Pen Spotlight - Pen World Nominations, Beatles and Contest Ending

Good morning y'all,

Hope that everyone is alright after that last hit of winter wonderland the other day in the northeast. It seems that the snow just doesn't know when to stop this year. A quick update this Saturday morning:

The 2011 Academy Awards weren't the only nominations going out this week. Delta and Conklin have received a total of five nominations for the Seventeenth Annual Readers’ Choice Awards sponsored by Pen World magazine. The Delta Amerigo Vespucci was nominated for the "most fitting tribute to a historical figure or celebrity." Part of the Indigenous People's series of limited edition pens, the Delta Mapuche was nominated for "best pen inspired by a cultural or literary theme." The Dolcevita Oro and the Conklin Deco Crest were both nominated for the "Best Brand Icon" award. Lastly, the Delta Italiana is up for "Most incredible Value under $200." Best of luck to Delta, Conklin and the rest of the nominees.

Voting for Tom in the E-mail Template Design Contest is almost to a close (ends Jan 31st). He's nervously pacing back and forth, competing with another design for first place. Please do your best to share the link to vote on his template this weekend by posting this link to your facebook page, twitter followers or blog : http://www.verticalresponse.com/email-template-challenge/t1/

He greatly appreciates all the support that the fine writing community, goldspot fans and members on fountain pen network have given him. "This was too long of a contest," Tom says, "and I've been soliciting for votes like a politician stumping from virtual city to city. But, it's almost over now, and I need to go all out with a final push that will ensure a first place victory." When asked if he would consider entering a contest judged in this fashion again, he simply shook his head and walked away.

Many folks have called and e-mailed asking about the new ACME Beatles limited edition pens that are slated for 2011. Very few updates are available in the writing community, even as we near the eventual release date. We have had to update our original post on the Beatles pens to reflect the current pricing structure for the new proposed editions.

The good news for your wallet is that not all the Beatles editions will be coming out at once. Out of the over two dozen different designs, only 4 or 5 will be available for sale within the next few months, with the rest of them being released over the next 2 to 3 years. Goldspot has committed to being part of the first shipment of Beatles pens and will have several pens in-stock for collectors who are interested. We cannot take pre-orders just yet since we do not have the final pricing, but please drop us a line through Facebook, Twitter, call us or leave a comment on this post so we can notify you when we will be taking the first orders.


Video : Visconti Founder Dante Del Vecchio with Declaration of Independence

A Goldspot Video Exclusive : Dante Del Vecchio introduces the newest Visconti Limited Edition, the "Declaration of Independence"


Winner of the Philadelphia Pen Show Giveaway

Still settling in from the weekend at the Philadelphia Pen Show. We will go a bit more in-depth with a post later this week. In summary, it was a really great time and we are privileged to have met so many great people, including our customers, other exhibitors and vendors.

On to some business: Many of you that stopped by our table at the show signed up for a chance to win an Aurora Ipsilon rollerball with a black barrel and metal cap ($120 retail value). We also counted you if we got your e-mail address in an order. The ultimate winner was randomly selected by the random.org random number generator. Without further adieu, drumroll please..........

Rich B. from Delaware is our winner! He has been contacted by e-mail and has 30 days to confirm his address so we can send him the big prize. A big thanks to everyone who entered! Stay tuned on our blog for more impending giveaways and special offers from your inky friends at Goldspot Pens.


See You at the Big Show

The Philadelphia Pen Show started today, but Goldspot is showing up casually late to the party. The car's all packed up with oodles of pens and other goodies to feast your eyes on. We'll be bringing some limited editions and specialty items from brands like Visconti, Conway Stewart, Aurora and Montegrappa. We'll have a few bottles of Noodlers, Pelkan Edelstein and Pilot Iroshizuku ink - not every color under the sun, but enough to give you a taste. We'll also supply your paper needs like Michael Scott with our stock Rhodia webbies and staplebound classic notebooks.

Our BIG special will be that any item purchased at our table during the weekend will receive FREE SHIPPING. That's right, you can place an order for one refill at the show and we'll send it without shipping & handling charge. So, if we don't have it at the show, we'll ship it to you on Monday.

