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In this final installment of the Goldspot Pens 2021 gift guide, we're pulling out all the stops. To put it in the words of John Hammond, "we spared no expense."
If you're with us right now, it's because you're searching for a writing gift - either for yourself or someone near and dear to you.
It is our goal to take the guesswork out of gift-giving and give our best pen recommendations for a broad range of budgets and interest levels.
In this post, we take a $300 budget and provide gift ideas for the beginner, the intermediate, and the advanced pen enthusiast. Stick around till the end when we blow the budget with the most expensive pen recommendations.
Beginners are usually young and use disposable or free pens to write by hand. They show an aptitude for study, reading, and creative pursuits, but just haven't been exposed to a quality pen. When introducing them into the world of fine writing, we focused on fountain pens as they provide the smoothest and most personalized writing experience. However, we didn't forget the trusty and convenient ballpoint/rollerball pen!
At this price point, there are many options for a great quality pen. We narrowed it down to a collection that provides a wide array of styles, colors, shapes, and sizes.
Diplomat Aero (starting $132 ballpoint, $156 fountain pen) - Machined from solid aluminum with a tapered, zeppelin-like shape, these German-made pens provide tremendous value and are offered in a variety of colorful finishes. The fountain pens use the compatible international cartridge/converter filling system (both included) and a #6 Jowo nib unit available in stainless steel or 14kt gold (available at an additional cost).
Leonardo Momento Zero (starting at $135 ballpoint, $169 fountain pen) - An Italian, handmade tradition passed down from father to son. Leonardo pens are the quintessential Italian writing instrument perfected with gorgeous acrylic, tasteful accents, and a unique design that sets it apart from all other European-made pens. All Momento Zero and Furore fountain pens are fitted with a #6 Bock nib that will change to Jowo in 2021.
Platinum 3776 Century (starting at $175.95 fountain pen) - Perfected from years of design and manufacturing experience, Platinum's 3776 Century line is one of the best workhorse fountain pens that uses a 14kt gold nib. The classic, cigar-shaped profile is available in an array of colorful resins. The 3776 Century fills with Platinum's proprietary ink cartridge or converter.
Intermediates look to graduate to the next level of writing instruments by opting for higher quality, becoming more selective in their preferences. In this selection, we highlight writing instruments that provide a unique writing experience and require a more experienced hand to fully appreciate.
Lamy 2000 Ballpoint in Makrolon and Stainless Steel
Lamy 2000 (starting at $61.95 ballpoint, $199.30 fountain pen) - This space-age, Bauhaus-style collection looks like it might have been invented yesterday. Surprise! Lamy introduced the iconic 2000 fountain pen in 1966, impressing generations of writers for over 50 years. The lightweight, textured Markolon body has a unique feel, complemented by the pleasure of a spring-loaded clip, a slip cap, and a piston-filling, 14kt gold nib. The pen is designed perfectly to extract the last bit of ink in a bottle of sample vial. Ballpoint, rollerball, mechanical pencil, and 4-color multipen also available.
Pilot Vanishing Point (starting at $156) - The worlds most renown retractable fountain pen is an exceptional value because it sports an 18kt gold nib. The design marries the convenience of a click-action retractable pen with the smoothness, ink flow, and color options of a fountain pen. This pen fills using Pilot's proprietary cartridge or the CON-40 converter (included). Replacement nibs are easy to swap and are available in EF, F, M, B or 1.0mm stub in 3 different color finishes to match the trim of the VP.
Pilot Custom 912 ($223.95) - This ordinary-looking black resin with rhodium trim fountain pen has a secret superpower - it's gold nib! The 912 collection is available in an array of nib sizes - extra-fine, soft fine, FA, Waverly, Music, and Stub. The Custom 912 focuses on the writing experience, providing distinct specialty nibs that you won't find on other Pilot pen models.
Advanced users add to their pen and ink collection throughout the year, purchasing new releases and limited editions they've had their eye on. It might appear they have it all. But, as we prove in our recommendations, there's always room for a delightful surprise.
Colorverse Mini Ink Bottles
Laban Pen Box (starting at $159.95 for the 10-pen box) - Protect and proudly display your collection of fine writing instruments with a quality storage piece made by Laban. The elegant, wooden pen box as a clear display top that allows full appreciation of your pen collection, even when they are not in use. Available in 10, 18, and 30-pen storage sizes.
Leuchtturm1917 Some Lines a Day Journal ($26.95) - For the dedicated writer/journaler, this 5-year journal invites you write a few lines each day to record years of success, trials, and tribulations. The A5 size book is thick with 80gsm ink-friendly paper.
