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Year in Review – 2022 Pens

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Non-Fountain Pens

While it was difficult to do last year, ranking my pen purchases was a useful exercise. So, I decided to do it again. I have to say, I’m embarrassed by the long list of pens I purchased this year. I was hoping to buy less pens this year, not more. But I’ll discuss that in another post.

I realize that this is a long block of text. But, if I added a photo of each pen, it would take absolutely forever to get through. So, for pens that I’ve already discussed in a dedicated post, I’ve linked to that post (and the photos contained therein). For the rest, where possible, I linked to an Instagram photo from the pen maker or store they collaborated with. When that wasn’t possible, I linked to a good photo on Instagram (consider following those fine folks) or one of my own Instagram posts.


I thought I was done buying pens, but then I came across the Benu Ice and Snow and had to have it. But, it seems highly unlikely I’ll have it by the time this post goes live, so I’m leaving it unrated for now. If I had to guess, I’d put it at number 24.

The Regrets

Honestly, I probably shouldn’t have bought these pens. I have a feeling they’ll find new homes next year.

  1. Pilot Elabo Black Sakura-Haru Kaze Urushi Art
    If you’ve read my post, you know how much this pen disappointed me. I know I won’t even manage to get my money back on this, and that hurts a bit. But, live and learn, right? Once I get rid of this guy, I’ll replace it with a brown metal Falcon.
  2. Retro 51 Tornado Cherry Blossom 2022
    This was an impulse purchase. I bought one for a friend as a memento, and I decided to order a second one for myself. I shouldn’t have. If you’re looking for one, keep an eye out, because I’ll be selling this one soon.
  3. Retro 51 Artist Series by Vanness Pens, Katie McGowan Proof
    There was a large table of Retro 51 proofs at BWIPS this year, and I wanted to buy one, not because I loved them, but because I wanted a proof. Well, I bought a proof of the all copper version, despite knowing better. And here it is, in my regrets.
  4. Woodshed Pen Co Mermaid Tears
    I don’t exactly regret buying this pen. I had a good reason. What I regret is choosing this pen to buy when I have several other pens in very similar materials that have more sentimental value.
  5. TWSBI Diamond 580 RBT 100th Anniversary
    I can’t find a picture of this pen on Instagram. It looks just like the USA pen but with the standard TWSBI finial. I have no idea why I bought it. I do like it, but it’s not like I needed another TWSBI 580.

The Good

I like all of these pens. They write well, and they’re pretty, but I can see the possibility of them going away at some point in the future, just not the near future.

