Happy Thanksgiving + 9 Black Friday Deals on Goldspot

First and Foremost : HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all our customers, fans, readers and pen-loving people! We wish you the healthiest and happiest Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

Goldspot will be enjoying the Holiday with their loved ones on Thursday and Friday this week, so our offices will be closed until Monday, December 29th. However, our website will still be taking orders around the clock! Also, UPS will not be delivering ground shipments on Thursday or Friday. Only Air shipments will be delivered on Black Friday. If you need to contact us during the weekend, please call 800-963-7367 and leave a voicemail for customer service. Alternatively, you may also visit our Goldspot Help section of our website to send an e-mail to our attention.

Now, down to business...

We've got some extraordinary deals going on STARTING NOW for Black Friday weekend. That's right. No lines, no waking up at the crack of dawn, no coupons to cut. This year, not only are the BLACK TAGS back to help you find extra discounts on 1,000's of pens and accessories, we also have a Black Friday Flyer up on our website for 9 special offers that will be running throughout the weekend.

For example, we have a fountain pen bundle deal with the Visconti Homo Sapiens : Order any Visconti Homo Sapiens fountain pen and receive a free bottle of Visconti Ink, free Visconti ink blotting paper, a free Rhodia notebook and the free my pen system personalization (initials only).

Google Checkout is also running a promotion this weekend to take an extra $20 off your order of $200 or more. That means you can take advantage of the Black Tag pricing, buy a special off our flyer and check out with Google to really stack your savings. Kindly note that you must checkout through Google Checkout in order to take advantage of the $20 off $200 deal.

This is a perfect time to buy up all your gifts for your family, friends, significant other, acquaintances, coworkers, and business associates. If you need any suggestions, feel free to browse this blog or visit our clearance section for great gift ideas and all-time low prices.


News on The ACME Beatles Collection 2011

"Here comes the ...."
Pens! Do-do-do-do...

On the heels of the Apple announcement on Tuesday that brought the Fab Four on to iTunes, ACME has released more information regarding their new Beatles Collection that is due to debut sometime in 2011.

At this moment, the Beatles Collection of ACME writing instruments will consist of the following:
  • 9 limited edition rollerball pens, one for each year the Beatles were together in editions of 1,962 to 1,970 pens. Packaged in a black Beatles box for ~$98 each.
  • 13 limited edition rollerball pen and card cases, one for every UK album they ever produced. Limited to editions of 1,000 in each style. Packaged in mini album covers for ~$120 each.
  • One limited set of four pens, one of each for John, Paul, George and Ringo in an edition of 600 sets. The four pen set will consist of one rollerball pen, one fountain pen, one ballpoint pen and one felt-tip (all interchangeable) Packaged in a black Beatles box for ~$450 each.
  • One limited edition pen interchangeable from rollerball to fountain (parts included) in an edition of 1,000 pens, packaged in a black Beatles box for ~$120 each.
  • 3 limited edition watches for ~$90 each.
  • 3 eyeglass cases, not limited edition.
Prices and details may vary as the collection gets closer to launch. Goldspot Pens will be placing pre-orders for the Beatles so that we can try and get our hands on some good numbers. If you would like to express your interest in purchasing these pens, please do comment on this post and we will include you in our e-mail update list.


Pen Spotlight - The Beatles, Disney and a Montblanc Kills a Macbook

Congrats to Retro 51 for winning the North American Global Stationery Product of the Year - 2010! As you can imagine, Disney licenses Mickey and friends to an awful lot of consumer products. Retro 51 has done a praiseworthy job at infusing the Disney characters with their vintage, nostalgic designs.

I had to chuckle when I read this article from TechCrunch called Yep, Montblanc killed my Macbook Pro Today. It is a playful, tongue-in-cheek story about a Luddite writer that traded his Macbook laptop for a Montblanc fountain pen.

