What This Page is About
You probably arrived at this page from one of my eBay pen auctions or eBay store offerings. I put this page up to let you get to know me, provide my and opinions about pens and related topics, and to share interesting resources and advice.

Please feel free to ask questions about any topic, or let me know if there is a particular pen you're seeking (or you have one you think I'd be interested in buying). Better still, why not join our discussion list that is devoted to pen collecting. I use this list to notify you of new auctions and additions to my eBay store, but you can use it to discuss pens with fellow collectors, advertise your own auctions and pens for sale, and inquire about the availability of pens that you are seeking.

For a peek into the future please check my my pen vault for what I will be offering soon and in the near future.

About Me
I'm an avid pen collector who actively buys and sells primarily on eBay, where I operate an eBay store called Vikatora's Pens and Dolls. The store is not a business - I'd starve if it were - but does allow me to sell off pens I acquire so I can acquire more. It is sometimes an interesting cycle, especially when I am bidding on more than one of the same model of pen that interests me and wind up winning all of them. My buying and selling allows me to own (however briefly) some interesting and beautiful writing instruments.

My favorite pens are from the Italian companies, but I am also interested in vintage American pens. Here are my favorites:
  • Montegrappa - for quality, craftsmanship and striking beauty this is the pen to have. I am especially fond of the Symphony and Micra models, and their limited editions are exquisite.
  • Visconti - since I have a large collection of pens I have choices, and I seem to use Visconti pens the most. For daily writing you cannot beat the Ragtime series, which is lite, beautifully balanced, and lays down ink perfectly. If you do a lot of writing I recommend this model as a daily writer. I also use a Visconti Giacomo Casanova limited edition for daily writing. Although this pen is somewhat large, it performs flawlessly and is one of the best examples of how art and engineering can be combined. Visconti's celluloid pens are also favorites - they are objects of beauty and function, especially the Kaleido.
  • Ancora - This company knows how to make beautiful pens - I have a number of their limited editions and each is a breathtaking work of art. The only problem with Ancora pens is they are so beautiful that mine wind up staying in their display cases. Every serious collector should own at least one.
  • Omas - if you want a perfect writing instrument the Omas Paragon is the pen. It's aptly named, and is based on a highly successful 1930 design and remains the standard for perfection. The Paragon is a large pen and is not ideal for someone with small hands. Omas makes smaller versions of this pen in their Milord line - you have two sizes from which to choose in the Milord line - and they also make an ergonomic pen called the 360 (which I don't like).
  • Aurora - I love the Optima model, which is about the same size as a Montblanc Boheme, but is far superior in my opinion in both looks and performance. Their limited edition pens, like those from the other Italian companies, are works of art and of the highest quality.
Other pens of which I am particularly fond include those from Cesare Emiliano (hand made, excellent performers, and relatively inexpensive), Delta (I have their Nazareth limited edition and a Luxus Graffitti model, both of which are strikingly beautiful and epitomize the art of pen making), and Monteverde (I recently discovered their Charisma model and love it for its artistic design and outstanding performance - this model will convince even the most hardcore ballpoint or rollerball user to switch to fountain pens).

Although I am not a big fan of Montblanc pens, especially their Classique models that to me look cheap, uninspired and common, I do like (and use) some of their models. I carry a Mozart ballpoint, and positively love some of their Writer's Series limited editions, such as the Dumas, Edgar Allan Poe, Dostoevsky, and Hemingway models.

Another design I particularly like is the Solitaire Doué in vermeil and Bordeaux (which is no longer offered, but can be found). That color combination is an attention-getter, and the Solitaire Doué models are nicely done and of high quality. If you must own a Montblanc, this is the model to get in my opinion. If this model is outside of your price range, consider the Noblesse model. They are inexpensive, come in a plethora of colors, and are lite and sleek. While most collectors sneer at this model, I am partial to it, and the older Noblesse fountain pens are perfect everyday writers. I keep one or two around and use them often because they are lite and write like a charm.

Useful Information
Regardless of whether you are a collector or just want a nice pen, the following collection of resources will be useful.

Inks and Refills

I am going to share my opinions about inks - my favorite brand is J. Herbin, with Waterman and Pelikan running neck-and-neck for a close second. I've heard that Private Reserve is also an excellent ink, but I haven't yet tried it.

For ballpoint and rollerball I purchase refills from Joon's Refill Directory, which covers every manufacturer from Aurora to Yard-O-Led. This is an excellent source for hard-to-find refills, such as Montegrappa and Montblanc Mozart pens.

Nibs and General Repairs

If you need a nib repaired the best place I've found is Classic Fountain Pens, Inc. These folks can perform serious magic - check out their before and after page - and they also have highly informative articles, and a nice page of advice on general pen maintenance.

Penopoly is another source of fountain pen repairs that has an excellent reputation for working magic, as does The Southern Scribe (whose site also contains a wealth of general fountain pen information).

Note - I have no affiliation with the above sources except as a satisfied customer.

