Float About #72... Dedicated to Eskesen Float Pen Collectors
© Copyright Sat/June 23, 2012

Thank you for being so patient... regarding the release of the newsletter and lists. I always underestimate the time involved in preparing 300 pens to post. Then my schedule gets derailed when unrelated projects pop-up. So now the heat is on and I feel a real sense of urgency. No more time to waste and a lot of ground to cover.

Follow-Up to Issue #71
Remember the set of six... Anne Taintor floaty pens from the last issue? I was curious about the quality of the actual pens so I asked around. Beverly Broadstone pointed out, digital images still don't compare with photoramic, but when comparing digital to digital... “The design and details in these Chinese made pens are actually pleasing to me. The Taintor pens are much nicer than other non-Eskesen pens.” She credits the strong artwork for the quality. Nobi Ochiai agreed. “They are nice pens, in my personal opinion, the resolution is even better than some of Eskesen's digital designs. Unfortunately one of the pens had a big bubble when it arrived. The shop was notified and they sent a replacement immediately.” Thank you both for your critiques. So there you have it. Two positive reviews. Purchase any/all of the AT designs here... (Pens are no longer available; Link removed June 2015.)

As for the debate about the Astro Boy pens... counting as one or two separate designs, Nancy Nerenberg was the first to respond. “I vote the Astro Boy designs are two different pens. After all, Eskesen would consider them two different runs, they would make two sets of templates, and they'd charge for two orders.” Absolutely correct on all three counts.

Debbie Carriere chimed in with, “Definitely, I would count the Astro Boy pens as separate designs. There are a lot of pens I count as two even when they are very similar. The font in the caption may differ or sometimes a foreground image is added/moved to the opposite side. My best example is a local pen from Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg where the background art is mirrored.”

Nancy and Debbie make valid points. So even with minor differences, the pens qualify as two distinct designs. Let's take a step sideways. What if the only difference between two pens is the font used in the caption panel? Do you need both pens to complete your collection? Do you collect designs in multiple formats... like in the classic style and twist n click, or is one or the other enough?

The Tourist movie promo pen... introduced in issue #71 is now in short supply. Five pens remain in inventory. The C-clip digital design features Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Find it at the bottom of the New Arrivals page.

Media Sighting
Regina Merwin, of OperaGraphics.com.... contacted me May 24th with exciting news. “I got ambushed by the the Tonight Show's Pumpcast crew while I was innocently pumping gas last week. The guy asked me what I did for a living, and instead of saying ‘Oh, writing for Western States Jewish History Quarterly’, I remembered that I design and sell Operatic Floaty Pens. That was more interesting, so he immediately punched up my Salome animated tip n strip pen on the monitor! My husband caught the early East Coast feed and said it was OK to tell friends--I was afraid I would come off looking like an idiot, or a FAT idiot.”

It was noon on Friday before I opened the email, so I missed it. Did you? No worries. Suffer through a brief commercial and you can see the entire video online! (Sorry, link defunct; Removed June 2015.) Regina looks great and the entire segement is funny. Regina's spot follows the Gas Man. If you lose your way, just find your way back to videos. You want to watch the May 24th pumpcast.

Craig Wilson presented a.... movie triva question. “Has anyone mentioned the possible appearance of an Eskie in the movie Doubt, featuring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams? The scene in question is where Sister Aloysius (Streep) castigates Sister James (Adams) over the issue of letting students use ballpoint pens. It's one of the more comical scenes in this drama, illustrating what a nitpicker Sister Aloysius is, but I think pen collectors will find it particularly entertaining. Whether the pen is an Eskie or a neskie is anybody's guess, as we don't get a good close look.”

Bill, Josh and I rented the movie months ago. Not one of us noticed the floaty pen! I reviewed the video clip and it looks like a translucent barrel. If that's the case, I would say it is an Eskie. Have you ever encountered a pen made in China that sports a translucent barrel? I have not. Great catch Craig.

Pens Out and About...
The Broadstone family visited.... the Phoenix area in March. “Some gift shops don't make it that easy to find floaty pens. This display was pushed towards the back of the shelf as if it was inconsequential, in my opinion. Our beloved pens deserve more respect! ;-)” Beverly returned to LA with duplicates for trade from the Musical Instrument Museum, but only one remains. It is an Esksie. To arrange a trade, contact floatypenguin@earthlink.net.

There is a good chance the float pens at the Musical Instrument Museum will be getting the attention they deserve. I received a change-of-address from Doug Yeo. Doug and his wife, Pat, have made the move from Boston to Phoenix. I know they are still getting settled because I haven't received a recent update. We will soon have a serious collector on-the-inside. Doug will be teaching at the University and volunteering at the MIM. Yahoo.

