Float About #49... © Copyright Sun/Sept 18, 2005
a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to Eskesen floaty pen collectors

Can you believe it?... Float About will be ten years old in October! It was the spring of 1994 I caught the float pen bug. In no time at all I was trading pens with other pioneer collectors like Nancy Thomas, Michele Adler, Nancy Nerenberg and others. Of course, in those days, all correspondence was handled via snail mail. It was October of 1995 when my little float pen enterprise was dubbed Float About. The first newsletter was published in December that same year. The maiden issue was a one-page howdy do and introduction to my new business.

Computer geeks were already quite comfortable surfing the World Wide Web. There was talk about the Information Superhighway, but few people I knew had actually ventured up or down that road. For pedestrian computer users, like Bill and I, the Internet beckoned. We set up our initial email accounts in 1996. The June issue of Float About was prepared in hardcopy for snail mail distribution and in plain text to be emailed to Internet users. At that point only two or three collectors were online. Those numbers grew faster than corn on a steamy summer day. In a matter of months my online collectors were pestering me to open a website. It was 1997 when Float About found a place in cyberspace.

There was a time when over three hundred copies of the newsletter were printed and mailed in hard copy format. A decade later and today only two of my collectors are without Internet access. We wonder how we ever got along without the World Wide Web? It has certainly made an impact on my life. Without the Internet what are the chances I would have met you? So many spectacular Eskesen pens have passed through my hands, but it is my collectors I hold most dear. Thank you for your support and friendship over the past decade. It is my collectors that keep me afloat. Float About was the first business dedicated to serving the needs of Eskesen float pen collectors. The tradition continues.

Current Events...
Hurricane Katrina... demands our attention. There isn't an individual in this country untouched by this disaster. Personally I am not aware of any friends, family or float pen collectors living in the areas that were ravaged by the storm. That certainly doesn't diminish the empathy and sadness triggered by this event. Float pen collectors are a generous lot. I am confident you are doing everything you can to help. I sincerely hope Katrina didn't harm or take any of your loved ones.

Fleeting floaty pen... auctions on eBay. Brian Hollier was my first liaison at the Eskesen factory. We haven't maintained constant contact, but we do manage to stay in touch via email. About two months ago, I received word from Brian.

“Diana, I am writing to you hoping you can assist me in a very good cause. My niece, Grace, is planning to stay in Ecuador next year on a mission to help street children. Grace has to fund this herself. At the age of 18 she has little work experience. I think this is an admirable cause and Grace deserves all the help she can get. Hopefully Grace could get some lines and publicity in your next Float About?” Sure! I was happy to oblige.

Uncle Brian has presented Grace with 35 unusual and some rare float pens to sell on eBay. Since Brian lives in Denmark and Grace resides in Britain, her mother Ann helped her with the listings. Ann has set up a PayPal account to make payment quick and easy. They have split the pens into groups. The first group of pens posted on eBay Fri/Sept 9th. (Mon/Nov 7, 2005... auctions closed and Grace's project was a great success!)

For many years I relied on Brian for factory news. He spoiled me with surprise pen packages too. A few years back he retired from Eskesen. While I miss him, I am very happy for Brian. Now he is semi-retired and self-employed doing what he truly enjoys... video work. My best wishes to Brian and young Grace. If this project is successful, Grace will be headed to Ecuador as early as January 2006.

Follow-Up to Issue #48
As you know, Friday/May 20, 2005... Eskesen held their Open House to commemorate 59 years in business. About thirty-six floaty devotees flocked to Store Merløse, in Denmark, to share in the anniversary celebration. Collectors came from cities near and far. Countries represented were Denmark, Norway, Holland, England, Germany, the USA and many more.

Finn Sørensen provided more photos... from Eskesen's Open House 2005. In the photo above, Ole Schneider overlooks collectors as they experiment with digital design. Below, the group gathers in front of the factory. Photo right is Finn Sørensen proudly displaying a sample case.