General Resources

The Internet is rich with resources, and here are a few of my favorites:
  • Jim's Pen Site is interesting and informative, and is maintained by someone who freely shares information and insights. If you are new to fountain pens, you'll love his page on filling fountain pens (three pages actually, covering all major filling systems), his page about nibs, and his touching essay about keeping collecting in perspective are also worth taking the time to read
  • Bill Acker's Page is probably one of the first pen-sites on the Internet and is a treasure trove of info
  • Pen Lovers, which contains a wealth of information, links, and an excellent on-line magazine titled Stylophiles.
  • Jansen Lam's Fountain Pen Directory, which lists most of the manufacturers, past and present, in a nicely formatted set of pages.
  • PaperPenalia is an interesting web page that covers pens and papers - remember, the best pen and the finest ink are merely mediocre without quality paper.
  • For the Maki-e enthusiast I highly recommend a visit to Dave Ushkow's web page, and also his four articles in Stylophiles about this artform that is prized among many fountain pen collectors. The articles are The Art of Maki-e, The Art of Maki-e, Part II, The Art of Maki-e, Part III, and The Art of Maki-e, Part IV.
  • Although I have a mailing list, the best one to join if you're a hard-core collector is managed by Thomas Zoss - go to his sign-up page to join.
  • The most visually beautiful webpage I've visited is run by Tay, who goes by Castle88 on eBay. His Pens in Asia is among the most comprehensive web sites a pen collector could hope for, and covers every manufacturer from Europe, US and Asia. His photos are stunning, and his commentary is good reading.
  • One of the most informative sites is Pentrace - it has articles, news, links and enough information that even the most experienced collector will find something he or she didn't know, but a new collector would feel comfortable with.


There are a few books that I also recommend. The most important reference is Fountain Pens and Pencils: The Golden Age of Writing Instruments, also known as the Blue Book. In addition, no serious collector should be without a copy of Andreas Lambrou's Fountain Pens of the World. Yes, the book is expensive, but can you afford to be without it if you are actively building a collection? This is especially true if you do a lot of transactions on eBay, because this book will help you to authenticate what you're bidding on, as well as give you some indication of the pen's value.

Other books that I recommend are Fountain Pens: Past & Present and Fountain Pens: Collectible for general knowledge.

If you collect or are interested in vintage pens, you will want to read one or more of the following books:

A handy book to carry to swap meets, garage sales and antique shops is Identifying Fountain Pens: The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier - don't leave home without it.

Of course, once you get deep into collecting fountain pens you will probably find yourself also collecting inkwells at some point - when that happens I recommend Veldon Badders' Collector's Guide to Inkwells. This book will serve you well as you navigate eBay's inkwell auctions (and go broke keeping up with two expensive hobbys).

How to Buy Pens on eBay - and Not Get Ripped Off
FIRST - Read and heed eBay's Safe Trading advice. By following their simple steps you will eliminate most of the risks and pitfalls of buying products you cannot physically see or touch from people you don't know.

If you are buying Montblanc pens, know how to spot fakes - and there are many of them floating about on eBay. Insist on knowing the pen's serial number before you bid. This number is engraved on the upper ring and clip assembly of all modern Montblanc pens, except for the following - Noblesse and Generation models do not have serial numbers, and limited editions have the progressive number (xxx/xxxx denoting pen number xxx of xxxx made) on the body of the pen. There are other signs to look for, and the best way to check is to investigate the pen or ask someone to authenticate it for you.

There are trusted sellers on eBay - here are some from whom I buy a lot of pens, and have been 100% happy with each transaction. Clicking on the name will take you to their eBay page:
  • William Melvin (eBay name is 74stepside). William sells pens for a living, and is a passionate collector. He and my husband have become close friends, and William buys from me and I from him. He is a Pelikan pen expert, and shares my love for Italian pens. He also comes up with some of the most interesting pens, including a rare Montblanc model of which only 18 were made, and a gorgeous Omas that is equally as rare.
  • Castle98, whose real name is Tay, is one of the most knowledgable (and nicest) collectors there is. If you visit his website you'll receive an education in pens that is priceless. He's friendly, and will gladly quote a surprisingly reasonable price for pens he has displayed on his site.
  • Regina Martini, who sells under both penscollectorscorner and martini.de is not only someone from whom I always buy, but is also a noted pen designer who created the Martini Limited Edition Art Deco pen, and author of Pens & Pencils: A Collector's Handbook
  • IOU005 is one of my primary sources of Montegrappa pens, and one of the fastest shippers on eBay.
  • Speerbob keeps me supplied in Ancora pens, and is someone whose page I have bookmarked.
  • Tomwell2000 has been a constant source of great deals on some of my favorite pens.
  • I've only purchased a few pens from Judperl, but I'm already impressed with quality and delivery - and suspect that he will become one of my favorite sellers
  • Although she seems to have ceased selling pens, ttxp (Carol in real life) has sold me some beautiful pens and Montblanc leather products. She still sells watches, Victorian trading cards and other interesting items, and I frequently check her page for bargains.
  • Most of my Cesare Emiliano pens come from zarchivist (when I am not getting them directly from the source).
There are many, many other sellers from whom I've bought pens and with whom I have been impressed. Please check my eBay feedback to discover them. There are too many to list, but all contribute to making eBay a great source of pens for my collection.

Please feel free to email me if you have questions, requests, or need advice about a pen on which you're bidding or considereing (even if it isn't from me).