Float About #35, a bi-monthly newsletter...

dedicated to Eskesen Floaty Pen Collectors © Copyright Fri/June 21, 2002
I must admit, when issue #1... of Float About was printed and mailed, I never dreamed 34 issues would follow. Of course one of the most astounding things about #35 is that it is early and short. The craft show season has begun. When this small window of opportunity presented itself... I decided to go for it. So let's shake, rattle and roll.

Republican or Democrat... no matter. This pen is a MUST for every float pen collection. The floater is the Presidential Seal. It rises and falls behind the image of President Bush. Patriotic backdrop in red, white, and blue.

For those of you that overpaid for this pen on eBay... I am so sorry. I recently lost my Internet exclusive with one of my major distributors. My competitors knew about this pen long before I did. I try to keep my collectors informed. Never hesitate to ask me about the availability or estimated value of a pen that is posted for auction, whether it be vintage or new. I frequently advise collectors. If I am unsure... I will tell you so. That offer holds for my eBay listings too. Don't be shy. I sometimes give collectors a sneak preview of my coming attractions on eBay. You may have noticed the Doctor Who set posted a few weeks ago. Several collectors were savvy enough to check availability and reserved sets in advance.

Speaking of British Sci-Fi... I do indeed have three Doctor Who pens in stock. Long before Star Trek and Star Wars Brits were tuned-in to their very own Time Lord, Doctor Who. According to the ultimate and official Doctor Who webpage, the adventures of Who and cast began on November 23rd, 1963. Episode one featured the Doctor and company ‘traveling in their time and space machine (the TARDIS) 100,000 years into Earth's past to help some slightly dim cavemen discover fire’. The pen threesome depicts the cast and some of their most fierce enemies, the robotic Daleks and spooky Cybermen. Forty years and counting the series still has a dedicated cult following. My son, Josh, recently discovered and enjoys the Doctor Who reruns on PBS.

The Red Dwarf series is by far more obscure, but a real gem. Collector Christian Glick describes it as “Star Trek meets Fawlty Towers”. He goes on to suggest that if you are into sci-fi and/or British humor, your video store may have The Red Dwarf on-the-shelf. He claims at least the first couple of episodes are worth a rent. Christian also uncovered the Red Dwarf website where he found a bounty of memories and a detailed history of the series. This pen set features two twist n click with chrome clips.

The Clangers, a 70's cartoon series delighted a much younger set. Little pink mice-like creatures inhabit the moon. (Two twist n clicks)

Television programs are rarely commemorated in float pens. That makes any and all of these pens exceptional acquisitions. I am pleased to say that I am able to offer these foreign pens at a domestic price. Pens may be purchased in program sets or the entire collection of seven for $21 (just $3 each). 10 complete sets are available. The Clangers and Red Dwarf sets are in the shortest supply.

Media Sightings...

Mysteriously, Andy Balbus knew... about this Acura ad before it was in print. Hmmm? I knew Andy was well-connected and apparently his sources are reliable. Andy gave me a heads-up before the ad appeared in The New York Times Magazine on Sunday, May 12. The NYT promo appeared as a two-page spread with the float pen photo on the left page, positioned in the upper left corner. Andy's copy of the ad was the first to arrive. A few days later another copy was received from Nancy Given. Since then Patricia Moore forwarded a smaller rendition of the ad that she found in Traveler magazine, which is where my scan originated. Annie Ross has since spotted the same promotion in Vanity Fair and Andy tells me Time magazine ran it too. Clip a copy from your favorite mag for your paper archives.

Don't expect to have these pens in your personal collection. While the artwork and styles were inspired by the real deal, they have obviously been graphically altered to suit the ad designer. The caption, below the photo, begins... ‘The 260-hp Acura TL Type-S. Who doesn't like to bring home a souvenir or two?’... and continues with more Acura hype. While it is truly a beautiful performance vehicle, my practical side immediately began to calculate the difference in price between our 10 year old Metro and upgrading to an Acura. Honey, that's a lot of float pens!

Did you see the CSI episode... that was mentioned in issue #34? Many collectors reported the sighting. Shortly after Float About was released, I received an email from Toni Perling. She had an opportunity to meet with the director, Richard Lewis, writer-producer Josh Berman and several cast members when she attended a seminar featuring CSI star Marg Helgenberger. Toni explained how excited our floaty community was to see a floaty pen used as a major plot point. Richard Lewis was amused to know that a floaty community exists and had lots of questions. Marg and Josh knew all about floaties. Because Toni is a collector, they were especially pleased with her reaction to the episode.

