Presenting our 2012 Fine Pen Gift Guide

As shoppers around the globe scramble to the stores and click their way though cyber deals, they are in search of the answer to the age old question, "What should I get for so-and-so?" While the big corporations may want to answer that question for you by pushing the next greatest thing, most people are looking for helpful advice. And, lets face it, you're not going to find anyone helpful at a big box retail chain. Our answer is the Goldspot 2012 Holiday Fine Pen Gift Guide which offers sets of gifts in a variety of price ranges (from $15 to $395) that are geared toward everyone, from fountain pen novice to techie to co-workers.

The 2012 Gift Guide is home to hand-picked suggestions from our staff, combined with research and feedback from our customers. We've combed our website and the 1,000's of fine writing products that we sell to give you the top picks based upon value, quality and popularity. Think we missed one? Feel free to comment below to add your suggestion.

Namiki Falcon
A few highlights from our list include the Namiki Falcon for a fountain pen connoisseur. This unique writing instrument from Japan is one of the few modern fountain pens that has a solid gold nib with a degree of flexibility. See the Falcon in Flight!

We also did not forget about those who need pen & paper to stay organized and manage their busy schedules. We suggest three Filofax lines that are of exceptional value and available in new colors to match the latest in fashion trends.

Whether it be a smartphone, iPad, tablet, Kindle or android device, most people are going to be receiving (or already own) a touchscreen device that takes us a step away from good ol' pen and paper. However, touchscreen devices do not completely replace the tactile preference our brains have for writing things down on paper or using a pen. Think of how difficult it is to use your finger as a paintbrush in the "Draw Something" App. A touchscreen-compatible pen that can write on paper and be used for your mobile devices is a perfect complement gift to any gadget lover. You can go with a stocking stuffer of a Monteverde One Touch Stylus or upgrade to the ultra-modern Invincia Stylus Fountain Pen.

In our research, we've noticed a significant overlap in those who like fine pens and those who like fine automobiles. If you have a person on your list that drools every time a Ferrari passes by, then a Sheaffer Ferrari pen would be a great gift. For a more high-tech, high-octane aesthetic, we offer our exclusive Monteverde Grand Prix collection of limited edition pens in four sporty colors.

If you peruse our Gift Guide and are still stumped, please feel free to contact us through our Help Desk so a customer service representative can assist you with your specific gift needs.


Conid Fountainbel and The Edison Beaumont Co-Winners of 2012 Pen of the Year

We are revising our previous election declaration due to some information that has come to light in regards to the vote for Pen of the Year. It was discovered that users of a fountain pen forum had encouraged other members to vote for the Conid Fountainbel Bulkfiller multiple times by clearing a web browser's cookies. It was evident that this information affected the results of the poll, as the advantage had swung from Edison's favor being up 6% to the Conid pen being up 4% within the same hours that the forum posts were written. Members on the board replied to the thread, stating that they had added a significant number of votes artificially, which was not in-line with the intentions of this poll.

Considering the immense popularity of both the Edison Beaumont and the Conid Fountainbel Bulkfiller, we have decided to announce both pens as the Co-Winners of the 2012 Pen of the Year. We believe that this is the fairest solution since both pens were so overwhelmingly voted above the other selections and the margin of victory was so narrow.

Of course, we cannot prevent every occurrence of people voting from multiple computers or vote-hacking, but we are making it known for future polls that this type of behavior is strictly discouraged. Next year, we are going to be using a different method of polling that logs IP addresses and enables cookies on your browser to prevent multiple votes per computer. Also, if sufficient evidence is found that vote hacking had occurred, the pen itself will be disqualified from the ballot entirely. This would hopefully deter those who are ardent fans of a certain pen from trying to fix the vote by artificial means.


Pen of the Year Winners for 2012

---This post has been edited 11/14/2012---

A huge thanks goes out to everyone who participated in the poll! We crushed our record for most votes cast by a whopping 600% over years past. Over 1,000 votes were cast between the top two pens.