Colorverse Mini Ink Bottles (starting at $6.50 each) - With dozens of colors to choose from, these Colorverse mini ink bottles are ideal for sampling a rainbow of ink from Colorverse. Each color is contained in an adorable, tear drop glass bottle. A pipette is included to help extract the ink and fill your pen. Get a whole bunch of different colors as a pen addict stocking stuffer. My personal recommendations are Anti-matter, Extra Dimension, Gravity Wave, Martian, Andromeda, and Crystal Planet.
J. Herbin Mini Ink Bottles ($6.00 each) - Containing 10ml of ink in a petite bottle, these J. Herbin sampler bottles introduce you to the "jewel of inks" enjoyed by pen enthusiasts for many years. J. Herbin has a palette of lighter-saturated colors that are pleasing to the eye. My pics are Eclat de Saphir, Bleu Pervenche, Poussiere de Lune, Cafe des Iles, and Rouge Grenat.
Goldspot Gift Card (starting at $10) - We know, getting a gift card isn't as personal as buying a gift. However, the advantages to getting a Goldspot gift card are threefold - 1. You can "penable" the creative spirit in your life to obtain writing instruments they desire. 2. It shows you have great taste and 3. You support a small, family owned business.
Let's disregard any notion of a budget and go wild with the most expensive (and satisfying) writing instruments we offer on the Goldspot Pens shop. These pens are precious, grail-worthy, and expensive. Hold on to your wallets and dive in.
Leonardo Officina Italiana Momento Zero Grande Mother of Pearl
Pelikan Souveran 800/805 (starting at $607.95) - This Pelikan model is a staple in many modern pen collector's rotation. It has a generous size and weight, thanks to the fountain pen's brass piston mechanism. Special editions in the 800 (gold trim) and 805 (silver trim) drop several times a year and usually last about 1-2 years in the market. They become highly desirable by collectors and usually increase in value over time.
Leonardo Officina Limited Edition Brooks Collaboration (starting at $699) - The majestic, colorful swirls of hand-made cast resin from Jonathon Brooks of The Carolina Pen Company are expertly crafted by the Italian artisans of Leonardo to bring you this exquisite limited edition collection. Fitted with a 14kt gold nib and custom ebonite feed.
Visconti Homo Sapiens Limited Editions (starting at $920) - Many pen enthusiasts consider this Visconti pen to be the top pen on their wishlist. Usually the Homo Sapiens is made from Basaltic Lava, but we're going for the gusto with the limited edition Homo Sapiens pens made from swirling, translucent acryloid material. The signature power-filling mechanism has a high ink capacity and fills with a one-handed operation. Most editions are limited to less than 1,000 pieces worldwide.
Namiki Emperor Urushi ($2,000) - With a name like "Emperor," the pen sure better be impressive. The Emperor is one of the largest pens (and nibs) that we've ever seen in our collection. The gold nib and ebonite feed provide a writing experience just as grand as the pen's urushi-lacquered appearance.
Some might think that "limited edition" just a marketing buzz-word to create a false sense of urgency. In some cases, yes, the term is overused. When Conklin introduces virtually every new finish of Duragraph / "Duraflex" as an 1,898 numbered edition, it's no longer scarce. If a Retro 51 Tornado Popper Pen is limited to 300 pieces and sells out within an hour, then that's a collectible pen! Oftentimes, you'll see rare, discontinued styles of pens appear on ebay for 3x to 10x their originial list price due to their rarity. For the collector, this increase in value over time can make it worthwhile to purchase a limited edition over the cheaper, yet more readily available, everyday version of the same pen.
When is a limited edition a good buy? Sure, there's plenty of speculation here. However, one can make an educated guess based on the pedigree of the maker, how many pens were made, the style of the pen (whether it's "on trend" or has a unique feature about it), and it's price. Giving a limited edition pen as a gift comes with a sense of prestige and exclusivity. "Look, I got you this rare Leonardo Pen that's numbered 4 of 280 pieces made in the world." Plus, there's a better-than-average chance that the pen will appreciate in value over the years. Please note: we do not recommend purchasing limited edition pens as an investment vehicle. They are enjoyable to use and, sometimes, you may end up getting more than what you paid for the pen later on if you choose to sell it.
In this grand finale, we adventured well beyond most of our means to secure the most precious writing instruments in the world. Every step of the way, we recommended pens that provide the best value per dollar spent over the long-term of ownership, which, in most cases, can be a lifetime. Staying within the $300 budget, it is possible to get a gold nib fountain pen, lots of ink colors, and a 5-year journal to outfit the writer in your life.
If you have a great fine writing gift idea under $300 that we missed, put it in the comments below. We'd love to read all your thoughtful suggestions.
Stay inky, my friends. Take care.