I receive emails asking for suggestions as to what to get as a gift for a "pen person". Some write because they think it is difficult because we are in the hard to buy for category. "I can't afford those kinds of pens" and "what if it was not right" are common concerns.
Well not to worry. There are lots of options, and they cover various price points.
A person with a pen likes to write. A gift does not have to be a pen but things that go with pens. For example:
For someone with a fountain pen, there is no such thing as too much ink! Yes I have lots of ink in my house, but a bottle of ink is a great always appreciated. When someone gives me a bottle of ink it means they thought about the gift specifically for me, and they made the link between a gift item and one of my passions.At the price of ink, believe me a bottle is greatly appreciated! For some brands, a bottle of ink and a bottle of wine are almost at the same price point!
What kind of ink. Well that all depends on personal preference. The basic colours are black, blue and blue black. For a full selection of brands you have to visit a pen store but stationary stores typically sell Parker or Waterman inks both are good basic inks. Make sure you select a water-based ink for fountain pens and stay away from drawing inks found in art stores. The ink section I have a good description of the various brands available.
With a pen and ink, the next basic is some good writing paper. Note cards or writing stationary are fine gifts. A small box of note cards can always be used. Stationary is one of those things that would even make a great gift before Christmas, as it makes writing a short letter to be inserted into a Christmas Card all the most special.
Fountain pens like good paper. If the paper looks porous or rough it probably cause problems with bleeding or absorption. Crane makes a great line or writing paper. Small books or paper by Clairefontaine are other options.
Pen cases are another items that can always be used. Putting a pen in a briefcase just feels better when the pen is in a leather case. Cases are available as single, double, triple and even some that will hold four pens.
Keep in mind if the person uses a big pen look for a case that will hold a reasonable sized pen.
I have been very happy with the leather pen cases which are in essence a roll. Each roll typically holds 4 to 6 pens. Each pen sits protected in its own section, you then roll it up and can carry a number of pens in your briefcase.
Also, I recently received a second pen portfolio case that holds 60 pens. These portfolios are used to store pens rather than carry them. The leather portfolio looks like a leather writing case, can sit on your book case and just blend in. What a great gift, and to my surprise I found myself filling up the case very quickly.
There are two gold pen magazines available in the North American market: Pen World and Stylus. There is also the Italian magazine Penna, although in Italian, has part of its main articles with english sections. It can be shipped to an address anywhere, however, the international price takes into account the cost of mailing. All three would make a great gift.
The price for subscriptions vary by the country to which the magazine would be shipped.
Desk accessories are another consideration. A blotter looks great on a person's desk. I have a couple of them and use them on a regular basis. Sign that letter or a card, roll the blotter over it and no problem with the ink smearing or bleeding when the paper is folded. Blotters can go from wood to marble and are available at a range of price points. [Pictured to the right, top, is a great blotter that I was given a number of years ago.]
A tray for the desk is another item that gives a person a place to place their pen. The tray defines the space and will prevent the "roll of death" as a fountain pen rolls off the top of the desk to fall to the floor, of course, nib first! Here is an item you can pick up just about anywhere. Tape a picture of a pen from a magazine on the try, wrap it up and the gift is ready to go. [Pictured to the right, bottom, is a silver tray my wife picked up at an antique store. Perfect for a pen, an ink well and some business cards.]
Books about pens are also the kind of gift that has a long staying power as each time the book is referenced, there will be good thoughts towards the person that gave it!
Pen books can be a little of a challenge to find as it is rare to find one in the average book store. Some of the on-line sellers have sections with books. Sellers like Fountain Pen Hospital have a good selection of books available.
To me the pen is very much a personal selection. Although everyone needs more than one pen, and there is no number is represents too many! It is a little more tricky. If you know the person well, then you would have an idea of the brand of pen, and type (roller ball, ball point, fountain) and if a fountain pen, the type of nib (Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad or Stub) the person prefers. Here is where shopping at a local pen store, which will exchange the pen if it is not correct, is really a plus.
There are just some of the things that over the years I have been given. They are all greatly appreciated and identify a number of options of a gift for that "pen person".
Enjoy your pens! Your pen, an expression of you.