 For anyone following the election, it was a neck-and-neck race between the Edison Beaumont and Conid's Fountainbel Bulkfiller Demonstrator. Fans of the "Edison Party" came out in droves to vote for their candidate. Others found the Bulkfiller to have more innovation in design, which the pen world seldom sees. Opinions from the exit polls :

Powerbroker wrote in favor of the Bulkfiller :
the Conid Fountainbel Bulk Filler is a true breakthrough pen. Novel filling system, safe for travel, huge ink capacity, fully serviced in all seals by users, easily changed nibs, steel gold and titanium nib options, sweet ergonomics, perfect balance due to the machined Titanium, beauty grace and style. There are many wonderful pens listed here but none have the combination of features, functionality of the Conid.

 While Charlene defended her candidate :
Hands down, the Edison Beaumont. This is by no means, a small pen, even though it is smaller than traditional Edison pens. It is easy to fill and the continuity of ink flow allows a pretty lengthy span between refills.
And you cannot beat the price or the stylish finish. 

After the smoke cleared on Monday night and polls closed at 12AM on the East Cost (US), the Conid's Fountainbel Bulkfiller Demonstrator was declared the winner. However, due to irrefutable evidence of vote-hacking that had swung the election in the Bulkfiller's favor, we have decided to share the yearly honor and declare the Edison Beaumont & Conid Bulkfiller as the Co-Winners of the 2012 Pen of the Year. For more details on the final results of the election, please read our statement regarding the election results.

Fountainbel-Conid Bulk Filler by Darren McDonald (dmcdonald) on 500px.com
Fountainbel-Conid Bulk Filler by Darren McDonald


Vote for Goldspot Pens 2012 Pen of the Year

It's that time of year again! As we exercise our right to vote for the national election today, here is a poll for pen lovers that is more lighthearted in spirit. We asked the fine folks at Fountain Pen Network to nominate candidate pens that debuted in 2012. After receiving over 40 responses, we have picked the top nominees for 2012 Pen of the Year.

The Nominees Are :

Visconti Opera Mosquito Filler Demonstrator and Blue Typhoon

Edison Beaumont

 Pelikan m205 Taupe

 Bexley Hometown Ohio (Cities Collection)

Please note that you can click on any of the nominees to find a larger pic or more information to help you decide. There is also a write-in option if your choice is not present on the list (Please keep it clean, folks.) Voting will be open until Monday, November 12th at 11:59pm Eastern US Standard time. The winner will be announced next Tuesday, the 13th. Have fun and cheer on your favorite pen from this year! Vote below and share with your friends:


Introducing the Edison Beaumont Fountain Pen

The latest in the Edison Pen Co. line is the Beaumont collection. Out of the current production model Edison Pens, the Beaumont is the smallest, most accommodating size for people who prefer a smaller pen that fits superbly in-hand.

Here are a few comparison shots of the new Beaumont in Sapphire Flake.

Top to Bottom : Pelikan M200 Demonstrator, Edison Beaumont, Edison Herald, Edison Collier

Edison Beaumont & Edison Herald open with caps posted
As you can see, this is a significant design change from the previous Edison models, which tend to be on the larger size and aren't as "post friendly." The Beaumont cap posts nice and deep on the back-end of the barrel. With a posted length of 5 7/8", the size is right on par with a Pelikan M200, which is comfortable for most average-sized hands (men and women). The pen fills via cartridge or converter and is available for shipping today at $149.00 for the steel nib (extra-fine, fine, medium or broad sizes) or $274.00 for the 18kt solid gold nib (fine, medium or broad sizes).


Viscont Van Gogh Impressionist Fountain Pen Review

The Visconti Van Gogh collection has always appealed to my artistic sensibilities. In college, I painted in oils and minored in Art History. When I came into the world of pens, the pre-2011 Van Gogh was still around, and really intrigued my visual interest. With most pen resins and acrylics, you have your swirls, marbles, flecks, mosaics, solid colors and so on. The Van Gogh had something different. The splatter-like strokes and streaks of color overlapping against one another brought me back to the art studio standing next to an easel with the smell of turpentine in the air. It was love.

