© Copyright Fri/Nov 14, 2003
a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to Eskesen floaty pen collectors
Welcome to winter... and all the trimmings. Wednesday night (Nov 12) we had tornado warnings, lightning and thunder. Thursday high winds and snow flurries. Today sunshine and 35 degrees. I must be in Ohio! As autumn 2003 winds down, so the souvenir season fades. It makes for a short New Arrivals list, but no apologies necessary. There is something for everyone.
When all else fails... a sense of humor can lighten an otherwise heavy load. I had to laugh when I saw the Homeland Security pen. The floater is an anxious citizen. The background panel is consumed by a terrorist alert chart. Up and down he goes. Where he will land today... nobody knows. While this is the most topical pen to arrive, it is the only pen related to terrorism or national security. Each of the following categories netted at least one fresh catch: Advertise (domestic and foreign), Art, Animals, Humor, Religion and US Locations. There are some real beauties. Enjoy.
Remember, links that take you away from my site are
) in pink.
If you wish to avoid getting lost, I suggest you read the entire newsletter
and then return to explore the outside links. A great deal of the information
included in this newsletter first appeared in Float Along, my continuous
online news bulletin. Time sensitive information is posted there as it
is received. Check frequently for new postings.
News Directly from the Eskesen Factory ...
My liaison at Eskesen... Kim Rasmussen, has provided a bundle of encouraging news from the factory. “Thanks” to Kim in advance for his contribution.
Custom Style Float Pen Sold in France...
Eskesen has launched a new series of float pens with the French company Demons et Merveilles (D&M). The company specializes in licensed articles for collectors. The pens are sold throughout France and also in Belgium. The float pen is in a new form especially created for D&M.
The 964 twist n click was used, but with a different top and clip. To date, 13 designs have been developed including Mickey Mouse, Betty Boop, Milo Manara, Tweety, Casimir and Taz. So far, sales have been promising.
Eskesen at the Movies.... A new Danish movie, Fakiren from Bilbao, will not only feature an Eskesen floaty pen, but the pen will be a central part of the plot. A few months ago Eskesen was contacted by the Danish Film Institute. “Then asked for our cooperation with the movie and of course we agreed.” We can tell you that the movie is based on the book, Fakiren from Bilbao, by the famous writer Bjarne Reuter. The childrens' movie is currently being filmed by M&M Productions with Danish and German actors. According to our information, the film is scheduled for release in October of 2004, probably to premiere in Copenhagen.
As for the storyline... imagine an old house called Moose's Eye. Add two serious criminals and the world's most precious diamond. There are two coffins, an oven by the name of Hot Viola, a magical pen and a ghost named the Fakire of Bilbao. Mix them all together and you have the ingredients for a treasure hunt.
We can't wait for the release of this movie. For English speaking floaty fans we hope that M&M Productions will provide subtitles on the DVD so that you too may fully enjoy your favorite pen on the BIG screen.
An Invitation to Eskesen's.... 2004 Open House: “It has been a few years since we last held our Open House day. We have set a date for the next event. All family, friends, relatives, customers and of course collectors are invited to visit our factory on May 17, 2004. We will be showing visitors around our premises and arrange for some Danish specialties to be served. If you haven't planned your 2004 vacation yet, perhaps a European vacation with a visit to the Eskesen factory is in order? It promises to be an interesting journey.”
Updates related to Float About #41...
Strong Badia follow-up... provided by Stephanie Silk. “Hi Diana, I just wanted to add something about the Strong Badia pen you mentioned. You don't have to spend $100 or more to get a free one. You can buy the tote bag listed for $45 and get a free pen.” ( HomestarRunner.com ). It is the same design that sold out in Issue #41 of the newsletter.
Apparently the Scandinavian Review online library now requires a password and subscription fee. In issue #41, I encouraged collectors to visit the Scandinavian Review website. The Summer 2003 issue includes a fantastic 9-page article about float pens. The cover page is pictured right. While I am absolutely sure the subscription fee to SR is a worthwhile investment, for now most of my collectors just wanted to read the floaty pen article. Miranda, Jack Keely and myself were mentioned in the article. I was tickled to see they even included my website address.
I have scanned my hardcopy of the article. Images: Cover page, Pages 39-40, Pages 41-42, Pages 43-44 and Pages 45-46.
Musician and collector Doug Yeo... has a third floaty pen in-the-works. It's very hush-hush. He hasn't revealed the theme or given a hint regarding the artwork. Only Doug and his designer, Nancy Nerenberg, know what it's all about. The prototype has been approved and the design submitted for production. Now we wait. Doug expects the pens to arrive soon. I will keep you posted. In the meantime, I still have a handful of Doug's second design on the new arrivals list from issue #41. Description: Doug enters the Boston Symphony Hall carrying a trombone but emerges with a Serpent, a rare musical instrument.