There was some doubt whether the pen used was actually Jack Keely's fancy cats design. I have reviewed the tape again. I can say without a shadow of doubt it is Jack's design. The slow motion and pause buttons on my remote confirm. When Marg first examines the pen, the cat on the far left (refer to photo) is visible. When the murder is reenacted and the pen is plunged into the body, both of these cat faces are exposed. This CBS program is officially titled Crime Scene Investigation. It airs on Thursday nights. Surely episode #220, "Cats in the Cradle", will rerun this summer. I won't give away the chilling ending. Check your local listings and have your VCR ready.

Float pens to make an appearance... on the silver screen. Jeffrey M of Canada, purchased several site pens to be used as props for an upcoming movie. The title has yet to be established, but the theme is dealing with life. I know that isn't much to go on, but there are a few stars you may recognize. The film will feature Mandy Moore, Allison Janney, of the West Wing and Peter Gallagher. Peter has appeared in many films, but the first that comes to my mind is While You Were Sleeping with co-star Sandra Bullock. That's all I know for now. If and when more details are received, I will let you know.

Collectors News...

Finally float pen hunting season has begun! In issue #34 I related Lynda Burstein's dismay. She had recently visited the D.C. area and didn't find any pens. Kerri Drylie, from Florida, vacationed there at the end of April. She traveled a different path and found a total of 11 pens. Her list includes four pens from the Library of Congress, one US Congress, another from the Capitol, the last pen available at the Vietnam Memorial, a JFK pen and another from the National Building Museum. #11 is a generic 'Washington, D.C.' pen. Things are looking up.

Ginny Hamme had a chance to stalk... float pens this spring while visiting her son in D.C.. She reports, 'We did the touristy thing and took the sightseeing trolley from Union Station'. She found pens with a patriotic theme and the usual D.C. site pens in some of the souvenir shops at the Station. No new designs to be found. In fact, Ginny got the impression the inventory she uncovered was leftover from 2001. Shortly after her D.C. romp, Ginny made a trip to New York City and discovered two pens new-to-her at the Disney Store on Fifth Avenue. Mickey wears a tux and dances over bars of music in the first pen. The second features Minnie dressed as the Statue of Liberty. Both pens are in the t&c style with chrome clips. Thanks for the pointers.

Stephen Kenneth paid 15£... the most he has ever invested, in the Kylie Minogue's conceal/reveal float pen. 2,700 pens were created to promote Kylie's Fever album. Not only did Stephen procure a pen, he also attended her Manchester concert. I visited the website that had offered the pen for sale. They were asking $21 something for the pen, so maybe it is just as well the pen is sold out. Stephen tells me Eskesen is working on a second Kylie pen.

The Bart Simpson pen, currently available at Marks & Spencers in England, is pictured left. Sorry, I do not have a source. Stephen forwarded the picture. perhaps you can arrange a trade with him. You can catch photos of the Kylie pen on Stephen's website too. OH! You can stop looking for a World Cup float pen... you won't find one.

Another collector spent some time in Maine this spring and found 10 Eskesen pens to add to her collection. Many of the designs are available on my list, but the most encouraging news is that she only encountered three Italian designs. Much better odds than we have seen in the past.

Cincinnati collector, Michele Peragine... took time out of her busy weekend schedule to visit us at the May Wyoming Art Fair (Cinci suburb). Michele is new to Ohio, directly from the East coast. She seems to be enjoying that initial period of discovery that comes with an extreme transplant. Personally I am surprised she survived the culture shock. Cincinnati is a haven of cultural activity, but still a river town. Michele finds plenty to keep her busy. She has extra Cincinnati Art Museum pens, contact her to arrange a trade via email. Thanks so much for stopping in Michele. I look forward to meeting many more collectors this summer.

Collectors News... continued

Mr Zanat has done it again! The newest pen features four prominent European collectors. Eskie, the floater, covers Europeans Collectors'. I bet all four collectors have pens for trade. Refer to my trader's list for all of their email addresses.

Super collector, Miranda Wittebol... is also on-the-move. Miranda resides in Amersfoort, Holland and has over 7,000 pens in her collection. That is old news. The latest news is that Miranda and Dik will become homeowners for the very first time. It will be official on August 1. No one is more surprised than Miranda and Dik. Now there will be plenty of space for her collection and room to grow. Congratulations Miranda and Dik! We wish you the best in your new home. The moving doesn't stop there. Miranda and Dik will make their second trip to the USA this September. They are scheduled to arrive in NYC on 9-11. Neither of them are concerned about the historic date. Unfortunately, their activities will be confined to their tour. Their group will explore the East coast, including Niagara Falls and Washington, DC. It's a strict schedule. Miranda will be pen shopping on-the-run. Even so, I know they will have a wonderful journey.