The original Van Gogh pens were higher in price (fitted with 14kt gold nibs), so they were always a bit out of my fountain pen budget. Last year, when we heard the collection was going to be re-released at a lower price point with steel nibs and a faceted barrel (à la the Michelangelo Collection), my wallet shrieked and ran for cover like a child avoiding a bath.

The new Van Gogh design was dubbed the Van Gogh "Impressionist" collection. The color palette for each pen is inspired directly by the Van Gogh painting it is named after. The pen I chose was the "Starry Night" model, which has the name of the painting engraved on the cap band. Deep tones of blue are overlaid with vibrant yellow, white and orange hues. Each pen's formulation of color varies so greatly that you really won't know what to expect, even by looking at a detailed example photo.  There's also a varied amount of transparency, as the overlaid colors sometimes give way to opacity and you can see through to the inner metal sleeve of the connected front section.

While not being the smoothest or wettest steel nib, the Van Gogh does perform admirably and never had any flow or skipping issues. For the cost involved ($279 retail), fountain pen enthusiasts usually expect a higher quality nib in solid gold (usually 14kt). Granted, it does write well enough, but certainly not to the level that you would expect to get what you paid for in terms of nib quality. The pen fills by disposable ink cartridge (international size) or converter (included with pen).

The pen's cap has three neat features which are particularly useful. The cap utilizes magnetism to seal with the barrel of the pen. It securely attaches on the front end of the pen with little effort and stays on strong enough to withstand firm agitation and shaking. Although it does not magnetically attach to the back-end while posted, the cap does securely post well and is very comfortable to write with while doing so (posted length 6.125"). Another feature of the cap is the spring-loaded Visconti Clip. It is easy to remove and attach to your pocket, but once latched on, is very sturdy. Lastly, you can personalize your Visconti Van Gogh with your two initials atop the cap's crown using Visconti's trademarked "My Pen System." Two initials, like a ying-yang symbol, can be inserted atop the crown magnetically, and can be swapped out for the original Visconti "V" medallion or a selection of birthstones, zodiac symbols and the like.


  • Writing Quality : Stainless steel nib works admirably, but not the smoothest or wettest stainless steel out there. Considering the price, there is something more to be desired here. (grade B-)
  • Aesthetic Quality : The unique color choices and technique that Visconti uses to create each pen "canvas" achieve the marriage between the pen and its theme. The faceted body emphasize the colors even further. (grade A+)
  • Utility : Spring Loaded Clip is strong, easy to attach / remove. Cap posts well and operates without feeling unbalanced. Magnetic sealing cap is convenient and secure. Cartridge / Converter is convenient, but does not have a large ink capacity a piston-filler would provide. (grade B+)
  • Price : Available in fine, medium and broad nib sizes for $279.00 Retail. Check Goldspot for current price & promotions. For an everyday writing instrument with a steel nib, the Van Gogh is at the top end of that product range. While the artistic quality of the pen design is in a class of its own, the writing quality is not.  (grade C+)

Final Grade : B+
As a student of the fine arts and a pen-lover, the Van Gogh is right up my alley. I can justify loving the aesthetics of the pen that it would be part of my everyday carry. My knowledge of what the price tag can get you in other brands (an Edison with an 18kt nib, a Sailor 1911 L w/ 21kt gold nib, for example) tells me that I'm not getting the best bang for my buck, but I'm willing to have a less-than-stellar nib for a absolutely sublime pen design.


OMAS New Bologna Fountain Pen Review

I remember Italy so fondly. It was the summer after high-school graduation and the Italian club organized a trip to the land of my ancestry. The 10-day excursion hit all the highlights of the peninsular boot, including Rome, the Vatican, Venice, Florence, Sorrento and Capri. The destination that impressed me the most with its natural beauty was the island of Capri. We took a boat out over the shimmering turquoise waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea and went swimming off the rocky beaches. The beauty and splendor of the water that day would be remembered from then on in the choices of my aesthetic subconscious.

