Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Lasting Value of Giving a Pen

By Glenn Marcus

My dad passed away last year, and when I started the process of going through his things I found a box with my name on it. A pen box it was.
As I opened the box I found a set of Parker 75s in sterling silver. What made this particular set all the more meaningful is that it was a set I had given my dad many years ago.

As I held the pens, the last value of a good pen as a gift was reinforced. Here were great pens that I had given to my dad years ago, with which he wrote for many years, and now, some 20 years later, they are returned to me as one of his final gifts.

There are not that many gifts that we can give that can have such a lasting value.

I was always impressed with the sterling silver Parker 75. The pen line was commissioned by Kenneth Parker, the son of George S. Parker, and the President of the company at the time. The designer of the pen was a man named Don Doman. The Parker 75 recognized the 75th Anniversary of the company.

The pen, at the time, was the high-end model for Parker, made from 92.5% solid sterling silver, and with a distinctive cut-grid pattern. The first of the Parker 75s sold for some $75 - five times the price of the Parker 45. Over the next 30 years, the 75 Line would be produced with a variety of finishes.

But this pen is special to me. Yes there were plenty of other gifts I and others had given my dad, many of which were being sorted for the inevitable garage sale, but my dad had these pens put aside and marked to be once again given as a gift.

The sterling silver was by this time dark and gloomy looking. But, with some careful rubs of silver cleaner the pens were once again shining. A soak in water and the nibs cleared themselves and the pens were ready to write.

We all joked about who will be clearing out my estate and that I better start earmarking my pen collection now! How true. So if you are like me, and have either a large pen collection or a few pens that you cherish, put some thought into who you would like to give the pens to as gift.

I was lucky, in that my dad used to write with broad nibs, so the pens I got back, although smaller in body size than the larger pens I use today, had nibs that were just right for me. When selecting pens to give to others, consider their preference. No use in giving a fountain pen to someone who would only write with a ball point.

If giving a fountain pen, think about the nib. If the person has small delicate writing, no use in giving a pen with a broad nib. To me the nibs are very important, as they define the writing experience.

So, give some thought as to where your collection should go, after you go. There is the potential for lasting mementos to those who will appreciate the gift for many years to come

Glenn is an avid user of fountain pens, and enjoys the connection a fountain pen owner has with his or her pen, the selection of ink and quality of paper that maximize the writing experience. Visiting pen companies and pen stores, his web site is a directory and review of great pen stores, pens and ink. He enjoys correspondence with other pen users around the world.

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