Pen show's got the write stuff for local collectors
More than 160 exhibitors are expected at 18th annual event, set next week at Dublin hotel
Clintonville resident Doug Allinger, 68, has been going to the Ohio Pen Show since its inception.
Allinger, who went from collecting old pens to collecting really, really old pens, said he goes to the show to perhaps add to his own collection, to learn from people there "who have frankly forgotten more than I'll ever know," and to see if the pens he owns are holding the value.
"Or if I'm a true collector and simply throwing my money away," he said.
Allinger will be among the pen collectors, history buffs and writing enthusiasts expected to attend the 18th annual Ohio Pen Show, set Nov. 9-11 at the Crowne Plaza Dublin Hotel.
Thousands of pens ranging from classic, collectible fountain pens to the latest ballpoints will be on display at the show, which organizers said is the third-largest pen show in the world.
The three-day event will offer attendees opportunities to buy or simply peruse the wealth of pens on display; workshops about calligraphy, pen repair and buying and selling pens will be featured.
"It's hard to believe this is the 18th year," said Terry Mawhorter, a Zanesville resident who created the Ohio Pen Show.
"We started out with 48 tables that first year and we're at 160 now," he said.
Admission is $5 per day.
The first 100 people through the doors each day will receive a bottle of ink, and all attendees will be eligible for daily prizes of pens valued at $500 to $650, including a 2012 Owners Club Edition Royal Green Piston Fill 18K Nib, provided by the Bexley Pen Co.
Mawhorter said the show draws both attendees and exhibitors from throughout the United States and countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany and Israel.
Among them are Deb Basel, who travels from Baltimore, Md., to offer calligraphy workshops throughout the three-day show, and Ron Zorn, who will instruct visitors about pen repair.
Another exhibit will allow collectors to find out the value of their pens.
"If somebody has an old pen, pencil or ballpoint, we're going to have a gentleman here who can offer, with paid admission, free appraisals," Mawhorter said.
Allinger said he's been writing with a fountain pen for as long as he can remember.
"I think it was a young man's affectation," he said. "I don't actually remember where the first one came from. You own one and you start thinking maybe a different one would write better or you get tired of the same color.
"I'm one of those people that, once he starts collecting, it becomes an addiction."
Initially, Allinger collected fountain pens from the 1950s on, but then sold the vast majority of those and began purchasing dip pens, the precursors to fountain pens, which date, in a few instances, to the 1700s. He has models made of ivory, jade, silver and gold. Probably most unusual is one with the handle woven out of horse hair, the collector said.
Another regular visitor to the Ohio Pen Show is Mike Weddle, who lives in Columbus between Hilliard and Upper Arlington.
He's been "seriously" collecting pens for 15 years, and said his collection numbers close to 200.
"I'm kind of all over the board," Weddle said. "I collect a lot of vintage pens from say, the 1940s, but I also have a lot more modern pens.
"I use fountain pens and I've got a pen in my pocket all the time. That'll be the case with almost anybody you'll see at the pen show."
Weddle, 68, said he began collecting pens because he liked the historic nature of fountain pens, but he also prefers using them to ballpoints.
Although he considers himself "old school," he said modern technologies such as the Internet have significantly boosted pen collecting as a hobby. He is a regular visitor to web-based "pen boards" that link pen aficionados, collectors and sellers.
Weddle said he's been going to the Ohio Pen Show for years and looks forward to seeing the different pens on display and meeting other pen enthusiasts.
"The show has a really good reputation for vintage pens," Weddle said. "People come from all over the country -- dealers in particular. In fact, they come from all over the world.
"I might take a pen the show to ask somebody a question about it, or to share something I've got," he said.
For more information about the Ohio Pen Show, visit the website ohiopenshow.com. Included there is a list of exhibitors, slated activities and prizes available to attendees.
--with reports by Kevin Parks