From pens to shirts to the desktop background of my PC, I've tried to recreate the peaceful aqua blue that my mind gravitates toward. When OMAS introduced the New Bologna in the Aqua Blue color, I was convinced that this pen had been created to fill my personal need for this color to be in my life.

The pen is turned from a solid bar of swirl acrylic that has a unique vibrancy and contrast that certainly reminds one of the crest of an ocean wave. The pattern of the swirls are unique and I have yet to find two New Bologna pens that look similar. Despite the pen body being solid resin with no brass inner lining, the pen is heavy, which is a testament to the thickness and the quality of the Italian resin. I feel that it would not easily crack or shatter if dropped. The solid metal front section, cap band, ring and clip certainly do add to the weighted feel as well.

Before I go into the writing quality of the pen, I first would like to thank Kenro, the US distributor of OMAS, for being able to sell me the pen before an anticipated price increase that would have certainly broken my budget. I originally asked for a fine point (14kt), which is my go-to size for everyday writing, note-taking, journaling and such. I received a medium, 14kt gold nib in error. I'm not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed, but open to trying it out anyway. Turns out that the medium nib on this pen is fantastically smooth, probably the smoothest of my current collection of pens. I didn't want to ruin a good thing, so I kept it. After this pen, I developed the opinion that it is nice to have a few different sized nibs in your collection to offer some variation.

The solid gold nib flows smoothly and fluidly, allowing for shading in most inks that offer a moderate amount of shading. The nib face is decorated with a design that is inspired by the porticoes of Bologna. The architectural design is well detailed and befitting of such a well-constructed writing instrument. The metal front section may be a bother to some writers, but I don't mind it because there is a lip to prevent slippery fingers from sliding down toward the nib area. The high polish allows you to spot any ink that may have gotten on the section from filling, which is a nice bonus. This pen would have been absolutely perfect if OMAS had installed an internal-filling piston mechanism, but I'll settle for the converter, which I've already managed to stain using Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng.

This pen can be used to write while the cap is posted (posted length 6 3/8" long) without being unwieldy or back-heavy. The nib can be unscrewed from the section, similar to a Pelikan nib, making cleaning more convenient. The clip solidly holds on to your pocket or organizer pen loop without being too tough to attach/remove. The threading of the cap is smooth and extremely secure once tightened. Overall, the fit and finishing detail of this OMAS pen stands out to me as an understated quality that a layperson would miss, but a fountain pen user would certainly appreciate.

  • Writing Quality : 14kt solid gold nib (rhodium plated) performs smoothly with a feather-light touch. Flow is generous and allows most inks to show their true color & shading nicely. (grade A+)
  • Aesthetic Quality : The swirling colors that are available in this line are certainly eye-catching and unique. The profile of the pen pulls no punches, but the exceptional quality resin is impressive and the engraving on the nib is detailed and elegant. (grade A)
  • Utility : Clip is strong, easy to attach / remove. Cap posts well and operates without feeling unbalanced. Cartridge / Converter is convenient, but does not have a large ink capacity a piston-filler would provide. (grade B)
  • Price : Available in fine and medium nib sizes for $395.00 Retail. Check Goldspot for current price & promotions. A bit pricey for a non-limited edition fountain pen that does not use precious materials like sterling silver or celluloid, but the value is in the details and quality that OMAS produces beautifully.  (grade B-)

Final Grade : A
One of my favorite pens in my personal collection, the New Bologna may not be my last OMAS pen, but I will have to wait quite some time to prepare the piggy bank for a celluloid paragon with a flex 18kt nib. Every time I take it out to write, it reminds me of Italy, which is something the manufacturer didn't intend, but is certainly a bonus that makes this pen more sentimental.


Where's the Nearest Montegrappa Store? There's an App for That

Traveling pen aficionados can now roam untethered around the world with little worry of being destitute and lost without knowledge of the nearest Montegrappa dealer. Introducing the Montegrappa Store Locator App (link goes to the App Store on Apple's website), an App that allows you to find and map the nearest dealers that are listed to retail Montegrappa pens and luxury accessories.