And finally,
Need I say more?
I will - ACME Studio, based in Hawaii, is going to introduce the Beatles licensed pen in 2011. Not much is known about the design(s), but you can expect some aesthetically pleasing design that is in-line with the style of the band. Previous limited collections include the Simpsons, Blue Man Group, and Elvis Presley.

My best guess is that these pens will price around the $90 to $120 range and will be highly desirable for collectors of both the Beatles and ACME pens. We are on a list of retailers who are going to be kept up-to-date on the anticipated release and will pass along new information to you, our pen public, as soon as we receive it.


Send our Troops a Gift to Write Home About

Our US servicemen and women work hard and sacrifice so much for us overseas. Through the United States Postal Service, we are able to provide the same standard shipping & ground rates to APO & FPO addresses as we would with any domestic US address. That means we can ship pens and other accessories by US Priority Mail starting at $6.95, with refills going by US First Class starting at $3.25. Both starting rates are for the first five items of the order. We will also honor free shipping promotion codes that usually apply to continental US - on orders that are placed with an APO/FPO address.

Priority mail may not show up as an option on the list of shipping methods when checking out. If this happens, simply select UPS ground for the same price and we will ensure the package is sent properly.

A couple quick tips about addressing for APO / FPO addresses:
  • Use the service member's full name - mail must be addressed to someone specific.
  • Include the Unit and APO / FPO - (Air/Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office) with nine-digit zip code (if one is assigned)
  • Example :
    Seaman Joseph Doe
    USCGC Hamilton
    FPO AP 96667-3931

Pictured in this post are the Visconti Rembrandt pens available in Red, Ivory and Blue. If you need any assistance placing an order that is being shipped to an APO / FPO address, please feel free to give us a call during our office hours at 800-963-PENS.


New Noodler's Ink : Black Swan in Australian Roses

Quite a title, isn't it? A brand new ink from Noodler's, the Black Swan in Australian Roses looks to be one of those inks that every fountain pen enthusiast who has a bottle or two of Noodler's would be "dye"ing to try.

We just caught word via e-mail from the distributor about this ink, so I have no prior experience with it, however, you can check out this neat video that is up on YouTube, explaining about the characteristics of the ink.

For a written description, this is directly from Noodler's Ink:

This ink exhibits a rose halo on certain papers on both sides of the line, as well as exhibiting darker shading on the edges of lines where the tine of the nib touches the page or a side of an italic nib lays a firmer line. It is approximately 16% “bulletproof” and is made up of dyes with multiple properties in order to generate the various shading and different tones under various light sources (it will look different in daylight versus fluorescent lighting – for example). It functions as a conventional fountain pen ink and thus writes in just about every pen one can think of….including the Noodler’s piston filled ink ball pens. The ink inhabits a neutral pH range about 7, though in time it might migrate to 7.5 or 6.5 (that won’t be known until after the passage of time). With certain pens it will appear to be a very conservative dark burgundy plum, whereas it will be a light cherry tone with drier writing pens – and a paper towel test will always show the black swan hiding in the roses.

Be the first to try Black Swan in Australian Roses : 3 oz bottle for $12.50 each.

The Cartridge Vs. The Converter

Many times you will hear of a fountain pen commonly offered with the cartridge / converter filling system. This means that the fountain pen can either accept disposable ink cartridges or use the refillable, screw-type converter that can draw ink from a bottle. My intention of this article is to pit the both of them in bloody battle and see who would triumph gloriously.

Just kidding, but I did want to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using either method of filling your fountain pen. This information is especially useful for first-time fountain pen owners, so listen up. You don't want to get ink all over your nice sweater before Thanksgiving Dinner, or on the Turkey, for that matter.

Cartridges are, by far, the easiest between the two. They are fully supplied with ink, so when you pop that sucker into the front section of your fountain pen and hear the satisfying snap of the insert being pierced, you know you are moments away from writing the Great American Novel, or signing your expense reports, or writing a passive-aggressive note for the noisy neighbor upstairs.

