[Zosslist] Very late partial re-cap of Michigan Pen Show.

Alan Kaufman alankaufmanpens at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 18 08:46:46 EET 2018

Hi everyone.
The Michigan Pen Show was held in Novi Michigan in mid-November.  Lih-Tah Wong did his typical excellent job of calmly organizing the show.  (Michigan Pen Collectors) Club President Eric Fonville, and several volunteers helped assure the show ran smoothly.
Attendance was up compared to the past few years, and my sense is that table-holders and attendees had a fine time.
At a club meeting some time after the show, we discussed what might be an emerging trend. Several attendees at the show were young professionals, who were there to buy their first fountain pen. They shopped carefully, asked lots of questions, and were willing to consider both new and vintage pens. They were looking for quality, at a reasonable price. In general, they were not looking for "prestige" pieces, or "pen jewelry." At least for now, they were looking for one pen: a relatively high quality user that they could .... use.  And while we thought some of  them might turn into collectors, for now they were ... consumers.
Some brief notes about "my" show.  I went intending to sell much of the material I had accumulated that supported my days as a pen seller. Things like cases, slotter boxes, research materials, and so on. And I took a few pens to the show, as well. Overall, I did reasonably well, though those here on the list who remember the common prediction that I wouldn't ever recoup my investment in re-printing the "Sheaffer PFM" brochure from 1959 were proven... yet again... to be correct. I didn't sell a single brochure (sigh).
All through the show, I had a silent mantra:  "You're here to sell, to downsize, don't buy any pens."  I almost made it.  The last day of the show, a woman who'd been offering her late husband's collection to various dealers brought what was left to me. Most dealers had packed up, most attendees had left also. As was often the case at shows I attended as a "seller," I ended up being the buyer of last resort. I paid her $150 for the pens all the other dealers had declined. 
And then I started sweating.  Could I recoup the cost? And what about the $75 table cost?  Paul Erano looked over my purchase, and offered to buy 3 pens. I almost accepted, but I gave him a sort of begging puppy look (his offer was a bit low). He graciously upped his offer by $10.  Sold! [Paul and I have been at several, maybe many, shows together, and even, by coincidence, shared a long flight to a show some years ago. I'm pretty sure he recognized my "look" as a signal that I thought his offer was a bit low. Silent communication between old friends.  Smiles]
Club member Al Forman, who is a ridiculously well informed auto mechanical specialist, is also a very knowledgeable pen collector and user. He looked at my pens, and made an offer on a couple Eversharp Skylines. I thought the offer was a bit low, but he clearly was not going to improve his offer.  I reminded myself that my task was to recoup the $150 I'd spent, and.... sold those Skylines.
Then, at the club meeting, I sold a wonderful Parker 45 Flighter to club member Mark Peysakhovich.
And there I was at $150. I still have a few pens that might allow me to recover the table cost, as well. Amazing.  
Some of the pens that are still with me are worth mention.  A run of the mill "Hero" is so bad that I won't even give it away to a child at a show. OTOH, the lot included two "ERO" pens. I knew nothing about them. They are clear , with gold plated steel nibs. I did some research, and learned they were made in Germany, perhaps in the late 1960s. They are piston fillers, with many style cues similar to Pelikan pens. .They write wonderfully. I believe they were intended as reliable, high quality student pens. Or maybe a bit "better. 
The "lot" included two no name pens that have style cues similar to modern Mont Blancs. They are cartridge fillers, with steel nibs. I tend not to like modern MBs. But I like these pens, they write well. Go figure. I might not sell the EROs and the "no-names." I like them that much. 
As a final note, those of you who read this message, and those I sent earlier this evening, probably have figured out that I was slogging through the many "Zoss List" messages that I hadn't attended to in the past few months. My internet connection, was acting up. The result was that the effort took much more time than expected.  As the computer slowly churned along, I had time to read a bunch of messages I hadn't read.
I was reminded how much I enjoy the list, how much I appreciate what Tom Zoss created, and the work of the list's moderators - and other volunteers - that keep the list alive and thriving.  Thanks to all of you.    Alan Kaufman
ps If you are interested in a list of dealers at the Michigan Show, here's a url/link: http://www.michpens.com/dealer-list 
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