Collectors that planned to attend the 2006 event may be disillusioned. There is a rumor that Eskesen may not schedule an open house for their 60th anniversary. It has been suggested they may do something all together different or drop back to an event every fifth year. Sigh. 2

Yellow, fresh and fruity... it's all that and more. Now I can fully understand what all the fuss is about. Check out this yellow beauty. The lucky collectors that attended the Open House were each presented with this pen. The rest of us will have to settle for the virtual version. Wow. Thanks for sending the picture Miranda.

Second Installment of Pen Subscriptions...
Late in June Eskesen shipped... the second installment of pen subscription packages. The collection of reports below were received late June through July 23rd.

Keith Bartlett, in the UK... was the first to report receipt of his package. He didn't describe the contents so I assumed he was allowing the pens to acclimate before cracking the box open. Sure enough. Keith touched base a few days later to say, ”I did wait to open the pens. I am, of course, delighted. I had a couple which were the same and another two that were in the last package. Overall I think the package is good value.”

The next day, six USA collectors checked-in. Indiana collector, Linda Sienkiewicz, told me her box had just arrived. Before I could even respond to her email I heard from the second collector...

Gina Carlson, of Wisconsin... thought her first package was better than the second. This time she received at least ten pens that are duplicates to her collection. “ Even so, it's still fun to get a package full of pens.”

Iowa collector, Linda McCormick... was well on her way to a bad day. After a morning of dodging computer glitches and struggling with a broken garage door, the arrival of her Eskesen package was a pleasant surprise. Linda didn't go into great detail, but mentioned the Pueblo Antiguo - Costa Rica pen that features an ox cart and a Costa Classica cruise ship pen. “The shipment also included a cardboard display box for the Louisville Slugger pen that I believe I already have.” The package put a positive spin on an otherwise frustrating day.

“Happy Birthday to my husband Roy!... He turned the BIG 7-0 today and in celebration I got my pens from Eskesen! I got some good ones. Not one duplicate.” That would be an accounting from Seattle collector, Karen Swanson.

Connecticut collector, Catherine Johnson exclaimed... “ I finally received my June pen package! Of course they are all wonderful. And I'm happy to say that I didn't receive any duplicates at all. They were all new to me. On the Stella McCartney pen, the caption panel has Stella's name spelled backwards (do you suppose that was intentional?)” Catherine's list includes location pens such as Maine, Virginia, North and South Carolina. She also received a Disney Cruise Lines pen and a Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana. Two keyring pens were in the mix. One featured motor oil, the other a cartoon called Ottifanten.

Anne Burke is up the road... about an hour from me, in Berea, Ohio. “ You are probably hearing from all the excited collectors about their new package!? I love the baseball pen display box they came in. Happily, I received a Louisville Slugger baseball bat pen. When I was young, my family went on the tour of their factory.” Of course, when Anne visited the plant, she didn't get a float pen. That makes this new addition extra sweet. Highlights in her subscription package include The Los Angeles Times, Stella McCartney, Star Trek, Monaco, and a great Smithsonian pen featuring astronauts. “Which is great for my NASA and spaced themed sub-collection! I was in DC two weeks ago for work. I went to five different Smithsonian museums. They were all floatyless. I was very disappointed.”

Anne adds, “ I've been tossing around the idea of collecting squished pennies from places without pens. Those penny machines seem to be popping up everywhere. Certainly not as nice as a floaty, but for 50 cents it's a nice, cheap, and small souvenir. Who knows!?” Beverly Broadstone knows. She is one of several floaty pen collectors that also has a nice collection of smashed, shiny, copper pennies.

Miranda chose to send... a picture. I had to crop a few off the side, but this is the bulk of her catch. Miranda subscribed to the Gold Package. Her new additions really shine.

July 1st, Spokane collector, Richard Wickberg had a few remarks... to share about his treasure box. “ The rest of my silver set arrived today! 30 pens yet! I'm quite satisfied with the twenty-one I'm keeping and think other traders will be happy with what I have to trade. Happily only one duplicate.”

While examining the advertisement pens Richard noticed a strange name. “I did a Google search on Burkino Faso and found it is Africa's former Upper Volta! The floaty Shell truck isn't a tanker but rather a U-Haul truck shape. I don't know if it's Shell Oil. It has definitely endeared itself to me.”

