Float About #57... © Copyright Tues/Aug 28, 2007
a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to Eskesen floaty pen collectors

It seems like a year ago... issue #56 posted. In reality it's been a long three months plus a few weeks. This time of year Bill and I are always extra busy. We have also been extremely fortunate. We have four art fairs behind us. Three of them were successful. The fourth show wasn't bad, just not great. For me, production always trumps pen biz during show season.

Neglecting Float About is never intentional, but rather necessary. My income is dependent on the shows. Our son, Josh, will come from Pittsburgh to help us at the Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Fest. It is our last big event of the season. The following Sunday we will do a small art fair in Berea, OH. The Berea Art Fest will be our final event for 2007. I knew if I didn't get this issue up now, it would have to wait until mid-September. I have tried your patience long enough.

Follow-up to Issue #56...
The new US Postal Service Rates... prompted a minimal increase in my shipping rates. I will do my best to hold the current rates. I will give you plenty of warning if changes need to be made.

A handful of Eskesen Sample Cases... are still available. Last month I posted one of the cases on eBay. It's a great way to announce availability of new items. Preparing the listing was time consuming, but the investment will help sell the remaining inventory. I used photos from the eBay listing to compose this Sample Case Page. Photos show the contents, interior and exterior of the case. To read the many positive reviews from collectors that have purchased a sample case... click reviews. If you wish to order a case, please do so soon. I have four, I might not be able to reorder.

Pens Out and About...
Alicia Delahunty found an online... contest with prizes that promoted the movie Oceans 11. The contest is over. The only reason I mention this is because they listed 2 floatie pens as prizes. The website didn't offer any more information, which left Alicia and I hungry for more details.

Soon after I posted notice in Float Along, I heard from Miranda. She told me that our own Marisa Barna had recently won an Ocean's Eleven pen on eBay. Miranda went back to the listing and borrowed the photos. The artwork is impossible to decipher, but the caption panel is clear as a bell. Congratulations to Marisa and 'thank you' to Miranda! Sorry. I do not have a source for the pen.

Doug Yeo and his wife, Pat... have covered a lot of territory over the summer months. Doug's travels will continue into September. July 25th I received an update from Doug. “Greetings from Banff, Canada, where I'm in the Canadian Rockies teaching at a brass residency at the Banff Centre. Pat and I tacked a week on to the trip last week, hiking in Glacier National Park. We had a great week. Look where I got to practice each day!”

Doug went on to say, “We are at the Boston Symphony Summer Festival at Tanglewood followed by a three week European tour. I spent the morning in Banff looking for floaties. Initially it was very disappointing. I found one shop that had several classic E pens, one of Banff, one of Lake Louise. They were old and rather beaten up for being in the display for many years. Today I found a store that had two new T&C designs which was heartening, $3.99 each, and also E pens. I couldn't find any pens in Glacier which was a pity. When we fly home, I'll look in the Calgary and Toronto airports to see if there are any offerings. I'm heading to some new places on the BSO tour (specifically cities in Germany - Dusseldorf and Essen - so hold out slim hope I might find some new pens. The other cities on the tour - Lucerne, Paris, London, Berlin - are places from which I already have pens.”

Doug and Pat also toured the The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. The current Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings exhibit is getting a lot of attention. Doug discovered two photoramic float pens in the gift shop. The first pen was made to commemorate a 2004 exhibition of the Bruyas Collection. The second is a pen made exclusively for the The Clark.

Thanks to Doug's direction, I contacted The Clark and ordered both of these beauties for the New Arrivals list.

The Clark is a unique and respected art museum. You will find everything you need to know to plan a visit on their website. Click www.ClarkArt.edu to explore the museum and it's artful bounty.

Collectors News...
Before I forget... Miranda Wittebol and her boyfriend, Dik, are floating about France on holiday. Just before their departure I asked the big question, “So how many pens do you have in your collection now?” Miranda didn't have an accurate count. She has well over 11,000 Eskesen floaty pens. Miranda has been so busy this summer, she is way behind in her count and cataloging. Expect an update in the next issue.