Miranda Wittebol's collection... could reach 8,000 by January 1st 2004... with your help. As of November 12th she is just 80 pens short of her goal. Arrange a trade now! Together we can get Miranda to the top. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Valerie Hoffmann... for the heads-up. Val reports, "Diana, I've spotted a floaty pen on tv! It was exciting, especially when one isn't paying attention. The pen is in a music video by JEWEL. It's her new video for the song STANDING. They showed a plane taking off and then they cut to a very close-up shot of the pen (and the pen has a plane in it) and back slowly away to reveal a child showing the pen to an adult. My work for the day is now done!"
Gwen Garabedian forwarded a link... to a fresh media sighting. Lucy Mohl's article, Trolling for Tchotchkes, appeared in the September 28th edition of Pacific Northwest, The Seattle Times Magazine. You will get a kick out of the article if you hang on for the last paragraph. It's where the author, Lucy Mohl, finally comes to her senses! (NOTE: Sorry... page has been removed from their website; Link removed from Float About May 2015.)
Linda McCormick was debating ...
how to best use her 40% off coupon at Michael's when she made a
floaty discovery. While browsing the book aisle Linda found a copy of
Better Homes and Gardens Collections: Projects & Ideas to Display Your
Chapter 5, Hobbies & Travel represents a range of souvenirs and travel mementos. Page number 156 (pictured right) is consumed by a full color shot of five float pens displayed in a blue depression glass container.
On page 157 the author offers this suggestion, “The next time you're visiting souvenir shops, check out the selections of collectible pens. These playful writing accessories take up little space, yet lend a lighthearted touch wherever they are displayed.” The same page features a photo of four pens arranged on a map.
The book retails for $29, but you can do better if you shop around. If you don't see it on the shelf at your local bookstore, Amazon.com has it in stock. When shopping at Amazon you will see used and almost new options. I was able to get a new copy for less than $10. Shop wisely. Linda, thank you for forwarding the information.
The same Linda McCormick... plans to retire from the banking industry on November 21st. Some people retire and just can't figure out what to do with their days. Linda is looking forward to quality time with her family. She has an adorable grandson to spoil and chase about. In addition to float pens, Linda collects Halloween items, greeting cards and has a circle of friends that share her passions. She treasures the company of her husband and they enjoy traveling together. If a work day is 8 hours, a retirement day is 24. No doubt she will fill them all. Congratulations to you Linda! Enjoy your new life.
It's a girl!... Amelia Langness Marino arrived on Oct 2nd. First-time parents Kristen and Eugene are slowly adjusting to Amelia's schedule. “Congratulations” to the Marino family on their wonderful new addition.
Sean Fremon introduced me to... Geocaching. This is a high tech spin on an ancient amusement... the scavenger hunt. Members hide items, then deposit location clues ( http://www.geocaching.com ) here. Then the hunt begins. Sean hid float pens, among other things. It was 15 days before the pens were discovered. What a curious concept. If you find the romance of buried treasure hard to resist, this could be a fun way to put that energy in motion. Visit the website for details.
Ralf Brosig presented me ... with the pen created by German collectors. It is extraordinary. These pens were manufactured by Eskesen and issued in a very small quantity. That makes this item a rare breed. Contact Ralf directly if you are interested in owning this unique pen. And Ralf... thank you for your generous gift.
Los Angeles collector... Christian Glick is jetting off to Denmark today (11/14). He is very likely in the air as we speak. Christian has scheduled a tour of the Eskesen factory for next Monday or Tuesday. I have asked him for a report upon his return. Stay tuned.
New Pen Designs... of course!
You don't have to be a driver... to appreciate auto design. Performance doesn't seem to be the number one attraction, it's the style that grabs us. If you know me well, you know that I do not drive. However, a mini-Cooper could lure me back to the wheel. Models come and models go, but we keep a warm place in our hearts for our favorites. Honestly, I had never heard of a Trabant, but in Germany they are considered quite the treasure. In fact, Trabis, as they are fondly known, have a global following.
Oliver Gruenler of Mixx contacted me in regards to the Trabant floaty pen. Since I was unfamiliar with the car, I asked Oliver to provide some history. He was happy to oblige.
The Trabant was the car of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) made for East Germans. It was built in a factory where Audis had been fabricated before WWII. A new company, Sachsenring, was founded and began production of the Trabant in 1957. Several models were designed and sold, but the most famous of them all was the 601, born in 1967. This model remained relatively unchanged even after The Wall came down and into 1991.
It's simple styling conserved expensive metal. The body was constructed from a plastic similar to fiberglass called Duraplast. The Trabant could top about 100 kilometers per hour. The two cylinder two-stroke engine cut down on many expensive parts and had just 5 moving parts. It's engine was so light it could be removed by one person.