  1. Platinum Little Shooting Star Slytherin
    I bought the Harry Potter pens as merch. They’re cheap pens, so I didn’t expect much out of them. They write well; the nibs are a bit nicer than the Preppy. I’m ranking the Slytherin lower than the Ravenclaw because it’s green and gold rather than green and silver. I know it’s because the whole series has gold trim, but it is a little disappointing.
  2. Platinum Little Shooting Star Ravenclaw
    Same as the Slytherin pen. The Ravenclaw is in blue and gold, which, while still not correct colors for the books, is at least closer than the Slytherin pen.
  3. Sailor Profit Maki-e Maiko
    The Maiko is pretty, there’s no doubt about that. But, I also bought it on a whim during Goulet Pen Co’s “Don’t Miss the Boat” sale. It’s a “budget” maki-e pen, so I didn’t expect the quality to be on par with, say, my Namiki Yukari’s. However, the maki-e design doesn’t feel like an integrated part of the pen design.
  4. Retro 51 Tornado Raven 2022
    This was another impulse buy. I’m definitely doing better with those, but I can still succumb to a pretty pen. That said, it is a cool design, and I like the color scheme.
  5. Jason Neil Penworks Modified Clarke in Unicorn Horn
    As I said in my BWIPS 2022 haul post, this pen is about the material, and that’s why I bought it. I like the material, it’s lovely. But, at some point, I’m not going to be able to buy pens just for the material.
  6. OPUS 88 Demonstrator Yellow (2021 Edition)
    I bought this to replace the red demonstrator I have. I really like this color pairing together. If a future year’s edition is even more appealing to me, I’ll likely get it and sell this one.
  7. Nahvalur Nautilus Stylophora Berry
    I’ve explained a few times why I bought this pen. Will it stay in my collection forever? Probably not. Will I enjoy it while it’s part of my collection? Yep.
  8. Retro 51 Tornado Popper Lotería
    I’ve never played Lotería. With my dad having been born in Mexico, that’s probably practically blasphemy. But, it is what it is. I do have an interest in learning, so when this Retro popped up, I decided to grab it.
  9. Caran d’Ache 849 Colour Treasure Cold Rainbow
    I love the gradient going around the Cold Rainbow. I wish Caran d’Ache had done the same thing with the Warm Rainbow, instead of throwing in purple. I also really like how the 849 writes. I’m going to have to keep myself from buying more of them.
  10. Retro 51 Tornado Smithsonian Panda
    Pandas. Many cute pandas. Need I say more?!
  11. TWSBI Draco
    Jim bought this at Bertram’s Inkwell, then gave it to me when he decided it wasn’t for him. It’s interesting having a TWSBI with a B nib. I like the Draco, but I’d probably like it more with a M nib. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to have the nib narrowed. I don’t like doing that with irreplaceable nibs.
  12. TWSBI Diamond 580 White RoseGold
    This rates as low as it does partially for the same reason as the RBT did. I love the TWSBI 580 nib. But, did I really need another one? Please don’t answer that.
  13. Retro 51 Tornado USPS Love Stamp
    I dithered over purchasing this pen. I was trying to be good, buying less pens. But, every time I saw it, I wanted it just as much. It’s a really nice design. And, love is an important part of my live: love for Jim, for my furbabies, for my family, and for my friends.
  14. Retro 51 Tornado Smithsonian Hummingbird & Flowers
    I have developed a great love of Hummingbirds. So, when this showed up, I didn’t wait to buy one. It’s pretty, and I enjoy using it. I think I’m going to get one of the purple or green refills for it. I just have to remember to do so.
  15. Kaweco Collection Iridescent Pearl
    I resisted the Iridescent Pearl for a while. I kept telling myself it wasn’t great. I didn’t want it. I don’t like the plastic Kawecos. But, this one feels heavier. Is that because it’s a special edition? Regardless, I’m happy to have it. It is pretty.
  16. Benu Talisman Four Leaf Clover
    This is the pen that convinced me I want to collect the Talismans that have shaped glitter. That’s not to say I’m going to buy all of them. More that I won’t stop myself from buying the ones I want.
  17. Retro 51 Tornado Levenger Library
    I’m an avid reader, so the Levenger Library immediately caught my eye. But when I saw that this pen has Pride and Prejudice and Little Women on it — my two favorite classics — I knew I had to have it.
  18. Benu Talisman Shooting Star
    Glow in the dark and star-shaped glitter. How could I not get it?
  19. London Pen Co Christopher 14 in Unicorn Galaxy
    I bought this pen at Scriptus for the gorgeous material. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized how similar it is to several other pens I own.
  20. Analog Notes Henry in Chrysanthemum Petals
    Another one I bought for the material, although the shape is a bit different than typical. I love that it has petals in it, and that it glows in the dark.
  21. Gravitas Pens Polycarbonate Big Dropper Skull
    I bought this to replace the metal skull pen I had. I just couldn’t handle the metal-on-metal sound that it made. I like it, but I was slightly disappointed that the design doesn’t match up in the same way it does on the metal pen.
  22. River City Pen Co Shadyside in Waterlily Koi
    This is finally the waterlily koi I wanted. It’s beautifully swirly, as opposed to the more striated version I had previously.
  23. Hardy Penwrights Companion in Liquid Smoke Diamondcast
    I really wanted to get another Hardy Penwrights pen, and I didn’t have any gray indie-made pens. It’s a gorgeous material, with all the swirly depth I love.
  24. Esterbrook Estie Sunflower
    I’d been looking for the Estie that would make me actually buy one for quite a while. I love how happy the Sunflower is. It’s such a sunny — pardon the pun — color.
  25. Carolina Pen Co DC Metro Pen Crew Exclusive
    I like the swirliness of this material. Unfortunately for me, I got one that was more on the green and beige side, whereas I was hoping for one that was more on the pink side. I don’t want to get rid of it, but I also am not in love with it, so I’m not quite sure what to do. It’s one of the risks with the these types of materials, you never really know what you’re going to get.

The Best

These are all fantastic pens, and were rather hard to rank. As of now, I can’t imagine any non-catastrophic scenario where I’d let these pens go.