According to Montegrappa,
Montegrappa Store Locator is a free App for all the brand's aficionados and the lovers of hand writing. Constantly updated, it allows you to locate the nearest Montegrappa authorised dealer, wherever you are.
Not only will it find the closest points of sales and after-sales-service, but also allow you to contact the dealer selected via phone or e-mail, showing you the best route to reach them.The App also enables you to view the three most recent brand newsletters.
 So, if you are an avid lover of Montegrappa products and find yourself jet-setting in Japan, the UK or Abu Dhabi, the Store Locator App will be your best friend in seeking out that boutique dealer that would be only a short walk, rickshaw ride or gondola ride away.

The App seems pretty straightforward. It takes the iPhone's capability to sync your location via GPS (or wifi in the case of an iPod touch) and cross references the database of dealers worldwide to provide an overlay of businesses that one can find with Montegrappa products. Also helpful is the contact information for that particular business so you can give them a quick call to check if they have the pen you are looking for before you make the trek over. To keep fans updated, all the latest newsletters about the company are pushed into the App.

OK, so some of the comments I'm making about the App are a bit tongue-and-cheek, but one should not underestimate the ability of this App to find a "pen shop" that may also carry other brands that you care about. Usually, if a retailer sells Montegrappa, you can find other fine writing brands being represented on the shelves as well. And having the contact information for that store will allow you to quickly confirm the availability of other pens you can browse.

If you've downloaded the app and have had a chance to use it (in the US and abroad), please drop a comment below. We would love to hear about how well it worked, if you did visit the shop to buy Montegrappa or other pens and if you would recommend it as a good app for finding pen stores.


Colibri Lighter Engraving

Hi Pen Folks,

I know we're mostly talking about fine writing instruments here on the blog, but we've gotten more diversified into other luxury items like lighters. As of last year, we started carrying the full-fledged Colibri line. Since then, we've gotten pretty good at engraving the lighters as evidence by the photo below.

If you are interested in getting your next pen, writing accessory or lighter engraved, please feel free to comment below if you have any questions.


Announcing the Monthly Newsletter Giveaway

We're Giving Away a TWSBI.

Need we say more?

Well, obviously, if we've piqued your interest, you may be asking yourself, "How do I get my name into the metaphorical hat?" Good news is, you may already be entered to win!

We are sponsoring a monthly giveaway to all of our faithful e-mail newsletter subscribers. To enter, simply make sure you are signed up for our e-mail newsletter. If you are already subscribed, you're all set! Please make sure to include your e-mail and first name (so we know what name to call you when you win). At the end of the month, a winner will be randomly chosen from the masses. The following week, we will send an e-mail announcing the winner. You must open and check this e-mail to see if you have been picked and then send us an e-mail with your desired nib size and mailing address.

For those of you that are leery about giving your e-mail address - We do not sell your information to any other companies or third parties. Your information is totally private and secure. You will have the option of selecting from various interests that pertain to your pen-loving personality and there is no obligation to stay on the list. You can opt-out and unsubscribe at any time. We normally send out 2 to 3 e-mails per month, as opposed to the dozens of e-mails that some retailers *ahem* Amazon *ahem* barrage you with. Plus, all of the e-mails are about pens, special buys on pens, exclusive discount codes to use on the site and gift suggestions for when you're stuck on what to buy for Aunt Sue (hint: She already has the Fifty Shades of Grey series).

Plus, we've added a newsletter list specifically for our Daily Dip shoppers. For those of your who are new to our site, the Daily Dip is a pen that we put on extra discount for 1 day, changing them every weekday at 2pm Eastern Time. We've had a swell response from our customers, but we wanted to make it easier for them so that they don't have to check the site every day to see when the new Dip is posted. Starting this week, we've begun to e-mail our Daily Dip around the 2 o'clock hour.  Never miss a great pen bargain again and SIGN UP FOR THE DIP!


