Author Topic: Advice & Ideas Requested  (Read 6321 times)

Offline YokePenCo

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Advice & Ideas Requested
« 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!
Christopher J. Yoke
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #1 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.

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #2 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.

Offline YokePenCo

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #3 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.
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Offline Inked botanicals

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #4 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.
Alba.

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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #5 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.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 10:52:57 AM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline Inked botanicals

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #6 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.
Alba.

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Offline Empty_of_Clouds

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #7 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.


Offline melanie jane

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #8 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.
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Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #9 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.
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Offline Tanvir Ahmed

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #10 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

Offline evjo

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #11 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.
Ev

Offline Salman Khattak

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #12 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 :-)

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Offline Empty_of_Clouds

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #13 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.

Offline melanie jane

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Re: Advice & Ideas Requested
« Reply #14 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. 

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