palatial Pearl is a culmination of the experience and style TACCIA has become known for both from our Limited Editions and from our pearl pens.
With the Celestial Pearl Collection, we began experimenting with colored resin to be paired with pearl. The results and feedback were very positive all-around, so we chose to continue that concept with the Palatial Pearl.

GS: The previous mother of pearl pens (Pantheon, Celestial) have been gargantuan, but the Palatial seems a bit thinner and not as "clunky" to hold. Was this a choice made based on user feedback?

SJ: From the beginning, we designed the Palatial Pearl to have a more modern and sleek look. Many of our pens vary in size and girth, and, like many others, we ourselves saw the need to move towards a more compact design.

GS: Are the new bi-color steel nibs (with Taccia Logo) going to be standard on all the higher-end model Taccia pens?

SJ: We are currently discussing this standard. For the time being the Palatial Pearl will ship with two-tone steel nibs.

GS: Any thoughts on the next pearl line or any other upcoming series that Taccia is working on?

SJ: For now we are just working hard to produce and promote the Palatial Pearl. We have a couple new collections that are currently in the prototype phase that should be introduced very soon!

Big thanks to Shu-Jen for giving us the time during a busy move to answer our interview questions. You may browse our entire selection of Taccia Pens or behold the beauty of the Palatial Pearl for yourself.


Kim Jong Il Limited Edition Fountain Pen

click for larger view

I can usually understand why certain limited editions are released to commemorate such great figures in history as Muhammad Ali, the Beatles, Bruce Lee, Darwin, Buzz Aldrin, Newton, etc, etc. People worth celebrating have usually made the world a better place for us all to live in. The pen encapsulates their timeless importance in our culture and history. So, it really makes me scratch my head as to why this new Kim Jong Il limited edition would be released.

A quick biography would sum up the man as the leader, or some would say "Supreme leader" or "General" of North Korea. Widely known for his brash and aggressive foreign policies, Kim Jong Il is suspected to be developing nuclear weapons and raising an army to intimidate neighboring countries and the West. Under his leadership, North Korea is recognized by several international organizations as having the worst human rights of any country in the world.

Each pen is hand-crafted by child-laborers from solid bars of resin, then given to an air-brush artist to paint the North Korean Flag and portrait of Kim Jong. The collection will be available in a fountain pen fitted with an 18kt solid gold nib and can only be filled with an ink that is included in the box. The ink is formulated with deep red pigments and human tears and is said to dissolve paper if anything bad is written about North Korea. It will be a limited numbered edition of 1998, symbolizing the year that he became leader. The pen and ink comes handsomely packaged in a grenade-shaped gift box with satin-lined interior.

This pen is not going to be available in the United States since it is an April Fools Day joke. Hope you got a laugh out of it.