It's been a long time... since our last encounter. The holidays came and went. We boldly crossed into 2012 ready to face the New Year. I was sure this newsletter would post by Valentine's Day. I will explain why that didn't happen later, but right now, I prefer to launch into floaty pen news. Let's begin with....
Pens Out and About...
The Tourist pen, pictured below... has been floating around on eBay for over a month now. Since then it has cropped up on a number of trade lists as well. I was able to procure 22 of them. So, if you don't have one, now is the time. Yippeee! It's an Eskie!
This pen was created to promote the release of The Tourist in Denmark. You will find them in the New Arrivals category. The price is $8.50/pen, much sweeter than eBay. The pen features a scene directly from the movie. Johnny and Angelina are in a speedboat, which happens to be the floater. The caption panel includes portraits of both Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Supply is limited. Order now.
Audrey Young-Tartar contacted me... a few weeks ago. She remains an avid hunter and wanted to share her most recent finds. The first is from the Museum of Jurassic Technology. I mentioned this pen in an earlier issue, but neglected to follow-up with the source. Audrey generously provided this link: (Pen no longer available; Link removed June 2015.)
Audrey has intended to visit the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum for the last ten years. “Somehow something else always managed to get in the way. The CHM Museum has the largest collection of Tiffany furniture, lights, stained glass and art works in the USA. It's in a very shi-shi area of Florida called Winter Park. A super pretty city with a great downtown. I found an Eskesen float pen at the Museum! It features a parrot floating past the famous stained glass window, Parrots, by Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1905.” Thank you so much Audrey. She didn't mention what she paid for the pen and I was unable to find it on their website www.morsemuseum.org, but you can reach the gift shop at 407/645-5316.
Beverly Broadstone reported a fresh... floaty design from Sanrio. “Unfortunately, this floaty pen is not Eskesen-made... but despite the company's wrong choice in manufacturers, the Sanrio fans among us might be interested;-)” If you have children, or grandchildren you are surely familiar with Sanrio's cast of characters. Hello Kitty, Badtz Maru, Chococat, Keroppi, My Melody, Deery-Lou, Tuxedo Sam are all products of Sanrio. The company is currently celebrating their 50th anniversary.
Beverly, myself and many others remember a better time when Sanrio commissioned Eskesen to make their floaty pens. They continue to produce really cute designs, but their pens are now manufactured outside of Denmark. From the looks of the Patty and Jimmy pen, I would say this Neskie was made in China. If that doesn't discourage you, you can order the pen here shop.sanrio.com. It's on sale!
Speaking of Sanrio, Miranda Wittebol purchased... two Hello Kitty pens on eBay. Several members of our floaty community are smitten with Sanrio's characters. Miranda knows I am a Hello Kitty fan. She presented me with these two cuties for Christmas. Snow, glitter and the Hello Kitty charms float freely in the windows. Yes, they were made in China, but so cute I told Beverly B all about them. She hit the ground running. Soon after she gave me the scoop on her findings in the LA area. “I purchased the HK designs at my local Kawaii store for $6.50 each. They were not easy to find. I asked two official Sanrio stores about them and they didn't have any. I also looked in non-Sanrio stores that carry Hello Kitty merchandise and they didn't carry them either. The last time I checked, they were still on eBay.” They were still posting both designs and a third when I looked for them about a month ago.
eBay remains an excellent source... for unusual and rare float pens. Beverly reported a recent win. “I bought an Eskesen floaty pen featuring the movie, Rango, with Johnny Depp. I was surprised no other collectors bid on it.” Lucky lady! Just goes to show there are still treasures to be found at affordable prices.
Beverly contributes a great deal to Float About. She is an excellent scout and always quick to report her findings. In addition to her contributions above, she is also responsible for providing a source for the Geico Gecko pens on the current new arrivals list. This feels like the right time and place to express my appreciation. Thank you for everything Beverly B!
Craig Wilson noticed slight discrepancies... in the background designs of two Astro Boy pens. It prompted me to take a closer look. He is right. The same elements are included in the backdrop of both pens, but in different positions. For instance, the rocket ship jumps from left to right Astro Boy x 2.
Now for the debate. Are the minor differences between the two pens enough to call them two separate designs? In other words, if you had both pens in your collection would they count as two pens or one pen and a duplicate? I am curious what you think about the matter.
The floaty world is fluid... and subject to changing trends and attitudes. These days collectors are scrambling to find new float pen designs. There is at least one Chinese manufacturer that seems to be gaining ground in both quality and design. The Chinese pens offered by Gama-Go are an excellent example. In 2005 most collectors were disinterested in Neskies. Today, with so few Eskesen pens in the marketplace and the narrowing quality gap, collectors are searching beyond Eskesen to satisfy their float pens needs.
Craig Wilson's web search... lead him to this set of six Anne Taintor floaty pens. This is a direct quote from Anne T's website. “Anne has been making smart people (and you know who you are...) smile since 1985! Here you will find all her fabulous products, delivered with the quirky, contemporary humor and retro graphics that you love.” It's all true.
Craig brought the pens and website to my attention last week. He thought I might know the company that made them. Looking at the connection of the floaty window to the barrel and the metal tip at the bottom, my educated guess is these pens were made in China. Unfortunately I am not familiar with any Chinese manufacturers.