Patty Van Brocklin of Virginia checked in... “Mine arrived yesterday! At least one half of the pens, in my Silver package, were the twist and click type.” Since she prefers the classic style, Patty is unsure if she will subscribe again in 2006. ”I love the Louisville Slugger baseball bat pen, though.”

Pennsylvania floaty fan, Marisa Barna... reports, “I had been waiting in anticipation for a few days, so I was very happy when it finally came! I was pleased, but I did like the first package back in November better. My favorites are the Los Angeles Times, the Buck Starts Here with a $20 bill floating over photos of Presidents (from the Bureau of Engraving and Imprinting - neat!). The baseball bat pen is my first! The pen from Burkina Faso is very cool! I also received one of the new peach barrels - I like the new color.” Marisa also received several USA location pens, but only a few from foreign lands. “There was only one duplicate from the first package, however my only complaint is that they sent two each of the same three pens. I think it should be forty different pens. Overall though I am very pleased!”

Philip Tackel was the lucky guy... that won the Eskesen subscription in the lottery drawing. He has been away on business, followed by pleasure and just forwarded his report. “My second box contained a few duplicates, but some beautiful and interesting ones as well. I certainly don't have any complaints about them. I'm so thankful I won the lottery! The best of the lot are: Principaute De Monaco, Pueblo Antiguo in Costa Rica, the International Jazz Festival, Montreal, Venice, the Stratford Festival in Canada, Amish Country Pennsylvania, the Guggenheim Museum in NY, Prague, Madurodam - Netherlands, the baseball pen and the most exotic... a Shell oil refinery located in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) thank you Google!”

Debbie Carriere mentioned... the Chiquita Banana pen is her absolute first choice this time around. Today she adds, “I thought I'd share my second favourite, a Lipton tea pen (C-top). I was very happy with this one because I'm a tea drinker (never drink coffee).”

Karen Swanson noticed... Eskesen has made a change to their subscription mailing schedule for 2006. Collectors will receive all of their pens in one annual mailing, instead of two semi-annual shipments. I know. Everyone liked the idea of getting two packages each year, but for practical reasons, one mailing makes a lot more sense. Don't think of it as a box half empty, it's a box full. When you open this super package, you will think you hit the mother load.

Sue Buetow asks... “Can anyone shed some light on the www.Letotur.com pen? Do you know what it stands for? Also I'm still trying to figure out what Hello Sunshine is all about. Any ideas? ” We both tried to reach the www.Letotur.com site, but it didn't exist.

Collectors News ...
Anne Burke reports from Ireland... “Last night (Aug 28) my groom Brian and I returned from two weeks in Ireland and the UK with only nine new pens. We took a ferry from Cork to Wales. I thought the ferry would have a pen. No such luck. The ship did have a terrible Italian design with a leprechaun. Truly offensive to a floaty collector and to an Irish American! The only pen I found in Wales was on your Float About list.”

She continued... “London had more to offer. A series of four pens featured major landmarks: Houses of Parliament, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge and London in general. I did find two Paddington Bear pens at the Paddington Train Station. The British Museum had two nice designs. One pen featured a mummy, the other a hippo. Finally there was a souvenir shop at Heathrow airport that had a pen with their own Glorious Britain logo. They had two designs sold individually, or both on a display card. They also had clam shell packs of 12 (6 each of both designs) for bulk souvenir buying I guess! Happily other than the terrible leprechaun pen, I didn't come across any copy cats!”

Anne's new hubby didn't fuss as he followed her in and out of every store that might have a float pen. In fact, Brian even suggested a few possible locations. In turn, she shopped all of the sports stores in search of soccer and rugby shirts. Some say marriage is all about compromise. If so, our newly weds are off to a great start. Congratulations Anne and Brian!

Debbie Hoesly provided location information... for the Las Vegas Souvenir shop mentioned in Issue #48.
World's Largest Gift Shop
2440 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89104
Visit the WorldsLargestGiftShop.com website for hours and directions. (NOTE: Link has been removed because pens no longer appear in their online shop.)

