Chicago Pen Show Report: Saturday & Sunday

Day two of the 2012 Chicago Pen Show for us was Saturday.  We got up early (don’t we ever get to sleep in?), and headed down to the ball room to get things in order.  A little bit of re-organizing and we were ready to go in no time.

Before things got busy I visited with my friend Sam Elardo about my auction winning pen.  Without even thinking, and probably in less than thirty seconds he said, “Looks like an H.M. Smith”.

H.M. Smith

H.M. Smith Taper Cap Eyedropper

H.M. Smith

Another View of the H.M. Smith Eyedropper Pen

Wow.  If you ever have a question about early eyeropper pens, this is the man to ask.  Seriously.  Keep in mind there is no marking whatsoever on the barrel, the nib just says 14k, and is otherwise very similar to every other snail or chased pattern overlay of the period.  I suspect the key word here however is similar.  I’m not the newest kid on the block, and have been collecting overlay pens for several years now, but I’ve never heard of H.M. Smith.  Looks like I’ll have to dig into my reference books when I get the chance and see what else is out there!  You always learn something new at a pen show!

S.T. Dupont

Lisa’s S.T. Dupont Auction Win

Doors opened at 9:00 to the general public and Kenro Industries had donated some really nice Sheaffer bags to every attendee.  Once the doors opened it was like the floodgate had opened and a tornado all at once.  I don’t remember much the next six or seven hours because it was constant traffic at the table.  Lots of people wanted to see the new TWSBI Vac 700, the Diamond 540’s, and of course that fantastic TWSBI ink bottle.  Contrary to opinion, talk other than TWSBI was abound.  Lots of ink and Sheaffer conversation as well at the table.  Oddly, despite being an amazing day, we sold one (yes, one) vintage pen.  An inexpensive Esterbrook M2 ballpoint.  It pays to diversify!

Chicago 2012 Crowd

Chicago 2012 Crowd – Looks Like Everyone is in the Far Corner!

By the time the day was done and the doors closed we had made zero purchases.  I’m not even sure of the last time this has happened.  I usually buy something every day of a show, but there just wasn’t much time.  We closed up shop, had a lovely dinner at Tuscano’s Italian Restaurant and went off to rest up for the final day.

Sunday started early as well, making sure we had everything out of our room and packed up, and we were on our way by 8:00.  Since we weren’t making any changes to our display Lisa and I finally got some time to walk the floor together before the general public came in.  I managed to spot a nice Sheaffer Skripsert on Kim Sosin’s table that Lisa didn’t have, and then after several minutes at Brian and Andrea Gray’s table, left with a custom Edison pen for Lisa in a new and pretty darn amazing pattern.  Finally an Edison for her that fit all her criteria: amazing acrylic, small enough for her hands, and it posts.  It truly was a win-win-win for everyone.


Lisa’s New Skripsert

Edison Pearlette

Lisa’s New Edison Pearlette

I was considering one last purchase and trying to decide what pen to buy.  Problem with keeping yourself on a budget is that last pen often times doesn’t have the full advantage of the wallet.  I decided I would wait it out and see what happened at the show, figuring the one pen I wanted at Tim Pearson’s table would probably still be there at the end of the show.  After all I had been looking at it for probably a year and nobody had bought it yet, so maybe I could be lucky.  Then, out of the blue, Lisa says to me, “Give me some money”  Ok, I grab her some money from my pocket and she runs off.  Two minutes later, she comes back with another pen I have been lusting after for probably close to two years now.  David Ushkow had this most amazing cone cap snail patterned Grieshaber overlay and we finally agreed on the price.  The overlay was amazing, but the nib had an issue and the feed was positioned far from the nib, and looked like it was in upside down.  I figured it just needed to be taken apart and that would happen when I got home.  At the end of the day Joel Hamilton and I were talking about it and he made a very keen observation I hadn’t noticed.  The feed wasn’t upside down, the nib was.  With that in mind I looked at it and sure enough it now made sense.  Another overfeed pen!

Grieshaber Overlay

Grieshaber Overlay

Business on Sunday is usually slow.  You can’t ever guess what it will be like, so we’ve (read: I’ve) learned to expect nothing, and whatever you get is a bonus.  Well, business was once again brisk and not only were modern pens and ink selling, but a number of vintage pens as well.  It was a good day.

Moore Safety

Moore Safety with Early American Fountain Pen Nib

At the very end of the show I managed to pick up a few things for our inventory, while I won’t spoil the fun just yet, I’ll just say two words: music nib.  Expect a pen review and some fun with this pen to come soon.  We picked up ten of this special pen, but one may have to stay in my possession, so expect to see nine of them available.  If you were at the show you may have seen this.  We also unexpectedly picked up a large amount of ink, so our shelves will be graced with a number of additional brands shortly.


Duke Compound Art Pen

We also had some interesting conversations about some upcoming events we’re pretty excited about.  Let’s just say you’ll be hearing from us soon.  Stay tuned for details!

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but there’s just so much action at a pen show it could fill pages and pages in a book.  My best advice is to go and experience it for yourself!  Next on the Docket?  Raleigh in about a month!

Brian & Lisa