Float About #47...
© Copyright Sun/Feb 13, 2005
a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to Eskesen floaty pen collectors
Winter has been absolutely wicked... but bad weather is only partially responsible for the tardiness of this issue. I have been patiently awaiting the arrival of the Eskesen holiday pens. UPS brought them to our door Thurs/Feb 10. The calendar tells me we are in the middle of the Dead Zone for float pen hunting. However, despite the season, this issue has a bounty of new designs. You will surely find something special for your collection.
The Nov 28th, 2004... issue of The Dallas Morning News shook local and regional readers alike. Imagine a sleepy Sunday morning. You are sipping a cup of coffee while thumbing through the newspaper. Everything seems fairly routine until BAM... Page 1 of the Travel section has bigger-than-life photos of Eskesen floaty pens. Just look at that spread!
Readers like Norman and Shirley Rubinett, were taken totally by surprise. Norman is just 81 years young. That's old enough to recognize a good thing when he sees it and young enough to appreciate the sheer fun of floaty pens. Norman didn't waste any time starting a personal collection.
For many Texans, this was the first time they had ever seen our incredible floaty pens. Some likened the experience to an adrenaline rush, while others fell quietly under their spell. The article included my web address so I was flooded with inquiries and several orders.
The newspaper article, entitled Moving Memories: Floating action pens make their mark among souvenirs, made a mark of it's own with subscribers. The author, Cleo Paskal, of Montreal, is an honest-to-goodness obsessive floaty collector. It was an alligator chasing two children in a swamp setting that first fascinated Cleo. She was just a child when she took her alligator pen home. Today, like most serious collectors, she prefers quality to quantity. Cleo has come to appreciate the superiority of Eskesen products. You will definitely relate to her story.
The Dallas Morning News has posted the article on their website. To access it you may or may not have to register. If you do, their services are free. If there is a way to get the photos online, I haven't figured it out. With or without pics, the story is worth the trip. (NOTE: Article removed long ago; Link removed May 2015.)
Cleo contacted me about a month ago. What a delightful lady. I sincerely hope Cleo will stay in touch. Surely she will let us know if other float pen articles are published. I know I can count on my fellow collectors to report random media sightings.
The famous floaty CSI episode ... #220 called Cats Cradle, aired on SpikeTV Feb 10 and again on the 13th. An elderly woman is found dead surrounded by her many cats. You will never guess what the murder weapon was?! Watch your local listings for reruns. This isn't a commercial, just a handy tip. I use Yahoo.com for my TV listings. It's easy to search for upcoming programs and I refer to it daily for my local listings. If you sign-up at Yahoo, you can customize your list to display your favorite channels. This is the best part... it's FREE!
News from the Factory...
Eskesen introduced... new barrel colors in their November on-line newsletter. I am anxious to see the mocha, cream, peach and chromium barrels in action. Eskesen's newsletter is geared primarily to pen distributors. Even so, you will find it interesting.
Ole Schneider, one of Eskesen's owners, ... visited the States in January. He was accompanied by Marjan, an E employee. They made many stops in the USA. I know they attended a promotional trade show in Las Vegas. Ideal Motion Promotion and other E distributors were represented at the event. Ole and Marjan also made their way to Seattle to visit the good people at Topline Products, Inc. I hope they had fun and a successful journey.
Are you wondering what happened to ... your Eskesen 2004 holiday pen? In the past, collectors on E's mailing list, received a holiday card and matching pen around Christmas time. This time distribution was limited. Collectors that signed up for a subscription package received a holiday pen, others did not. I purchased a quantity of the pens so that everyone has a chance to get one. The pens have arrived! I am offering them for $3.75 each.
To save time and probably money, Eskesen ran their holiday cards in color on sheets of laser paper. Marjan sent some of the uncut sheets along with the pens. I will include a card sheet with each pen sold, while supplies last.
Don't forget 2005 Visitors Day... to be held at the Eskesen factory on May 20th. Miranda and Dik will be driving in from Holland to attend. Finn Sørensen lives in Denmark, so he didn't hesitate to accept the invitation. How about you? Will you be making your way to Denmark for the party? This year the company will celebrate it's 59th anniversary. Long live Eskesen!
