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General Categories => Tools & Supplies => Topic started by: YokePenCo on March 08, 2016, 08:50:12 AM

Title: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: YokePenCo on March 08, 2016, 08:50:12 AM
Hi All, coming to you for suggestions. Before I begin, PLEASE do not contact me regarding directly about wanting to purchase anything. This is NOT why I am asking. I want ideas to help me...

Ok, basically I have a HUGE stash of vintage nibs, more than I will ever use in my lifetime. I want to get some of these into the hands of people that will use them and faced with the dilemma of today's ridiculous vintage nib market prices. The nibs I am referring to are those such as Zanerian Fine Writers, Gillott Principalities, 604EF's, Vintage 303's and 404's, 601EF's, Musselman Perfections, etc...you know..the dream nibs...

Here is my issue, I do have money invested in them, quite a bit due to massive quantity, but never have I paid the plain rip off prices of $20 - $40 per nib. So I have the following issues and the only options I can come up with...

1. Sell at a decent price, then many people might buy just for the purpose of resale to make a fortune
2. Charge the ridiculous prices so people can't inflate the prices at resale
3. Make a small little package of just a couple of each nib and allow only one purchase per person
4. Sell in bulk only to people that I know for a fact will not resell and will make the best use of them. This would be a couple of people I know personally.
5. Keep them all for my children and hope their penmanship ability far surpasses mine, lol

Based upon these initial thoughts, I'm just stuck as to what to do. I don't want to feed the wolves and allow people to buy to resell on eBay for $30 + per nib. I want many people to have the chance to own and actually use them, but this may not be realistic. I completely understand I have no control of what people do with something once they buy it, but I just don't want to add to the pricing problem by providing a supply. I wish my supply was unlimited so I could just flood the market with them and force the prices down, but even as large of a supply that I have, it's still very limited.

My last concern is by selling them I'm also feeding the "vintage nibs are the best" thought. The reality is that modern nibs like the Leonardt Principal EF does anything these vintage nibs can do for most people. The truth is, that to use a nib like the Gillott Principality No. 1 and get it full potential, 99% of the penmanship world doesn't have the skill (including myself and why I don't use them) to use them effectively. The ability to gets it's full potential requires that basically when writing upstrokes only the ink touches the paper, which is beyond most people's penmanship skills. But this itself is a topic for another day.

Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Any comments, messages or emails with anything like "Sell them to me!" will be ignored. I'm trying to solve the larger problem and come up with an overall solution. Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: AndyT on March 08, 2016, 09:23:52 AM
Solicit inquiries by post, in the prospective buyer's own handwriting.  That should sort out the sheep from the goats.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: jeanwilson on March 08, 2016, 09:53:43 AM
Andy's idea is brilliant. Although, the people who just want to resell could fake their way through the process of convincing you they were beginners. If the nibs were mine, I'd require some kind of proof that they were serious students.

And...I have a friend who is going to be selling a stash of nibs one of these days, so, figuring out a way to find truly deserving customers is of interest to me as well.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: YokePenCo on March 08, 2016, 10:13:38 AM
I like Andy's idea in theory, unless I misunderstand, but I don't want it all based upon skill level necessarily. The bigger thing would be intent of use and also as you stated Jean a SERIOUS student or professional. Both are things which can easily be deceived by those wanting to make money instead of actually using the things, they are disposable tools after all.

Someone invent a lie detector for internet sales, lol. You put a finger in a slot and have to answer if you will resale, haha.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Inked botanicals on March 08, 2016, 10:16:54 AM
Hi Chris! I think you are a wonderful person for all your sharing in the calligraphy community (and I am sure you do that in all the aspects of your life too!). This whole "vintage nibs are so better" thing and its corresponding very high prices is a delicate matter.

 I think it is derived from the big amount of people learning calligraphy as a new fashion. I think most of us new students must be grateful for the new technologies and Internet because without it we couldn't have access to information on the matter. I personally wouldn't even know about calligraphy without it. Thanks to Internet I am able to get materials and tools, access online tutorials and classes and talk with more interested people; things that I couldn't do without it. Here there are no shops that carry calligraphy tools, there are no in-person classes, no teachers, no known calligraphers, no one to take advice from.

 But Internet also gives us excessive information. Now, you see experts talking, calligraphers since decades, that talk about their favourite tools. And when you are new to the world and such people say certain things, you just have to believe them. And obviously you want that nib, because if they use it there must be a good reason, and you want to be like them and know absolutely nothing. And there are going to be always some people to use that lack of real information to make profit.

 Personally I haven't tried those dream nibs yet, mostly because I can't afford a $30 nib (and I think it's ridiculous to pay so high for a tool with so short life) but I can understand how people without money problems would pay that, just to have the same nib as a famous calligrapher, thinking it would improve their skills or because of fashion. I think that the best way to understand a tool is to try it. A tool is going to be something personal, and I am sure that there is no perfect nib for everyone the same. I even think that if I try the dream nibs maybe I don't like them. But you always have the doubt, if every known calligrapher uses it there must be a good reason...

 I am not saying that it's their fault, I totally understand that maybe long time calligraphers picked their favourite nibs 20 years ago, when this problem was nonexistent and it does not mean that there is not another nib just as good.  Also, we can't forget that vintage nibs are limited, I do not know how limited they are, but I am sure they are, so it's kind of normal that they are not easy to find and prices will be higher in time.

Well, all that is to illustrate that I think your best option is to sell some kind of sample packages with a few quantity of the nibs for each person, so people can try and realize for themselves if vintage dream nibs are better for them or not. And how much they really are worth. That is in case you want to educate people, of course.  I think most of the sells at high prices are purchased by people that don't know what they are purchasing. I cannot afford them but I really have curiosity to try them and know what the hell makes them so valuable!

You could also sell in bulk to people you think would use them and not resell them or sell them yourself at the price people are willing to pay, but it would be hateful to know that someone would use your help to the community as a way to make profit reselling your nibs if you decide to sell them cheaper for anyone to buy.

I think that a first access to try those nibs would help people to evaluate how better each nib is and if it really is worthy of their price. And I hope that information would translate into a more real situation of each nib in terms of market price.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: AnasaziWrites on March 08, 2016, 10:43:00 AM

Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Any comments, messages or emails with anything like "Sell them to me!" will be ignored. I'm trying to solve the larger problem and come up with an overall solution. Thanks in advance!

The high prices for certain vintage nibs is, indeed, a problem for those who use them.
I'll make a few observations and suggestions here, but please know I do not intend to offend anyone intentionally--these are just my personal opinions.

--Don't sell to anyone whose has been known to sell at inflated prices we are now seeing. I have nothing against capitalism in general, and if these people want to make money reselling nibs, fine, let them find nibs elsewhere. Selling to them would make a part of the problem.