If the graphics on the website are a realistic representation of the artwork in the actual pens, the color saturation and clarity are amazing. I am skeptical. If anyone out there has purchased an Anne Taintor pen, I anxiously await your assessment. Anne's designs are available exclusively on her website (Sorry, link removed June 2015. I just visited Anne's site. Float pens have vanished from inventory.)
Earlier Craig Wilson asked.... “Have you seen the custom-made display for the Animation Floating Pens on YouTube?” I had not. He is referring to the pair of animation floaty pens by Satoshi Endo entitled, A Man in a Pen, Swimming and A Man in a Pen, Walking. Click link to see the video http://www.youtube.com. “It looks like an inexpensive plastic disc with clips to hold the pens, mounted vertically on a swivel, requiring a simple rotation of the disc to view the action. Can't imagine why no one has come up with this before. If they were mass-produced, I'll bet collectors would snatch them up. All that's missing is a way to light the pens adequately so you could clearly see the floaters if you took video of them in motion.” Note Satoshi's website is pictured on the display.
If you are considering software options for cataloging your collection(s), float pen or otherwise, Craig had an experience to share. “I'm enjoying a new (to me, anyway) productivity app for mobile devices called Bento. It's got me back on track cataloging the pens which had been stacking up for months! It's from FileMaker and to really get the most out of it, you need to purchase and install the desktop version as well, as some functions are only featured on one (or the other). They have user-generated templates available for download at their site, but I'm configuring my own. As with any good app, there are several ways to view the data: as a table, a grid, single record, etc. Below are comparison screenshots from the desktop and mobile versions for the same single record.”
“Right now, I'm just adding the standard static scans of pens to my database records, but I can't help thinking that in the future, we may have animated files, actually showing the floater in motion. Wouldn't that be cool?!” The format looks really simple and yet very sophisticated. Nothing like the programs designed for collectors back in the 80's! Thanks Craig. So now I have to ask... what software package are you using to track your pens? Do you like your software? Enough to recommend it to others?
While we are on the subject of tending to our collections, there is something I keep forgetting to suggest. When storing tip n strips, always keep the silver button in the upright position. If you keep the button depressed, the spring inside is compressed creating undo pressure on the parts. When the button is in the upright position it provides relief and helps prevent bending and bowing.
Dorothy and Colin Bater are coming to America... from Wales. “This is our 5th trip to the USA and we always do our own thing, don't think I would like a coach tour or going with a group. I love planning our route and looking to see what would be of interest to us. It will be a spring vacation, with scheduled highlights to include Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Volcanic crater, Petrified Forest, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Four Corners, Bryce Canyon and Hawaii in the near future.” If you have any advice or directions to specific sites where Dorothy will find pens... please send them her way.
Follow-Up to Issue #70
I didn't realize... that Nancy Nerenberg, at FloatArt.com, had supplied all of the pens for the Mental Floss floaty pen article (except for the Esso from me). Just wanted to give Nancy credit for doing her part to spread the floaty word.
Pens Past, Present and Future...
Sadly there are but a few... new designs. I expect that to become the norm. However, the duplicates list is loaded with something for everyone. 345 designs to choose from! In addition it's time for a Main List sale. Now through March 15th, 50¢ will be deducted from every pen you purchase from the Main List. I look forward to hearing from you!
It's time for the 2012 February-March Duplicates Lottery.
To participate, read the Lottery Details now.
I am accepting wish lists now through the deadline date.
DEADLINE is 9pm (EST) Thurs/March 1st, 2012
Browse the Duplicates Category to see what's being offered.
There are 345 designs!
In addition... all pens on the Main List are on sale through March 11th.
I will deduct 50¢ from any pen you order from the Main List.
The Main List sale includes all categories except Duplicates and New Arrivals.
The reality of our decision to retire... from the art/craft show business is about to hit me like a tsunami. In April I always dive into production and continue into September. I find myself without a reason to make anything. It's a strange feeling. Still unsure what I am going to do. Bill has wholesale/retail business to keep him going. His items are suited for posting and shipping. The bracelets that I have been making and selling at shows since 1987 are a different matter. I custom fit each bracelet to the customer. Transitioning to on-line would be a real challenge. I have been hesitant and even reluctant to attempt it. I think before I go that route, I will post and sell some of the collectibles and junque that I've amassed over the years. Doing our local flea market has provided an avenue to that end. Soon I will start posting items on eBay and Etsy to generate some income. I have closets full of cool stuff to sell. After decades of self-employment, Bill and I are convinced we are unemployable. Our local econmy is pathetic so I may have to be recycled into another untraditional position. I will find my way and it will be an interesting journey.
If the newsletter seems short... it's only because from late autumn through the winter months float pen activity grinds to a halt. That's about to change. Spring approaches and collectors will begin to travel again. As findings are reported, I will post them in Float Along. Issue #72 should post around mid-May, hopefully by Mother's Day. I await your orders, lottery wish lists and news. Have fun browsing the list.
Updates will be added to
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FLOAT ABOUT... Diana Andra, 1676 Millsboro Road, Mansfield, OH 44906-3374
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