Float About #51... © Copyright Mon/March 13, 2006
a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to Eskesen floaty pen collectors

You will find Issue #51... shorter than most. The off-season for float pen hunting usually begins in December and drags on well into April. We refer to this period as the Dead Zone. Like winter, all we can do is wait it out. Since new pens are nearly impossible to uncover right now, my energy was devoted to cleaning up the pen list and scanning duplicates. In between issues I did manage to post a few pens on eBay. When travel is at a minimum and tourist traps are closed for the season, collectors rely on FloatAbout and eBay. If you want to see if I currently have pens posted, my eBay user name is floatabout.

News from the Eskesen Factory...
Subscription packages were shipped... just before Christmas. Most collectors received them over the holiday season. Doug Yeo, of Boston, was the first to mention the arrival of his pen package. Inventory as follows: eleven traditional twist n clicks, three slanted tops, two round tops, three tip n strip clickers, nine C-tops and one short-barreled classic style. Doug thought these most worthy of note: An old Eskesen Christmas pen, a Harley Davidson round-top and both the Cologne and Prague pens in the C-top style.

From Holland, Miranda checked in with... “There is a nice Christmas C-top pen. About 50% of the pens in the package are new to my collection.” With over 9,900 pens in her collection, Miranda was very lucky to have so few duplicates. So far, good news all the way around. These are the caption panels of the pens in Miranda's most recent Silver Package.

Eskesen's subscription program... has been modified. Previously the program presented four different subscriptions. Since 98% of float pen collectors chose the Silver package Eskesen has decided to drop the other three options. I realize a handful of collectors will be disappointed, but this is strictly a matter of practicality. By limiting the subscriptions to the Silver package, the majority of collectors will be satisfied. It will also streamline the project and expedite processing. Smile... it's a good thing!

Before rumor and panic... ensue, the truth is that one of the new owners, Ole Schneider has left Eskesen. Many collectors met Ole at the 2005 factory Open House. He was said to be “quite charming and very enthusiastic”. I don't doubt that for a minute. I know many float pen collectors and distributors will be surprised by his departure.

I was informed that Ole left to “try something different”. While I do not know the details, I do know it really isn't any of our business. These things happen. If you are concerned about the future of Eskesen... the company remains in the capable hands of the two remaining owners.

Pens Out and About...
The winter Olympics in Torino are over.... but there are more events to come. Collectors have asked if pens have been issued for the 2006 Olympics. If so, I haven't heard a peep about it. We will have to look to an earlier event for an Olympic floaty fix.

There were thirty plus designs created for the 1996 Olympics. Many featured specific sports, but there were six special pens made to honor past events. This historical set (pictured left) includes: Athens, Paris, Los Angeles, London, Helsinki and Tokyo.

We have a mystery surrounding this series. Durenda Wood found an Olympic Paris-1900 pen in the bottom of a box that she purchased at auction... 21 years ago! I assumed this historic set was released for the first and last time in 1996. Topline Products issued that series and they have no knowlege of an earlier set. I asked Brian Hollier about it too. He worked at Eskesen for many years. Brian remembered E making key tags for the 1984 event, but he did not recall any Olympic pens prior to 1996. Now I turn to you. Did anyone purchase Olympic floaty pens before the 1996 event? Your assistance most appreciated. To date there isn't any explanation for Durenda's pen.

I gathered every Olympic pen I could find and rescanned them all. If you are interested in 1996 Olympic pens I have posted them in the Duplicates Category. You will notice that designs are repeated with a variety of caption panels. Be sure to specify the caption and sport that you want. These pens are now ten years old and in limited supply. The majority of these designs are singles.

In December, Regina Merwin, at Operagraphics... announced the arrival of the new Faust floaty pen. Regina told me that “ Jack Keely did the art and it looks great.” She was right. It's gorgeous. Sorry I had to seam the images to get the full photo, but you get the idea. This pen sells for $6.50, plus shipping. Visit Regina's website to see her complete line of opera themed floaty pens and place your orders. This item will NOT be available from Float About. Operagraphics.com.

Float Pen Displays...
The kidney shaped displays... sold out just before the holidays. I know. That was really bad timing. Our workshop is freezing cold. To date, I haven't been able to force myself to go into the shop to face the beast (our Brigeport mill). When the shop warms up, I will resume production.