--Don't sell to beginners. It's a waste. I know, we all start out as beginners, and they "should" have equal access, and would if the supply was unlimited, but I feel this way for several reasons. 99+% of good penmanship is the result of effort, consistent good practice, ability to learn, sometimes talent for it, and so on. One percent or less is the result of the tools used, nibs in this case. The better result using a great nib can only be seen if one has reached a decently proficient level using good, readily available nib like the Nikko G or Zebra. If you can't write well with a standard, good nib, you won't write well with a "dream" nib. Great work can be done with a standard nib--see Michael Sull's work. Or to put it differently, a great nib does not make a great writer. Personally, I didn't begin to use really fine nibs until I was 2+ years into it, although I had a few. In the first year or two, great nibs would have been wasted on me.
   Another aspect of this is that most beginners never progress beyond the beginning stage. This is true with many endeavors. Take a look at this forum--over 5000 members. How many are still around after a year, working on getting better? From exchange participation, I'd say about 10 percent. Selling, say, just a few nibs to all the beginners and 90% would be wasted, as they never achieved a level where the potential of the nib could be perceived, quitting the whole process for whatever reason. This sounds terribly elitist, I know, but would you sell a vintage $100,000 Ferrari for $10,000 to a beginning driver just so they could try it? I love beginners, and hope many others will join the penmanship ranks, but as the number of beginners is large and unending, let the survivors of the difficult first year or two have access. AndyT's idea of a written note to you showing at least some skill and duration in the pursuit is a good one (not sure about sheep versus goats--are we talking vellum here?).

I have more thoughts, but I need to get to work. More later.

Oh, ps:  I tried selling a few nibs here at below market prices--some Esterbrook 128's for $1.25 for example--I didn't even make a dent in the demand, but at least they went to people on the forum who, I believe, bought them to use.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Inked botanicals on March 08, 2016, 12:16:43 PM

Selling, say, just a few nibs to all the beginners and 90% would be wasted, as they never achieved a level where the potential of the nib could be perceived, quitting the whole process for whatever reason. This sounds terribly elitist, I know, but would you sell a vintage $100,000 Ferrari for $10,000 to a beginning driver just so they could try it? I love beginners, and hope many others will join the penmanship ranks, but as the number of beginners is large and unending, let the survivors of the difficult first year or two have access. AndyT's idea of a written note to you showing at least some skill and duration in the pursuit is a good one (not sure about sheep versus goats--are we talking vellum here?).


That is something interesting to have in mind. Maybe you can use the idea of the written note not as a skill level but as some sort of effort level. Just giving money is easy, but if you really want to get better and try those nibs you must know they cost something and make an effort to get them.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 12:48:34 PM
Hi Chris,  I have noticed on fountain pen websites that giveaways always attract those who are looking for free merchandise to sell. It has been a bugbear of mine for quite some time, having given away a number of vintage fountain pens, to see names in the hat of people who have vast collections.  Human greed is like that.

If you wish to give away or sell your vintage nibs then I suspect you would have to do one of the following:

1. Carefully vet the recipient of the gift - as well as you are able to.
2. Limit the number of sales per person to levels that cannot be taken advantage of by re-sellers - at least so they cannot make a big profit.

And keep notes on who you sell to so that people don't try to double dip.

If you cannot see a way forward that avoids as many of the pitfalls that you are clearly aware of, then perhaps you could donate or sell sizeable portions to some of the luminaries of the calligraphic world.  Schin Loong and Connie Chen for example.  They produce such beautiful work that I for one would forgo the pleasure of using nibs like these in order to take pleasure in what they can create with them.


I had spoken to you some time ago about the 604 EF nibs.  You had suggested sending a couple to me but they never arrived, and I duly forgot about them.  Maybe you changed your mind at the time, or perhaps they went missing in the post (it would only be the 2nd time that something went astray in  3 years of buying stuff from overseas). 

Anyway, never had the chance to try them, and I will never likely have the chance to try any of the other nibs you mention as such things do not exist in my forgotten part of the world.

However, as I don't have an oblique holder anymore - accidentally sat on mine a few weeks ago, alas - and I am unable to replace the holders at this time (nothing available in this country, shipping is costly and so on), it is somewhat academic.  My ability to take any part in this hobby has been firmly extinguished.   I have a very small collection of ordinary nibs - perhaps a couple of hundred all told - that I will need to dispose of myself at some point.  Not that they are as interesting as the ones you are talking about of course, but still serviceable.

Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: melanie jane on March 08, 2016, 01:18:36 PM
OK, I'll reply from a beginner's point of view....well, OK, my personal beginner's point of view.

I have to say that I largely agree with what AnasaziWrites says.  As a beginner, although I am somewhat interested to know what all of the fuss is about with some of these 'dream' nibs, selling any more than one of each to me would be a waste.  Additionally, aside from mere curiosity, I have no real interest in getting to love a nib that I either can't afford, or can't find a supply for.

So, though it does pain me to say it, my advice would be to sell to a select few who will be able to get the best use out of them and you know will use them.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: tintenfuchs on March 08, 2016, 02:05:16 PM
Sell them in places you know people will appreciate them, like here on the forum. Word-of-mouth goes a long way. Serious calligraphers will tell their serious calligrapher friends and you'll be rid of them in no time. I wouldn't put them up on eBay if you don't want to feed the frenzy.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Tanvir Ahmed on March 08, 2016, 02:11:44 PM

1. Sell at a decent price, then many people might buy just for the purpose of resale to make a fortune
2. Charge the ridiculous prices so people can't inflate the prices at resale
3. Make a small little package of just a couple of each nib and allow only one purchase per person
4. Sell in bulk only to people that I know for a fact will not resell and will make the best use of them. This would be a couple of people I know personally.
5. Keep them all for my children and hope their penmanship ability far surpasses mine, lol


1.  Very bad idea IMHO.  The least desirable of the one listed.
2.  Good idea.  In a free market, let the price float with demand.  Just don't sell garbage version of a popular nib for the real good version.  I don't have the courage to even give away New York Spencerian 1 let alone sell it.
3. Passable idea.  Too few nibs in a hand of expert hand will not show what can be done with those.
4. The best idea.  Hopefully the people selected are experts or very good.
5. 2nd best idea.  Equal chance they will not make calligraphy their hobby but they may go to Disney for few days with the proceeds if left with instruction how to dispose of the said nibs and the market for the nibs is not collapsed by that time.

Enjoy
Tanvir
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: evjo on March 08, 2016, 02:31:33 PM
Thanks, Chris, for asking.

I don't know what the solution is, but I have one idea:  when someone purchases a custom holder from you, the buyer is given the opportunity to purchase a set of vintage nib samples at a reasonable price.

However, I am not one who has ever used or bought a vintage nib.  I have enough trouble focusing on learning the scripts and how to use the ink that, for me, thinking about vintage nibs is a distraction. 

I have been given a few vintage nibs by some kind and generous pen people.  When I feel more accomplished & confident with the pen, I will test them out.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Salman Khattak on March 08, 2016, 03:27:12 PM
It seems to me the qualifiers for this limited resource are as follows:

1. Can get proper use out of the nibs i.e. has the ability to use them.
2. Will get proper use out of the nibs i.e. will not hoard them for later sale.
3. Will not resell at higher price.