Even if you're browsing this weekend and not looking to buy, we're running a giveaway for a FREE Aurora rollerball. Simply sign up for our e-mail newsletter at the show and we will randomly choose the winner on Monday. We will contact the winner by e-mail and mail out the pen as soon as we get their address.

Check out our special Philadelphia Pen Show e-mail newsletter that we sent out this week to our e-mail subscribers. We used Tom's "Hand Drawn Moleskine" design that is currently being voted on in the E-mail Template Challenge. He's currently in the lead, but still needs your help as voting ends Jan 31st.

Hope to see you there!


Tom Needs Your Help!

Our very own Tom O. from the graphic department entered an e-mail design contest and was selected as a top 10 finalist! He needs your help to make it to #1! Voting on the top 10 designs is taking place now until Jan 31st.

Please click the following link : http://www.verticalresponse.com/email-template-challenge/t1/

Then, click the "like" button to vote on Tom's Design, which is called "Hand Drawn Moleskine (notebook)". You will need to be logged into Facebook (which most people are nowadays) to cast the vote. You do not need to give any e-mail address or personal info to vote.

This is a sample of what the e-mail template looks like :

If Tom is selected as the winner, this template will be included for all Vertical Response e-mail clients to use in their correspondence, which would be a huge thrill! I greatly appreciate your time and help to get the word out on this vote and to get as many people as you can go vote on it as well. If you would like to use this e-mail template and know a bit of HTML to be able to customize it to your needs, please drop me a line at toddo [at] Goldspot dot com


Detailed Preview of Visconti's Declaration of Independence Pen

The initial response and buzz surrounding the release of Visconti's anticipated Declaration of Independence Limited Edition pen is suggesting that this will be one of Visconti's biggest pen releases...ever. Here are some sneak peak photos and details about the pen you may not have known.

Commemorating a pivotal moment in our Nation's history, along with the history of the modern world, the Declaration of Independence Ltd Ed presents itself as a historical collectible. The entire Declaration is done in scrimshaw around the barrel of the pen, visible enough to see with the naked eye. Every detail on this pen is so intricately superb that a magnifying glass is supplied in the box with each pen for its owner to further investigate the flawless craftsmanship and artistic handiwork of Visconti.

The Liberty Bell, one of the most iconic American symbols, is used in the fountain pen's plunger filler. This detail was previously not photographed in the initial press about this pen, so it is a real thrill for us to have a picture of this part.

Your first opportunity (and best chance to get a good edition number) would be at the Philadelphia Pen Show, which will be from Jan 21st to 23rd. Goldspot Pens will be there, with these pens-in-hand. You can pre-order this pen at Goldspot (call for pricing - serious inquiries only) and pick it up at the show, or have it shipped after the show is over. Any orders for the Declaration of Independence taken after we run out of stock will be fulfilled within the week following the show.

For more information on location, times, vendors and price for entry, please visit the Philadelphia Pen Show Website. Hope to see you there!


Winner of Goldspot Aurora Rollerball Giveaway

Congratulations to Michelle C., one of our Facebook Fans, for winning our New Year Giveaway for the Aurora Ipsilon rollerball. She was randomly selected amongst all of the blog comments, facebook feedback and tweets that we've received in the last week.

A big thanks goes out to everyone who entered, "tweeted" or "liked" this giveaway. Keep posted for the next giveaway, which we will be running in the next week or so. If you didn't win, but are still interested in having this pen, pick up your Aurora Ipsilon Rollerball at Goldspot.com today!


Pen Spotlight - Philadelphia Pen Show and Giveaway

Quick update on the giveaway that we posted a week ago : We're at over 50 entries and we will have the cut off later tonight at 11:59pm Eastern. Visit our post from last week for the instructions on how to enter the giveaway.

January 21st - 23rd (Friday - Sunday), The Philadelphia Pen Show will be hosted at the Sheraton Center City Hotel. If you are in the tri-state area and LOOOVE pens, this will certainly be the place to be that weekend. I will give you three solid reasons why any pen enthusiast will be punching their ticket for Philly :

#1 Visconti is debuting their hotly anticipated, limited edition Declaration of Independence pen. We are taking pre-orders on our site at the moment, but the first opportunity that collectors can get their hands on the pen will be at this show.  Goldspot has requested a few choice numbers for the fountain pen and matching rollerball. Michael Nutter, the mayor of Philadelphia, along with the Dante Del Vecchio, the owner of Visconti, will be on hand to introduce this historic pen to the public.

