As I've fallen deeper into this hobby/obsession, and after five years of writing this blog, pen shows have become more about visiting with friends and hearing about the newest releases/industry developments rather than accumulating more pens. Though the latter still happens, these days I usually come home with one or two. I have to get pretty excited about something before I make a purchase. So what new product releases am I most excited about, that will likely end up on a shopping list sometime this year?
New Releases from Aurora and Montegrappa
The Kenro table was full of all sorts of exciting new things, but three of them caught my eye. The first (of course) is something that's going to be essentially impossible to get: the Aurora 88 Urano in a turquoise celluloid derivative. Apparently only a small number pens have been allocated for the entire United States. The others hopefully will be more widely available: a blue lacquer version of the Aurora Sigaro, the Aurora Talentum Full Black, and Montegrappa's new Monte Grappa vintage-inspired piston filler. The Blue Sigaro is simply gorgeous to look at, and the Monte Grappa features new JoWo steel nibs, which I understand have far fewer issues than the Bock nibs the company previously used. The blacked out Talentum has been repeatedly delayed but I understand it's on the way.
Red Kaweco AL Sport U.S. Exclusive
Next up is my sole Saturday purchase: the red Kaweco AL Sport, which apparently is a U.S. exclusive for this year. Vanness Pens currently has them in stock, so if you're looking for one, I'm not sure how long they will last. Curiously, I didn't see these pens on any other tables at the show. The color looks great and really pops. As you all know, I don't pass up red pens.
I've had the pleasure of visiting with Papier Plume twice this year, once at their New Orleans store and once at the Atlanta Pen Show. Both times, I've walked away with a Faggionato pen. Handmade in France by Fred Faggionato, the pens combine a streamlined, highly functional design with some unique materials, including acrylics and cellulose acetates in some nice color combinations. My two pens (pictured here) are a Petrarque in translucent blue tortoise cellulose acetate, and a larger PKS in Conway Stewart's vintage "Dartmoor" material. The Petrarque is a smaller pen that posts, while the larger PKS feels similar to an unfaceted Newton Shinobi (with a clip), and is meant to be used unposted.
Krishna Inks are the latest in a series of international brands that have arrived in the United States, courtesy of retailers such as Vanness Pens. While I didn't purchase any Krishna Inks this show (or even manage to get any decent pictures), I did spend a fair bit of time looking at swabs of all the various colors. These inks have crazy sheen - just look at Jungle Volcano and Myrtle. The greens are also exceptionally vibrant.
The Milano from Osprey Pens
Osprey Pens launched with several models priced well under $100 (and some sub-$20), though availability has been sporadic at best. Their largest and most expensive pen, the Milano, was originally available only in ebonite, though Osprey recently announced acrylic versions priced at $70. These materials look very nice, and the pens themselves are a good size. I especially like the "Mud Pie" and "Chiaroscuro" pens. Osprey makes a variety of nib units, ranging from standard stainless steel or gold to a Zebra G "flex" nib unit, which allows you to use Zebra G calligraphy nibs in the fountain pen.
I hope this little Atlanta follow-up has been helpful in providing an idea of what kind of stuff you get to see by attending pen shows. Of all the things I saw, the new Auroras were probably my favorite. I'm hoping to make the Chicago show in a few weeks, but as of right now it seems unlikely and my next pen show trip won't be until DC in August. Until then!
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