FLOAT ABOUT... © April 1996 Issue #3

My Float Pen Mission to... Seattle was wonderful. I did not find many new pens for my collection, but I truly enjoyed the hunt. I picked up some duplicates and then reorganized my collection to find even more. You will find all of them on this list. Supply is limited, so if you are interested let me know ASAP. You may call or e-mail to reserve. My collection is at a grand total of 685 pens. A few Hong Kong pens left, don't miss them.

The list that accompanied the last issue of Float About is still current, you can refer to it for more detailed pen descriptions. I had to do some serious editing to keep page numbers to a minimum.

Bill found Hong Kong to be an exciting city. I insisted that he shop for float pens. Bill was quite thorough in his search. I now have 31 different Hong Kong pens in my collection. Some women desire diamonds, others pant for pearls... I fancy float pens. He knows how to win my heart.

Check out the Olympic pens. I am going to offer them by the set. If that fails, I will eventually break them up into singles. If you have a sports fan on your gift list... these are great. The Olympic Looney Tunes pen are exceptionally well done.

News from ...Fellow collector, Ron Lanyi, brought something interesting to my attention. In a few of his photoramic pens he noticed a second item that seemed to have broken loose, but had limited movement. After careful consideration, Bill and I determined this is actually a smaller piece of film mounted on an independent track. It's movement has been intentionally restricted. The most spectacular example of this, that I have seen, is the Batman Gotham City pen. Batman and the Joker are positioned on one track, while Batman's fist travels on it's own track. Do you have any in your collection?

I am hearing from more and more collectors. One comment I frequently receive is ‘I am so glad to know there are others that collect these pens. I thought I was the only one!’ I guess there is something comforting about finding others that share our obsessions.

Psychology of the Float Collector...Another issue that keeps popping up relates to the psychology of collecting. In our case, of course, the question is usually 'why things that float?'. As I sanded over 300 tatting shuttles, over 6 times each, I found plenty of time to daydream about the possibilities.

I think we would all agree that there is something soothing or relaxing about items that float in water. As humans, when we float, we enjoy a sense of total weightlessness that can be achieved by no other means. Unless of course you are an astronaut! I am assuming few of you are. So, does this mean we make a personal connection with the floating object? We can definitely relate.

But the object is not floating freely in a lake or ocean. The object is confined in a very small space and unable to get out of the water. When was the last time you found yourself in that situation? You don't remember? Let's see... suspended in water... in a completely confined space? It's a place each and everyone of us have in common... the womb! Wow... that was a trip I did not want to take. I must have been channeling Freud. I think it's definitely time for a coffee break.

Let's approach the matter from another angle. Do you consider the objects inside to be trapped... or protected within the confines of their containers? At the age of 4 or 5, I distinctly remember being scolded for cutting up my brother's teething ring. It was a ring of 6 or 7 connected, clear, water-filled pillows with colorful plastic animals floating inside. In my mind, little brother was too old to use this toy and the animals had suffered long enough. It was my duty to set them free.

My mother didn't see it that way at all. As an adult, I can now understand the wisdom of her thinking. After all, once I had released the beasts they were scattered to the wind. They each fell victim to their own separate demise. Whether the animal was swallowed by the sand box or left outside to perish... they are all gone. If I had left the ring untouched the toy may have survived. I just felt a little shiver of guilt. This too will pass.

What do you think? Are the objects locked in? Or are we locked out? Should we continue exploring the topic of 'Why things that float?' on various levels in future issues of Float About? Do we dare?

The Media...Haven't caught any pens in the media recently. Word from Denmark has it Peter Gabriel's video Steam has a tip 'n' strip or stripper pen prominently featured. Has anyone seen it? The Blake's told me about the car dealership ad with the Eddie & Frasier pen. Larry thinks it may have been a Denver, Colorado ad. If you know anything about this ad, please contact me.

50th Anniversary...The factory in Denmark is preparing for their big 50th Anniversary Celebration in June. That's a party I would like to attend. At a time when copycat pens are creeping in to the marketplace, I have made a pledge to buy only Denmark pens. Why buy a copy when $3-$4 will buy you Cadillac quality?!

New Pens...The latest Disney pen in the works is the Hunchback of Notre Dame. It will no doubt become available with the release of the movie. I assume it will be distributed through Disney stores nationwide, not just at the parks.

Problem...You are at a flea market or antique show and you have found a float pen. The price makes you wondered if it is old or new? In the past, if the image was faded and had a duo-tone look, I assumed it was a pen from at least the 50's or 60's. WRONG!

Pen authorities assure me that even a new pen will take on that nostalgic appearance with prolonged or overexposure to sunlight. Because the images in the photoramic pens are actually film, they are vulnerable to light. Direct UV rays will cause deterioration. Display and store your pens where they are not subjected to direct sunlight to avoid fading.

A few cartoon character pens were actually dated at time of production, but this is unusual. There isn't any sure fired way to date a pen on site without research. There is one feature that I suspect appears on older pens. I am not sure how reliable this is, but if the pen clip is shorter & shaped quite differently than the contemporary versions, it could be an older pen. How much older? Who knows?

Elizabeth Spatz spotted a Knott's Berry Farm pen with Charlie Brown featured at a sale for just $25! Think that's a little steep? You're right. $3 is the going rate... contact Ron Lanyi in the pen exchange. I visited a Springfield, Ohio antique shop and found a 7-Up float pen for $78. Needless to say, as much as I love advertising pens, this one did not follow me home.

Displays.... Spinning Float Pen Displays

I have enclosed a copy (in some cases a picture) of a casino display I made for my pens with a gambling theme. Materials: A channel frame with spring clips to hold the photo in place. A 16" x 20" frame, 3/4" deep, with a complimentary mat. 1/2 yard of a fabric that reflects your chosen theme. Fan shaped matboard corner piece(s) 8 + 5/8" high. Matching heavy corrugated cardboard corner piece(s) measure 6 + 5/8" high (glued behind the matboard to raise it high enough to allow room for the pen clips). Theme props: I used a deck of playing cards, dice, and later added poker chips.

In future issues, the topic of displaying pens will be continued. How do you display your pens? Are there any other issues that you would like to see addressed? Talk to me.

Float gently on your journey,

Take me to Issue #4 of Float About please
Time to go shopping... Pens for Sale
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