"When I started collecting fountain pens, I poured over price guides and read everything available. I thought I had a leg up on other collectors and antique dealers because I was often able to scoop up pens at a fraction of what “the book” said. As one friend put it, I collected pens with a vengeance, and I amassed more and more.
One day, I took all the pens I had and piled them onto the kitchen table. As I examined the pens in front of me, hairline cracks and broken parts materialized in pens I thought were perfect. Nibs lacked iridium, and what I had previously taken for a beautiful patina on caps and barrels turned out to be nothing more than serious discoloration.
A quick count and estimate of what I had paid per pen revealed that I spent several thousands of dollars on little pieces of rubber, metal, and plastic, and that many of the pens I had bought were little more than expensive parts.
Moreover, some of the pens that booked high were not as interesting to me as some of the less expensive pens. I also discovered there was little relationship between how much a pen cost and how well is wrote. Worse still, I was almost afraid to touch, let alone repair, the select group of highly collectible pens I had managed to acquire. What had started as a fascination and love for fountain pens had suddenly turned into something less satisfying. Some hobby!
Things needed straightening out, and after much thought, I came to the following conclusions. First, o realized that price guides are useful, but that too much reliance on them was a trap I wanted to avoid. I decided to trust my instincts and be more selective when buying fountain pens. I would stop kicking myself, as best I could, for the ones that got away and better appreciate the ones that had not. I would organize the pens I had into a collection that made sense and concentrate on getting them into tiptop shape.
This second edition of Fountain Pens & Present is written to help collectors avoid some of the pitfalls mentioned above. It provides tips on how to identify valuable pens and how to complete simple repairs and restoration. It helps the pen collector organize his pen collecting activities so that his efforts result in more and better pens. And finally, Fountain Pens & Present puts the pen collector in the driver’s seat by providing the up-to-date information he needs to determine the value of his fountain pens."