Only No.1 of these can in any way be confirmed ahead of time.

No.s 2 & 3 are only addressed if you already know the person, or if someone you know and trust vouches for the person.

This gives me the idea for a network of sorts where there are only a few trusted distributors of this very precious commodity. The rules for distribution are that sales are to be made to people who are known to the distributor. People can 'apply' for a purchase to a distributor they know, in real life or online, who can then vouch for the purchase.

A trusted distributor may vouch for others to be made distributors and they can be approved by some mechanism. In time, this system will spread worldwide and can be applied to other items like vintage holders as well. It will require some time and effort to remain well managed but I think it is worth a try to start with a dedicated few and see how far we can take it.

This sounds complicated but I don't think it really is that much work. We are all really only 6 degrees apart :-)

- Salman
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 04:10:51 PM
I think it would be a pity not to allow relative beginners the opportunity for purchasing a couple of nibs.  Yes, they may not be able to do justice to them right now, but in the future, when they have acquired the skills, there may not be any available and thus they will never be able to try them.

So I am a little conflicted on the idea of limiting them only to the elite, even though I would be more than happy to do so to keep them out of hand of the avaricious.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: melanie jane on March 08, 2016, 04:25:00 PM
The way I see it is what use is one or two nibs to anyone, really?  Yes, they may allow you to see whether you really like the nib, but then what?  If you can't get hold of any more, it's really a moot point. 

Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Scap on March 08, 2016, 04:54:05 PM
I think this is a supply and demand situation. As long as there are people out there paying the money you should sell them for the going rate. Donate the money you make beyond your investment to a worthy cause and maybe help some people in real need.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: ericp on March 08, 2016, 05:08:56 PM
Using the wise words of Return of the Jedi......

Admiral Piett: Shall I sell them?

Darth Eric: No. Leave them to me. I will deal with them myself.

:)  ;D
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: YokePenCo on March 08, 2016, 05:12:07 PM
Wow, thanks for all the input and interesting to see different points of view. I like several of the ideas, but one thing REALLY stands out to me and was said by Evjo and really sums it all up for people new to Calligraphy. Vintage Nibs are a distraction! They are a distraction to learning. If you wanted to learn to play piano and just spent the majority of your time looking at piano models, instead of actually practicing, you would never improve!

The reality is a couple of nibs does no good, just as Melanie Jane said. If you just want the experience of writing with one, then pay the dumb eBay price for a single and get it over with.

Scap, I REALLY like your thought. Just sell in bulk and donate the extra profit to a worthwhile cause. That solves a lot of the issues.

I'm, still interested in other opinions :)
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Moya on March 08, 2016, 05:14:01 PM
I wouldn't say it's not worth it to only use one - I have a very few precious vintage nibs, and it's been a joy to me to get to use them. The life of a nib isn't so short that you can't take pleasure in using something lovely.  (and I'm in Australia, where bulk vintage nibs aren't really an option; I do most of my work with modern nibs, particularly the LEFP).

I think I'm with Salman and Mike - it probably comes down to selling only to people you know, or maybe to people for whom people you know can vouch. I agree that will leave some people out in the cold, which is unfortunate - but if the alternative is to open it to resellers and collectors as opposed to calligraphers, maybe that's the best solution?

It's a tricky one. Good luck.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: randy2 on March 08, 2016, 06:18:26 PM
 I like the idea of someone who really has been working at their calligraphy to try these fantastic nibs . Maybe someone who has been on this forum for x amount of time or entries... a kind of proved sincerity and also desire to improve in this great art....
Truly  I like your heart in wanting to donate to people who love this art and give them a chance to experience what the Golden age was really like and not just someone who wants them or the profiteer.
I think that people who show up should be first. And, they are traceable by their participation in this society... either by a sponsor who can vouch for them or their activity on the myriad Internet forums, IG, blogs  etc. that they could give you along with there request....
I love the idea that everyone who is captivated with this art can say yea I got to try that nib before they're completely out of the realm of the average calligraphy enthusiastiast.  And there was this great pen maker who enabled this possibility.
Please don't just dump them persist in your initial desire. Best wishes to you Chris
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Brush My Fennec on March 08, 2016, 06:37:22 PM
The idea of a network of 'trusted distributors' or having to have sponsors who vouch for you just for the privilege of handing your money over to the 'trusted distributors' sounds ripe for abuse by way of people making sure that only their friends and people they approve of being able to buy some of these dip pens, plus of course the question of who judges the judges and all that.

I want to see the ebay bubble surrounding vintage dip pens burst and establishing secretive networks to distribute dip pens would just be some  new way of keeping the pens out the hands of people who can use them.

I think that the dip pens should either be simply sold on the open market (I'd be most curious to see how much they'd all fetch if they were all to be auctioned as one big lot on ebay) and the money donated to some worthy cause or perhaps in sets of, let's say, 36 of each pen, and someone can buy one set per person per lifetime.

Vintage dip pens are good in themselves due to their high quality, but the profiteering and 'dream nibs' hyperbole and people paying $500+ for about 30 dip pens (I saw this happen on ebay a few days ago) is very bad and I hope it stops.  :(

I've seen cases where someone has bought a one gross (i.e 144) box of dip pens at a pretty good price (e.g $30) and then the person starts selling each dip pen individually for $1 or more: I've actually recognized the exact same box from comparing pictures.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Moya on March 08, 2016, 07:02:59 PM
The problem with selling a bulk lot and then donating the money is that the only people who will be able to bid for that are the ones with disposable income - or the ones for whom it is a profitable business investment, ie, resellers. I feel like selling them in bulk is the fastest way to get them back on the market at $30 apiece, except with someone else profiting.  Which is exactly the outcome you don't want.

Quote
I want to see the ebay bubble surrounding vintage dip pens burst and establishing secretive networks to distribute dip pens would just be some  new way of keeping the pens out the hands of people who can use them.

I kind of think the opposite - distributing dip pens among one's network, to people you know get good use from them amd won't resell them, is a way to 100% ensure the pens get to the hands of people who will use them.  The problem with it is, as you say, it's going to ensure that only the people within that network get a look-in.  It won't distribute them at large among the calligraphy world.  That's where it fails.

But is that a terrible thing? If Chris's friends benefit from Chris's willingness to sell nibs at a fair price, isn't that just ... how the world works?  "I got this thing at a great price because I know a guy" is hardly an unusual story. 

And I say this as someone who only knows Chris by name; we haven't had much personal interaction.  This is not coming from a place of "I want special treatment."  (In the interests of unflattering honesty - of course I'd be hoping to be part of that network somewhere down the line - six degrees of separation and all - but so would most of us who are posting in this thread, wouldn't we?)
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: melanie jane on March 08, 2016, 07:13:55 PM
I think it's also worth mentioning that not everyone who is selling these 'dream' nibs at high prices are necessarily money grabbing so and sos.  People have to make a living, and if you had several gross of dream nibs with no other source of income, what would you do?

Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 07:19:42 PM
If they are to be sold at what Mr Yoke thinks is a fair price (however that is examined) then the only real question is whether to try to restrict them to people who are not simply looking to make a quick buck.  Good luck with that.

If they are going to go only to the "people who know people", well, cliques will be cliques I guess, and as far as I am concerned this would simply confirm a long held understanding about how people in "elite" clubs behave anyway. Certainly I've seen very little to suggest otherwise in my life.

As for the $1 per nib thing,  Leonardt Principals are already sold at twice that per nib at reputable outlets.   

For myself, if I could find a single gross of vintage 404s at a non-mortgage sized price I wouldn't even look for anything else. This has nothing to with the distraction of vintage nibs, as I have actually tried one of these and I really liked it. 

Of course I would still have to get an oblique holder to use them in. One problem at a time.

Irrespective of what Mr Yoke does with his nibs, I hold no hope whatsoever in finding that single box of 404s.   If someone here were to offer one at a reasonable price... well, it's a pity I'm not a gambling man I guess.

Hey, there's an idea. If I buy one of your holders, Chris, would you sell me a box of 404s for a fair price as part of the package?

Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: melanie jane on March 08, 2016, 07:25:38 PM
Empty of Clouds - Good deals on Gillott 404s can be found, you just have to be patient and do a bit (or maybe a lot) of digging and investigation.  Don't give up.

Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 07:34:40 PM
Not that I've ever seen. Ever.  Bearing in mind that I am in New Zealand where such items don't exist.  Since I joined this forum I don't recall seeing any boxes on eBay.  This is the ONLY market place I have access to, and you know what that place can be like. I wish I had the opportunity to make any kind of connection with people "in the know", but as far as I can tell it's mostly private groups.  So what chances do I have that patience will reward?
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: YokePenCo on March 08, 2016, 07:56:26 PM
@empty of clouds I do recall sending you like two or three 604EF nibs in a normal envelope. I cut little sections out of cardboard and mailed it. That's a bummer they never reached you :(

In regards to 404 boxes being on eBay, I have seen several and passed on them. A few have went for a fair price too. I consider fair to be around $5.00 max per nib for vintage. Most of my nibs come from actively having others search for them on my behalf, business owners who have no affiliation with penmanship at all. It has been tons of networking and patience, but they are still out there. :) Trust me when I say I'm not in any cliques or secret groups, lol. I more often rub the cliques the wrong way instead of being part.

Also in regards to the other mentions of only having my friends have them, that is not what I mean by people I know. It would be people I know have the level of expertise and more importantly penmanship desire. I think the beginner comment is very valid in that most don't keep at it and also we have a large boom of interest in calligraphy. While I hope the interest continues, I honestly expect it to be somewhat of a fad created by online social media. This too makes me wary of just offering them up to people who haven't the desire to continue penmanship. This has turned into an interesting conversation of views.

Lastly, I wouldn't offer them as a bonus to buying a pen from me. If I sell five pens or fifty pens per month, I want it based upon the pen itself, not an incentive for the little piece of disposable steel you put in them.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Erica McPhee on March 08, 2016, 08:09:10 PM
Well, I guess the first thing I would do is ask yourself why you bought them all in the first place. If the answer is to make a profit, sell them piecemeal however you will get the best price. If it was to sell them to those in the calligraphy community, 3 & 4 seem to be your best bet. If it was to prevent others from buying them and jacking up the prices, good luck with that. You can't control what happens to them once they leave your hands thus, see numbers 3 and 4.

I've never been a "designer" brand person which is exactly what vintage nibs are... a select, limited supply of highly desired, name brands. I sew my own purses. LOL. I'd rather put the effort into working with what's readily available.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Erica McPhee on March 08, 2016, 08:12:11 PM
P.S. I have mixed feelings, FWIW, about reserving them for experienced versus beginner calligraphers. I can see both sides. I tend to lean towards everyone should have a chance to try it but like with most issues, I hover in the middle.  ;)
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 08:26:36 PM
Chris, that is indeed disappointing that the 604s appear to have gone missing in transit. Certainly not a common occurrence for me I can tell you.  Pity. I thought that maybe you had changed your mind, and I wouldn't have been offended in the least if you had.

$5 a nib? Wow!  Oh well, makes it easy for me to forget all about that idea then.

I hadn't progressed very well in my own calligraphy attempts - in part because it's hard for me to maintain discipline in isolation (I sometimes need a bit of a push), but now that I have managed to rather shamefully break my oblique holders I was on the verge of giving it up.  Resources are just that much more problematic to acquire here.  When you said you may release some of your nib hoard my ears pricked up, but only because of the 404s. I have no interest in any of the other special nibs. 

I was only joking about the "holder + nibs" offer.  If I was in the postion to buy one of your holders (bit unlikely really, but one can dream) it would be for the holder. It's a tricky balance for me. Buying overseas comes at a shipping cost such that the object bought must be of sufficient quality to make it worthwhile. So, buying one of those plastic obliques is just not cost effective.  But that's my problem to deal with.

Anyway, I have a box of 2552s that are more than adequate for low-level people like myself. Just need to get a holder from somewhere now.

My apologies if you thought I was having a dig at you, I wasn't, but at itmes it is hard to get past the frustrations of living in a beautiful yet remote corner of the world!

Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Tanvir Ahmed on March 08, 2016, 08:38:48 PM

Anyway, I have a box of 2552s that are more than adequate for low-level people like myself. Just need to get a holder from somewhere now.


One person on the forum broke her rule of not using vintage and wrote with 2552.  Her work will shatter any idea of 2552 as a low-level nib.  Plus 2552 is one of the favorites of Robert Hurford and that should be enough of an endorsement.

Tanvir
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Moya on March 08, 2016, 08:42:51 PM
Empty-of-clouds, I'm in Australia, so I understand your frustrations. You can often get the Speedball obliques at local art shops here - it may be similar over there. You can also usually get Hunt 101s at reasonable prices.  There's a custom oblique pen maker in Melbourne, too - Luis Cheng - and you may find shipping more reasonable from here.

Also, have you spoken to the calligraphy societies in NZ? I know my Melbourne group generally places one bulk order from John Neal each year, giving everyone the chance to combine shipping in case they are only ordering one or two little things.  You may find something similar. There are some very active and talented calligraphers in NZ.

Also, there is a NZ-specific art store - Gordon Harris - that my NZ friends tell me has good calligraphy paper very cheap - might be worth checking them out.

It's a little harder for us isolated antipodeans - I know I'm constantly whinging about shipping, shipping times, and access to workshops - but that just means you've got to be a little bit more dedicated to make it work.  It's a long way from impossible. Don't sound so defeated.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: melanie jane on March 08, 2016, 08:54:07 PM
Empty of Clouds - I'm in the UK, but I still seem to buy most of my supplies from abroad, so I know what you mean about postage costs.  Even more annoying are the VAT/customs fees on anything over £15 bought from outside the EU, it can make buying goods from the US prohibitively expensive. 