Follow-Up to Issue #46...
Some months ago Eskesen announced... subscription pen packages custom designed to tickle the fancy of floaty collectors. There are four levels available: Standard, Silver, Gold and Platinum. A one year subscription includes two mailings. Packages vary in price and content. The first round of subscriptions were mailed the weekend of November 20th. Miranda Wittebol, of Holland, was the first collector to announce the arrival of her Gold Package.
She exclaims... “What a great bunch of pens”. With 8,600+ pens in her personal collection, Miranda would know! Her Gold Package included a variety of
twist and clicks, the new C-top model (pictured), a 3-pack and two very special
additions. Miranda went on to say, “A lot of the floaties are new to me, I am really happy! The art drawing is nice too. I feel really spoiled!”
The Gold Packages include original pen art. Miranda received the ad art for the ambulance company pen pictured below. At some point in time, this pen was in production.
Keith Bartlett reports... “I think the package is a good value. The pens were in good condition. I will certainly join again next year.”
UK collector, Stephen Kenneth tells me... of all the pens in his Silver package, his favorite is the Romanian Nescafe.
Christine Petrella says... “My favorite is the one for Met Life that has Snoopy surfing across as the floater. I love it.” Christine had an added bonus. Due to an error in her favor, she received several duplicates now available on her trade list (editors note: pens are gone).
Pennsylvania collector, Marisa Barna writes... “I am very happy with my Silver package. All the pens are so neat and in perfect shape!” To prolong the excitement, she allowed herself to look at 11 pens per day until the box was empty. Her favorites are: Chiquita Bananas , Harley Davidson, American Airlines, the Prisoner, Dubbo Australia, Cocktail lounge, Artema Anesthetics and Tijuana, Mexico.
Doug Yeo checked-in on Dec 2nd... “I got my Silver collection today, what a nice surprise. Amazingly there was only one duplicate in the box that I already have. I was especially happy to get 2 pens from Prague - I had been to Prague several years ago and looked in vain for pens - now I have them! I am quite pleased.” Doug provided a list of all the pens that he received.
Gina Carlson of Wisconsin is also... a happy camper. “My favorite pen of the bunch is a Chiquita Banana pen. The banana floats out of the peeling! I received the Nescafe pen and a lot of foreign pens I don't believe I have. It was nice to see a Harley Davidson pen which I didn't know existed.”
Richard Wickberg of Spokane, WA... admits that he is a compulsive collector. He has learned to limit his pen collection to specific categories to avoid overload. He thought there would be a lot of pens in his Silver package that would not meet his category requirements. “Honestly, I figured out of the 20, there would be 13 pens I'd keep and trade the rest. In actuality, I am keeping 15 and only parting with 5. Years ago (and many collections ago) I'd buy lots of stamps or baseball cards. I'd glean what I needed for my collection and trade the rest. I never got such a deal as this!”
A collector from NY subscribed to the Gold Package... and these are some of her favorites... “Target Dog on Parachute; Target Dog goes in and out of dog house; Citta del Vaticano - the Pieta goes back and forth in Cathedral; Met Life- Snoopy Surfing the Net; and Eskesen Photoramic Floating Art - moving truck with Always On the Move and lastly, a pen from an unknown company called Mini Tankers which I like because the oil spigot cord goes in and out of the truck. A raging success!”
Catherine Johnson writes... “I was just reading your newsletter about all the great pens everyone had received and wanted to let you know I was very pleased with mine as well! Out all of them there was only 2 duplicate pens and 1 pen that I already had. Those I favor most are the Vincent Van Gogh with a paintbrush moving over 4 paintings, Harley-Davidson, a couple of pirate ship pens, another from Sorlandet and one from the Movieland Wax Museum. They are all just wonderful and I think Eskesen is so great for offering these subscriptions”.
California collector, Craig Wilson... was feeling a little out of the holiday spirit until his Silver subscription arrived. “I dug out the old '50s era aluminum tree (with revolving color wheel) and found some appropriate ornaments. I'm sure I'm not the first to come up with this idea, but I think it works. The float pens remind Terri of icicles.”