Kim Dougherty, from California... recently visited Las Vegas. “We had a great time. Went to the Worlds Largest Souvenir Shop. It is huge. They did have an enormous bin of floaty pens. Most were fairly generic Las Vegas pens in gaming designs. We also checked some of the hotels, but didn't find anything site specific. The new floaty kick in Vegas seems to be the short, fat pens with floating dice and the hotel logo on the side.”

Marisa Barna, in Pennsylvania... has been actively trading for several months now. She has asked to be added to the traders list. It's been done. You may contact Marisa at morningstar400@hotmail.com to inquire about her duplicate list.

Veteran collector, Nancy Knechtel of NY... has just updated her trade list. She hasn't found time to update her website, but if you contact Nancy via email NKnechtel@aol.com she will forward her refreshed list to you.

Craig Wilson and wife Terri... returned from their Alaska adventure with a fine catch. Craig found several new Alaska pen designs. “I still have a few to trade. Like my original list, it's nothing fancy - basically just scans of the pens with a link back to my main list.” You can see what he has to offer here. (NOTE: pens long gone. Link removed.)

Renee Snyder, a California floaty collector... is deeply involved with the Romanian Animal Rescue, Inc organization. The group has initiated an interesting fund raiser. How would you like to see a picture of your pet(s) included in a deck of playing cards? It's easy and fun. The bidding begins at $6 for most cards. I have a bid in for the 4 of Hearts. If I win, all four of our felines will be pictured. I am also thinking about bidding on cards for friends and family members that adore their pets. What a surprise that would be! A finished deck of cards is $14. If that seems high it's because producing the cards in short runs is expensive. Remember, this is a fund raiser. Not sure what this is all about? Renee can explain. She has links to sample pages and will help you participate in the project. It's all for a good cause too. reneesnyderphd@gmail.com
(Photo borrowed from BidaCard.com)

Philip Tackel, from Boston... is interested in meeting with other floaty collectors in the Boston/New England area. “We could all meet and bring our duplicates or other pens we'd like to swap. Perhaps do it over a lunch or brunch at a restaurant?” Contact Phil via email.

Pens Out and About...
The weekend of June 19-21 the ... the American Pencil Collectors Society held their 22nd bi-annual convention in Mankato, MN. Danish collector Finn Sørensen attended. It was a much shorter trip for Sue Buetow. She is a resident of Minnesota. The distance didn't seem to matter. They both had an equally good time. The two floaty fans even found time to work out a trade.

Before the event, Andrew Westberg, the current President of the APCS, announced the group had a custom Eskesen floaty pen made for the event. Finn and Andrew worked for six months to create the design. A hand, holding the actual convention pen, extends/retracts.

Andrew has pens available for $3 each plus shipping. Finn Sørensen has been collecting pens/pencils for 25 years now. To mark the anniversary, Finn also had a custom pen made. Andy has a few of those to offer as well. If you are interested in either design, contact Andy at westberg@hickorytech.net, or arrange a trade with Finn... pencollector@jydeadsl.dk. For more information about membership in the organization, get all the details... www.pencilcollector.org

The elusive Bigfoot has been captured... in a floaty pen! You may have seen these pens selling for big bucks on eBay? I hope you weren't one of the buyers that overpaid for this item.
Legend of Bigfoot/Redwood Gifts
2500 US 101
Garberville, CA 95542
Phone: 707/247-3332
Fax: 707/247-1112

August 2nd I received a tip from LeeAnn Hardeman. She found the source for the Bigfoot pen. My order for two pens totaled $11.75. The pens retail for $3.95. The shop is charging $3.85 for first class shipping. I was amazed the pens arrived intact. They were floating in a flimsy photo mailer. If you order, ask the store to support the pens with a stiff cardboard backer. LeeAnn, thank you for your assistance.

Doug Yeo's vacation... began July 4th weekend. He didn't waste any time finding new pens. Doug was just as quick to share his discoveries. “We went to one of my favorite museums in NYC, the New York Historical Society. They have a wonderful collection of works by artists from the Hudson River School including works by one of my favorite artists, Thomas Cole. While in the gift shop, I came across a new floaty pen - a bonus! The subject is Skating in Central Park, which is patterned after the famous c. 1890 photograph by J. S. Johnston that shows skaters in the Park with the Dakota Hotel in the background. Many great artists have called the Dakota home including Leonard Bernstein and John Lennon.”