Having said that, I have managed to acquire a good number of vintage nibs at good prices, almost exclusively via ebay, so it can be done.  However, I would stress that if you want to get the good buys, you can't do it half heartedly.  I spend a fairly significant amount of time each day scouring ebay, 95% of the time with no success.  And yes, as someone else pointed out, a lot of that time could probably be used a lot more constructively practising calligraphy, rather than chasing vintage nibs....

The one thing I did have trouble finding, and found prohibitively expensive to import was a half decent oblique holder....so I made my own.

So, there are ways.  You just have to decide how much time and effort you're prepared to put in.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 09:09:36 PM
Quote
Plus 2552 is one of the favorites of Robert Hurford and that should be enough of an endorsement.

It would be if I knew who this gentleman was, but to my embarrassment I don't. Will Google later!

Quote
Empty-of-clouds, I'm in Australia, so I understand your frustrations. You can often get the Speedball obliques at local art shops here - it may be similar over there. You can also usually get Hunt 101s at reasonable prices.  There's a custom oblique pen maker in Melbourne, too - Luis Cheng - and you may find shipping more reasonable from here.

Also, have you spoken to the calligraphy societies in NZ? I know my Melbourne group generally places one bulk order from John Neal each year, giving everyone the chance to combine shipping in case they are only ordering one or two little things.  You may find something similar. There are some very active and talented calligraphers in NZ.

Also, there is a NZ-specific art store - Gordon Harris - that my NZ friends tell me has good calligraphy paper very cheap - might be worth checking them out.

I did have a Speedball. Threw it away ages ago. Hated using it. Worst $4 I've ever spent!  ::)

As for calligraphy societies here, well, I've never heard of any. I'm in a small city in the south. There may be something in Auckland I guess, but that's the other end of the country. No Gordon Harris here either (at least in this city).  With regard to paper, I'm happy to use Rhodia that I can get from the Warehouse in reams. Works fine for practice sheets.  Paper is not the issue. Holders, nibs and inks on the other hand are.

Quote
The one thing I did have trouble finding, and found prohibitively expensive to import was a half decent oblique holder....so I made my own.

You've clearly never seen me with a woodworking tool in my hand!  :-[
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: melanie jane on March 08, 2016, 09:17:15 PM

Quote
The one thing I did have trouble finding, and found prohibitively expensive to import was a half decent oblique holder....so I made my own.

You've clearly never seen me with a woodworking tool in my hand!  :-[

Well, I'm a 40 year old female who had never used a power tool, woodworking tool, etc in my life before.  Except maybe a screwdriver.  I'm generally pretty scared of power tools so had kept well away from them for most of my life.  So if I can do it, anyone can.

You're definitely a glass half empty kind of guy, aren't you?!  lol
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Salman Khattak on March 08, 2016, 09:21:12 PM
Just to clarify my earlier post. I never suggested there be a clique or closed network. Getting to a person you know is not hard in today's world and the identities of people who could recommend/vouch could be known to the general public - you just ask them if you know them, or see if anyone you know knows them.

Also, I do not support the idea of limiting use by ability. I see nothing wrong with a beginner wanting to try out a special nib. If anything, I think it might reduce the demand for them as more and more people realize having a dream nib doesn't magically improve their work :-)

Salman
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: melanie jane on March 08, 2016, 09:24:36 PM
Oh, and going back to Chris's original question....I've had a good think and to be honest, if I were you Chris, I'd just sell them at whatever market price they're going for, and then put the money in a trust/college fund for my kids.  It's very nice of you trying to help people out with allowing them to buy the nibs at fair prices, but ultimately, it's your family you should be looking out for first, and who knows what circumstance may bring further down the line....
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 09:28:39 PM
hmm...

Consider this, Melanie: You are basically suggesting that I spend the next several months acquiring materials and learning how to use a bunch of tools (which I will have to find money for too), in order to make a serviceable holder as well as a flange that will actually hold a nib.  I work full time.  I have no vehicle at the moment. I have a house and garden to maintain. One hour of every evening is spent on Skype with my partner who is having to work in another city (professional intern position), and who I only see in person for a couple of days every month or 6 weeks. 

For me time is somewhat limited. I can manage one or two hobbies but not many all together.

Reality, not pessimism.

Perhaps I am just not driven enough. Is that it?

Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 09:31:07 PM
Quote
Just to clarify my earlier post. I never suggested there be a clique or closed network. Getting to a person you know is not hard in today's world and the identities of people who could recommend/vouch could be known to the general public - you just ask them if you know them, or see if anyone you know knows them.

I don't know anybody. Who would you suggest?
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Brush My Fennec on March 08, 2016, 09:32:49 PM
Trust me when I say I'm not in any cliques or secret groups, lol. I more often rub the cliques the wrong way instead of being part.

Ah, that's good then. I worked at a university once and I saw people and cliques fight long and bitterly over distribution of the electronic cards that gave unlimited use of the photocopiers. They fought over so many other things besides, and ever since then I've been wary of cliques and in-groups &c.

There is one thing I'm very curious about though and I'd like to ask you a question, since you have a lot of them: are any of the principalities you have fine or medium, as opposed to E.F? The reason I ask is, I've seen an advert, for Principalities, from 1849:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OX0BAAAAYAAJ&dq=gillott%20principality&pg=PA244#v=onepage&q&f=false

Where fine and medium pointed ones are mentioned as well as the extra fine, and I wonder if they stopped making F and M ones at some point, or if that advert is for a different pen with the same name, though given that it mentions the great elasticity of the pen.

Quote from: melanie jane link=topic=4485.msg57564#msg57564 date=145748+2435
I think it's also worth mentioning that not everyone who is selling these 'dream' nibs at high prices are necessarily money grabbing so and sos.  People have to make a living, and if you had several gross of dream nibs with no other source of income, what would you do?

Well, I don't know of anyone in that situation, but If I was think I'd look for more sustainable source of income because I think that the vintage dip pen bubble will burst, and also depending on the persons circumstances he or she might just be delaying the inevitable e.g being unable to make mortgage payments due to interest rate rises, scrabbling around with selling possessions &c. might only buy a few more months before defaulting. I've seen that happen.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Salman Khattak on March 08, 2016, 09:33:16 PM
Quote
Just to clarify my earlier post. I never suggested there be a clique or closed network. Getting to a person you know is not hard in today's world and the identities of people who could recommend/vouch could be known to the general public - you just ask them if you know them, or see if anyone you know knows them.

I don't know anybody. Who would you suggest?

How would I know? Can you not make friends?

S.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: joi on March 08, 2016, 09:49:07 PM

Anyway, I have a box of 2552s that are more than adequate for low-level people like myself. Just need to get a holder from somewhere now.


I love the Blanzy 2552, it's one of the workhorse nibs in my business, and I know a lot of other professional calligraphers that also love this nib and use it in their work, on the daily.  I don't feel that nibs are for "low-level" or mid level or professional or Master Penman.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 09:54:19 PM
Quote
How would I know? Can you not make friends?