Recently I was asked why I ... avoid supplying eBay vendors and other auctioneers with pens. My question is ‘Why would I supply others with pens so they can sell them for more money than they are worth to my fellow collectors?’. I would rather not. There are far too many people attempting to auction float pens that are readily available for a reasonable price. I prefer to deal with people directly through Float About. Posting on eBay is a time consuming project with little reward. Insertion fees, commissions and PayPal's cut consume enough pennies to deplete all profit. I post pens on eBay to level the playing field and keep collectors informed. Float pens are fun and inexpensive. Let's keep it that way!

Before I forget... Susan Eisen has opened the doors to her brand new floatypens.org. Pop in and say ‘hello’.

Float Pen Storage...

A New York floaty fan has invested... in at least one metal Bisley Collectors Cabinet. These units are available retail at Container Stores around the country. You can also purchase them online at www.Containerstore.com. When you arrive, search for keyword ‘Bisley’. Our collector opted to buy 4 x 6 inch inserts that divide the drawers perfectly to accommodate her pens. The smaller cabinets measure 11 x 16 x 13 inches high and go for $89-$99. The larger 8 and 10 drawer units measure 11 x 16 x 26 3/4 inches high and sell in the $169 -$189 range. These are quality cabinets of substantial weight. If they are beyond your budget, lighter versions can sometimes be found at huge office supply stores. Ikea has something similar. Be sure to check sales, auctions and the used market.

Pens Past, Present and Future...

Some incredible pens... have been added to the New Arrivals list. I am sure you will find something special for your collection. Alvin S Hatch Elementary, ShipArt and the Soil Experiment pens are FloatArt designs. You will be quick to notice that all of the designs from Floaty are just $2.25 As you know, bubbles are caused by abrupt temperature changes. The package must have been subjected to some hellish conditions in transit. Each and every pen in the Floaty shipment arrived with a bubble. It's a small bubble, but still! It is possible the bubbles will dissipate in time, but I can't make any promises. Consequently, all pens that have a bubble are clearly marked and discounted.

The dinosaur pen is much nicer than my scan. It does not have a beige background. It is a see-thru window design. The new space series is very nice. Many of the caption panels reflect the artwork from the picture panel. The Doctor Who set of three pens is probably the most exotic offering. The pen pictured left features Dr. Who and the 'Tardis', his time machine. The British Sci-Fi Red Dwarf, Doctor Who and children's show The Clangers will not be restocked. Get 'em while they are hot... or not.

Red, White and Blue SALE.... You will find several designs under California and Seattle Washington for $2. Stock up while supplies last at a great price.

Bill and I spent... several hours at the Hartville Flea Market the Monday after our May 4-5 craft show. The dealers were debating when the bad weather would hit. This always adds an element of frenzy. I paused on top of a hill to gaze over the crowd of hunter-gatherers. They were busily rummaging through goods haphazardly spread on blankets, splashed over car hoods, sometimes even meticulously arranged. ETA for rain... one hour. What a rush! We all moved briskly through the show desperately seeking our personal treasures. Sweet success. I found a vintage Eskesen float pen for $2. Life is good.

Issue #1 of Float About... was published way back in December of 1995. Here we are 6+ years later. Thanks to all of you... it has been an amazing adventure. Issue #36 is due to release about August 19, but I have a lot of ground to cover in between. We will make our annual trip to Oakbrook, IL (near Chicago) for the Oakbrook Center Craft Invitational the weekend of July 13. The next weekend I will turn the big 5-0. Never dreamed I would get this far, so we better celebrate. Then we have three more shows to get through before August 19th rolls around. Bill and I intend to be in Pittsburgh the weekend of August 23rd to celebrate Josh's birthday. In other words, expect the next issue to be late! In the meantime, I wish you a fruitful hunting season, safe travel and fabulous floaty summer. Your humble servant ... Diana

Back up and read the Issue #34 from April 2002
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FLOAT ABOUT... Diana Andra, 1676 Millsboro Road, Mansfield, OH 44906-3374
phone 419/529-8876 or fax 419/529-3354
Copyright © June/2002 Float About... Diana Andra