They say better late than never, right?
The 2015 Atlanta Pen Show was a full week ago at this point, and I feel like I am still coming down from the high. It was such an amazing experience that it has taken me this long to get the words out, much less get back on a normal schedule.
There are so many things to discuss about show weekend. Much of it we have covered on the podcast and there have been several wonderful recaps, but I wanted add a bit to the conversation, especially around the several hats I wore for three awesome days in April.
If there was one thing I was excited about above all else it was meeting people that I had only met online before. Myke Hurley and I were thrilled that our Kickstarter backers made this happen for us. After three years of recording it was about time we met! And that included having Ana Reinert fly in for the show as well, and the huge contingent of friends and readers who made the trip into town. This crowd sure knows how to travel!
The people were the highlight of the weekend for me. Talking, sharing, drinking, eating, and just being around a group as great as this provided me memories for a lifetime. Words fail to capture how truly great this experience was.
The pen show marked another first of course - the first ever Nock Co. table! It was thrilling, but not nerve racking. Ok, setting up Friday morning was nerve racking, but I am so confident in Jeff and the entire Nock team I knew we had plenty goods to sell through the entire three days of the show.
And sell we did. Being our first adventure I had no idea what to expect and therefore had no expectations on how it would go, much less how much we would sell. As it turns out, we sold a ton of goods and only ran out of one or two small items. That is a huge win all the way around.
Manning the show table wasn't the only Nock Co. activity scheduled for the weekend. We had a party to throw too! We wanted to make sure everyone who was in town for the show got a glimpse of where the magic happens, and despite the constant rain it was big fun. The Nock shop was packed, beer and pizza were consumed at a high rate, pen testing was going on, Field Notes were traded, raffle prizes were awarded, cases were sewn, and I even gave an impromptu little speech. It was nuts in all the right ways.
Finally, something I have done before! This was my third time attending the Atlanta Pen Show to shop, although I spent less time doing that this year than in years past. I think it is pretty obvious why at this point, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
My shopping was broken down into two parts: specific items I came for and general browsing. Friday was the day to handle the first part, and I am glad I did. I had my eyes on two new Franklin-Christoph pens they launched recently - the Model 66 Pocket and the Model 20 Marietta - and luckily they still had both available Friday afternoon. Yes, the show was that busy that F-C was getting low on stock Friday! I went with the Ice 66 or course, with a Mike Masuyama needlepoint nib. My 20 was all black, clipless, and sports a Masuyama fine cursive italic. Actually, the nib had to be sent to me post show, as they only had a few available since it is a new grind for them.
After that, I picked up a bottle of Sailor Bung Box Silent Night that my friends at Vanness Pens were holding for me. It is a rich, dark blue that I think I will like. And that's it for Friday. There was no time to browse with how busy the show and the Nock table were, and we had a party to get to anyway.
Saturday was a day I planned on no shopping as I knew it would be the busiest day of the show. That absolutely turned out to be the case. The only shopping I did was after seeing a nice used Lamy 2000 ballpoint bought by Joe from Gentleman Stationer. He mentioned the vendor had more, plus a 2000 multi pen, which after seeing the old school W. Germany stamped on the barrel came home with me.
A much needed rest day was had on Sunday, at least as much rest as one could have while manning a pen show booth. Traffic was steady all day but not crazy, so that afforded me the time to wander the show and see what else was out there. This is the best part of the show as an attendee. What will you stumble upon that you would never expect? For me, it was a pristine Pilot Custom black stripe steel barrel with an 18k nib from 1971. I did a double-take, thought about the price ($200) and decided to go for it. It was in such great shape I would have kicked myself if I left without it. Plus, I had the opportunity right there to have Masuyama give it the once over. At least that's how I justify the purchase to myself.
Four new pens, a bottle of ink, and three nib grinds later, my pen show shopping was complete. I'll be posting more on all of these pens in the future, as well as the amazing pen Mr. Hurley bought for me.
My only regret the entire weekend is that I didn't take more pictures. That's what happens when you are as busy as I was, but luckily everyone else who was there took some great shots. Everything else lived up to - and exceeded - any expectations I had. I'm not sure this weekend can be beat!