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PEN COLLECTING GOOD FATHER'S DAY INVESTMENT

 PEN COLLECTING GOOD FATHER'S DAY INVESTMENT
 JANESVILLE, Wis., June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The best present this


Father's Day could be a new hobby that also represents a good investment. Collectors of writing instruments, ranging from vintage fountain pens to new limited edition fountain and ball pens, boast returns on their investments that far surpass money market funds and CDs. And they're having fun in the process.
 Dad knows best about his money. But you can whet his appetite with an investment of as little as $50. Regardless of his future plans, a collectable pen is a unique and personal gift.
 "Pen collecting is, without doubt, an excellent investment today," said Donald Lavin of Northbrook, Ill., an attorney, pen collector, pen auctioneer, and co-organizer of a leading national collector's show.
 "Within the past 25 years this hobby has grown tremendously in popularity. And during the past two to three years it has surpassed our wildest dreams. Limited edition pens, old pens -- they have all dramatically gone up in value."
 Lavin cited the following example. In 1986 he auctioned a Parker "Snake" fountain pen for just over $4,000. It was the first pen to surpass the $4,000 barrier. But today, Snake pens routinely sell from $12,000 to $16,000.
 "The golden age of fountain pens was the 1920's and '30s," Lavin said. "During that time, men had few accouterments that stated their social and professional position. They wore a dark suit, but noted their position in life with an outstanding fountain pen and a fine watch.
 "Pens from the '40s and '50s are fun to collect, and even plastic ones are valued by collectors," he added. But they don't have the tremendous value of writing instruments from the '20s and '30s."
 For example, original Parker Doufolds introduced in the 1920s are now one of the most collected vintage pens.
 Count on spending at least $50 to start a collection. "While most good buys are in the $200-plus range, you can pick up some fun pens at flea markets for as little as $50," Lavin said. "Or, you can start with a new limited edition pen."
 He cited as an example Parker Pen's limited edition World Memorial Pen, introduced recently. The World Memorial Fund worked with the U.S. and former Soviet Union defense departments to fuse metal casings of decommissioned nuclear missiles into emblems for pens. No more than 10,000 of these pens will be sold in North America. Each pen has a numbered certificate of authenticity, which is important to collectors. Proceeds from their sales will go to The Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief, which aids disaster victims around the world.
 "Parker has a history of creating highly collectible limited edition writing instruments," said Peter J. Bently, president of Janesville- based Parker Pen USA. "These include a pen made out of silver from a 17th century Spanish treasure ship, and another from brass recovered from the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner."
 Lavin makes the following suggestions for beginning collectors, or even gift-givers who are seeking a unique and memorable present:
 -- Refer to retailer catalogues published by companies such as Flax in Chicago, Fountain Pen Hospital of New York, and Art Brown. There are approximately a dozen such internationally recognized publications.
 -- Refer to pen industry trade magazines, such as "Pen World."
 -- Attend a pen show. A good way to learn is to talk with serious collectors. The National Pen Show in Chicago attracted more than 500 people last year, including 100 different exhibitors.
 Writing instruments are like any other collectable, Lavin concluded. Their value is often determined by their rarity and desirability.
 "Often, the pens that were unsuccessful when they were first introduced are of most value today," he said. "The Parker T1 was introduced in the 1970-71 time frame, but because titanium was so difficult to work with at that time, Parker only made a limited number. These $20 pens new sell at auction for approximately $400."
 For more information about limited edition World Memorial pens, call 1-800-786-6299.
 -0- 6/2/92
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos available./
 /CONTACT: Anne Stuessy of Parker Pen USA, 608-755-7112, or Marty Hanna of Gibbs & Soell Public Relations, 708-519-9150, for Parker Pen/ CO: Parker Pen USA ST: Wisconsin IN: SU:


SM -- NYDFNS3 -- 5992 06/02/92 07:13 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 2, 1992
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