When did interest in old pens begin? The oldest books on the subject that I have are around 1981/82 and I’ve heard that proposed as the start. I began picking them up in the nineties so I make no claim to being an early adopter. My husband (who is a trifle older than moi) was buying Swans, Onotos and Conway Stewarts in junk shops in the late sixties. He couldn’t get them restored then and used them as dip pens. He amassed quite a few, just for the pleasure of having them.
Maybe it goes back earlier than that.
This Swan 200C/60 is a late twenties pen and a very good one. One of the bands is engraved “ANS 1954”. How do we explain that? It may be that someone saw the pen in a second-hand shop and recognised the quality – rather better than almost anything available at the time – bought it and had it engraved for a spouse or a friend.
The other possibility, and the condition of the pen suggests it, is that it was unsold new old stock which someone finally bought. But twenty-odd years? Possible, I suppose. This doesn’t suggest the kind of interest that led to collecting, to my mind, but it does indicate that high-quality pens were always valued, if only by a small minority.
Thanks to Rob Parsons for the photographs.