Yes, I can make friends. The point was that there doesn't appear to be anyone here who has this as a hobby. I thought you were talking about the international community.

Just did a search and found that there is a "Society" in Auckland. That's just over 1000 kilometres away, and would require an airflight. Not very practical.

Edit:

Quote
Ah, that's good then. I worked at a university once and I saw people and cliques fight long and bitterly over distribution of the electronic cards that gave unlimited use of the photocopiers. They fought over so many other things besides, and ever since then I've been wary of cliques and in-groups &c.

I work for a University, and I stay firmly out of anything political, cliquey or similar.

Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: melanie jane on March 08, 2016, 09:55:46 PM
Quote
How would I know? Can you not make friends?

Yes, I can make friends. The point was that there doesn't appear to be anyone here who has this as a hobby. I thought you were talking about the international community.

Just did a search and found that there is a "Society" in Auckland. That's just over 1000 kilometres away, and would require an airflight. Not very practical.

I don't think it has to be in person....you can be friends with people online too....
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: melanie jane on March 08, 2016, 09:58:48 PM
hmm...

Consider this, Melanie: You are basically suggesting that I spend the next several months acquiring materials and learning how to use a bunch of tools (which I will have to find money for too), in order to make a serviceable holder as well as a flange that will actually hold a nib.  I work full time.  I have no vehicle at the moment. I have a house and garden to maintain. One hour of every evening is spent on Skype with my partner who is having to work in another city (professional intern position), and who I only see in person for a couple of days every month or 6 weeks. 

For me time is somewhat limited. I can manage one or two hobbies but not many all together.

Reality, not pessimism.

Perhaps I am just not driven enough. Is that it?

No, I wasn't suggesting that.  I was suggesting you get a bit of wood, a knife and some sandpaper and experiment a bit.  It's for yourself, it doesn't have to be perfect.  I'm sure someone (myself included) would have been kind enough to post you some brass for the flange.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 10:06:50 PM
I know this is hard to believe, but what sort of knife are you talking about?  I have kitchen knives, nothing else.

Woodworking really is that far outside of my knowledge zone I'm afraid.


Edit: I lied, I forgot that I have an old Swiss Army penknife in my bag. Will that do?
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: melanie jane on March 08, 2016, 10:12:23 PM

Edit: I lied, I forgot that I have an old Swiss Army penknife in my bag. Will that do?

Possibly...is it sharp enough to cut wood?
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Tanvir Ahmed on March 08, 2016, 10:13:11 PM

Anyway, I have a box of 2552s that are more than adequate for low-level people like myself. Just need to get a holder from somewhere now.


I love the Blanzy 2552, it's one of the workhorse nibs in my business, and I know a lot of other professional calligraphers that also love this nib and use it in their work, on the daily.  I don't feel that nibs are for "low-level" or mid level or professional or Master Penman.

You were the person I mentioned in my post above having beautiful work with 2552.  You are so lucky to have studied with Bob Hurford along with other esteemed penmen and artists.

Tanvir
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: joi on March 08, 2016, 10:20:08 PM

Anyway, I have a box of 2552s that are more than adequate for low-level people like myself. Just need to get a holder from somewhere now.


I love the Blanzy 2552, it's one of the workhorse nibs in my business, and I know a lot of other professional calligraphers that also love this nib and use it in their work, on the daily.  I don't feel that nibs are for "low-level" or mid level or professional or Master Penman.

You were the person I mentioned in my post above having beautiful work with 2552.  You are so lucky to have studied with Bob Hurford along with other esteemed penmen and artists.

Tanvir

OMG Tanvir, that is so kind, thank you for that compliment.  Yes, I have been very fortunate to study with some amazing MPs and master calligraphers, and I try to pay it forward.   :)

and back on topic...helping Chris to figure out what to do with his nibs...
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 08, 2016, 10:22:19 PM
Quote
Possibly...is it sharp enough to cut wood?

Alas, yes. Well, at least it was sharp enough to cut my finger when I tested it just now.  :-[ :-[ :-[
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: prasad on March 09, 2016, 01:58:38 AM
Hi,
My few thoughts as a
a) consider myself a beginner (just year and a half into calligraphy)
b) Person who lives in a place where shipping costs are 3 to 4 times the price of goods (read - nibs)

 

--Don't sell to beginners. It's a waste.

-- Another aspect of this is that most beginners never progress beyond the beginning stage.

Oh, ps:  I tried selling a few nibs here at below market prices--some Esterbrook 128's for $1.25 for example--I didn't even make a dent in the demand, but at least they went to people on the forum who, I believe, bought them to use.

This is true, in so much as vintage nibs are a total distraction for a beginner.  Even a modern Gillott 303 was a nightmare to use in the beginning.  The light touch and pen control required to utilise the nib's potential to it's maximum takes time and the more delicate or flexible a nib is, the more frustrating it can be.

On the flip side, however, I was ever so grateful to Mike for making the Esterbrook 128 and the Spencerian #1's available to us at an amazing price.  I did hoard them with the contention that when I do have the talent to do justice to them, I won't have to pay ridiculous sums on the internet to try them.

The hoarding applies to everything I buy, calligraphy related.  Having shipping costs range from $3 unto even $35, can't afford to try nibs.  I have to go on the opinions of professionals and take a chance. 

There are of course a lot of vintage nibs that I have been able to get as a gross for a very good price.  Never more than $30 to $40 for a Gross.  These have included the Blanzy 2552, Gillott 404, Gillott 170, Esterbrooks 345/355 and some Italian beak nibs with the 3 hole thing going (Love these nibs)

I would, at this stage, never buy one of the dream nibs as I know very well that I am not capable of using it to it's potential nor can I afford the prices they are being sold at.
Add to the fact that the nib would cost $30 and shipping would be $20 (I would want a tracked insured parcel if I am paying those prices)

By the time I could do justice to them, they will probably be 3 times the cost now.
If they were available at a reasonable price, I would buy some and keep them until I could do justice to them.  Same as what I am doing with the nibs I got form Mike. 

SO the question of what to do with the Dream nibs
The only way to ensure that your generosity is not misused, is to restrict the sale to people you know. This is the only way you could be a 100% sure. 

If your children are leaning towards calligraphy then I would highly suggest keeping this as an inheritance for them, along with the collection  of your vintage holders. 
Anyway, in a few years down the line, there will be people making videos of Yoke holders like you make of dream holders on Youtube  :)

-Prasad
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 09, 2016, 02:06:54 AM
I feel much the same way, Prasad, but with two distinctions;

1.  I am rubbish at writing, and I don't really expect much significant change even with a lot practice.
2.  Unlike you I will never be able to lay my hands on a gross of 404s (for example) for $40.

And I detest auctions. They bring out the worst in both buyer and seller - at least from what I have seen on eBay.

Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Estefa on March 09, 2016, 06:03:02 AM
Very interesting discussion, and thanks for your generous idea of a better way to distribute them, Chris!