No mess filling your pen, but it does take a few moments to get that ink into the feed and to the point. To juice the process, I usually like to give the ink cartridge a gentle squeeze with my thumb and forefinger to get the ink down faster. Removal is as easy as taking out the empty cartridge and throwing it away.

The big negative with going the cartridge route of filling your fountain pen is that they are disposable, hurting the environment and your wallet at the same time. Buying box after box of cartridges isn't as cost-efficient as getting bottles of ink. Also, there hardly is as much of a color variety as there is with bottled ink. Most manufacturers will simply offer the blue, black and blue-black, while their selection of bottled inks will have every color "under the rainbow."

Converters are the modern compromise between the traditional bottle-filling systems of old with the industrialized notion of interchangeable parts. Without going into a whole historical tangent, the converter's purpose is to allow the user to fill their fountain pen in an old-fashioned way without having to worry about delicate pen repair down the road. You simply insert the converter in the same manner you would a cartridge. Seat it properly into the front section of the pen. Then, submerge the nib and feed into your bottle of fountain pen-friendly ink. Screw the black knob clockwise to draw ink up through the nib into the converter's ink chamber. Screw anti-(counter)clockwise to expel the contents (air, ink or water) out of the converter. This may take several twists up-and-down to get the proper suction, making sure all of the air is removed from the converter and that you are drawing up only ink. Filling via converter is a process that takes several tries to get a handle on it and novices are sure to get their fingers inky at first. Heck, I still get inky sometimes.

There are two main "draws" with a converter : one is the actual process itself. It may be nostalgic for some, while many also experience a sense of being deliberate and caring for your writing implement. With so many of our modern consumer items being disposable, it is a nice change-of-pace to actually take the time and fill your fountain pen, getting it ready to meet the day's tasks head-on! The second point is that it is more cost-effective to fill from an ink bottle than it is to continually buy cartridges. By the time you are buying package after package of disposable ink cartridges that last a few months, you could have had a whole collection of modestly priced ink bottles to last you a few years. There are online communities like Fountain Pen Network that encourage ink swapping or ink sampling, which would mean getting small 2 mL samples of different brands, hues and formulas of ink to find one that you really would love to get a bottle of.

The intimidating part of using the converter over a cartridge is the potentially messy process. The closest activity I can relate it to is changing the oil on your car. It is far more satisfying to do the job yourself, but you need to take time and get a little messy to accomplish. Taking the car to Lube 'N Go will be more expensive, but far less effort involved. If the oil came in different colors, which would change the colors of your exhaust, now we'd be much closer to the experience of filling a fountain pen.

Bottom Line - Most pen manufacturers offer both the converter and one ink cartridge with the purchase of a new fountain pen for the same reason that both Jiffy Lube and Advance Auto Parts are around. There are people who prefer to be more hands on, while there are others who want to keep things simple. It really depends on the effort of the individual. Not that I'm saying people who use ink cartridges are lazy, they just would rather concentrate their daily efforts elsewhere. People who like filling their fountain pen with a converter want to invest themselves into their writing instrument and are willing to take the risk of getting ink on their hands because it is part of the charm, the very reason why they selected a fountain pen to write with in the first place.


Parker Premier SE Black BP Equipped with Quinkflow

In the age of the Schmidt Easy-Flow 9000 and Monteverde Soft-Roll ballpoint ink cartridges, Parker, who has been the long-standing bar of measure for the aptly-named Parker-style ballpoint refills, had fallen behind in quality. Many of our customers rave about the smoothness, ink flow and long-lasting qualities of the Monteverde or Schmidt refills, often buying the refills with the intent to exchange the misbegotten Parker cartridge in the pen they just purchased. Parker ballpoint refills just didn't match up to the new technologies that were being developed and introduced into the market.

Finally, with the introduction of the new Premier SE Stealth Black ballpoint, we get a glimpse of the Parker Quinkflow ballpoint cartridge, which is equipped in every Premier SE ballpoint. According to the Parker propaganda website, they promise a smoother, cleaner and more consistent writing performance. Lipstick on a pig? I say no.