Most people that have owned a Trabant swear by them as they were inexpensive to own and operate. The simple construction meant little could go wrong with them. Over it's lifetime the brakes and electrical systems were improved. The last upgrade came in 1990, as the Trabant began to emerge from East Germany into the West. The original engine was replaced by a four-stroke 1.1 VW Polo engine.
Despite the much needed performance increase, the Trabant's days would be over soon. It was no longer exported to Eastern block countries and now the East Germans had access to so many other modern cars. In 1991, after over 3,096,000 Trabis were made, production came to a halt. The factory in Zwickau is now a car museum and several Trabi Clubs have been established. It is amazing such a small car, that rarely left the Communists States, has captured the hearts of car lovers the world over.
Thank you Oliver for the background information. I have purchased Trabi pens and keyring/pen combos. It's the first time combos have ever appeared on my list. It could also be the first one you add to your personal collection. Don't hesitate. I only have 15 of them. The cap pulls off to reveal the pen point. A very handy gadget! Pens and combos are on the New Arrivals list.
Art lovers will appreciate... these two stylish designs. Both are fabulous examples of art captured in a float pen. The Picasso pen (pictured) has a pair of eyes looking for the 'right' face. Rousseau's Lady on Couch is afloat in a jungle scene.
Trading Season Approaches...
Like love and other commitments... trading collectibles is also a leap of faith, for both parties. I mention this because trading increases through the winter months. I have a few words of advice. Trade with collectors that have a good reputation. How would you know? The collectors on my collectors united page have a good history. If I receive a complaint about a collector, I investigate. If necessary I have been known to mediate. If the problems persists or I get multiple complaints, the trader is removed from my list. My experience has been that assumption and misunderstanding are at the root of most complications. Everyone has their own trading style. In a successful trade, pens arrive in a timely manner and they are as described. The ultimate goal is a smooth transaction.
It was 1997 when I last cataloged my personal collection, so I have not been actively trading for a few years. Many years ago, Miranda and I made a pact that we would always give each other first dibs on our duplicates. The tradition remains. Miranda and I have traded for over 1,000 pens. We always try to ship our packages on the same day. Then we both cross our fingers and hope for the best. Occasionally a package is snagged by Customs for inspection. This delays shipping and makes us nervous, but it always works out. If either package arrives with pens that have bubbles, we don't mention it to the other. It would spoil the trade for both of us. Miranda and I both know when the pens were shipped, they were bubble free. What happens along the way is out of our control. No sense dwelling on it. Yes, we have an excellent trade relationship, built on trust.
International trading is more expensive than domestic exchanges. It also involves more paperwork. You must complete a green Customs Claims slip. You will list the contents of the package and declare a dollar value. I always mark my trade packages Gift. Packages coming into the Netherlands with a declared value of $45 or more are subject to a tax, or duty. The limits vary from country to country. If you live outside the USA, be sure to advise your American trade partner about the tax and duty policies that will apply to your packages. USA traders... don't hesitate to ask a foreign trader for this information.
Trading isn't for everyone. It requires trust, patience, understanding, daring and time. If both participants do their best, it is a very rewarding activity. New to trading? Trade Tips page.
Odds 'n' Ends...
On a technical note.... Every computer translates a webpage a little differently than the next. Your browser and display settings determine how your computer interprets a page. I opened my newsletter using Explorer and I was shocked. To format page breaks and fine-tune the appearance of my webpages, I use Netscape 4.7. If you use Netscape you will see the newsletter in it's intended form. If you use another browser, things may appear disheveled. What is your browser of choice?
Orders are still trickling in ... from Bill's Country Home magazine coverage. With the gift-giving season approaching, Bill is quite the elf these days. He is busy making crochet hooks and knitting needles. Thank you for the many notes of concern for his health. His doctor agrees, Bill is doing fine.
After our summer show schedule, we really needed a break. That doesn't mean we aren't working. While Bill was busy in the workshop, I painted our kitchen and dining room. It was a major improvement. We have started installing shelving around the ceilings, with plexiglass fronts, to house collections. The floor tile arrived Thursday. When the dust settles from this issue, we both have a lot of homework to do.
Our son, Josh, is coming from Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving. He wouldn't want to miss dinner with our dear friends, the Brights. We will enjoy a fabulous feast together. It's a chance to celebrate our friendship, families and good fortune. I hope you get to do the same.
Issue #43 should release mid-January. It's hard to believe, but that would be January of 2004! We've got a lot of winter coming at us. I am not ready. I look forward to your orders and hearing about your upcoming plans. So what's new with you?
Until next time... do your best to stay afloat!
FLOAT ABOUT... Diana Andra, 1676 Millsboro Road, Mansfield, OH 44906-3374
phone 419/529-8876 (11am-midnight EST)
Copyright © November 2003 Float About... Diana Andra