As you know, Beverly B is an avid... collector of many things. Her hubby, George, has collections of his own to feed. They both keep a watchful eye for items that might appeal to family members and friends. It that sounds like a chore, it's not. It's fun! Now that George is retired, they hunt and discover amazing things together.

Beverly relates a recent expedition... “George and I decided to spend the morning at one of our favorite antique malls. Early in our visit, we spotted a Flotty pen display in one of the enclosed glass cases. The sellers may not know how to spell, but they sure know how to price!” Congrats to Beverly for uncovering this rare find.

“I was very excited when I saw this pen... knowing I didn't have it in my collection and thinking that it was an exotic foreign pen. When I arrived home, I Googled it. Much to my surprise, the Prabhupada's Palace of Gold is located in the U.S., specifically West Virginia! Even more surprising, this pen is associated with the Hare Krishna group! If only the Hare Krishna passed out floaty pens instead of flowers, they might've gotten more donations! Kidding, of course.”

Debbie Carriere didn't have to leave Winnipeg... to score this Eskie Belle of Louisville floaty. Debbie's sister-in-law presented her with six of the pens that she picked-up while on a geocaching trip. This design was purchased on the boat that serves as their box office and gift shop, located on the waterfront in Louisville, Kentucky. Sorry, I do not have anymore contact information. However, when this newsletter posted, Debbie still had one pen available for trade... kveeti@shaw.ca.

Collectors News...
For those that provided tips... for Dorothy and Colin Bater's tour of the USA, your help was applied and appreciated. It was their fifth and likely last trip to the States, so they made the best of it. “We had a wonderful time and saw all of the places we wanted to see plus some we just happened upon. Alas, I had a very tough time in my search for pens. I only found one while we were touring. It was the last one in the store. I have since emailed to see if they are going to restock, they are not. It was at the Denny’s Wigwam in Kanab (Little Hollywood) where many westerns were made from the 1930’s–1970’s. The caption panel included ‘Arizona’ even though Kanab is just inside Utah.”

“We turned up at the visitor centre of the Grand Canyon prepared to buy a Golden Eagle pass because we intended to visit six or more National Parks. We got lucky! We were told by the ranger that it was National Parks week or something and entry to all parks was free for the next 8 days, the duration of our car rental. If only I could have found some pens to buy with the savings. I did find some in Hawaii, one classic and the others were C-clips sold in sets of three. Tip n strips were everywhere. Some were hidden on bottom shelves with notices on them not to be sold to under 18’s. ”

“In Las Vegas I walked as much as I could, but my poor feet hurt. We stayed at the Mandalay Bay, so we took the bus to the opposite end of the strip. Surely I would find some pens at the World’s Biggest Souvenir Shop, but no luck, just more common tip n strips.” Despite the lack of float pens, the couple had a great trip. They returned to Wales weeks ago. In the meantime, Dorothy has posted some vacation photos on FaceBook. Enjoy.

Big things going on... in the lives of our fellow collectors. It was a year ago Andy Balbus opened his law firm. In addition to the first year anniversary, his son just graduated high school and his daughter received her masters degree. Despite Andy's busy schedule, he still finds a few stolen moments to enjoy float pens. Pennsylvania collector, Maris Barna, has one summer class to complete and she will have her business degree. This is Marisa's second degree and hopefully this one will take her wherever she wants to go. She is so ready to get out of school and get on with her life.

Finn Sørensen recently notified collectors regarding his mother's failing health. He is devoting his time and energy to her right now. Gwen Garabedian continues therapy for her second knee replacement while Robert Henry is making a come-back from his recent hip replacement. Best wishes to all. Otherwise the community seems to be in pretty good health.

Some folks are concentrating on home improvement. The Broadstones installed a new garden window, much to the delight of their cat, Gatsby. Bill and I painted our master bedroom, installed a new hardwood floor and built a platform bed. Ron Lanyi's backyard paradise has finally been restored after a wicked storm made a mess. In Seattle, La Nea and Rusty Conner are deep into a major multi-room blow-out.

It's been a year (May 31st) since a storm flooded the Carriere family cottage. Most of the cottages in the area are being raised to prevent further loss. June 2nd Debbie reported... “After too many delays and too much red tape I think we are finally getting somewhere. Still lots to be done, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The cottage certainly looks weird, and ours is such a little place, under 1000 square feet. It was really amazing to see the cottage several lots down. It's a huge place with an attached garage - also sitting up in the air!” That little figure in the photo (left side) is Debbie.