I have no problem with people reselling nibs for 1 or 2 $ / €, after they had found a gross for a reasonable price. Honestly just checking and posting and mailing them should be worth a bit of money. That's what for examples the guy from Kallipos does since years, with the bonus that he describes each nib on his website and you have a very good idea what you get.

I never paid (and never will) more than 2 or 3 € for a nib (and that was for a nib I knew was very sturdy, beautiful and long-lasting). I absolutely agree that for example the 2552 and its clones are great nibs for a lot of work. Maybe not for super ornamental, super-swelly shade style script or flourishing, but for a lot of other work. I also have a bulk of other, not very prestigious nibs that I found on auctions and that I like very much.

Some calligraphy good fairies sent me some of the »dream nibs« once (Spencerian #1), and even if I feel that I have reached an ok level of calligraphy by now I cannot say that they feel so much superior to, say, the modern (a not defective) LP Principal. So either my skill is not yet at a level where I can get most out of it, or I just don't get it. So I put them aside for now :).

What doesn't admittedly add to Chris's problem. But I tend toward the idea of giving them to people you know who will make good use of them, or whose work is easily »provable« via their websites or contributions here.

I understand the »clique« problem. Have never cared much for them either.

On the other hand, I know none of the people here on the forum and very few on IG in person, and still from what they write and publish and how they talk on their Persicopes, and from the letters we exchange, it is possible to get in touch and get an idea of how serious someone is about that art (or craft :D) we all love so much. What I want to say, it is not so hard to get to be known here …
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: jeanwilson on March 09, 2016, 07:02:44 AM
<<snip>> I like several of the ideas, but one thing REALLY stands out to me and was said by Evjo and really sums it all up for people new to Calligraphy. Vintage Nibs are a distraction! They are a distraction to learning. If you wanted to learn to play piano and just spent the majority of your time looking at piano models, instead of actually practicing, you would never improve!

<<snip>>
I'm, still interested in other opinions :)

The point about vintage nibs being a distraction is so true. You compared it to music. I can add a comparison that I witnessed when my boys were into speed skating and roller hockey. We happened to have two world class speed skaters who were locals. They had access to (and sold) the most expensive roller blades, wheels and bearings. Parents who could afford to buy their kids the most expensive equipment had happy little kids...but not necessarily the best skaters. The kids who spent every spare minute practicing in the driveway (on mid-range skates) were the ones who excelled at the sport.

I can think of a number of people who deserve the nibs who are not on FF. Serious scribes who can tell the difference and prefer the vintage nibs should have the opportunity to use them. Many of them could be reached through IAMPETH - but not all. A little networking would probably reach most of them. Since you are already running a business, it seems like getting the word out about your nibs would eventually send the logical consumers to your website. One click on Google is all it takes to find out if someone is an established scribe. It is safe to assume that the established scribes would not waste their time re-selling nibs.

The time it would take to package and ship small quantities (to beginners) would be a huge investment on the part of any seller. But, if you wanted to put together some pre-set packages - rather than taking orders, that would make some beginners happy.

I agree with the folks who have suggested that beginners should embrace the readily available nibs. During my 20 years of running with the scribes, it seems like most of the ones who truly love the craft find available nibs that work just fine. Yes, we all tried a few vintage nibs from time to time....but they do not magically improve your penmanship.

The folks who are on the endless quest for enough vintage nibs do seem to be ---distracted.

Here is another comparison - making anything with cloth. If you give a beginner the best scissors, finest silk and top of the line sewing machine, that will not make the garment turn out perfectly. If you are a master tailor, stuck with dull scissors, polyester fabric and a cheezy sewing machine, you will not enjoy the process, but you will still have the skills to offset the difficulties that your less than perfect materials and tools provide....and you will probably turn out something that looks professional.

Chris: I really hope you find a way to get the nibs into the hands of people who will make the best use of them - and not re-sell them.
It's fine if beginners want to try them - but, hopefully this discussion will remind beginners that there are plenty of old timers who have had rewarding careers - using modern nibs.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: seanlanefuller on March 09, 2016, 07:57:44 AM
I'm just a beginner so I haven't learned to appreciate the differences in contemporary and vintage nibs.  I'm pretty happy with my Zebra G's.

My advice is to do all of the above and more.  Sell some at market value, sell some to calligrapher friends at break-even pricing, give a few away, keep a few for your children, etc.

About the only new idea I can think of is to donate some to a calligraphy web site and let them put them up for auction to help defray the cost of hosting and maintaining the web site.

On the other hand, part of me is saying sell them at high prices and buy something nice for yourself or go on vacation.  ;)
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Elisabeth_M on March 09, 2016, 08:23:08 AM
So, being a broad-edge pen enthusiast, I'm not one of the target audiences for vintage nibs and am not totally sure what the fuss is about.  However, I am interested in the idea of whether or not it is "worth it" for beginners to have access to these expensive and increasingly rare nibs.

I used to do some science outreach events with school kids while I was in grad school as was an intern at a science museum.  Some of the best experiences was taking the kids to the lab and letting them use our large research microscope.  These were elementary and middle school kids and they absolutely could not use the microscope to its full advantage and, indeed, what they were able to do could be accomplished more easily on a simple microscope at school.  But, boy did the experience of using the "special", powerful scope that "real scientists" use increase their enthusiasm for science.  Would it be worth it for a parent to buy their child an equivalent microscope for home use or even for an elementary school to buy one for kids to use?  No.  The microscope was expensive because it had insanely good optics and capabilities beyond what kids would be able to do (even I couldn't use it to its capacity at home).  But, were the kids interested in doing more microscopy and even getting a very simple microscope they could use at home?  Yes.  There is something about getting a chance to use the tools that are rare or special or professional grade that increases enthusiasm for a subject, even if you can't use that tool to its full potential.

For better or worse, vintage nibs have gotten a reputation as special or better than modern nibs or capable of producing superior results in the right hands.  If you spend any time at all learning about calligraphy online, you soon hear about fabled vintage nibs.  Getting to take one for a spin could really delight some non-masters even if they aren't able to use the nibs to their full potential.  Of course, it could also be that they take it for a spin and then wonder what the hell is so special about these nibs and decide vintage nibs aren't worth the price.  Both of those responses would be a win, right?

So, whatever you decide to do with the bulk of the nibs, why not put together a few little "taster" packs of nibs especially for beginners or people who have never used a vintage nib?  The packs could have a few different nibs and a little information about what nibs they are, when they were made, and any modern equivalent.  Only one pack per order and the person ordering doesn't get to choose what nibs they are getting ahead of time (again, I don't know much about pointed pen nibs, but if there is a difference between ones you would use for copperplate and ones for spencerian, you could simply label them copperplate, spencerian, and mix).  It would be like a little grab bag of nibs, solely for the purpose of getting to try them out. 
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: jeanwilson on March 09, 2016, 09:21:04 AM
After teaching for many years, I find it impossible to tell which beginners will benefit from the better tools. Beginners come with all kinds of skills or lack-of-skills. I was a beginner at age 40 and had many skills that dovetailed with lettering. My first teacher recognized my skills and was quick to steer me towards nibs and inks (+gouache) and paper that was very helpful in launching me. So, there is good reason for beginners to at least have someone helping them to find the better tools. I had numerous students who had been working with poor materials who made a lot of progress after being introduced to some better materials.