#2 Meet Smokin' Joe Frazier! To introduce the new Montegrappa Icons limited edition pen, Smokin' Joe will be at the show to shake hands and introduce a pen fit for a champion.

#3 We, the fine folks at Goldspot Pens will be attending the pen show as an exhibitor and will have a full selection of pens and accessories at special show prices. Since Montegrappa, Visconti and other brands will be present, you can try all the newest pens and get them delivered (by us) right to your door after the show!

More details to come as we get closer to the date. We're sending out e-mail reminders with updates to people who are subscribed to our newsletter list. Be back tomorrow to announce the giveaway winner!


Aurora Optima Auroloide Blue Fountain Pen Review

Santa must have read my pen wish list because I had one of these Aurora Optima pens under my tree! After the initial shock, I picked my jaw up off the floor and headed to my desk for a bottle of ink.

The main draw that led me to this beauty of a writing instrument is the blue & gold design. The Marbled blue resin, combined with the solid gold trim reminds me of when I went to Capri with the sparkling blue waters matched against the warm sun. What really sealed the deal was the piston-filling mechanism and the size.

As I scribble in the handwritten sample, I've often referred to the Optima Auroloide as the more stylish, Italian version of the Pelikan Souveran 600 fountain pen. They both fill by internal piston-filling system, have solid gold nibs and are similar in dimension with the cap posted. The Optima Auroloide has much more classical style and flair than the German-made Souveran, in my humble opinion.

So, with coffee on my desk and a fully loaded Optima (with Pelikan 4001 Turquoise ink) I gave the pen a whirl, writing on my Rhodia Circa paper. The extra-fine offers a solid line, not being too dry or too thick. The line thinness is equivalent to a Pelikan m200 in fine point. There isn't that much flexibility in the gold nib, but it does write smoothly with a bit of springiness. One of the huge positives that I really enjoyed was how the cap posts on the back end while writing. The size is compact (only 6" when posted) and the weight is light enough to write cap-posted in a comfortable fashion.

The piston-filling reservoir seems to hold a ton of ink. There is a window (pictured above) that is located right before the screw threads on the black front section to show the ink level when it gets down to the very end of the fill. I will have more to report once the ink runs out on the DPF (Days Per Fill - trying to coin a new pen term here). From my "guesstimation" I would reckon to say it takes in as much as a Pelikan.

  • Writing Quality : 14ct solid gold nib writes very smoothly for an extra-fine. No flex, but only time will tell when it gets broken in. (grade A-)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Could stare (and drool) at the blue marbled cap and barrel all day long. The gold trims are not often used with blue, but work so well in this design. (grade A+)
  • Utility : Ink reservoir seems to hold a ton of ink. Ink view window is helpful to see when a refill is needed. Cap posts perfectly for comfortable and convenient writing (grade B+)
  • Price : Available in extra-fine, fine, medium, broad and italic broad sizes for $499.95 at Goldspot.com. While there are more affordable 14ct solid gold nib fountain pens on the market, you're paying for this unique, breath-taking finish.  (grade B-)

Final Grade : A-
The Aurora Optima Auroloide is definitely one of the best Christmas presents I've ever received. Looking forward to using this pen for a long time to come and I will end up revisiting this review a few months from now to add my opinions after a longer period of usage.


New Year Giveaway - Aurora Ipsilon Rollerball

Happy New Year Pen People,

Our first giveaway of 2011 is certainly one you can't miss. We are giving away a FREE Aurora Ipsilon Black w/ Gold Trim Rollerball pen ($100 retail value). This pen has polished black lacquer cap and body finish with gold plated trims and signature Aurora clip.