California collectors, Beverly Broadstone and Gwen Garabedian...
make it a point to meet for lunch at least two or three times each year. They always have pens to trade and stories to share. This spring the ladies popped in to visit yet another floaty collector... Damon Zilly. Many friendships have been forged over floaty pens. Begin bonding with a fellow collector today? Do you even know if there are other float pen collectors in your area?

Norwegian collectors are gearing up... for their annual meeting the weekend of September 8th.

Tone with scenic view I can always count on Tone Helen Hanken to provide a report after the event. Hopefully she can get a few pictures too. I don't know about you, but I think of Norway as a distant and cold destination, but we often have misconceptions about far away locations. It's beautiful! It's no wonder Tone is so proud of her native Norway. The photo (left) is the view from her balcony.

Tone with Finn, Lisbeth and Oliver

Earlier this month, Danish collector, Finn Sørensen and his family, visited Tone. The picture (right) features Finn's children, Lisbeth and Oliver, plus Finn and Tone. His wife was there, but extremely camera shy. Finn was quick to note that Tone and her boyfriend Steinar were extremely gracious hosts. They opened their home and showered the Sørensen family with warmth and hospitality.

For Finn, seeing Tone's collection was surely the highlight of his holiday. Tone's phenomenal floaty collection is housed in these beautiful wooden cabinets. Her display cases are functional, yet fashionable. A combination that's truly hard to beat. You can see Tone's cases in detail by going back to Issue #46.

Tone and Finn engaged in a friendly pen tug-of-war.
Tone did not let go!

Friends and family enjoyed the local sites, including the Geiranger Troll. Finn provided these photos just a few days before publication. I was happy to include the pix.

Finn summed up their visit. “Our stay with Tone and Steinar was a memorable one! We talked floatys for hours and hours. Two die hard collectors! It was truly a FLOATY SUMMIT! Thank you Tone and Steinar for your hospitality. We enjoyed our stay very much!!!”

Sue Buetow is real stickler... for organization. However, she is not so fond of the tedious chore of dusting. Over the years, Sue has tried a number of different systems for organizing and displaying her collection, but many required dusting. Now it seems Sue has found a practical solution for storing and displaying her floaty pen collection. Sue purchased these Plano storage units at a Farm & Fleet store. The units cost about $12 each. A unit consists of a red rack with four plastic boxes. The boxes have hinged lids that snap closed. Each box is divided into six identical compartments, or slots, measuring 1½ inches wide by 7 inches long.

“I can get about a dozen pens in each compartment. Each slot represents a category, although some need more than one slot. I like a lot of categories. It makes it easier to find specific pens. I use a label maker to generate a number for each compartment. The number and contents of each slot is entered alphabetically into a book. Now I can find pens in a flash! I currently have ten units and almost 200 categories. It may seem complicated, but it sure works for me. The best part... no more dusting my pens! It takes about one minute to dust all of the units.” Sue mounted shelves on the wall to hold the units. They are neatly stacked and aligned. Way to go Sue! I have a feeling others will consider your system.

Maryland collector, Alicia Delahunty... and her family just returned from a trip to Ohio and Michigan. Alicia found an Eskesen naked twist and click at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. She is sending one my way. If the design is exciting, I will try to buy a quantity of them.

Alicia's son, Benedict, donated a dollar to the Habitat for Humanity charity at a mall in Adrian, Michigan. The donation granted him one spin of the wheel of fortune for a prize. He could have won an IPOD, but instead got a warm diet Pepsi, some coupons and a choice between a floaty or a yo-yo! He chose the twist n click Eskesen Mountain Dew pen and presented it to his mother. Alicia could not buy any extras. The pens were reserved for the charity fund raiser. Still, it's a serendipitous encounter of the floaty kind.

Amazing eBay Stories... Over the last few months... floaty action has evolved from HOT to HOTTER! Let me begin with a lucky win for Biggy Kuhn in Germany.

Biggy won a real... Eskesen gem on eBay. The seller had chosen an ineffective title and keywords so most floaty collectors overlooked the posting. A friend spotted the auction and noticed the pencil had a floater. Biggy's friend notified her right away.

The item is not the first pencil made by Peder Eskesen, but it is a very old design from the early 1950's. The first pencil featured an oil drum, but it did not have a figure. Kim Rasmussen, at E, confirmed the age of the pencil and congratulated Biggy on winning a true treasure.

