16 October 2018

Anonymous Music

My latest acquisition is an anonymous pen with a very non-anonymous nib. And this combination make the whole pen all the more intriguing, and, for some, appealing.

The pen, in essence, is a Japanese eyedropper, made of ebonite with a very discreet maki-e decoration –a “kitte” (post stamps) pattern. The clip is of the teardrop shape, just like many Ban-ei pens.


An anonymous pen. Other than the inscriptions on the nib, the only text on it says R14K, and is on the cap ring. The very discreet maki-e --a "kitte" pattern-- is not signed.

And this clip, together with the overall shape of the pen and the shape of the section, and even the geometry of the ebonite feed point out at Ban-ei (Sakai Eisuke) as the master mind behind it. However, this idea is nothing but a guess, although this pen is very likely to have been made in the 1960s at Asakusa area in Tokyo.


A Ban-ei pen (top) and the anonymous pen with an interesting nib. Note the similarities in the shape. The Ban-ei pen is larger in all dimensions.


Feeds and sections of the pens on the previous picture: Ban-ei on top, anonymous on bottom. This geometry of the feed was very common in Japan from the 1960s till well into the 1990s on smaller pen makers.

The comes the nib—a beautiful music nib perfectly identifiable as made by nibmeister Kubo Kohei. In fact, the nib inscription NK stands for Nobel Kubo, where Nobel is one of the brands Mr. Kubo created during his career as nib maker. The nib is likely to be a replaced unit, but it could also show the origin of the pen itself. Then, is this a Nobel pen? Many a Nobel pen were anonymous –no brand name was imprinted on the pen--, but ebonite was not a typical material on that brand as Mr. Kubo doesn’t work with the lathe.


The music nib by Kubo Kohei. It is made of steel and is gold plated. The inscriptions read " STANDARD /NK / (JIS mark) / IRIDIUM / < 3 > / NPK ".

All in all, not much we know for certain about this pen, but the nib, and the unpretentious decoration make it most interesting.

These are the dimensions of the pen:

Length closed: 138 mm
Length open: 119 mm
Length posted: 166 mm
Diameter: 13.7 mm
Weight: 16.7 g (dry)
Ink deposit: 2.3 ml

And the search for information continues…


Twsbi Eco with Kubo music nib – Aurora Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 16th 2018
etiquetas: nibmeister Kubo Kohei, maki-e, Ban-ei, Nobel, marca desconocida, plumín, plumín musical

04 October 2018

The Case of Naginata. I. The Press Release

Sailor has finally spoken out—Naginata Togi nibs and other special nibs will be back in the market on October 5th (2018). But that is the extent of the good news. The rest is not so positive.


An old Cross Music, and an old Naginata Togi.

The price of the Naginata nibs will double—from the former JPY 25000 to JPY 50000. And this price increase propagates through the whole line up of Special nibs:

Naginata Concord: from JPY 30000 to JPY 55000.
Naginata Fude: from JPY 25000 to JPY 55000.
Naginata with emperor: from JPY 35000 to JPY 60000.
Cross nib: from JPY 45000 to JPY 70000.
Cross Music: from JPY 50000 to JPY 75000.


The new design of the Naginata nibs. Photo courtesy of Inktraveler.

The pens implementing these nibs will change their appearance. The nib decoration will be simpler than the old one, as can be seen on the pictures. The pen will carry a wider cap ring with the inscription “SPECIAL NIB”.


New prices, new designs... old nibs. Photo courtesy of Inktraveler.

And, finally, the whole distribution network of this nibs will be dramatically reduced: only 50 dealers worldwide –25 of them in Japan— will handle these pens. And to make matters worse, some rumors say that few of these special nibs will make their way outside of Japan.

Sailor, at this point, has not released any information regarding the plans for the “super big” (“King of Pen”) size Naginata and related nibs.

These special nibs are becoming more special than ever.


Pilot Capless FCN-500R - De Atramentis Jeans Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 3rd, 2018
etiquetas: Sailor, plumín, mercado

03 October 2018

Tokyo International Pen Show 2018. A Stationery Salon

The first Tokyo International Pen Show (::1::, ::2::) took place this past weekend (September 29th and 30th) in the ward of Taito in Tokyo. And the results were impressive.

The event was celebrated at one of the lounges of the Taito Metropolitan Industrial Center –Taito Kan–: 1400 m2, 60 tables, 50 traders for a total of about 1500 visitors. On the first day –Saturday 29th–, 1100 visitors filled the room, 600 of which arrived within the first hour.


(Photo courtesy of Inktraveler).


The key for this success was, in my opinion, based on two elements: a very eclectic list of traders, and the almost completely absence of vintage pen vendors. The result was a lounge centered on stationeries instead of on pens. In actual terms, there were about half a dozen traders offering used and vintage pens: Pen Land Café (Nagoya), Komehyo (Japan), Mora Stylos (Paris), Erfobay, Hayashi Katsuro,... New pens were displayed by the hand of the creators themselves―Tetzbo, Ohashido, Manu Propria, Eboya, StyloArt Karuizawa, Helico, Taccia, Azonx, Chriselle,... The rest of vendors were focused on dedicated pens (shop-special limited editions), inks, papers and assorted paraphernalia.



These later sectors were responsible for the crowds on the first day. And this public was very young and very female―just the opposite of the usual demographics of pen collectors: male and middle aged.


(Photo courtesy of Inktraveler).


(Photo courtesy of Inktraveler).

In conclusion, the First Tokyo International Pen Show was resounding success, but at the expense of vintage pens and through becoming a stationery fair addressed to the final consumer.

The organizers deserve all the credit of the right decisions to attract 1500 potential buyers. The 2019 edition of the Tokyo International Pen Show will take place on October 5th and 6th of 2019.


Pelikan M800 Kodaishu – Sailor Red Brown

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 2nd, 2018
etiquetas: Tokyo, evento, papelería