Help me give my friend a fountain pen!

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Given the crowd, this seems like the perfect question to crowdsource: if you were buying a gift for someone you knew liked fountain pens, what pen would you get? Or would you skip the pen as too personal, and just get an assortment of paper and ink?

I would love to find a pen that’s not too expensive, but not entry-level, either; a little unique, a little gifty, and less likely to already be owned (or can you not own too many Lamy Safaris?). I don’t have a firm budget, but something around $50-ish dollars, plus or minus, would be great.

Suggestions warmly appreciated!

9 thoughts on “Help me give my friend a fountain pen!

  1. Arriving late, as ever, I’ve enjoyed all the comments. To my surprise I haven’t actually purchased a fountain pen in years. After Mrs. gave me the Parker of my dreams 15 years ago, I didn’t need any more pens…

    My Lamy Safari is almost 30, my Shaffer Targas are even older… Meaning I have no experience with TWSBI or the more recent names.

    An old man’s suggestions – Safari with a gold nib (you can buy the nibs direct from Lamy).

    OR a Pelikan 200. A bit outside the price range you mentioned, but it looks like a classic fountain pen – gleaming black and gold – and boasts one of those astonishing Pelikan nibs.

  2. Honestly, unless you know there is a particular pen the person wants, I’d go with paper and/or ink instead of getting a pen. There are just too many subjective factors in selecting a pen, and much has to do with how the pen feels to the user. I’d go with some great fountain-pen friendly paper and maybe a luxury ink like Iroshizuku.

  3. Thanks for the ideas, everyone! And good point about hand size, Sandra. I know this person in a business context (and no, it’s not Karen, or else I’d be asking about left-handed-friendliness!), so not too much about preferences beyond a general admiration for good pens. Of course, if Art Brown were still around, I’d schlep in and take me some test drives. But the TWSBI is an intriguing suggestion…

  4. Hello. Me Again. I thought I was going to be unique and suggest a TWSBI Diamond 580 or VAC 700 for around $50 or $65. I was roundly beaten to the punch… That’s my choices… I have both and the Japanese fountain pens are very unique and have quite a history behind them…Best, LeRoy

  5. I’m a TWSBI fan as well – I got a mini recently, and have an older 540, and they are my favourite drawing/doodling/writing pens.

  6. I don’t envy you making the choice. I haven’t explored fountain pens in this price range (trying to keep this obsession in the lower price range). But from my personal experience with fountain pens, I’d take in to account the person’s hands as much as the quality of the pen. I have FPs I love, but seldom use because they are so heavy or long for my small hands. A heavy or long pen might be just the thing for someone with larger hands.

  7. I would love to give someone such a personal gift.
    Those I know who qualify on the personal-side of things, write very little.
    Suppose I’d look at Lamy first; but until I had a person in mind, it would just be so much hot air.

  8. I would second the TWSBI. There are some nice choices in the Monteverde Prima line if your friend likes color. Or how about the New Lamy Safari Blue Green (or any of the other AL-Stars)? Those run about $38.00.

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