Biggy won the pencil for about $25 US. A fabulous price for a fantastic floaty. Biggy asked if I thought this might be a good story for Float About. Yes Biggy.. I certainly do! Kudos on your win.

This may be the biggest eBay score... in floaty pen history. This story begins on June 2nd. Out of the blue, Dennis from Cleveland, contacted me via email regarding the value of a 1959 Eskesen sample case. He didn't provide any photos or explain if he wanted to sell the case or just have it appraised. Not knowing his intentions, it was difficult for me to advise him. I responded with some answers and more questions, but I never heard from him again.

June 10th Dennis's extraordinary sample kit sold on eBay. These photos were borrowed from the eBay listing. I enhanced them as best I could.

So this is what a 1959 E sample case looked like!? WOW. This is truly a glimpse into Eskesen's humble beginnings. In-the-day, I am sure this sample case was state-of-the-art. The sample book seems to have soft felt pages. The items are attached with what I presume to be elastic cord, or some kind of cording. Note the folded piece of paper in the upper right photo? It is unfolded in the last frame to reveal a bevy of tip n strip models.

Just like the modern version of the Eskesen sample case, this case included their extensive product line. I see pencils, letter openers, screw drivers and keyrings. I can't be sure, but I don't think there are any pens. 1959 was early for ballpoint pens. I noticed page two was dedicated to tip n strip items. They were all the rage in those days and their popularity continues in today's market.

What a fabulous find! So how much did this fantastic floaty package sell for? Two very confident and serious collectors duked it out until the last second of the auction. The winning bid was $366.99. What an incredible acquisition. If you are curious, check-out the listing on eBay. Search for item #260125263836.

So maybe vintage Eskesen... isn't your style. This story is about a contemporary celebrity pen. I have been receiving congratulatory notes every since my Dolly Parton auction closed.

I hesitated to post the pen. Bill and I have visited the gift shop at Dollywood on two separate occasions. The only pens we found were traditional photoramics in the classic or naked twist n click style. This was the only Dolly Parton conceal/reveal design I have ever seen. It was from my personal collection, so it was extra hard to let it go. It's possible this pen was made to promote a special performance at Dollywood.

Like many conceal/reveal pens this one has a bubble. Because the background is so black, the bubble was pretty obscure. In a traditional photoramic pen, a bubble can stall or even stop the floater. Unlike classic photoramics, in a conceal/reveal pen, the bubble tends to make way for the movement of the sleeve. I have noticed within my personal collection, when compared to my traditional photoramics, a higher percentage of my conceal/reveal pens have bubbles. Do you find the same to be true?

Back to the auction. People assume that I watch my auctions close. I do not! It's just far too stressful. I try to forget about them and wait for eBay to send the end-of-auction notices my way. There were two factors I did not anticipate. Among floaty collectors, the majority of wishlists begin with pens that fall into the celebrity or ad categories. I really under estimated the devotion of Dolly Parton fans. When these two forces collided the bids exploded. Even so, no one was more surprised than I was to see the Dolly Parton pen sell for $224.50! As far as I know, it's the highest fee ever paid for one floaty pen. It has to be a record breaker. Sorry, players in both auctions prefer to remain anonymous.

Pens Past, Present and Future...
Several designs from Issue #56... New Arrivals list still remain. However, a few are now endangered. The Multnomah Falls and Tasha - Gardner Monks (very personal custom wedding pen) will soon vanish. The Queen Elizabeth II will be retired in 2008. Now is the time to get the pen. Sorry, only one FloatArt designs this time. Hopefully I will have more of Nancy's pens to include in the next issue.

New Arrivals may be short.... but there are some outstanding custom designs. This one from the Page Museum is a great example. Californians are crazy about the The Page Museum. What's not to love?! The LaBrea Tar Pits are a national treasure. For floaty pen collectors, a custom pen from The Page is a big bonus. I purchased a quantity of these pens retail. The gift shop offers them for $5 each. They will mailorder, but I was quoted $5 shipping for one pen.

If you live near The Page, pop in. If you are too far away, take a virtual tour www.tarpits.org. This pen is on my New Arrivals list. Design available in C-clip or classic style. Please specify!