As for his pen package, “I especially liked the yellow C-top Chiquita banana as a variation on the usual tip n' strip. Another that stands out was from Cripple Creek, Colorado, again near my old Colorado Springs stomping grounds.” Craig is now anxious to see his June package. Oh... visit Craig's Trading Post!
Kim Rasmussen at Eskesen... provided some insight to their thinking about what the packages should include. “Some of the pens in the packages are identical, but mostly they vary in content so that the collectors have trade material. The language in the Nescafe pen is Romanian.”
Perhaps this is the first Romanian pen in your collection? Knowing that I collect coffee related items, Doug Yeo sent his Nescafe pen to me as a gift. What a generous gesture! I am forever grateful. The pen and packaging are truly extraordinary.
Rare and Special Nescafe pen everyone is talking about.
Anne Burke reported... “I had to wait until I got home from school to open my subscription. One month was nearly too much to bear! I'm very happy and can't wait for June! Just like everyone else, I got the Nescafe pen.”
One of my good friends happens to be from Romania, so she was able to translate the caption for me. I thought you might like to share. On the art panel esenta cafelei bune! means “It's a good coffee!” Incearca-I! Vei Fi Uimit! means “Try it! You'll be satisfied!”
In the last issue of the newsletter... a drawing was held for a free Platinum Subscription that had been generously donated to Float About by Eskesen. The lucky number was 76. The winner was Massachusetts collector, Philip Tackel. Immediately after the drawing, the results were announced in Float Along. Below is Philip's (paraphrased) response.
“I am really thrilled to have won!!! Thank you and E for sponsoring this lottery. I had just read the newsletter upon my return from a 2 week trip to Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara. I scoured souvenir shops, airport shops, bus stations etc. but alas came back empty handed from my trip to Mexico. Suddenly, I will have an additional 60 unique pens to add to my collection (now at 400 plus)! Even today, just before I read your email announcing my winning number, my sister, who is visiting Nashville, called to tell me that the pens she'd found for me were duplicates of ones I had (or not the E variety which I cherish). You have surely brightened my day!”
Dec 2nd, was the BIG day for Philip... “A package from Denmark came today filled with surprising and great stuff!! Most pens are in the classic design (my favorite). Thanks to Google, it's been fairly easy to figure out where some of the pens are from: Prague, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy France, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, Japan/China, and of course the USA.”
“Thank you so much again for this opportunity. I can't wait until next spring when the next present arrives!” Congratulations Philip. Thank you Eskesen for making our floaty dreams come true. This has been a lot of fun for everyone. Collectors, you can visit Eskesen's website to find out all about their subscriptions. Just click on the Collectors Corner link and browse. Their website has a great deal of floaty information, including more details about the May Visitors Day.
Winter is a drag! I don't know what collectors in the warmer regions of the world do from January through April. In the cold and snowy territories it is difficult to fight the urge to hibernate. The cure is simple. A project! Preferably something creative that can be executed from start to finish indoors.
For Bill and I the season isn't long enough... to accomplish all of the projects we have lined up. Have you seen the TLC show called Clean Sweep? Professional organizers come into a messy home and whip everything into shape. Sounds good, but in truth, they just make the homeowners ditch tons of stuff. Bill and I are both collectors. He always says, “I didn't buy it to get rid of it!”
Our solution is to make room. In that spirit we created a home for my coffee collection. I now have 44 linear feet of plexiglass covered display space. Rope lighting is installed in all of the displays. It begins in the hall (above my office door), continues throughout the kitchen and all around the dining room. We managed to get the dining room units up and loaded last winter. If I have my way, every room in the house will be wrapped with displays.
I did find time to make some of the kidney shaped displays. They are speckled gray and white, with 35 holes drilled large enough to accommodate the classic and twist n click styles. I have a dozen units ready to ship. The price is $23, Priority shipping included. The price will increase to $25 on February 21, 2005.