New Interactive 2012 Pelikan & Conway Stewart Pen Catalogs

We've got a treat for Pelikan & Conway Stewart fans / collectors. Both companies have recently released beautiful catalogs for 2012 that let you browse through their full, current pen collections. They both include a little company history, pen size comparisons and nib writing comparisons as well. Each of the catalogs are available to browse online, or you have the option to download them on your hard drive for later off-line consumption.

Check out the new Pelikan 2012 Catalog.
Check out the new Conway Stewart 2012 Catalog.

What pens have you in full-drool mode?


Lets do the Jitterbug!

Get your dancing shoes on! The new Bexley Jitterbug! has become the talk of the town and it is easy to get swept up onto the dance floor. According to The Bexley Pen Company, the Jitterbug! design arose from finding a small cache of 70-year-old art deco style clips. The gold clip is paired with 4 exciting acrylic resins to produce a sharp and lively pen design.

As many fountain pen collectors would know, the terms "fountain pen" and "pocket friendly" are usually not found together when discussing a pen design. The Jitterbug, with its 4" size (capped), aims to fill the need for a pocket-sized writing instrument that is high on quality and writing comfort.

For most writers, such a small writing implement is not very comfortable to write with, which is why the Bexley Jitterbug was designed so that when the cap is posted on the back, the pen is a manageable 5 3/8" long from nib to crown. Take a look below at the image of a Jitterbug when compared to a Noodler's Ahab Flex, which is known to be a slightly larger-than-normal sized pen.

Putting the compact features of this pen aside for a moment, lets talk about the acrylic resins chosen for these pens. They are absolutely gorgeous and fit the theme very well. In the case of the red acrylic model (shown below), the material is partially translucent, which adds to the depth and richness of the pen's visual appeal.

There were only two drawbacks to the Jitterbug! that were apparent when reviewing this collection. The first being the filling system. Due to its limited size, the Jitterbug can only use international size ink cartridges or eyedropper directly into the barrel. Sure, the eyedropper route will let you use bottled ink and enable a larger capacity that the pen will hold, but you may come into some excessive flow issues as the ink falls below 1/3 full. The second issue I noticed was more of a pet peeve in that the cap doesn't post as deeply and securely as I would have preferred for such a small pen. When the cap is posted on the backend, it has the ability to be posted on a slight slant, which doesn't feel fully secure. Some people may argue with me on that point, but I have talked with many customers in the past who value a deep, secure posting of the cap.

Despite my own reservations about the pen, the Jitterbugs! have been a hot seller and continue to waltz their way into writer's hearts. If you own a Jitterbug, we would love to hear your thoughts on the design in the comments below. Do you use cartridges or fill via eyedropper? How do you feel about the cap posting and the size in your hand? Drop us a line anytime.


Get those Grads Addicted

"Pen People" love sharing their addiction with others in hopes to bring more people to the "write" side. And more often than not, it works! When you've converted someone to loving a nice pen, there's a high degree of self-satisfaction, like you've just given an angel its wings. Sometimes, all it takes is one great pen gift, and what better time to get the young hooked than for their graduation.

The key to reaching out to a potential pen acolyte is to aim for smaller transitions (a.k.a. baby steps). What I mean by that is, if you give most non-pen people a fountain pen, they won't think it's working properly because it has no ink in it to start. You may as well have handed them a fork to write with. You need to get an idea of the writing implements they already use and enjoy, building off the qualities they are looking for in a pen to give them a better one that will WOW them. To help you get some ideas on where to start looking for that perfect pen gift, let us offer a few suggestions based upon the person's current "pen personality."

For those who write with disposable bank pens. Just because TD Bank gives away free pens to their customers doesn't mean you have to take one, people! Lightweight, non-refillable and made of cheap translucent plastic, the main appeal for people who use these pens is that they never have to worry about losing their pen since they can get a new one for free. These people are reluctant to buy any valuable pen because they can't trust themselves to take care of it. You have to work them up the ladder of value and give them something inexpensive, but durable and with a better, longer-lasting writing experience. Recommendation : Caran d'Ache Metal Ballpoint Pens

For those who have an iPod, iPhone, iPad and iEverything. Technology has made many of our daily communications easier and more efficient. Still, it has not replaced good ol' analog writing, especially when it comes to the intimacy and warmth that pen on paper gives the writer. Heavy tech users are really hard to convince that their new whiz-bang device is not capable of everything. When you can't beat them, offer them an analog writing device that also assists their digital addiction. Recommendation : Monteverde One Touch Stylus (for iPad, iPhone and other touch screen devices).

