Writing Instruments

This category contains tools as varied as the ancient stylus and quill pen through to the fountain pen and typewriter. It can also include related paraphernalia such as inkwells and writing cases.

Ian Fleming’s specially created gold-plated Royal Quiet Delux typewriter which he used to write at least some of his legendary 007 books is a prime example from the top-end of this sector, selling for over £56,000 at a sale held by Christie’s London in 2007.


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Young visitor numbers on the rise at Bloomsbury pen fair

24 September 2018

The annual London Writing Equipment Show at the Holiday Inn in Bloomsbury on Sunday October 7 will be a sell-out, says coorganiser Jeremy Collingridge.

William Morris pen

William Morris’ pen and paint brush sell for £2200 at Dorset auction

23 July 2018

A quill and paint brush belonging to William Morris drew significant interest at Duke’s latest Art and Design sale in Dorchester.

Shogo pen

Vintage pens from Switzerland to Japan are scripted for San Francisco auction

14 July 2018

US West Coast auction firm PBA Galleries is holding its first sale dedicated to writing instruments in its San Francisco rooms on July 19.

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Archibald Knox silver inkwell among early sales at BADA fair

19 March 2018

Among the first sales of BADA 2018 was this modernist Archibald Knox silver and pink enamel inkwell sold from the stand of The Peartree Collection for more than £10,000.

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Eastern Pen Show to include Art Deco Conklin Nozac fountain pen

26 February 2018

A dazzling red and black herringbone-patterned Conklin Nozac cushion point pen and pencil set dating from 1932 and with an ability to write 7000 words before running out, is for sale at the Eastern Pen Show on March 4.

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Dealer takes up his pens for fair sales

27 November 2017

Mark Twain said that his Conklin Crescent Filler fountain pen “was a profanity saver as it cannot roll off the desk”.

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Christopher Lee’s collection of pens to be auctioned at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury

03 April 2017

A consignment of 16 pens from the collection of Christopher Lee, the distinguished British actor who played Dracula in nine films, is to go under the hammer at Dreweatts and Bloomsbury.

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Getting right to the nib of the matter

01 April 2017

The wide-ranging sale at Hansons (17.5% buyer’s premium) at Etwall on February 21 included a 20-lot section of fountain pens which offered a brief overview of this largely affordable area of collecting.

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Writer remains true to type

25 March 2017

Typewriters on which famous books came into existence have featured on these pages before, but not for some time – and certainly not machines of a kind that that continue to be used by their owner to this day.

John Wood the Elder drawing instruments

Bath museum buys Wood the Elder’s instruments at Clevedon auction

31 March 2016

John Wood the Elder’s (1704-54) set of drawing instruments were offered at Clevedon Auction Rooms earlier this month and were bought by the Bath Preservation Trust for £21,000.

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Lewis Carroll's typewriter takes £6500

05 March 2012

A WELL-PRESERVED James Hammond typewriter from the 1880s is itself a rare item, but the example offered for sale by Gildings in Market Harborough in Leicestershire on February 21 attracted greater interest on account of its first owner, Lewis Carroll (1832-98).

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Mixed offering at Bloomsbury

08 September 2004

EARLIER this year Bloomsbury Book Auctions moved to Mayfair’s Maddox Street and changed their name to the all-embracing Bloomsbury Auctions (17.5/10% buyer’s premium).

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…and something to write home about from a duke

01 September 2004

THIS exquisite George III silver gilt inkstand, right, by John Houle was commissioned for the phenomenally wealthy William Harry Vane (1766-1842), the first Duke of Cleveland, whose estate and personal assets were valued well in excess of £2m.

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The first book bindings fit for a Roman consul

13 July 2004

ROUNDING off a sale of Western Manuscripts and Miniatures at Sotheby’s on June 22 was what, at first glance, must have seemed an unusual inclusion in a manuscript sale – a 13 1/2in (35cm) high carved ivory plaque featuring a figure of a Roman Consul.

Factors that made an Ugly Woman so attractive

19 April 2004

THE importance of colour to collectors of saltglaze ceramics was emphasised at BBR's (10% buyer's premium) March 7 500-lot specialist sale near Barnsley when the orangey-brown hue and unusual subject matter made an Ugly Woman saltglazed inkwell one of the most desirable entries.

Speculative choice

16 March 2004

On a day when early pieces took the top prices at Mallams (15% buyer's premium) sale on March 3, one of the earliest was this late 16th century Venetian bronze inkwell, right.

Ink stand coming up at Sworders

02 February 2004

Although he remains a somewhat shadowy figure, during the last 25 years George Bullock (1777/8-1818) has emerged as perhaps the foremost English designer and cabinet maker of the early 19th century. Amongst many questions still remaining unanswered about Bullock’s life are how much he actually designed himself (no records of his firm survive) just who was his partner Colonel Charles Fraser, which country houses commissions did he undertake, and did he commit suicide?

When pen was mightier than sword

10 June 2003

Christie’s have helped negotiate the sale to the Victoria and Albert Museum of the Castlereagh gold inkstand created by Paul Storr and Philip Rundell for the British diplomat Viscount Castlereagh (1769-1822) in 1818.

Danish prototype hits £48k

30 January 2002

GERMANY: TYPEWRITERS may not be renowned for their beauty but there was undeniable aesthetic charm, as well as historic significance, to the 1867 Malling Hansen Writing Ball that set a new world record price for an historical typewriter with a double-estimate DM150,000 (£48,000) for Auction Team Köln in Cologne on December 1.

Laptop ‘computers’ from the days of quill and parchment

23 April 2001

Portable Writing Desks by David Harris

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