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Vintage

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curious about Chinese pens
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I see a lot of Chinese pens selling for cheap. I've read here and elsewhere that they're good value for money. I'm wondering about a couple things: 1) Which are the better pen makers? 2) How good are their flexible nibs?



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Rawr.

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In my admittedly limted experience, Jinhao and Hero seem to be the most reliable brands, though quality can be hit or miss, especially with the less expensive pens. Some folks have bough ten-packs of certain Hero pens and have gotten only one or two good pens out of the lot, but that generally still works out to just a few dollars per pen. I have three or four Chinese-made Hero pens that are just fine, and were less than ten dollars each.

I have yet to see a flexible nib on a Chinese pen; for Chinese calligraphy, the Japanese fude-style nibs are more common for the line variations. All of mine are nails. smile.gif



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Mike Hungerford
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Vintage

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Thanks. I'll be asking local dealers about Jinhao and Hero then. :) In Manila, we don't have a lot of variety in terms of brand. And pens aren't marketed in any real way. They just sit there in some bookstores. I've seen Montblanc, Pelikan, Parker, Cross, Waterman, Lamy, Inoxcrom, and Rotring. Waterman, Rotring, and Cross are on their way out. I notice we have a lot of NOS (c. 1990s) but finding vintage pens here is a matter of luck.

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DWL


***

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You should keep your eyes peeled for super discounted modern parker, pelikan sheaffer etc etc then turn around and sell/trade them in the sales forum for a profit. Then you can take that $$ to ebay & buy the vintage pens your looking for.

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Vintage

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I'd have familiarize myself w/ the brands, models and prices.

I do have to take a trip downtown where our oldest bookstores are. They apparently have more fountain stocks there, some vintage, and lots of NOS. The nearer bookstores in the malls never really discount their fountain pens, so the pens just sit there forever. But their prices don't seem to increase much either. One bookstore I visited still had a new Laureat selling for around $48. Add international shipping of $10, that's $58, plus the cost of going to the store and post office, etc. So it's very little by way of possible profit.

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***

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In situations like this it's important to focus on higher end pens to be able to pull any real sort of profit. Do the shops negotiate prices at all? If you buy in 'bulk' or grouped lots you may be able to get them to drop the price significantly. Bring your haggling skills to the older privately owned shops and see what you can turn up.

If you have a camera, pics would be awesome of where you find your pens.

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Vintage

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In the malls, I can't haggle but downtown, I'm pretty sure I can at this one pen store and at antique stores. :) And all right, I'll bring my camera with me when I go and post some pics here.

Here's where I plan to go: http://gogirlcafe.jennyo.net/2009/pens-in-manila/

I also plan to roam around the area. Our bookstore chains have huge branches there because those used to be (or may still be) the main branch. And it's there where I'm likely to find NOS pens. Also, there are other stores I'd like to explore. I think the last time I was there was about 30 years ago. LOL



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Rawr.

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Your link threw up a couple of "Untrusworthy" warnings in my browser.

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Mike Hungerford
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Vintage

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Oh my. :( Sorry about that. It didn't do anything when I loaded it. I'm using Safari on OSX.

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Admin

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jor412 wrote:

Oh my. :( Sorry about that. It didn't do anything when I loaded it. I'm using Safari on OSX.


It could because it is a foreign site; not necessarily malicious! smile.gif

I have a Hero 187 myself. It is a nice pen! Yes, it does use Parker carts. I also have a Parker 45 type converter in it to use with bottled ink.

A good source of Chinese Pens in the US is isellpens- www.isellpens.com

This is a good site for inexpensive pens. You may be able to purchase pens online through them, but I am not sure what they would charge to ship to you. Todd is a good guy to buy from! I'm sure he can help out. I am a longtime, satisfied customer!

I learned about this site, and FPN from dealing with him over the years!

Regards,

smile.gif Frank



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Vintage

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Thanks for the tip. smileSomeone in my area is selling Chinese pens so I'll check her or him out first to avoid the shipping costs. But if that doesn't work out, I'll visit isellpens after I recover from the pen-buying I did this month.blankstare



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Experienced

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I second Frank on Isellpens. I have had several happy buying experiences from them. Because of my location and their shipping methods, it is best for me to max out the box with goodies to get best value from the standard box shipping price. This may not apply to you, if you are in the US. I have quite a few Chinese pens of one sort or another which I bought to review and if you shop carefully you can get remarkable value for money. There is a pen seller in Tokyo on eBay who became a favorite supplier for a while, because he was able to get me some of the more difficult to get items for a very good price.

At the top of my list are KaiGeLu. These are higher priced pens in general. I like the fact that the converter screws in. Next are Regal. These tend to be rather heavy and very substantial in the hand. They have some very nice designs. You must shop very carefully to get good value, because they look like high end pens, some European suppliers are charging over 100 Euros for the Oxford model. Hero have a very wide range of pens and I buy 616 by the handful and fill them with Heart of Darkness to give to newbies to get them interested. At the low end Jinhao, Bookworm and the like can be good. There is usually some issue with them and they need some adjusting. Once adjusted they can be very good. Every Chinese pen, even top end ones must be thoroughly washed and cleaned, inside and out before use. They almost all have deposits and grease left on the feed. The most frequent problems with Chinese pens are nibs that need to be shimmed and converters that do not fit properly or leak air and will not fill. Low end aerometric fillers like on Hero 100 are usually rubbish and the outer metal casing needs to be pulled off and the bulb squeezed directly to fill the pen.

Having put you off, there are some very good sellers and with a small amount of effort on your part some very good writers to be had.

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Vintage

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I actually went and checked out the kaigelu and regal at isellpens -- both beautiful and reasonably priced. I especially liked the kaigelu white veined. Thanks for the info. That gives me more options. One of my friends uses a hero 330 (I think it's a 330) as one of his daily writers. He swears by it and says they're readily available here, so I might just try one and see how it feels.

I'm located in Manila, Philippines so I max out the shipping, too.

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Newbie

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For me , the best I tried up to the moment was a Kaigelu. A surprise
Jonal

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Newbie

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Hello! By the way, when you say that generally the nibs from chinese pens need to be " shimmed" , what do you exactly mean???? i'm having problems with nibs... Can you help?!?!

Regards and Thank you.



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Admin

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Jonal wrote:

Hello! By the way, when you say that generally the nibs from chinese pens need to be " shimmed" , what do you exactly mean???? i'm having problems with nibs... Can you help?!?!

Regards and Thank you.


"Shimmed" would not be the term most use to describe nib adjustments! That is what the poster was referring too. Nib adjustment involves making the nibs more smooth, and/or adjusting ink flow. There are people known for the ability and talent to adjust nibs.

You can check with your local pen club, or attend a local pen show for local nib "tuners". One person that comes to mind aside from Richard Binder is Pendleton Brown. Both of these men are well known nib tuners in the US. You can check with either of them if you cannot find someone in your area!

Regards,

Frank



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Newbie

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Thank you Frank!
To use the skills of nib "tuners" in US I had to spend a fortune in transports.....and the pens I refer are low cost....
Some thing which is astonishing for me is the price of dispatch from US. The several times I felt tempted to buy from Isellpens, or Hisnibs, ETC.,I gave up when adding the price of transport to the price of goods themselves.... Some one explain me that the high price of dispatch results from the "speed delivery", "insurance costs" and so on.....confuse!!!! But in my opinion there is nosense to charge 40 USD for dispatch to a stuff whose original cost is only 30,( or less....)....??????

Any way, thank you and regards

Jonal



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