Canadian collector, Debbie Carriere... has spent the last two winters rock painting animals, flowers, buildings, even ponds. “My latest project for myself is constructing a town, my own Lilliput. I have a number of houses completed, including a haunted house.”
“I just started on the retail section of my town and finished a Floaty Pen store. No town should be without one! The 'owner' decided to spruce up the doorway by painting around it, so it would resemble a slanted top twist & click pen. There is one faux pas - a display of floaty pens right in the front window. Tsk, tsk.” This link will transport you to Deb's Gallery of Rockpets. And while you are in her neighborhood... just for the fun of it, take Debbie's Pen Quiz.
Gina Carlson has asked to be added... to the collectors list of traders. She lives in Wisconsin and travels enough to pick up some interesting trade items. Welcome aboard Gina! This link will take you to an alphabetically arranged list of collectors/traders with pens to trade.
Early in December Finn Sørensen enjoyed... a holiday in England. He claims “The highlight was the Pen Summit with dedicated collector Susan Eisen. Susan is well known to many collectors - and she is indeed one of the most likable persons I have ever met! She has quite a wonderful collection. I felt very privileged to study it. On her part she was impressed I took such interest.” Finn returned with plenty of excellent trade pens to offer. His contact information is on the collector/traders page.
Mr Zanat, the celebrated French... floaty collector planned to visit the US of A in 2005. However, he had an opportunity to buy a house. The purchase meant he would have to forfeit his trip, but I hope he is forever happy in his new abode. Congratulations to Mr Zanat.
Christine Petrella is working with... Nancy Nerenberg, at FloatArt to create a very personal custom pen. She will use the pen as part of a party invitation. “We just moved back into our house after a year and a half long renovation. The floating side of the pen will have our old house on the left as the background, the floater is going to be our new house. It will float across and cover theold house. It will have a family in the foreground watching. On the backside will be the faces of me, my husband and two boys. Our renovation is complete, now its time to party will be the caption.” What a clever girl. I would guess Christine will have pens for trade and maybe a few to spare for Float About. I will keep you posted.
Pens Out and About...
Phyllis Farrer is an active... member of the Garden State Corgi Club. Over the last few years the Club has created a series of float pens. The sale of the pens generates funds for the group. Each pen features their favorite canine... the Corgi. They have enough pens in inventory to share with float pen fanciers.
The pens sell for $4.95/pen plus a nominal shipping fee. Order 1-4 pens and shipping is just $1.05. For orders of 5-7 pens, add $1.55 for shipping.
Purchases will benefit the group. Order directly from Phyllis firstname.lastname@example.org
Gayle Rowe provided a link... for Heinz Ketchup pens. There are three clear-window pens, each with a Heinz character afloat inside. Then there are three conceal/reveal pens that promote their green, purple and red squirty ketchup. All of these pens have appeared on my list in the past, but sold out long ago. Since you can get them directly from Heinz, there isn't much point for me to carry them. The pens are about $5 each. Kathryn Mokry ordered six pens and her shipping charge was a modest $3.95! How refreshing. So many gift shops charge outrageous fees. This is the link (NOTE: Sorry, link defunct; Removed May 2015.)
Alicia Delahunty's son received... a twist n click from a friend. It was purchased at the Philadelphia National Constitution Center. Alicia describes the artwork. “The Constitution scroll/parchment floats above the heads of the Signers. You can just make out We the People on it! The back is blue with red/white stripes and reads: ‘National Constitution Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’. Did you see National Treasure? - that's why our son loves the pen!”
I attempted to contact the museum via email, but did not get a response. They have an online gift shop. Alicia provided the link to their webstore: (NOTE: Sorry, Pens are SOLD OUT; link defunct; Removed May 2015.) The pen is not pictured on their website, but there is an email address for the store manager. Maybe you will have better luck than I did. It is definitely an Eskesen pen.
Carnegie Hall also has a custom float pen... available in their gift shop. The Shop at Carnegie Hall is located on the First
Tier level next to the Rose Museum, entrance at 154 West 57th Street, NYC (or through the hall during concerts). The pen does NOT appear on their website, but I know they mailorder their items. Doug Yeo sent the pen my way months ago. I attempted to scan it, but the image is so fine, I made a mess of it. Doug had trouble with it too, but his scans are better.