Linda M... and daughter Tracy have been avid floaty collectors for many years. Tracy left home long ago, but that hasn't discouraged this mother and daughter team. They still collect independently and together, always on the look-out for rare floaty finds. Last fall, when Tracy hired an interior designer to add spice to her Minnesota loft, she also wanted to highlight her float pen collection. Her designer embraced the challenge.

The result... these functional yet extremely attractive displays. The units are set in to the wall and framed in black. There seems to be a reflection so there might be mirror installed in the back of each case. Three wires stretch across each frame. The individual windows display 70-75 pens with a little bit of room to grow. I am sure they make quite an impact on friends and first time visitors.

While Tracy and Linda are veteran collectors, another family member has taken an interest in float pens. This is Cody, Linda's first grandchild. You don't have to be an adult to appreciate pens that float. Cody loves to visit grandma and go through her collection. This young one is a member of the next floaty generation. If that smile is any indication, they are going to be a happy lot.

Media Sighting...
This is a red hot sizzling pen sighting... from Micale Maddox at FloatPens.com. Her brother spotted floaty pens in the March issue of City magazine. I was unable to find a copy locally so I solicited the help of our neighbor, Cyndi. She makes frequent trips to Columbus, Ohio. One stop and Cyndi had a copy for me.

Are you familiar with City magazine? Heidi Klum is the sexy kitten on the current cover. There are four different covers, but each features Heidi in a kitten inspired pose. You will most likely find this publication in the lifestyles section. The emphasis is fashion design. Page after page of artfully executed ads, articles and photos designed to seduce the young and beautiful.

Look for Fashion Penitentiary on page 102. You'll find eight pages of lingerie and shoe ads quietly expressed over stark prison backdrops. Fabrice Frere is the creative force behind the campaign. We have seen many tip n strips in print before, but never so cleverly utilized. The women encapsulated in the floaty pens are modeling products.

The text that accompanies the photo on the left reads, “Leopard-print bra $170, and matching panties, $95, both by Deborah Marquet, LeCorset: patent leather pumps, $445, by Cesare Paciotti.” Now before you run out and buy this ensemble, pick up a copy of City. At $4.95 it won't break the bank and it's a nice addition for your pens-in-print file. I am convinced the pens were digitally created. I don't believe you will find these pens anywhere outside of this magazine. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Collectors News...
Norwegian collector.... Tone Helen Hanken, has a new floaty site. She has an extensive trade list too. Visit Tone at http://home.online.no/~spejamt/.

Audrey Young-Tarter announces... the opening of her floaty page. Be sure to sign her guestbook and exchange page links. (Page closed in 2009).

Finn Sørensen came all the way from... Denmark to attend the annual American Pencil Collectors Society Convention. In 2005 it was held in Mankato, MN which happens to be very near floaty pen collector, Sue Buetow. Finn and Sue were able to meet and trade pens at the June event. At the same time, Finn had a custom floaty made to commemorate his twenty five years as a pen collector. The pen is available for trade. Contact Finn directly pencollector@jydeadsl.dk.

Finn Sørensen has also constructed a website in homage of pen collecting. Even though it is in Danish, you won't have any difficulty maneuvering the pages. http://www.pencollector.dk/.

Brum floaty
February 5th ... Miranda Wittebol, of Holland, catalogued floaty pen number 10,000 in to her computer. Way to go Miranda! She has been cultivating her collection for 24 years. It all started when Miranda was just 12 years old.

The Brum pen above is the 10,000th pen entered into her database. The collection has exceeded all of her early goals and expectations. Congratulations dear Miranda. This count really raises the bar for the rest of us.

We all dream of finding... a treasure chest full of floaty pens. It has been known to happen. Years ago La Nea Conner discovered a basket full of floaty pens at a flea market. Others have found collections at garage sales. I remember buying forty different pens in Seattle's Pike Place Market when I first started collecting.

Debbie Carriere, of Winnipeg, regularly attends the area flea markets, antiques and collectibles shows. November 27th proved to be a four-star fantastic floaty day! Many dealers know Debbie as the floaty pen lady. Bruce, a steady vendor, called her to his booth. He had two float pens for sale and two freebies to throw into the mix. Then he said, “I have a lead for you.” Another vendor had purchased a lot of floaty pens the previous Thursday. He had inquired about perspective buyers.

Debbie relates, “I could hardly contain myself long enough to stay and look at the rest of the tables. I high tailed it down to the location, found the booth and sure enough, floaty pen heaven! I picked out forty one pens (seventeen Canadian), including a few duplicates. Then on December 2nd I decided to have another look-see. The tray was full again and I picked out eleven more (six Canadian).”