  1. Mr. Cypress Eggshell Series Dandelion
    The Dandelion would rate higher if the pen were shaped differently. I love the urushi design, but I wish the pen had a section. It’s a bit on the chunky side, which makes it less comfortable to hold. And, since I hold my pens fairly close to the nib, I often find myself holding this pen on the corner where the barrel ends, which is rather uncomfortable.
  2. Benu Euphoria Forest Pond
    I love hand-painted pens. The Forest Pond is SO pretty. I love the layered look to the goldfish. Benu really stepped up their game this year, and I appreciate it.
  3. Pilot Custom 74 Purple
    I bought this secondhand from a friend. I love the Custom 74 nib, and it was nice to get the purple for a decent price, rather than from a scalper.
  4. Pilot Custom 74 Green Momiji Custom Urushi Art
    If you saw my post, you know I felt this customized version is actually worth it. I enjoy having a somewhat unique Custom 74.
  5. Stanford Pen Studio Dainty Defoe in Africa Moon Midnight Blue
    This one holds a special place in my heart as I’m fairly certain I inspired it — I don’t know if Di and Dave were already working on this design before I mentioned it.
  6. Platinum #3776 Shape of a Heart
    This one is just really good. It’s a black pen with a twist. It’s fun to search for the little hearts among the crystals in the little finial “snowglobe.”
  7. Gravitas Pens Sentry Stainless Steel Micro Texture
    I like having one of the Gravitas metal pens. And, since this one is a different finish, it doesn’t have the horrible metal-on-metal sound I hate. And, the Japanese-inspired texture reminds me of origami paper.
  8. River City Pen Co Wizardly Woods Ravenclaw
    Despite everything that’s happened in the past few years, I’m still a Potterhead. Harry Potter was a big part of my childhood, and that’s hard to let go of. So, when River City Pen Co announced their Wizardly Woods series, I had to get one. I decided on Ravenclaw because that was the first house I was sorted into on Pottermore.
  9. Mayfair Pens Noldor in Labyrinth Koi
    I’ve had my eye on the labyrinth koi material, but I’ve been trying not to buy pens for just the material. The Noldor model is fairly unique. I’m hoping Ben will have an Eowyn in a fabulous material at the next pen show, as I’d like that cap shape, too.
  10. Stanford Pen Studio African Miyuki Magic Sunshine and Azalea
    This was a custom order. I wanted a beaded pen that was different from anything else I had. And this certainly is different. I don’t have anything like this color scheme, and I definitely don’t have anything beaded.
  11. Iron Feather Creative Sakura
    If you don’t know how much I love Iron Feather Creative pens, you must be new to my blog. The Sakura is beautiful, and I appreciate the work that went into it.
  12. Platinum Izumo Tagayasan (Bombay Black Wood)
    I’ve been eyeing this pen for years. Literally. And I finally decided to buy it because I heard a rumor that it was being discontinued. I have no idea if that rumor is true or not, but I’m happy to have this pen. It feels fabulous in my hand, both the Izumo shape and the finish.
  13. Ryan Krusac Legend L14 Purple Heart Crocodile
    I was so happy to actually get a Ryan Krusac pen. I’ve been waiting for one to speak to me, and this did it. I love the crocodile skin engraving and the purple heart wood.
  14. Iron Feather Creative Wisteria
    I bought this one second-hand, and am so happy I did. I had to pass on it when it was available because I just didn’t have the money to buy it. I guess it was meant to be mine since it found its way to me.
  15. TWSBI Aurora
    Once I had the Draco, I found myself wanting the Aurora. But, with how popular it was, I wasn’t expecting to find one at a decent price. Imagine my delighted surprise when Bertram’s Inkwell had one for sale! I thank my lucky stars that I was the first to message Bert.
  16. Benu Talisman Wild Rose
    This one is never leaving my possession. First, it’s a Talisman with shaped glitter. Second, it was a Valentine release. Third — and best — it’s number 69. Giggity. Even though it’s Pepto Bismol and Barbie pink, it’s staying in my collection.
  17. Black Robin Pens Ophelia in Opal
    I blame Gourmet Pens for this one. Azizah’s post about her opal pen made me seek out William Shakour’s account and keep an eye out for his next release. The material is simply amazing. It’s literally a rainbow, and I love it.
  18. Benu Minima Feather in the Wind
    I made the wonderful — or horrible, depending on how you look at it — decision to subscribe to Benu’s newsletter. That’s how I found out about the Feather in the Wind. When I saw the style of the feathers — which happen to match one of my tattoos — I didn’t wait.
  19. Sailor Pro Gear Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary
    I bought this second hand at BWIPS this year. I had no idea Sailor had made a Hello Kitty pen. Hello Kitty was a decent part of my childhood. I have fond memories of the Sanrio stores in every mall with a huge Hello Kitty statue outside. The only way this pen could be better is if it was green and white and made for Keroppi.
  20. Franklin-Christoph x Gourmet Pens Model 46 Stars on Sapphire Lake
    It’s blue and purple, it has rainbow glitter, and buying it helped a dear friend of mine. The only reason this isn’t even higher on the ranking list is because I am not a huge fan of the Franklin-Christoph models that have the threads at the nib end of the section.
  21. Namiki Yukari Herb Decoration
    After I bought my Rock Garden and fell in love with the nib, I really wanted another Yukari with a F nib. Most of the Yukari designs I love are out of my price range, but the Herb Decoration is gorgeous and at the same price point as the Rock Garden. Plus, with a pen show discount, it was easy to get.
  22. Cypress Modern Raden Colorful Geometry
    Before Cypress debuted them, I’d never seen raden pens on an ivory material. They immediately struck me as excellent wedding pens. So, when Jim gave me the OK to use household money to buy this as an anniversary present, I was thrilled. It’s a beautiful pen, truly.
  23. Permies.World English Garden 2
    I know it’s not fair to parade this beauty on my blog when you can’t buy one, but it has to be included in this post. It’s a pen I bought this year. It would have been number one, but, honestly, nothing can ever beat my Bumbledore pen. Still, the details and the 3D bits are astonishing. It’s one of those pens I just stop and look at for a moment when I use it.
  24. Stanford Pen Studio The Right Royal Pen
    My Bumbledore pen. I can’t imagine anyone is surprised by this. Bumbledore isn’t just my cat or my furbaby, he’s my familiar. He holds such a special place in my heart that this pen does as well. I can’t use this pen without smiling. It’s absolutely perfect.

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Did you have any pen regrets this year? How about wins? Are we pen twins? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

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