The pen is not included on the NY Historical Society's online store, but you can call to order. From memory, Doug thinks he paid $2.95 for his pen. To order, visit their (Sorry.... pens no longer available. Link removed May 2015.)

And Doug's travels continued... “Actually, I saw very few floaties in Bar Harbor. I have quite a large collection of Maine, Acadia and Bar Harbor pens from our previous vacations there.” This time I found only one shop that had pens, the one where I bought the Lighthouses of Maine pen. The shop was a real throwback - large shop, tons of tacky things inside.” (Just the way float pen collectors like them!)

“The pen selection was modest but they had one I didn't have. Nice people own the shop, too. I had a nice chat about pens and collectors with the woman who owned the place with her husband.” The name of the shop is Island Cards. Their phone number is 207/288-4196. Doug paid $2.99 + tax for his twist n click Bar Harbor Maine floaty. This pen will not be on my list. If you wish to order one, contact the store directly.” And Doug... thank you for pointing all of us in the right direction.

Early in June, Richard Wickberg... took a leisurely drive along the Redwood Highway. In the past he has found pens at the Trees of Mystery, but not this time. ”The Oregon Caves had a generic BATS design with Oregon Cave Outfitters stamped on the barrel” In a nice way, Richard explained that collectors prefer to see the name of the location included in the caption panel. He also suggested they post their pens on their website so collectors can find them. It wouldn't hurt to follow Richard's example. Souvenir vendors are often willing to listen to your suggestions.

California collectors Terri and Craig Wilson... enjoyed an early June vacation too. Craig relates, “You may have heard on national news that due to the enormous amount of snow we got this season, Yosemite's valley floor flooded a couple of weeks ago. They had to close the park for a day. Accordingly, the numerous waterfalls are at their showy best. Terri and I were able to get away yesterday to see for ourselves and we were not disappointed.”

Visit to Yosemite

“The classic shot from Tunnel View with El Capitan, Half Dome (in shadow) and Bridalveil Falls running as full as you're ever likely to see it. The real kicker was Yosemite Falls, though. We took the hike to the top and were in awe of it's presence. As we grew near, the sound was like standing on the runway at a busy airport during a thunderstorm. Like a perpetual train crash! Adding to the feast were the cool, fresh, pine-scented air, some rainbows and the delightful mist from the spray. To top it off, Terri saw a bear by the road as we were leaving. I made a couple of pen sightings too. ”

“The bear floats in the pen above and a hiker climbs to the top of the falls in the second. The caption panel for the falls pen is similar to the first, with a blue background instead of green. The shops on the valley floor had a lame Chinese pen that I passed on. Thank goodness we stopped at the Wawona store near the park's south entrance on the way out, where I found these. I hadn't seen them before.”

Ray Wilk is a graphic designer... in the Chicago area. Recently he applied his talent to his first floaty design. His RV floaty keychain is in stock and ready for distribution. You can purchase this item directly from Ray. (Sorry, link defunct. Removed May 2015.) Ray does not collect floaty pens, but he does collect ancient coins. His collection inspired a second design featuring coins, coins... and more coins. It is still in still in the early design stages. Since then friends have persuaded him to design a Recreational Treeclimbing and a Geocaching floaty. Visit Ray's website regularly for updates.

Those Darn Bubbles....
Allow me to share some... bubble trivia. Float pens are filled with a special blend of mineral oil. When a floaty pen is exposed to extreme temperatures or abrupt temperature changes, the oil becomes unstable and bubbles are born. Sadly, that is why bubbles often occur during shipping. I get chills just thinking about it. Delivery trucks setting in the hot sun or freezing cold. Packages moving from over heated trucks into air conditioned buildings. Shiver. I find it most disturbing that once a package has been shipped, I have no control over how it will be handled. No one does.

Take steps to protect your pens. When you receive a pen package do not open it right away. Place it in a room where the temps are steady and moderate. I wait at least 24 hours before opening. I know collectors that wait a few days. Allowing the pens time to acclimate slowly decreases the odds of getting bubbles.

