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2022 DC Pen Show, Part 1

Posted in Fountain Pens

Trying Something New

As I do every year, I’d been eagerly anticipating the DC Pen Show for the past month. Beyond the pens, knowing I’ll get to see maker and pen friends is a huge draw, and something I greatly look forward to. Last year, I indulged in the weekend trader pass for the first time, and went Friday through Sunday.

This year, I did something different again. For the first time, I attended the DC Pen Show on the Thursday. My hope was to sell some pens and inks to augment my show budget. That didn’t really happen. But, I had fun anyway.

I arrived at 1:00 pm and navigated my way through the hotel construction maze — more on that in the the following posts. Right off the bat, I found some DC Pen Crew’ers and set up with them. It didn’t take me long to set everything up, as I’d prepped all of my pens the night before.

I had a nice chat with my friends, and that pretty much set the stage for the rest of the day.

When I sold a pen pretty quickly, I was hopeful I’d be able to offload several, if not most, of the pens I had for sale. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. That one pen was the only one I sold, although I did sell a few bottles of ink.

I did, however, have many fabulous conversations as people wandered by.

By 4:00, it was clear to me that the pens I had to sell weren’t what people were looking to buy. And, with a storm brewing and rush hour traffic to deal with, I decided to head home. Not disappointed, but wiser about pen show Thursday.

What I’d Expected

When I first decided to attend the show on Thursday, I expected most tables would be full with people buying and selling, along the lines of a swap meet. I was ready to haggle on prices, and tease and cajole interested buyers into purchasing the pens I had for sale.

While I didn’t expect to sell all of my pens, I thought at least a quarter of them would find new homes. But, I had done my best not to get my hopes up. I’d saved money and had planned a pen show budget. Any pens I sold were only going to enlarge that budget.

What I Experienced

Obviously, I can only speak to my experiences and interpretations at the DC show this year. I can’t say if this is normal for DC Pen Show Thursdays.

That said, the impression I got from most “buyers” — are they really buyers if they don’t buy anything? — is that they were looking for either ridiculous deals or hard-to-find pens. If the former, I have a feeling anything they found would likely appear later at the show or on eBay for a significantly higher price — I don’t have any evidence to back this up, it’s just a feeling. If the latter, they seemed much more interested in those who had vintage pens.

Those people who didn’t fit into either category — pen fanatics who just wanted an extra day to shop — seemed few and far between.

Perhaps that changed later in the day. After all, both rooms were apparently open until 11pm. I’m guessing there was probably an increase in attendees after 5:30 as people swung by after work. However, while I’m better with driving, I do not drive in the dark, and didn’t want to stay all that late.

Would I Do It Again?

Short answer, probably not. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever be selling many pens that fall into one of the two categories mentioned above. However, if Jim ever wanted to give selling on a Thursday a try, I might join him to see if later in the day is better. Or if a pen friend would be willing to give me a ride so I don’t have to drive home in the dark. But that’s really just out of curiosity.


Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Have you ever attended the DC Pen Show on a Thursday? Are there more people later in the day? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

More To Come

I don’t yet know precisely how many posts I’ll have about the DC Pen Show. I know there will be at least two more, possibly three. You’ll be able to find them all on the 2022 DC Pen Show tag page. But, I suggest you subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any.

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