I did have my skepticism at first, but then when I tried it side-by-side with a regular Parker ballpoint, I was struck by the immense difference. Smoother? Check. Cleaner? Double Check. More consistent writing performance? Don't know about that since I only got to try it for a few minutes. It is definitely a significant improvement over the standard Parker ballpoint cartridge that now comes standard in virtually every Parker Pen (and many more brands, for that matter). But, now that we've gotten a taste of what better writing quality could be, what do we do now?

The introduction of the Quinkflow technology as a separate refill for sale is not available at the moment. However, Parker will be including the Quinkflow refill in every new purchase of a Duofold, Premier or Sonnet Precious ballpoint pen. It is a rolling change that will take effect at the end of this year into next year. The refills themselves should be available for sale in North America by the beginning of December. I anticipate that the Quinkflow refill will be a separate offering to the regular ballpoint for a while, probably at a higher price point. Although, with all of the competition and Parker-Style clones out there that already outperform the brand's own refill, I would imagine it is a matter of time until the standard Parker refill is no more and the Quinkflow is the wave of Parker's future.


Pen of the Year 2010 Winner

Our readers, fans, followers and pen enthusiasts from all reaches of the internet have spoken. Drum roll please..............*fuddles with envelope*

The winner of the Goldspot Pen of the Year 2010 is the TWSBI Diamond 530 Fountain Pen!

The TWSBI ran away with it, taking an early lead and dominating the vote with over 40% of the vote at one point during the week. With the voting finalized, the winner ended up with 38.07% of the total vote, beating out rival Visconti Homo Sapiens by a large margin. It certainly wasn't close, folks!

Showing in third place is the Pelikan m800 Blue 'O Blue finish with the Parker Premier SE Black rounding out your Pick-4.

Some of the "other" selections that were not shown on the poll that users had voted for : Taccia Merit, Namiki Falcon (non-metal version), Pilot 78G, Delta Turchese Meraviglia Stantuffo. 

Thanks to everyone who participated in the vote and promoting it on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you had fun. Looking forward to seeing all the new pens that are introduced in 2011 and doing this all over again next November!


Pen Spotlight - Veni, Vidi, Voting

While voting for Election 2010 has now concluded, voting for Pen of the Year 2010 continues until Tuesday, November 9th. Cast your Vote for your favorite pen.

A pair of spotlight posts come from OfficeSupplyGeek, who was nice enough to take the time to visit and buy some products at our Pen Trunk Show back last month. In a post about our show, he writes about the Montegrappa Muhammad Ali and new Lamy Studio finish that he spotted.

In an interview with one of our own, OSG featured Tom's Desk and favorite office supplies. It is a part of the What's on their Desk series, which is a series of interviews of people in the stationery, fine-writing and office supply industries about what tools do they use everyday.

Okami reviewed the new Delta Italiana fountain pen. The additional photos and writing sample are done very well to give you a great impression of how that pen looks and writes. The "aged/dull" finish of the swirl colors really doesn't translate well in pictures. You have to feel the pen for yourself!

The NoteBooker got a hold of some neat Waterman Harley Davidson Pens. He compared the Harley Free Wheel and Horizon to other fountain pens you may also have in your collection : the Lamy Safari and Monteverde Invincia. We also have them up for sale on our clearance section, as these styles have been discontinued.

Other Pen News:
Tiger Pens talks about a Telegraph article that wrote about how stationery shops are flourishing amid the digital revolution. "Journalers are cool kids now," Tony writes. Yes! Finally!


Vote for Pen of the Year 2010

Voting will be live for 1 week and will close on November 9th at 12:00 AM Eastern Time. Winner will be announced Tuesday on this blog and through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. There is a write-in option if you so please. Remember, have fun!

If you are having any issue with entering an "Other" write in option and it doesn't seem to be going through, you may also leave a comment below with your selection.