On June 17th I received an update. “The grading is done under the cottage. It must extend 12 feet all around and then get a layer of topsoil. The guy I've hired to build our new deck should be starting soon. Rain delayed grading, which in turn delayed the deck building. However, we can climb into the cottage using a step-ladder. Quite the view from inside!!!” That's Debbie in doorway. So you see.... big things going on in the floaty world. What's new with you?!

Edmond Cotterchio sent photos from... a major eBay win. This is wild and crazy. Edmond exclaimed... “Look! I found these old pencils Easter weekend while shopping on Ebay. The Salesman Sample book is marked Andersen Pencils, but they are all Eskesens. I paid $36.91 plus shipping!”

They are indeed Eskesen items, but the seller probably didn't realize it, especially since the kit is clearly labeled otherwise. Edmond and I were equally confused by the Andersen Pencils stamp, but maybe sales kits were personalized and Andersen was a sales rep for E? Or the Andersen company represented Eskesen products. Who knows?! I'm guessing the kit is from the 1950's because ballpoints were not included. One of the pencils is a working sand timer. That's something I haven't seen before. The items are fastened to the inside covers and protected by a felt sheet in between. Kudos to Edmond on his fabulous floaty find!!!

Have you met Marshall Mashumaro?... As a little boy he ate so many marshmellows he turned into one. Joe, from SquibblesInk.com introduced me to Marshall earlier this week. If SquibblesInk sounds familiar, it's because they designed/distributed the Pez floaty pen series about ten years ago.

Marshall was created by 64 Colors and is the most recent design in the Inked Pulp series of Artist floaty pens. Inked Pulp is a special project of Squibbles INK dedicated to producing limited edition art and design with a focus on image and graphics. The Artist Action Pens and Fobs (floaty keyrings) are a part of the ongoing series of limited edition novelties that feature action floaty graphics.

I have ordered enough Marshall Mashumaro pens to cover everyone. They are posted on the New Arrivals list, but they haven't arrived yet. I expect them by the end of the week. The pens will also be offered for sale at www.rotofugi.com, www.64colors.com and other fine retailers. Suggested retail price is $5.95 each. (June 2015: Pen is still available for $5 at FloatAbout under the Advertise Category).

Pens Past, Present and Future...
The Feb-March Main List sale... was a success. It has become an annual tradition and will continue. The duplicates that remained from issue #71 have been worked into the main list. A few old designs have made a come-back.

It's time for the 2012 June Duplicates Lottery.
To participate, read the Lottery Details now.
I am accepting wish lists now through the deadline date.

DEADLINE is noon (EST) Wed/June 27, 2012
Browse the Duplicates Category to see what's being offered.
There are 300+ designs!
Remember, the lottery applies exclusively to the Duplicates Category.
All other categories are handled on a first come-first served basis.

The future, by nature... is unpredictable, but some things are inevitable. In the past, I have always been able to replenish inventory with new designs from a number of distributors. Many of these distributors have either retired from retail or gone out of business. Remaining distributors are no longer pumping out new designs at a steady rate. They are playing it safe and relying on old designs, now being reissued in the digital format. Among my collectors, there is little interest in digital remakes. To buy pens from a retail outlet is risky business. The pens are more expensive, which means I have to charge more. With so many active traders in our small community, the market is often saturated before I post a design. To satisfy the masses I have parted with many of my photoramic pens. I'm cool with that, but the day will come when my pen supply is totally depleted. This is year 17 for FloatAbout. It won't be the last, but the end nears. I suspect this is why I sometimes drag my feet or allow things to get in the way of lottery prep. I truly enjoy my slice of floaty life.

I contacted Topline Products, Inc... to see if Lupita had anything new for me. Sadly, no, but she did tell me about a custom design they created for the USS Iowa Museum. Do you know the story?

According to the LA Times... “The Pacific Battleship Center spent two years and $7 million to refurbish and buy the USS Iowa from the U.S. Navy, which had mothballed the ship in the Bay Area for the last 20 years. The 70-year-old battleship, which is 887 feet long and weighs 58,000 tons, will become a floating museum, slated to open July 7. It will include interactive tours, allowing visitors to experience life at sea during active duty. Admission to the museum will be $18 for the general public, $15 for retired members of the military, and $10 for those between 6 and 17 years old.”

Tugboats guided the
ship through the
narrow Angel's Gate
harbor entrance as
the U.S. Coast Guard
enforced a 100-yard
safety zone around it.