The graphic above does not depict actual size, but it will give you some perspective. The window of a classic float pen measures about 10 millimeters wide from floor to ceiling. If you are not familiar with millimeters, many rulers now display dual scales in inches and millimeters. Such rulers are inexpensive and extremely handy when gauging tiny items.

Ridding a pen of small bubbles requires patience. Always store your pens in a room where temperatures are steady and fall somewhere between 65-75 degrees (18-23 Celsius). Keep them away from radiators, air conditioners and out of direct sun. In time, proper storage methods may cure small bubbles. If your pens are in perfect condition, I recommend the same storage procedure to prevent bubbles.

Speaking from experience, tiny cluster bubbles almost always disappear. Bubbles measuring 1-2mm are usually temporary. 3mm bubbles can be stubborn, but not hopeless. Once the size reaches or exceeds 4mm, the bubble is probably a permanent feature. Once formed, some bubbles will maintain a constant size for life.

What about those giant bubbles? Hairline fractures in the threads under the cap or the belly band often go undetected. The oil seeps out or slowly evaporates. I am not aware of any technique to fix or mend leaks large or small. Refilling the pen might be possible, but resealing it... not likely.

Some collectors accept bubbles as a facet of float pen collecting, others are not so forgiving. When you offer pens in trade or for sale be sure to disclose the presence and size of any bubbles. And this is perhaps the most important message of all. Perfect or flawed, find time to enjoy your collection.

Media Sightings...
Mitsuhiro, of Retrobank in Japan... awaits the upcoming release of Ima Aini Yukimasu on DVD. In 2004, this film was a blockbuster in Japan. The leading lady carried a lucky floaty pen. He has promised to send more information. Mitsuhiro added, “ In Japan, we also had a Shall We Dance? movie pen that featured Richard Gere. Unfortunately, they used a Chinese copycat.“ Debbie Carriere adds, ”The location scenes in the Shall We Dance? movie were filmed here in Winnipeg. ” If the producers had consulted a floaty pen collector, the pen would have been an Eskesen.

Pens Past, Present and Future at Float About...

When Issue #48 posted.... I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Pope John Paul II and three Clinton designs. Weeks passed before all of the pens reached me. By the time I filled the reserve orders, the Clinton Inauguration (snapshot) pens had sold out. Check the new arrivals list to see what is still available.

The William J Clinton Presidential Center is another source for the pens. The helpful staff at the Clinton Museum Store accepts mail orders to domestic and foreign addresses. You will not find the pens in the (Sorry, pens long gone! Link removed May 2015.) The cost is $2.95 per pen plus reasonable shipping and handling.

Christine Petrella worked with... Nancy Nerenberg at FloatArt, to create a House Party Pen. After a major remodel, the Petrella's threw a party to unveil their new home. “I incorporated the pens into the party invitations and they were a huge hit. Many recipients had never seen a floaty in their lives, and they all enjoyed them.”

The white house, in the background, is their home before renovation. Their new tan house floats over the old house obscuring it from view. The family stands in the foreground. Trade directly with Christine petrella@optonline.net or purchase this pen from Float About.

Worldwide Marketing Services Inc.... better know to floaty collectors as Ideal Motion Promotion, has announced a name change. I received a phone call from owner Micale Maddox. Her new company name says it all. “Floatpens.com LLC”

Veteran collectors are familiar with Micale's work. Because she caters to the promotional industry, her pens are not always available to us. Once in awhile we catch a glimpse. She is responsible for the coveted Heinz Ketchup pen and the recent Joan and Melissa pen mentioned in the last newsletter. A few issue back I featured the Propalin/Peeing Puppy pen. This pen was distributed to veterinarians. What you may not know is that she has created designs for countless corporations including the biggest names in car manufacturing, movie studios, television networks, restaurants, pharmaceutical companies and so on.

I am crazy about this one. Micale created this original when Worldwide Marketing changed locations. The pen features Micale (second in from the left) and her staff holding a giant floaty pen. One of my personal treasures.

Micale has always been a strong supporter of Float About. When she heard my little business was in trouble, she took action. I received a care package.


