After you’ve been in this hobby for a while, pen storage becomes an issue, especially if you’ve invested in some valuable writing implements that you care a lot about and want to protect. A wide variety of storage options exists, ranging from the simple single-pen leather sleeve to leather-covered pen trays to 80-pen albums that are reminiscent of those things we old people used to carry our CDs around in (remember those?). I’ll take you through what I consider to be the best options on the market right now, though I’m happy to open up the comments to suggestions of things I missed. (In case you haven’t noticed, I’m also a bit of an organization/storage/productivity nerd.)
One-to-Three Pen Storage
The average person has no need for a pen case that holds more than three pens. The average pen addict is a different story, but even the most ardent pen hoarders among us should have a simple three-pen holster to protect those “daily carry” pens in your briefcase. My personal favorite, and the one I carry everyday, is Nock Co.’s “Lookout” model. I also have one of the leather three-pen cases sold by Anderson Pens, which is a cost-effective and high quality leather option. Finally, I recently picked up some pen wraps from EXB Pens, and I’ve been very happy with this Japanese-style storage option. Look for a review of these at some point in the future.
Certain of the major pen brands such as Visconti and Pelikan also make leather pen cases, but they are more expensive and you will pay a premium. I personally have not felt the need to spend a lot of money when there are high quality storage options available at lower price points. I would note, however, that a lot of people seem to be very happy with the Visconti cases.
Five-to-Twelve Pen Storage
Still portable, but large enough to handle the entire collection of most “normal” people. To get a quality pen case this large, you probably will be looking at spending more money, but if you have a collection that is larger than you can carry at any given time, it’s worth the investment. On the smaller (and less expensive) side, the Nock Co. Brasstown is a combination pen case/pen roll, that has room for six pens in the “roll” portion and some room for additional pens and accessories on the side. Anderson Pens again offers some cost-effective leather options, including 6-12 pen envelopes and zippered “portfolio-style” cases. Finally, for those of you that also like to carry around a lot of gel pens, pencils, sharpeners, and office accessories, people really like the Lihit Labs series of cases.
On the higher-end, I highly recommend both Franklin-Christoph and Aston Leather products. I do not own the Franklin-Christoph “Penvelope” or one of their covered pen trays, but I have seen these items in person at pen shows and they are gorgeous. Both have been added to “the list”. Currently, my vintage and celluloid pens not in use are stored in two Aston Leather 10-Pen cases that I purchased from Goulet Pens years ago. The leather is exceptionally high quality and these cases age really well. I also use these cases to transport pens to shows or meet-ups.
Mass Storage Options
Here is where you may have to get creative. If you’re a true collector (or you just own a LOT of pens), you really do need a convenient way to organize and archive them. The default storage option for most people is one of the large “album-style” pen cases that can hold anywhere from 24-80 pens. These cases are a fixture at pen shows, as they offer an easy way for dealers to protect and transport their inventory. Multiple options exist. Check out these offerings from Anderson Pens and Franklin-Christoph.
I haven’t gone this route (at least not yet). The 10-pen Aston Leather cases hold the majority of my pens, but for my overflow, I built my own storage solution out of an old cigar humidor and some faux velvet-lined plastic pen trays. The result is a two-tiered wooden pen chest that I’m extremely pleased with. While you can purchase cigar box pen cases pre-assembled, like these from Bama Pens, you might find it fun to make your own. Cigar stores usually sell empty boxes for a nominal price, and you can source the inserts online. (I purchased mine from Pendora Pens.)
Now, ink storage is another issue entirely. I’ve pretty much sworn off all non-sample ink purchases until I burn off some of my stock. Ask me how that’s going in about 10 years.
Brad from the Pen Addict included a shot of his Bama Pens Cigar Box Pen Chest in his 2014 Atlanta Pen Show writeup. (I've gotta find one with the glass display lid.)
Jeff Abbot has written a full review of the EXB Pen Wraps.
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