As I recall, the pens were reasonably priced, but I don't know what you will have to pay for shipping. If you can't visit the gift shop, give them a call. Phone: 212/903-9828 or 212/903-9610; Fax: 212/373-0500 I inquired via email, but did not receive a response. I will try again. If I obtain any more info, I will include it in Float Along.
Pens Past, Present and Future...
It's been a few years since... the last collectors pen was produced. Miranda thinks it's time for a new design. I agree! For the past week we have been brainstorming and came up with a few ideas. Both pens would be in the classic style. Both would feature conceal/reveal imagery. Eskie would be the main character and of course the artwork would feature float pens. One pen will celebrate spring and sport the new peach colored barrels. The second will have an autumn theme dipped in a mocha barrel. Together they will be a complimentary set.
We will have to order 550 of each pen to meet Eskesen's minimum production order. There will be room for 16 participants on each pen. We will randomly assign names to each design. Miranda and I still have to work out the details of the artwork. Depending on the number of participants, each collector will have to buy 35-50 pens. This project is in the very early stages. Look for updates in Float Along, but if you are interested, get your name in right away. Only 32 collectors will be involved.
The New Arrivals List... includes five FloatArt designs, bringing the total of ad pens up to nine. Not bad for this time of year. Look closely for the sperm in the Hawkeye Breeders pen. They are there! The Ralph Bending tip n strip is really a hoot. Since Target is my favorite store, I am thrilled to own the set of Spot pens. Now you can add them to your collection too. The I Love NY pens have never appeared on my list, but they are an older design that was discontinued long ago. I only have 11 to share. There is a nice mix of location pens to include Northern Ireland. That was a real find! Pay close attention... did you see the Little Mermaid and The Beatles pen?
If the singles list... seems loaded with animal pens, there is a reason. I discovered a set of 50 animal pens that I had set aside to post on eBay. A lot of the designs are still in stock, but many have since become ‘singles’.
The purpose of the $1 Days category... was to trim inventory in overstocked designs. The job is done. The list and inventory are now manageable. For this issue, I do not have anything to offer. The $1 Days category will be reinstated as needed.
As I expected, I have acquired... a lot of duplicates to my personal collection. Because I haven't cataloged my pens since 1997, duplicates are sometimes hard to detect. On the other hand, I have many designs I know are already included in my collection. As promised, I did start digging around in the pen room. Oh my. Between my archives, the collections I have purchased, boxes of pens that were given to me, and drawers full of Float Away pens from past issues... I have TONS of pens.
For me, the biggest dilemma is how to offer them. Bill, my #1 advisor, is looking out for my best interest. Bill thinks since the designs are very limited, no longer in production and they have mass appeal... they should go on eBay. He reminds me that Float About is struggling to stay afloat and carrying a great deal of debt. He is right. To sell the really special items under value would be financial suicide. So, this is what I am thinking. Things like the Flintstone set, Felix set, Marilyn Monroe-Madonna pen and such would have to post on eBay.
Duplicate designs that are more common, but no longer in production, will list on my website under a new category appropriately titled 'Duplicates'. Some dupes are singles, others I have in small quantities. Pricing would be fair, based on condition, what I paid for the pen, availability of the design and the market value. For instance, if I have a single Toy Story pen in mint condition, I have some options. Between eBay and PayPal there are SO many fees involved, I would have to start the bid at $9. If I offer it directly on my website a $7 price tag will do! I might be able to do better on eBay, but when possible, I prefer the idea of putting special pens in the hands of Float About supporters at a nice price.
So, when is all of this going to happen? I had hoped to introduce the new category with this issue. No such luck! In the case of singles, scanning the pens is tedious and counter productive. I may scan ‘groups’ of pens instead. There are some kinks to work out, but winter is a good time for me to pull this together. Before we start gearing up for craft shows. Check Float Along for updates.
Odds n Ends...
I mentioned the wicked weather... Dec 23rd we had over 16 inches of snow. It put a crimp on holiday travel and brought the city to a complete halt. The streets were a mess through New Years Day. What a way to end the year.