The package included floaty mechanical pencils that Micale had designed to promote her business. Since Eskesen isn't making mechanical pencils anymore... these are now extraordinary items.

That isn't all! She sent ad pens for Absolut Raspberri that are simply delicious. They are black clicker style pens with conceal/reveal imagery. Both views are represented in the photo. Both designs are currently available on the new arrivals list.

For those that are not familiar with Micale and her float pen company, I can fix that. Just explore her website www.FloatPens.com. (NOTE: link now leads directly to Eskesen) You will see just how devoted she is to float pens. She is certainly one of my guardian angels. Micale, if you are listening... thank you for the fine designs you create and your personal assistance.

Float pen collector and designer... Miranda Wittebol will soon have 10,000 float pens in her personal collection. I think that warrants recognition. I have encouraged Miranda to contact the Guiness World Book of Records. She is thinking about it. In the meantime, Miranda is waiting for her three latest pen designs to arrive. Hopefully she will have some to share.

The introduction to the Duplicates Category... was a fiasco. Posting 41 pens to hundreds of collectors resulted in a lot of unhappy collectors. What was I thinking?! Well, I will tell you. I thought people would choose one or two from each group and that would be that. Creating those pretty scans took over two days. The duplicate pens sold out within minutes of posting. I was stunned.

Since then, as I found time, I refreshed the duplicates category. Collectors that follow the news in Float Along have been taking advantage of the listings. In August, I had to concentrate on craft production, so the list got a little stale. Our last show of the season took place on Labor Day. the scanning resumed. When this issue posted, nearly 300 duplicates were listed. As for the future, I promise to be more diligent about keeping the category fresh.

The new arrivals list... covers a wide range of topics. I bet the Oklahoma Cow Tipping pen is a first. While I do not condone the practice, it is a funny and unique pen. Several older designs have been given a facelift. I think you will appreciate the updated versions. The FDNY and NYPD pens were long overdue. It's a pleasure to offer them on my list. Between the new arrivals and the duplicate pens I know you will find something special for your collection.

A quick note about the progress... of the Collectors United pen. It is at a complete standstill. Honestly, I am sorry. I have given the design a lot of thought, but just couldn't muster the energy or time needed to start another project. It has yet to rise to the top of my priority list.

Issue #50 of Float About... is due to post on November 18th. That is a little too close to the holidays, so if I can, I will back it up a week or two. We just postponed our trip to Mexico until February or March. Outside of a few day trips my calendar is pretty clear for the next few months.

Pen Displays...
Debbie Carriere's husband... built these wooden box displays to house Debbie's growing collection. Each unit will hold 128 pens. Debbie added her personal touch with paint and stamps. “ I like to play with my pens, so once in a while I switch the order in which they are kept.” Debbie arranges her pens by city, or alphabetically, sometimes even by barrel color. “I don't leave any spaces for additions because, when I get new pens, part of the fun (for me) is rearranging all the boxes and getting reacquainted with my treasures.”
Odds 'n Ends...
Collector Audrey Young Tarter... will be taking a bus tour of Denmark, Sweden & Norway next week. She is counting on collectors to offer helpful hints regarding places in Scandinavia that sell cool floaty pens. If you have information about museums, amusement parks, neat toy stores and the like, please contact Audrey. You can reach her at TheLoveFloat@yahoo.com. Audrey mentioned she also has list of pens for trade.

So who is this MagicWave guy... posting pens on eBay? Remember the story in issue #48 about the monumental pen purchase? This link will take you back to the original story. Andy Balbus acquired 7,000 floaty pens from Boston collector, Nancy Given. He has since organized the collection. The purchase will substantially raise the count of Andy's personal collection. As he discovers duplicates (pens already represented in his collection), he is posting the repeats on eBay. That will please many a collector.

Andy has a theory about the future of float pen collecting. “I was watching the Home Shopping Network last night and they had a segment dedicated to selling old American coins. While old coins issued in the millions by the Philadelphia Mint were valuable, the coins issued in the tens of thousands by the Carson City Mint were the most valuable, many worth six and seven figures. Those coins had some intrinsic value due to their metal content, but most of their value was attributed to their scarcity. Someday, the world will recognize how scarce floaty pens are (not to mention how neat they are) and value them accordingly.” Time will tell.