For those who think buying a pen over one dollar is pricey. Most college kids are used to living on a shoe-string budget, and look the best dollar value - buying used textbooks, picking up dozens of single subject, wirebound notebooks for two dollars, folders for 20 cents and that 36 pack of Bic ballpoints for a nickel. But, if we applied that type of mentality to everything else in life, we may as well be living in Soviet Russia. As the old adage goes, "You get what you pay for." When the Bic pens run out of ink and the notebooks become ratty and torn from a few weeks stuffed in a backpack, it will be clear that "cheap" is cheap for a reason. People of this mentality need to be shown what a real quality writing experience is all about and that it can still be affordable. Recommendation : Lamy Safari Pens

 For those who need a pen with a fuzzy adornment on top. Not much can be done here. Best of luck. (Photo courtesy of movie "Clueless")


Would You Hop a Ride on the Pen Express?

Are you from Northern / Central NJ (or New York) and would love to attend the Washington DC Pen Supershow this August?

We are looking to create the opportunity for you, and other pen lovers from the area, to take a day trip down to Sheraton's Premier in Vienna, VA to attend the United States' largest fountain pen exhibition on Saturday, August 11th. The proposed trip would depart at 6am Saturday morning from the Goldspot office at 1230 Highway 34, Aberden, NJ [Exit 120 on the Parkway] to arrive at the show around 10am. See the show, buy some pens, try some ink and go see the sights in DC. Come back to the Sheraton for a 5pm departure back to NJ. Depending on traffic, we would probably arrive back in Aberdeen around 9-9:30pm. It would be a nice, long day of drooling over pens, meeting folks who also love pens and...more pens.

We are currently sourcing and pricing charter buses in the area. In order to get an exact idea of price per person, we need your help to come up with an approximate head count. All we ask is for people who are interested in joining our pilgrimage is to comment below. There is no financial commitment at this point, we are just looking to gauge the interest of the local pen community. Once we have an idea of how many people we can expect, we will be able to provide pricing and flesh out the details. The timing and departure location is not set in stone, so if you are interested, but the schedule does not work for you, please advise what would best work for you.

You may comment here or leave a comment on the thread started on Fountain Pen Network.


A Tale of Two Heralds

Top to Bottom : Edison Production Herald, Edison Custom Herald
 Keeping with our new-found tradition of reviewing every new Edison production line pen that Goldspot carries, it is only expected that a write-up about the Herald would be done in the same fashion. Besides being a few months late from its initial release in January - the Herald isn't exactly new, is it? The Herald, with its long, torpedo / cigar-like shape that tapers at both ends - has been a staple of Edison's custom Signature line for years.

Back before we carried Edison on the website for retail, I contacted Brian and had a custom Herald made in a blue & turquoise acrylic. It was a pen that was made to commemorate the birth of my first-born. I was looking for something special, unique and that was a high quality writing instrument - certainly three qualities that made an Edison the easy choice. At the time, the Herald was the model he offered that posted the best, and that was the quality that led me to choose that particular design.

After writing with my custom Herald for two years now, it was easy to see why we were so eager to jump on board with a Edison / Goldspot retail partnership. With every pen that is made, you can expect top notch quality of writing, beautiful craftsmanship of the materials and unparalleled service (if ever needed).

Now, Brian has decided to move the Herald from the Signature line to the Production line, meaning that there will no longer be any custom Herald pens made like mine. The positive of the change is that the entry price for a steel nib fountain pen goes from $250 to $150. There are also a few design tweaks that, IMHO, has improved upon an already solid pen design. *[May 8th Correction : According to Brian, the custom Herald is still available as the original model, but with the higher price tag and you would not be able to choose the colors / styles in the production line. The custom version still has the original front grip section as well.]