But the beginning of 2005 was even more exciting. A Jan 5th ice storm destroyed thousands of trees, which brought down power lines, poles and transformers. The majority of Mansfield residents lost power. The falling trees damaged houses, garages, cars and more. We were lucky. No property damage and even though our trees took a beating, we are convinced they will survive. We were without power from Wed 9:15pm - Mon 6:30pm. No electricity, no water, no work! Just after Christmas Bill purchased several LED headlamps in the clearance department at Target. I thought he was nuts. Well, he is, but I must admit, the lamps provided enough light to get us through our darkest hours.
The average temperature was in the low 20's. We heat with wood, but it was a portable propane heater that sustained the float pen room. Luckily the retail area of town maintained power. Most of our local restaurants were open to feed the masses. When the power kicked on, I waited four more hours for the water heater to get up to speed. My first shower bordered on a religious experience. To this day, every time I flip the light switch I am surprised the lights actually come on. So far February has been uneventful and that is fine with me!
January 17th we adopted... Sylvester. He was discarded or separated from his family last spring and took refuge at the farm just down the road. Since June he has been coming to our back door for hand-outs. Since day one our tomcat, Kobe, has disapproved. When the temps dropped below zero we took pity on Sylvie. Even though Kobe is neutered, I never dreamed he would allow another tomcat in the house. After three weeks of hard work and patience, Kobe has finally accepted him. As you can see, Sylvester has made himself right-at-home. I am now catmother to four felines.
We plan to visit Mexico... with our friends Steve and Roswitha in April. For years Bill and I have been curious about living in Mexico or Costa Rica. This trip will be a vacation, but we also want to explore the possibility of buying property there. We will fly into Guadalajara, but we are also determined to visit the artists' community in San Miguel. I do not expect to find any float pens along the way, but who knows?! It never hurts to look. It will likely be late April - early May before #48 posts.
Fun and Games... USA collectors that place an order for $10 or more will automatically be entered in a drawing to win a free kidney shaped display. The winner will be chosen midnight on Feb 21st and announced in Float Along. Sorry, at nearly 3 pounds, international shipping is prohibitive.
Hold on, we have a last minute.... media sighting! Thank you Debbie Carriere. She reports, “My husband saw this one and told me about it. It is a cartoon called Lilo and Stitch. The episode is called Finder. Lilo brings a creature named Finder to show and tell. Lilo says he can find anything. A classmate says she lost her floaty pen on the beach and Finder finds it.”
“My husband couldn't find any reference to this episode in previous newsletters (talk about your spouse getting ‘into’ your floaty pen obsession!) The show's original air date was in December of 2003.” Debbie said it was scheduled to air again on the 19th. I went straight to tv.yahoo.com to see if it would air here as well. I typed ‘Lilo’ into the search window. I scrolled down to see 80 listings for Lilo and Stitch over the next two weeks. The Finder episode will air three times in my area on Sat/Feb 19.
Holland collector, Ber te Mebel... had a heart attack earlier this week. Those of you that read Float Along already know this. For those that would like to send a Get Well card, this is his mailing address:
Ber te Mebel
Graaf Ottosingel 83
7201 BB Zutphen
Holland - Netherlands
From the USA, to send a card or note will cost 80¢. No doubt about it, that's money well spent!
As for me... it's business as usual. Orders are filled on a first-come first served basis. As pens sell out they will be removed from the list. Bill's cousin Joe passed away Friday morning after a 6 week stay at a local nursing home. We will attend services and the family get together Monday (14th) afternoon. He will be cremated. The burial is scheduled for Wednesday. Remember, Float About is a one-woman operation. I must ask your for your patience. Orders will be processed as quickly as possible, but it may be 8-10 hours before you get a response.
And with that I wish you all a very romantic Valentine's Day!
FLOAT ABOUT... Diana Andra, 1676 Millsboro Road, Mansfield, OH 44906-3374
phone 419/529-8876 (11am - midnight EST)
Copyright © February 2005 Float About/Diana Andra.com