Report: The India Pen Show 2023
Fountain pen enthusiasts, collectors, and sellers of pens, inks, stationery and accessories participated in the event
An estimated 3,000 buyers of premium writing instruments visited the India Pen Show 2023 held from 17-19 February at the Nehru Centre, Mumbai. With over 40 stalls of pen exhibitors, 20 calligraphy stalls, three stalls for accessories (pen cases etc) and five “fun stalls”, the venue was bustling. “It’s a festival-like feeling,” said co-organiser of the event Nisha Vishal Singhi, who is also a pen manufacturer.
Singhi says preferences are changing. She believes the market is moving away from standard black pens with gold and “towards more colourful options”.
The range on display included pens that cost ₹350 (a piston-filler fountain pen by V’sign) and ones made of ebonite (hard rubber), metal or acrylic priced between Rs1,000 and ₹4,000. Pens made from unusual materials such as titanium and carbon fibre made by Lotus were also in this range.
There were a few ornamental writing implements too. Some were made of brass and others, such as the hefty 170 gram pens from Magna Carta, featured ornate decorative work from Hindu myths.
Pilot and Montegrappa had pens with gold nibs. Perhaps the costliest pen on display was the Rs12 lakh Tutankhamun by Montegrappa which came in a box decorated with Egyptian-style paintings that housed a case styled like a sarcophagus. This contained the pen that resembled a wrapped mummy fitted with a cap in the likeness of the gold mask of king Tutankhamun. It remained unsold.
A few sellers of stationary and some innovative ink makers from the US, Australia and Europe were also part of the show.
Read more: Essay: On having a passion for fountain pens
While some stalls offered pens from foreign manufacturers like Lamy and Montblanc, most sold the products of Indian pen companies such as Click, V’sign, Vazir, Acriv, Lotus, Magna Carta, and Epitome.
The show brought together pen-thusiasts, collectors from across the country, and pen sellers. Notable figures from the fountain pen community, including Mumbai’s Yeshwant Pitkar and Kolkata’s “fountain pen evangelist” Suvobrata “Chawm” Ganguly also attended.
All in all, it was definitely an event to write home about.
Suhit Bombaywala’s factual and imaginative writing appears in India and abroad. He tweets @suhitkelkar
The views expressed are personal
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