Since this is such a huge giveaway, we're going to give everyone a few opportunities to win.
  • "Like" or "Share" the giveaway post on Facebook
  • "Re-tweet" the giveaway on Twitter (making sure @goldspotpens is in your tweet)
  • Or, leave a comment on this post, answering the question, "How would I use this pen to help complete my New Years Resolutions?"
If you do one of each action, it will count as an entry. So, you have a maximum of 3 possible entries to this giveaway. Entries will be accepted until 11:59PM Eastern Time, Wednesday, January 12th. We will randomly select the winner on Thursday and announce it here on the blog. Good luck and get clickin'!


TWSBI Diamond 530 Fountain Pen Review

The heralded TWSBI Diamond 530 is a fountain pen born out of input of the Fountain Pen Network community. The Taiwanese manufacturers aimed their design as a pen for fountain pen enthusiasts. And their aim was true, as the Diamond 530 demonstrator was voted as the Goldspot Pen of the Year for 2010.

The one question on many pen enthusiasts may be, "what is a TWSBI?" Sure, it's not a brand name like Parker or Waterman, but was able to best every established competitor by staying true to the needs of writers. TWSBI has 50 years of manufacturing experience in metal-stamping, metal-turning and plastic injection molding. For 25 years, they have been making OEM writing instruments for well-known brands. Now, their aim is to make their own products under the name TWSBI, starting about a year ago.

The Diamond 530 is certainly a great first endeavor for TWSBI. It is a piston-filling fountain pen, offered in a stainless steel nib in Extra-Fine, Fine or Medium point sizes. The most unique concept about this project is the encouragement to disassemble and reassemble the pen. Fully-illustrated instructions, a wrench and a bottle of silicone grease is included with every pen to give you the knowledge and tools necessary to do your own pen maintenance.

When I first heard of the Diamond 530 piston-filling fountain pen, it was a knee-jerk decision to get it. Piston-filling fountain pens are hard to come by at such an affordable price. I would not have high expectations on the nib, but was pleasantly surprised at the writing quality and smoothness. The piston mechanism works perfectly, smoothly drawing up the ink through the nib without much loss of suction. The tank holds about 2 1/2 weeks worth of writing ink. Since the pen can be completely disassembled, thorough cleaning between fills is easy.

My only criticism of the pen is that writing with the cap posted is not an option (at least for me). The length of the pen with cap posted is just about 7" long, which throws off the balance of writing with the pen and makes my hand more tired after writing.

  • Writing Quality : Stainless Steel nib delivers with smoothness, even wet flow. (grade A-)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Injection mold plastic is crystal clear. The diamond pattern body interacts beautifully with the ink inside the tank. (grade A)
  • Utility : Unique ability to take apart and put back together is very useful for minor repairs and cleanings. Cap does post well, but becomes a bit too long to write with. (grade B+)
  • Price : Available in extra-fine, fine or broad nib sizes for $59.95 at Goldspot Pens. If this pen had "Pelikan" on the cap ring, it would easily be sold for twice the price. (grade A-)

Final Grade : A-
After hearing all the fan fare, TWSBI Diamond 530 is certainly worth the buzz and the title of Pen of the Year. You can read up on other reviews of the Diamond 530 at the following sites :


2011 Resolutions? How About a Personal Annual Review

I was never big on New Year's Resolutions. A simple wish list of pie-in-the-sky, maybe-someday tasks usually end up being unresolved, compromised or forgotten. Even if you write down the list, how are you to measure the completion of your resolutions? Are they too vague or even lack a clear outcome (for example, "Be a better person.") Chris Guillebeau's Art of Non-Conformity takes a "Getting Things Done" approach to objectively looking at your past year and making a very earnest estimation on your aims for the upcoming year.

The idea of looking back at 2010 to plan a successful 2011 bases itself on the idiom, "know where you've been to know where you're going." According to Chris, the important task to start your "review" is to write a list of things that went well and things that did not go so well in the last year. Time to take out the pen and paper!

The other important idea that I took away from the article is the importance of having measurable goals that can provide you the metrics to determine the success or failure of your goals during the year. Saying, "I am going to lose some weight and get in shape this year," lacks the specificity of, "I am going to lose 20 pounds and decrease my body fat by 10% this year."

Read more about how to conduct your own annual review at the Art of Non-Conformity blog.