Serendipity strikes... collector/musician Douglas Yeo. In July Doug presented me with the Skating in Central Park pen he found at the NY Historical Society gift shop. About two weeks ago Doug received a call from a music scholar asking him to take part in a recording session for a short film to commemorate band leader Francis Johnson (1792-1844). The film will be shown as part of an exhibit on slavery at the NY Historical Society! “I'll be playing an old instrument, the ophicleide, with a small group of other old instruments of the Federal era. It never ceases to amaze me how things all connect together.”

Box Turtle

On the Homefront...
Shortly after issue #48 posted... Bill and I spent a weekend in southern Ohio. The purpose? Purely for fun and relaxation.

Our dear friends, Stephen and Roswitha Anderson, invited us to come “down to the farm”. Steve's family has owned 33 wooded acres in Vinton County since the 1800's. For decades Steve and Roswitha have been creating fine briar smoking pipes. Last fall they constructed their dream workshop. However, this would not be a work weekend. Roswitha was in charge of the grill. Stephen was our guide and story teller. And boy can he tell stories!

We could see an Indian mound from their front porch, but to get to Horse Thief Cave required a long trek through the woods. Legend has it that during the Civil War, Morgan's Raider's stormed through this area. The local settlers hid their horses in this cave to prevent the Raider's from taking them. This cave is large enough to provide shelter for bears, but even more likely to have housed native American Indians.

Left: pathway leading to mouth of cave

Middle: Roswitha at the mouth of the Cave

Right: Stephen immediately inside the Cave.

Sunday we rested. It was just the break we all needed. Bill and I made our way home that evening. We will surely visit again. Sooner than later.

Aug 9th we took delivery of... our new Toyota Prius. You know, the hybrid. It's our very first car equipped with any/all of these features: a/c, 4-doors, a cd player, electric windows, smart keys, window defrost and air bags. That's right. It's like the Flintstones buying George Jetson's space mobile. We are averaging about 44 mpg in town and up to 52 on the road. A futuristic concept we embrace with gusto today.

Keogh, my closest feline companion... was diagnosed with asthma in May. Her vets were fairly certain she had cancer. On Sept 1st, she suddenly lost interest in eating. Her health quickly declined. On the 3rd our vet came to the house to put Keogh to sleep. While I was relieved to see her at peace, losing a friend is never easy. She was six weeks old when we adopted her from the Humane Society. For sixteen years, Keogh has been by my side.

There was already plenty of sadness to go around. Keogh was fading as the tragedy in the South was unfolding. When the staff at Hull's Veterinary Hospital made a contribution to the Ohio Animal Health Foundation in Keogh's name, I came to a harsh realization. My sorrow, while sincere, was unproductive. Keogh is gone, but there are thousands of people and pets in desperate need. We had made donations to human aid organizations, but I must contribute to the Humane Society in Keogh's memory! Just making the decision sparked the healing process for me. Bill has been supportive and I find comfort in the company Minki, Kobe and Sylvie so graciously provide. My heart is still broken, but full of sweet memories.

Time to wrap this up! Summer and float pen hunting season have slipped away. So... how did it go? Did you travel long distances in search of pens? Bring home any big game? What was your biggest catch?

For the next week or so I will be busy filling your orders. By October 1st I plan to post some fab floaties on eBay. The duplicates category will be refreshed weekly, at least for awhile. I do not intend to stray too far from the office. We will make a trip to Pittsburgh, but it shouldn't involve more than an overnight. Don't miss a beat... check Float Along for continual news. Expect to see the next issue of Float About early in November.
Your humble servant... Diana

A personal favorite
from my collection.

That's all for now, but check Float Along frequently for news!
Go foward to the next newsletter, Issue #50 from Thurs/Dec 15, 2005
Back up and read the Issue #48 from Thurs/June 2, 2005
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FLOAT ABOUT... Diana Andra, 1676 Millsboro Road, Mansfield, OH 44906-3374
phone 419/529-8876 (11 am - midnight EST)
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