Back in February I discussed various pen storage options, and how I store my own personal collection. All of that still holds true, though since then I've added a Franklin-Christoph Covered Pen Tray in "boot black" leather. This is a product I can easily recommend, especially if you're looking for a storage option that looks really nice on a desk or display shelf.
I've reviewed several Franklin-Christoph products in the past, and I've never had a bad experience. The company, which has a long history, is based in North Carolina, and manufactures pens, inks, and related accessories. I'm generally a fan of their pens, and I especially like the fact that you can purchase a pre-ground nib from Mike Masuyama in various standard customizations such as italic, cursive italic, needlepoint, etc. What doesn't get enough attention, in my opinion, is their line of pen cases, which includes your standard pen sleeves, holsters, and zippered album-style pen cases, as well as more unique products like the "penvelopes" and the Covered Pen Tray.
The Covered Pen Tray
The Covered Pen Tray is based on the traditional "slotter box" that many pen dealers use to transport pens to and from pen shows, and was originally conceived as a means to both carry pens to shows and easily display them upon arrival. The tray (or "CPT", as it's referred to on the Franklin-Christoph website), is made from leather, lined with durable textured cloth, and comes configured to hold either 12 pens or 7 pens plus accessories (converters, cartridges, spare nibs, etc.).
If you want to display your pens, whether at a show or in your home, the double-hinged lid of the Covered Pen Tray folds under to create a display stand that sits at an angle. When you want to put them away, the lid closes securely using a magnetic front flap. The intention is to allow you to use the box to transport pens, though the Covered Pen Tray shouldn't be used as a daily carry or travel case for inked pens because there's still some room in the slots for the pens to slide around. You might end up with a mess on your hands.
The Covered Pen Tray is available in the same maroon, black, and brown color options as Franklin-Christoph's other leather goods. Recently, Franklin-Christoph changed their leather, so instead of the matte "boot leather" pictured in this review, the new Covered Pen Trays are made from "FxCel oil tanned leather," which the company says offers a "smoother high quality finish". I haven't seen the new leather in person, but will definitely be checking it out next month at the Washington, D.C. Pen Show.
Franklin-Christoph has created a unique product. Other "display boxes" or pen stands aren't portable, like Levenger's Point of View Pen Case or the various model of boxes and stands offered by Lanier Pens. Personally, I'm partial to leather over wood, so I'll gladly pay the extra premium. The leather has a good feel to it (as in, not plasticky like some leather used to make inexpensive pen cases), the stitching is flawless, and the burgundy cloth used to line the interior is both attractive and durable. One note about the interior and the slots themselves: the Covered Pen Tray doesn't use "pre-made" slot inserts that you see in a lot of other pen boxes (and that I used to make my cigar box pen case). I suspect these are handmade, and the result is a much more high-quality piece than other products I've seen on the market around this price point.
Where to Buy
The Covered Pen Tray can be purchased directly from Franklin-Christoph for $149.50. This is not an inexpensive storage option, though once you get into pen cases, trays, and boxes that are meant to be displayed and not simply to store pens out of sight in a drawer or a bag, you're going to be paying more money, especially for quality leather goods. This one occupies prime real estate on my desk in my home office.
DISCLAIMER: I purchased the product featured in this review with my own funds, for my own collection. This post also contains affiliate links.