Is there anything the vintage nibs can do that the contemporary nibs can't? It depends on the scribe. Part of the fun of IAMPETH is sitting around with other scribes and being amazed at what they can do - with which materials. Some people are incredulous at some of the hairlines that come off a Nikko G. Other people can't make the vintage nibs perform... and so on and so forth....
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: AnasaziWrites on March 09, 2016, 12:13:22 PM
I feel much the same way, Prasad, but with two distinctions;

1.  I am rubbish at writing, and I don't really expect much significant change even with a lot practice.
2.  Unlike you I will never be able to lay my hands on a gross of 404s (for example) for $40.

And I detest auctions. They bring out the worst in both buyer and seller - at least from what I have seen on eBay.
Time to weed the garden. What is a weed? Just a plant out of place, nothing personal.

Since announcing your unfortunate loss of your oblique pens, many people have chimed in to support and encourage you to continue with your penmanship and offered low cost ways to do so. You have responded with myriad reasons why you can't/won't continue. For every suggestion, you respond why it won't work.
You can't find nibs at a good price (a box of vintage Gillott 170's sold on eBay for $1/nib. Too expensive?--how about a box of Gillott 404's for $96?--too expensive still?--how about a box of 404's for $41?  And those are just in the last month or so.) Don't like eBay? okay. Don't go there. I've met many great people there over the past 16 years. We could go on encouraging you to continue penmanship , but this thread is not the place for it. Perhaps you could take this discussion to the Coffee and Nibbles section of the forum and create a new thread entitled "How the loss of a few pens proved to be the insurmountable object that Derailed my Quest to Improve my Penmanship" or some such. Attached is an excerpt from Volume 1 of Michael Sull's Spencerian Script and Ornamental Penmanship for your edification.

Now, back to Chris's thread.

Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 09, 2016, 12:56:12 PM
I want to say something with regard to the "Vintage nibs are a distraction" argument.   

When I was looking around for something to use I noted that many people recommended the Gillott 404. As these were still being produced today I checked out various reviews.  Based on these I came to the conclusion that the vintage 404s are better quality and have more consistent material properties than the modern versions.  These were reviews from well-known calligraphers and enthusiasts, including people on this site.  I didn't seek out the 404 just because it was a vintage nib or a 'special' nib (which I don't think it is), but did so on the advice and reviews of the experts.

So, a distraction? Not really. You cannot argue that point while out of the other side of your mouth you are extolling the virtue of a vintage version versus its modern counterpart.

Note: I am not chasing any of the 'dream' nibs. I have a Spencerian #1 (NY) that sits unused, and I may donate it to someone. The Mussulmans? Not interested.  The 404s just come across as a decent workhorse kind of nib.


AnasaziWrites, you are correct and I am sorry.  I think nearly losing my younger sister to a car accident in January, and having to spend several days in an Acute Stroke unit myself recently, has left me feeling empty of not only clouds but also any confidence.  I'll leave you to it now.  Thank you for the advice, and I am sorry that it has fallen like so much rain on stony ground.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Erica McPhee on March 09, 2016, 07:43:07 PM
With respect to the original poster, please keep this on topic to his discussion. If you would like to continue any of the other discussions, please start a new thread. There are great topics interspersed here which I can't really break out without losing the thread of the OP's original question. But please keep it on task for future replies. Thank you.  :)
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: sybillevz on March 10, 2016, 03:47:20 AM
Very interesting subject... I didn't fully read every comment but I thought I'd just share my opinion on this :

When I was a beginner, well in my first year of calligraphy, I seriously thought that the nib was a big part of the quality of the penmanship. And it was true to some extent : I just had to find the right kind of nib for me... the one nib that gave me satisfactory lines (turned out to be the EF Principal). I also didn't see them as disposable tools (which I now do).
Then, getting more experienced (and having tried a good number of different nibs), I just understood that I just needed trusty nibs. My penmanship has evolved and I feel comfortable with any nib even if they give different kind of results, so I choose to buy the kind of nibs that give the result I want (and for a reasonable price).

Vintage nibs are very tempting, but I am less tempted now than I was a year ago... I know they won't magically improve my penmanship abilities. I only buy some of them because they are much cheaper than the modern nibs (I'm in Belgium so I easily have access to the french vintage nibs the 2552 being one of my favorites).
For me the "dream points" are like museum objects : I could try them out but I would never have enough money to buy a box or two - and that would be extremely frustrating... (yes I only buy boxes  ;D)  And I don't see the point in paying so much for such tools.

So to answer Chris's question, I'd say you just do whatever feels right for you. If you just want to share with worthy penmen, then select each one carfefully. But please be open to people outside the US too (because we will never get to see these dream nibs otherwise  ;))
If you want to earn money from this, then feel free to sell them at the crazy market prices. But know that you'll probably sell most of the nibs to wealthy beginners who believe they are magic.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Estefa on March 10, 2016, 04:39:42 AM
I only buy some of them because they are much cheaper than the modern nibs (I'm in Belgium so I easily have access to the french vintage nibs the 2552 being one of my favorites).

You took the words out of my mouth :). I am in Germany and in a similar situation. It's not very difficult, time-consuming or distracting to buy certain types of vintage nibs. I don't use them because I think they are super fancy. They are just available and they work. Btw I haven't yet found an option to buy LP Principals in boxes here in Europe.

But don't ask me what I pay for shipping and tax when I order supplies from the USA :).
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: AndyT on March 10, 2016, 05:16:28 AM
... I haven't yet found an option to buy LP Principals in boxes here in Europe.

It might be worth your while to drop Penman Direct (http://www.penmandirect.co.uk/pages/contact-us) a line, Stefanie.  Just guessing.   ;)
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Estefa on March 10, 2016, 05:27:42 AM
Thank you, Andy – I will :)!!
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: Empty_of_Clouds on March 10, 2016, 05:33:01 AM
Quote
But know that you'll probably sell most of the nibs to wealthy beginners who believe they are magic.

Well, I am not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a beginner. I purchased a Iveson Spencerian Pen #1 New York for the exorbitant price of $10 (for one nib). I didn't expect it to make any difference to my writing, but I did want to see what they were like. Simple curiosity, nothing more.  :)  And the funny thing is that it has sat in the box unused since then.  I will probably give it away as it is not much use to me - from the perspective of only having one and that they are increasingly rare.

What would I do if I was in Mr Yoke's position?  If I knew any highly skilled penmen or penwomen on a good friend kind of basis, I would give them the nibs. But that's just me. I'm not very financially oriented.
Title: Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
Post by: sybillevz on March 10, 2016, 08:14:52 AM
I understand the curiosity, I even bought spencerian 1s too and never touched them... Because I could only buy a few, and I'm afraid to get sucked in !