15 Minutes The old is new again

“Everything old is new again.” I usually love the newest things in terms of pens and art supplies. Recently getting re-obsessed with my really great Retro 51 pen collection, I picked up a few fountain pens I had not used in years, as well as one roller ball pen. In trying to clean my favorite, a retractable Namiki, I lost the spring and had to send it back to the company. It should arrive on Wednesday, and I will definitely be posting photos of the pen and drawings I make with it.

I got all my really good pens from my sister. Years ago she gave me that Namiki. She also gave me a clear barrel fountain pen that only takes ink bottles and she gave me a fance a bottle of red ink, Levenger, with it. I still have the ink. The ink is Levenger Cardinal Red, so the pen is stained red; even trying to clean it, I couldn’t get the red completely off of it. I just now figured out what kind of pen it is. It has no name on the top; only a little picture of a swan. I realized the name of the company is on the nib of a fountain pen and figured out it’s a Pelican pen. If you try to buy one now, the original price is 200$ and you can get it for $160. More recently, a few years ago, she gave me a special Retro 51 fountain pen with dog paws on it and the clip looks like a dog bone.

Since taking these old pens and re- investigating their greatness, coming to a new appreciation of them and what I can do with them, especially drawing, I am amazed that I neglected them for so long.

But I was distracted by my obsession with Retro 51 Rollerball and ball point pens. The red pen I found from years ago before Retro 51 was also a gift from my sister. It took me forever to figure out how to put a refill ink in it as the Retro 51 ones open from the bottom and this one opens from the top. I had taken it to The Fountain Pen Hospital down the st. in Tribeca, and the person couln’t open it. It says on it that it’s Serrano by Ami. Usually everythign turns out to be Pilot or Parker or something, but this is really the company.

I can’t remember what the first Retro 51 pen my sister gave me was. I lost a few of them; I tend lose or misplace things I really treasure. I defintiely had their limited edition Bloom pen, which may be the first she gave me, but I remember getting her one, so I think it wasn’t that one that I got first. I lost that one, and it’s my favorite. I have since acquired two pink ones, one is monochromatic, the whole pen is pink. The other one I lost and was lucky I found the exact same one to replace. I have a few “Popper” Limited Edition Retro 51 pens, one with flowers, one with comics, one that is pinball inspired. Then I have an animal print one and the Roosevelt pen. My sister gave me a cork pen and pencil set, Retro 51, which cannot be replaced. I know because my pencil broke and I lost part of it so I can’t replace it. I also got the Dr Gray pencil one of a skeleton that glows in the dark. I lost that pen with the same design last year and last month replaced it with the pencil version. I now have too many roller ball pens, not that I had too few before. I also got the Buzz one, a special edition pen with bees on it; some of the proceeds go to funding something to save the bees. And I almost forgot the last one my sister gave me a year ago for the holidays, the Retro 51 yoga ballpoint pen.

I am happy to be investigating my fountain pens as implements for drawing. I found out Muji makes a fountain pen, and couldn’t resist buying one to try out in December. I liked it so much I sent my sister one.

There are many people out there totally obsessed with pens. I recently gave a friend the Retro 51 Lincoln roller ball pen as she wanted a nice pen. It took her a while to even use it; that’s when I realized I have an unusual crazyness about fine pens, and that I treat them like everyday things, whereas other people consider them very — what’s the word, careful/valuable/don’t use it a lot as it’s too nice… None of them that I”ve gotten have been really expensive. That’s why it’s easy to have so many. The pencil was 32$ which is cheap for a nice brand. It’s the fountain pens I have that are expensive, so I am glad I am now really getting into them and treating them properly… I will take photos of all my nice pens I am grateful to my sister who got me going long ago with the first gift of the red lacquer Serrano pen…


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