The pen is indeed mightier than the sword, and at times, even more sacred. Ask the pen-ultimate collectors and they would agree instantly. Big B is known to have a fetish for the delicate instrument. Luxury pen company, Montblanc, in fact, gifts him the best from their collection each year on his birthday. Then there are others like Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan who also have a soft corner for high-end designer pens and try to pick one up, whenever they get the chance.
Every once in a while, brands like Sheaffer, Caran D’Ache, Sailor and Visconti exhibit their limited edition collections that ensures, quite a few drools. What is it about these pens that makes them so valuable? “The value of pens is only based on one’s perception. I have a pen, an heirloom, which was passed on by my grandfather, who was very close to Mahatma Gandhi. It is a Parker which is over 150 years old. For me, it is priceless,” says author Captain Vinod Nair, whose book, Pride of Lions created quite a stir in the literary circuit.
On and off couple Robert Pattinson gifted Kristen Stewart a limited edition gold Tibaldi Bentley Crewe fountain pen that cost him a whopping $46,000. Talk about going big. Telly actress Rashmi Desai is also a self-proclaimed pen collector. “I have been collecting pens since I was a child. I have two favourites, one is a quill with a beautiful feather on it while the other is a Parker with my name embossed on it. I never leave home without the Parker,” she admits.
Author Anita Nair who boasts of a humble collection of four pens says that she does not let anyone come even remotely close to her beloved objects. “I have written all my novels with a Parker that my husband gifted me. It isn’t just about using them, even after use, they are given their due respect,” she says, explaining that each of her pens has a small wooden box of its own with a separate bag for each. “The boxes originally belonged to a set of Japanese knives,” she smiles. If you thought that was stretching it a little too far, ask Vinod how he guards his objects of interest. “There is a bond that forms between the pen and its user which can never be replicated. Over time, the instrument takes the shape of its user’s hand and will never write as well in another’s hand. If multiple users use the pen, it tends to lose its character,” he enumerates. Incidentally, Vinod has six pens that he uses, one of which is a hand carved Montblanc with a platinum iridium tip, and 23 other pens, which are all limited editions.
Adding to this, author Gregory David Roberts buys papyrus from Italy and uses a handcrafted pen to write his books. “Once the book is complete, the pen and the original script are safely kept away in a box. With a new book, a new journey begins,” says the author.