A Pen To Remember: Buying an Heirloom
We live in a disposable culture. Most of what we own - from clothes to coffee cups - lasts weeks or years, not generations. When it comes to writing, if you want to leave a mark that lasts a lifetime and beyond, it might be time to think about putting aside those cheap plastic biros and investing in a family heirloom.
Anyone who is lucky enough to have received one knows that a stylish pen is a treasured gift. It sits at a lower price point than a watch or silverware, but serves a similar function: inviting the recipient to associate positive memories with its use, and serving as a special, tangible connection with the person who chose it for them.
If you’re going to purchase a pen for someone else, or invest in one that you hope to pass down to your own children, there are a few key things to consider:
- Durability: choose a simple, well-crafted pen made out of sturdy material, with either few or easily replaceable parts.
- Usability: identify a price point that will allow you to make constant use out of the pen, rather than feeling like it’s too precious to be touched.
- Size: fashions come and go, and can add a historical dimension to a treasured memento, but as a rule of thumb big, bulky items don’t age as well.
Although pens are made to be used, they can also be good investment pieces. There is a global community of collectors, and as such, a well cared-for pen tends to hold its monetary value.
However, they can also be worth many times their weight in sentimental value. From a silver patina to wood worn smooth by the oil in your hand, each scratch and dent directly connects you with a pen’s previous owners. Did you know that over time a gold nib of a fountain pen alters to reflect the writer’s penmanship, creating a physical record of its use? Pens are not simply used to write poetry, they are themselves poetic.
When you’re choosing a special pen, consider keeping an eye out for special or limited editions, and luxury materials, from sterling silver, to platinum, gold and even rare hardwoods. Subtle detailing will also make an item extra special for those who pay close attention, and can add a dash of personality.
Our Favourite Heirloom Pens
A modern pen with an antique flair, this sterling silver treasure is hand finished with a delicate design. It is made in England, has a study 18 carat gold nib, and can be engraved with your initials for a personal touch.
This stylish, streamlined piece is an ideal heirloom with a little bit of everything. From the rare hardwood barrel to the platinum plated trim and gold nib, it showcases timeless, classic design, from a highly respected brand.
Dedicated to a literary titan, each limited edition piece is individually numbered, to an edition of 355. The art deco-inspired geometric pattern and fine detailing straddles the line between masculine and feminine, and pairs nicely with a leather notebook and a stiff drink.
You might have used a Parker pen in school, but it would be a shame to waste this premium offering on another essay. A classic design with a stunning finish that looks good on any grown up’s desk.
This pen is so intricate that only 200 can be made a month. Hand engraved, each piece is completely unique, with subtle, delicate detailing and a gold nib.