Debbie's husband had to whip up another display box to make room for the latest additions. Yes, Debbie was very lucky, but it's her dedication to the hunt that paid off. If you dream of finding floaty treasure, expand your hunting ground to include garage and yard sales, auctions, flea markets and antique shows. Remember, the fun is in the hunt!

This floaty pen craft project... brought to you by Marisa Barna. “This is a wonderful hand-decorated tin that my sorority big sister, Kate, made for me! She knows that I am obsessed with floaties. Kate printed pictures of the pens and decoupaged them to the tin. Then she surprised me with it. Needless to say, I was thrilled and love it so much!”

Just think of all the possibilities. Instead of pencil cups or coffee mugs, make your own pen cans. Separate pens by category and decorate a tin to match the theme. Choose a short can to show off your pens, or a large can with a lid for pen storage. Tin cans are free and so versitile. They can easily be affixed to a back board or shelf to make a large group display. What ever you decide to do, you are going to have fun. Be sure to send pictures. Thanks for sharing your treasure with us Marisa.

Pens Past, Present and Future...
There are but a handful... of new pens for this issue. However, the Main List has been updated and several duplicates have been added. Hopefully there will be enough pens to appease everyone.

Famous Bostonian, Ben Franklin was born on January 17, 1706. This fabulous pen was made to commemorate Ben's 300th birthday. I realize not everyone subscribes to an Eskesen pen package. Those that do not subscribe, do not receive their holiday pen. I purchased two dozen of the 2005 holiday pens with matching cards. There are also four new designs from FloatArt. For the moment, all of the pens I just mentioned are available on the New Arrivals list.

Within the Duplicates category you will find a group of pens from Eskesen's Silver Package. I do not know the history behind these pens. Many of the designs are current, but that doesn't mean they are common. These are pens you will not find on-the-shelf. Pens in the Duplicates Category are priced based on availability, demand, condition and my initial investment. I also have to take into consideration the time I spend scanning a single design. Any one that has attempted to scan floaty pens knows it is a tedious task.

You have to wonder... how it happens that you can buy a pen from my Singles list one week and the same design reappears on the list the following week!? It's because I am excavating and there are too many pens to organize. I am digging through boxes, drawers and padded envelopes in the pen room. I have discovered clutches of unclaimed orders, pens that were set aside to post on eBay (but never made it) and mixed bundles of pens at every turn. It seems like the minute I post a pen as a Single I encounter another. Moving these pens on and off the list is making me dizzy, but I have a solution. For now the Singles category is going to take a holiday. Pen designs in quantities of one or more will appear on the Main List. Explore the Main List and you will discover a few surprises.

Small categories on the Main list... have been combined. In the last issue Art and Celebrity were joined. In this issue Religion now shares space with Politics. When I find time, the flight category will merge with transportation. If at any time these categories expand, I can always separate them again.

Issue #52 is scheduled to post... on May 13th. As I look at the calendar that seems perfect. Maybe I can get some displays made in between too. I will do my best to post on time.

I was putting the finishing touches... on this issue when Marisa Barna submitted a picture of a magnet she purchased in Colorado last summer. For the cautious the message serves as a reminder that we are supposed to respect boundries. For the wild (and maybe crazy) it's just another line waiting to be crossed. Do you wonder if you are in danger of crossing that line?

On the Homefront...
Our winter has begun to fizzle... and that is fine with me. We check the flower beds daily. Fresh green growth is peeking through the soil. This time of year would be a lot more enjoyable if it weren't tax time. You probably filed way back in January? Our date with the accountant is March 20th. I am not sure how, but when the time comes, we will be ready.

Bill and I are going to California to settle my brother's estate on March 26 and will not return until April 5th. We will have limited Internet access throughout our stay. As always, we will do our best to respond to emails. Orders that arrive during our absence must wait for our return. We do not expect our housesitter to take care of Turn of the Century or Float About business. They will have their hands full caring for the house and resident cats. Our craft show season begins late May, so this will be the only big break for awhile. You have been so patient. I know you are anxious to see the pen list so I won't keep you any longer.

I wish you a joyful spring.
Blossom and float!

That's all for now, but check Float Along frequently for news!
Jump ahead to Issue #52 from Mon/May 29, 2006
Back up and read the Issue #50 from Thurs/Dec 15, 2005
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