IMPORTANT: The Museum is scheduled to open on July 7th, but the pens will not reach the USA before July 13th. Then the pens will be shipped to the client. No telling how long it will take them to get the pens into the gift shop. I'm guessing it could take as long as a month. I assume the USS Iowa float pens will be offered in their gift shop and possibly in the on-line catalog. San Pedro is in the Los Angeles area, Beverly Broadstone territory. I wouldn't be surprised if Beverly picked some up for trade. This link will take you to their website for general information...www.pacificbattleship.com.

The actual street address as follows: Pacific Battleship Center, USS IOWA BB-61, 250 Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA 90731. Phone 877/446-9261

Last Minute Entries...
I was adding the final paragraph to this issue... when I received an email from Victoria B. In April she visited family/friends in Florida. At the Orlando airport Victoria found five digital remakes. They are all familiar designs: 1) Manatee-Endangered 2)Clear window aquarium with Angel and Clown Fish 3) Sharks! 4) In Orbit and 5) Destination Space. The last two pens had ‘ORLANDO’ imprinted on their barrels. Victoria scoured DisneyWorld, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens to no avail. Sigh.

In May, Victoria received two designs that a friend found in Palm Springs. She was presented with a photoramic ‘SW Charm’ pen. The second had four butterflies afloat in a clear window with ‘Palm Springs’ imprinted on the barrel.

Victoria just returned from a whirlwind tour of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. “Most of my time was spent in National and State parks. I had a wonderful time, took hundreds of photographs, but did not find any pens. My last hope was the Las Vegas airport, where I have had mixed luck in the past. After visiting seven different Hudson News stands I actually found a lone pen that looked like it had been hidden somewhere for years. The price tag was so old and faded that the clerk scanned a different kind of pen because this one would not scan. I was just happy to find it. It's a vertical design of a Las Vegas showgirl.” Welcome home Victoria. Your report most appreciated!

A few short hours before post time... Marisa Barna submitted this long list of sources for float pens. As I visited the sites and saw the photos, I knew you would need all the guidance you could get. Most of the photos are so distant, you can't see any detail. I included all of Marisa's insightful notes. She is an educated collector and I trust her judgement. Thank you for the wealth of information Marisa!

http://www.mojavemax.com/store.html: Very cute pen made for a tortoise reserve in Nevada, a smiling tortoise floats out from behind a rock and floats across the desert. Made in Denmark. You have to call the store to order them over the phone. US shipping was $5.35.

http://drivergear.vw.com/vw10/SKUDetailsVW10F16000.asp Silver Jetta floats, obviously made in China and prone to bubbles. Pen is sold out.

http://vw10.drivergear.vw.com/SKUDetailsVW10F16292.asp/Catalog/New/DRG016291 Red Beetle floats, made in China and bubbly.

'http://drivergear.vw.com/vw10/SKUDetailsVW10F16292.asp' Now this one is very nice....made in Denmark and has the newer chrome barrel which is very sleek. US shipping was $6.95 and tax was around $3.96 for the VW pens. Pen is sold out.

http://bitchmagazine.org/support-feminist-media/floaty-pen. I know others have found this one, so you probably already know about it, but just in case.

On the Homefront...
I continue to participate... in our local flea market every month. The show is THIS weekend. In fact, I was at the show all day. If you send your lottery wish list tomorrow, expect confirmation Sunday night. By the time I get the booth down, the truck unloaded and grab a bite to eat with the boys, it could be as late as 8:00 (EST) before I get back to the home office.

A few weeks ago we upgraded to digital phone service. Believe it or not, this is the first time we have ever had caller ID! Our fax machine is so antiquated, the new service won't support it. I mention this because I no longer have the ability to send/receive a fax.

This is the time of year... we are normally deep in production preparing for our first show of the season. When July has come and gone, panic will set in. Until then, I am living in a state of denial. We are keeping very busy. The master bedroom project is still short of 100% finished. Bill needs to get trim on the head and foot board of our bed. I need to sand and finish some shelving. Together we must decide what art to hang and where. The best part is we are both sleeping better on the new mattress. We do have one regret. Why didn't we do this years ago!?

It's officially summer. I am always anxious to hear what's new with you! Please report your travels and float pen finds. FloatAbout depends on your input. Bill and I have lost interest in planning a summer vacation so I will be here waiting to details about your excursions.

We have been enjoying the most beautiful weather. Getting just enough rain to keep everything green. No corn in the fields this year, soy beans instead. The cats alternate between hunting, playing and sleeping under the plants in the field. They disappear for hours. There are days I would like to join them.

Have fun browsing the lists. Until we meet again...
Take a big bite out of the good life.

That's all for now. Updates will be added to Float Along.
Check it frequently for incoming news!

Go forward to read Issue #73, posted Fri/Oct 26, 2012
Back up and read Issue #71, it posted in Mon/Feb 27, 2012
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