So, what kind of pens are you going to collect. An interesting question, and one that gets asked by all of us sooner or later. Even if the answer is "whatever I like", it's a good question to ask ourselves. Limiting the collection is one way to stay out of bankruptcy court. Could help keep you out of therapy, too.
One of the more interesting collections I've seen is one that consists of nothing but pens of a certain colour. Green pens, to be precise. That's it, the sole defining factor is the colour.
New pens, old pens, expensive pens, cheap pens. Whatever, as long as they are some shade or variety of green. It struck me as odd at first, but upon reflection, actually a pretty good idea. I mean if you feel the need to allow reason to interfere with your collecting, that is!
First of all, of course there is the aesthetics of the thing. If you have a favorite colour, why not collect pens of that shade? In addition, your display case will definitely be colour coordinated! The collection I saw was organized in groups according to shade of green, so you might have a brand new Aurora Primavera sitting next to a 1930s Esterbrook. A big pen next to a tiny ringtop. It was visually interesting, if nothing else!
Another important advantage, at least to folks with a budget like mine, is that you are not tied into a certain brand or type of pen. If this week's pen budget happens to be somewhat slim, you can troll Ebay for a Parker 21 or a Levenger True Writer in your shade of choice. If you end up with a little extra in the acquisitions budget, you can spring for that nifty new LE that happens to come in your colour.
The fact that you can mix and match vintage and modern goes without saying. It's this fact that has me seriously considering adopting the "colour collection" methodology. Instead of focusing only on a vintage line, say, Waterman Patricians or Eversharp Skylines, being able to pick the best of both new and old might be nice. On the other side of that equation, the ability to take a break from the seemingly never ending quest for "mint, NOS" in a particular vintage pen can only be a good thing. Say what you want about modern pens, it's easy to find "mint, NOS" examples!
So, the arguments for a colour collection seem pretty strong. I suppose the real question comes down to "how the heck do you pick a colour, anyway?" It's time for a "favorite pen colour" competition...
Unfortunately, every time I think I've got my colour picked out, I see something that has me leaning in a new direction. I like sterling silver pens, that's not really a colour, more of a material, but hey, silver is a colour, right? So, simple, I'll collect silver pens. But then I take a look at some of the great pens available in blue for example. The Aurora Mare, the Azure Pearl Vacumatics, Lapis Duofolds, the celluloid OMAS, the Waterman Edson, and what about the blue stripe Pelikan M800?
But speaking of Pelikan stripes, they've got that new red stripe in the M800 and the M400, and there are some other pretty nice looking red pens out there as well, especially if you give in to temptation and include burgundy as red, the Jasper Duofold Centennial, OMAS Ferrari, the Ruby Edson... And looking in the vintage direction, you've got all those Duofolds, the Burgundy Vacumatics, the Cherry Red Sheaffers. There's a lot to be said for red pens...
And the collection of green pens that sparked this article! I had no idea that there were so many different shades of green. Much less all of them available as pens! Light green, dark green, solid green, pearl green. Green with gold trim, green with silver trim, green acrylic, green celluloid, and even green lacquer over guilluche engraving. Green green green. And suddenly it strikes me that I've always been pretty fond of green as a colour.
So you see the dilemma. Choosing a colour and sticking to it. But then again, that's no different than the trouble I have now with sticking to a certain collecting discipline. In fact, in my vocabulary, the words "collecting" and "discipline" should never, ever be used in close proximity. But for those of you who have the ability to control yourself when buying pens, it might be an interesting way to approach your collecting.