When comparing the two by eye, the first obvious difference is the size of the pen. The production Herald is 1/4" shorter when closed, 1/8" shorter with the cap off and 3/8" shorter with the cap posted on the back of the pen (click writing sample below to see full measurements). The $7,000 question is : Do they write the same? Comparing apples to apples, the steel nib's writing performance on the new model is still top notch with a nice flow that tends to the wet side. Check out the writing sample below for a direct comparison between both nibs.

Top Half - Edison Custom Steel Nib , Bottom Half - Edison Production Steel Nib

While writing with the new Herald, the second difference is very noticeable in a most delightful way - the cap posts much more securely and doesn't make the pen as long. Brian had tapered the back-end of the barrel to a higher degree to make the cap post better.

The fingertips also notice a pronounced flare at the front section of the grip area. It offers extra stability while writing, keeping the digits comfortably in place during long writing sessions.

Another slight, but noticeable improvement is the threading of the cap. It takes about a half or 3/4 turn less to remove / replace the cap than it does with the older model.  It shows that Brian is constantly improving his own designs to make them more user friendly. Leave it to the Edison Pen Co to find ways to make an awesome pen design even better (and more affordable)!

Anyone else out there own both an Edison custom (Signature) pen and a Production model? Please comment below to share your experiences and feel free to gush about your pen(s).


Finally, A Finished Moleskine

The crowd was wildly untamed that late March afternoon. Preparations were made earlier that day for a celebration that would be remembered through the ages. Balloons were netted, confetti corked, the champagne put on ice. The police could hardly hold the barricades up as the climax of the event was about to take place.

I was about to write my final words in this God-forsaken Moleskine journal.

It was an event that was over two years in the making. You could blame a lack of daily writing for the sluggish pace. When I bought the Moleskine back in January of 2010, I didn't know any better, I swear. I was convinced, as many of the uninitiated are, that if Picasso, Chopin and other famous artistic minds had used this journal, then I should have one as well.

I was very wrong.

As a nearly-exclusive fountain pen user, I found out pretty quickly that the "1-ply" paper quality that Moleskine affords (don't you have another square to spare?) just doesn't cut it for most pen & ink combinations. Part of the fun in owning fountain pens is to write with the entire gamut of the visible spectrum, and the journal I chose to write in is color-blind. It would only "accept" lighter, less saturated colors. All other inks had a fair amount of bleed-through to the other side of the page. I'm not a wasteful person, so only using one side of the page was not an agreeable solution.

Making sure that there was always a pen loaded with Moleskine-friendly ink around, I drudged on through the journal. It wasn't until after doing some homework on the internet that I found many like-minded FP users to be complaining of the same issues with the paper. The ultimate solution - we started carrying Rhodia!

After my pen tasted the promise land of 90 gsm, French-milled, ivory silkiness that is the Webbie, the Moleskine's days became numbered. There was much unrest about how long it would take to finish the last 30 or 40 pages that remain in that wretched Mole, but it had to be done. There were principles to uphold.

Sensing the imminent transition, the citizens ordered the new Rhodia Webnotebook into the presence of the writer to push him to write more and faster. The new journal, wrapped in its thin layer of clear plastic and packaging, taunted him, made his hand quiver in regret as the last few pages were being written. The crowd became cross, frustrated and impatient.

5 sheets to go. 7 pages left. 2 pages. 1 more entry.

As the last word was laid to rest, the crowd erupted into relief and jubilation. The writer collapsed in tears and raised his arms to embrace the sky. It was done. That chapter is over.

Here are the pages that were used to catalog the ink & pen combinations that were used over the 2+ years. They are in order from the very last page of the journal going inward (in reverse).


Take my life lesson seriously folks - if you are an avid fountain pen user, you would be doing yourself a disservice by using a Moleskine journal. Go Rhodia and never look back.