As for Issue #58... it will be due right around Halloween. That's doesn't sound impossible to me. I will do what I can to make it happen. We may take a short trip late in September, but it shouldn't delay publication. I do have a request. Does anyone have a Toblerone pen for trade or sale? If so, please contact me.

Something Special...
In each issue I like to share... pictures of extraordinary examples of Eskesen pens or pencils. Usually the examples are from my personal collection. This time, I am not the lucky owner.
Royal PairThis Royal pair belongs to Tone Helen Hanken. What a magnificent pair!

Tone does not know the history of these items. She asks, “Does anyone know anything about the background of this pen and pencil? They are so special and wonderful.”

The belly band reads ‘Made in Denmark’, so they are definitely Eskesen. Tone wonders if they were custom made for a celebration? Any information would be appreciated. They are obviously vintage. I have never seen anything like this. I am blown away! I want to thank Tone for sharing with us. I would be envious, but I am happy they are in the hands of such a deserving collector.

On the Homefront....
Perhaps you are one of the millions... of Americans that are struggling to keep their health insurance? Me too. I was having great difficulty making the $688 monthly payment. In July it increased to $872. That's just for me. Bill pays a little less, but far too much. Our insurance broker attempted to find another company for Bill and I both. Due to our existing medical conditions, we were declined over and over. I intend to hang on as long as I can, but I expect my policy to increase to over $1,000 in July of 2008. Dropping my coverage is inevitable. In the meantime, the situation has pressured me to find supplemental income. Posting on eBay has helped tremendously. I tell you this because it's good news for collectors. Once show season is over I will devote time to scanning and posting pens. I have plenty of other things to sell too. I am equally determined to make changes to improve my personal health. This isn't going to be easy.

Kobesan in the pet stroller

Finding time to exercise... has always been a challenge for me. For my birthday, Bill purchased a pet stroller to get me on my feet. The idea of taking the cats for a walk amused me. Much to my surprise they enjoy our daily jaunts. We get a lot of laughs, double-takes and expressions of disbelief. I guess anyone that walks a cat is presumed crazy. To support that presumption, I listen to my Spanish language tapes and practice speaking out loud. My digital camera is handy to capture sunsets, flowers, animals, landscaping, whatever comes along. In the course of a week, my litter bag gets filled too. A different cat accompanies me each evening. Last night it was Kobesan's turn. No time to walk tonight! We have lived here for 20 years. This summer I have met more neighbors than ever before. I feel better too. I may be the crazy cat lady, but it's ok. This has been a positive experience all the way around. I highly recommend it.

Our geothermal system... is installed. The a/c served us well through the hot spells. We are anxious to see how it works in the winter months. We will know soon enough. A friend remarked that we could have snow in as little as six weeks. I almost kicked her! Public school started today, so I know my friend speaks the truth. Summer is over. Sigh.

If you have been watching... National Weather coverage this past week or two, you know the mid-west has been coping with stormy weather.

When we see skies like this, we know to expect more than puddles.

We were so right.

Clean-up continues in Mansfield. Our main Post Office is situated in the flats. It flooded on the 21st and has yet to reopen. The facility had three feet of water inside and they lost their entire fleet of trucks. Shelby, a small community about 15 minutes from us, really took a beating. They had a few daring water and air rescues. Our house sets high and dry, but many of our neighbors lost everything in their basements. The storms continued through the weekend. Actually, the mid-west has been troubled by tornadoes and heavy rain on and off for weeks. Thanks for sending sunshine. Things are finally looking up.

Now it's your turn. What kind of summer did you have? Did you find floaty pens? Enjoy fine weather? Until the storms came, we were enjoying a fantastic summer. I hope you were just as lucky.

I am not going to keep you a moment longer. It's time to browse the pen list. I will be taking orders Wednesday and Thursday. Friday we will likely make a trip to Pittsburgh. You should not wait for my return. Orders are filled on a first-come first-served basis. I will be here on Saturday. Sunday morning we will leave for the art fair and return late Monday night.
Forever afloat...

That's more than enough for now, but check Float Along frequently for news!
Go forward to Issue #58 posted on Tues/Nov 12, 2007
Back up and read the Issue #56 from May 9, 2007
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FLOAT ABOUT... Diana Andra, 1676 Millsboro Road, Mansfield, OH 44906-3374
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