But sometimes that special item finds us first ...
During a recent visit to the U.K. I attended my first pen show and I was quite impressed with the range of writing equipment on display. While I have a fondness for fountain pens, my collecting interests are in other writing related areas and I was unsure as to whether a "pen show" would provide me with much opportunity to find anything other than fountain pens; I was wrong.
In the weeks leading up to my trip, I was encouraged to attend the show by couple of UK collectors. One of them was also going to have a table at the show and he was kind enough to bring a variety of writing related items for me to view. As a pen show novice my intent was to just look, listen, & learn; don't touch anything without invitation; and especially try to avoid buying anything this first time round!
Arriving at the show just after it opened, I spent the first half hour or so wandering the hall and checking out the wide range of fountain pens on offer; everything from early vintage pens to the most modern; some with price tags that were quite affordable, and some that were simply hard to believe could be that expensive. A few vendors had a smattering of pencils, dip pens, or other writing related items that caught my eye but I kept moving until I eventually arrived at the table of the vendor that I had corresponded with.
His offerings included a range of books on collecting writing equipment (I purchased two), a variety of fountain pens, some incredible early dip pens, and a variety of early mechanical pencils. Thankfully (for me) the show was somewhat quiet at that point so the two of us were able to chat for quite some time and I learned a lot from him as I was shown (and allowed to hold) some of the rarer pencils that he had available. Several of them were of interest to me but they were each well outside what I felt I could afford to spend. I eventually thanked him for his generosity in sharing some of his wealth of knowledge with me and I left with just the two books.
But thoughts of two of his pencils kept spinning through my head all afternoon and soon my good intentions and I were well on our way down that proverbial paved road. Within a few hours of leaving the show I was back in touch with the vendor; we worked out an agreeable package deal for the pair and about a week later they arrived.
Both pencils are exceptional and both quite rare, but in very different ways. An earlier blog entry described the first one - "And Here's To You Mr. Robertson".
The second pencil lacks the provenance of the Robertson "traveller", but it more than makes up for that with its shear beauty.
I went to the show intentionally not seeking to expand my collection and failed miserably...carpe diem!