What's It Worth? Aggressive Offer + Patience = Last Laugh
Fountain pen collecting is a very robust hobby and they still bring good money. We have advertised in this paper for over 30 years to buy them.
Here are a few of the finer pens that we have unearthed locally.
It began with a dealer in 1992 who bought a group of pens for $50. He called because dealers were offering him from $1,000 to $5,000 for them. I said I would beat his best offer. Later, he said his best offer was $10,000, from a New York buyer. Always aggressive, I offered him $11,000, sight unseen. The pen (B.) turned out to be so important that the Wall Street Journal wrote a long article about it entitled “The King of Pens Found in Florida.”
Initially, I was stuck with it, because the New Yorker I outbid allegedly told everyone that the pen was ugly, out of jealousy. But four years later, I was able to sell the pen at auction for nearly $40,000 at Bonhams London. Legend has it that this Waterman Three-Snake pen w/emeralds is the only one in existence.
The Aztec (D.), I bought at a local pawn shop for $7,000; it sold for $10,000. I acquired the Forgot Me Not (E.) from a Bogotá antique dealer in 1993 for $5,000.
Keep in mind that most vintage fountain pens sell for $10-$500, and the market is quite soft right now. We are still buying pre-1940s fountain pens, working or not.
A. The more-common A. Parker snake pen – $3,000-$15,000;
B. The Waterman Three-Snake pen, ‘The King of Pens’ – $40,000;
C. Parker Mandarin yellow pen – $200-$1,000 (similar orange/red models bring $50 and up);
D. Parker Aztec pen – $5,000-$25,000; E. Forget-Me-Not diamond-encrusted pen. Sold 25 years ago for $20,000.
Stop in or call 727.896.0622 for an appointment.
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St. Petersburg 1131 4th St. N, St. Petersburg FL 33701.
Hess Fine Art - Fine Art, Auction, Watch and Antique Experts Since 1984