An LA Pen Show Experience

Not all pen show experiences end on a positive note.  Sometimes, collectors are not willing to meet in the middle to make a transaction happen.  Consider the following, for example:     

On Sunday at the LA show, a younger man wanted to purchase a pen in my display case.  But he didn’t have enough money. 

 “I have some pens for a partial trade,” he said, “but they’re not too good.” 

I told him that I would consider them, and a few minutes later the young man returned with an almost empty pen case containing five or six unremarkable pens.  They looked like they were the last of the pens he hadn’t sold or traded that day.  

As I looked over his pens, the young man pulled three expensive pens out of my case and placed them on the plexi-glass cover. He stared at me without saying a word.  

“I thought you wanted that one,” I said, pointing to the silver and green Bossert-Erhardt still in the case. 


“You never know,” he replied.

Actually, I did know and that last remark hadn’t improved his chances of getting a pen from me.  If he didn’t have enough money to purchase a three hundred dollar pen, why was he pulling out four hundred dollar pens, instead?  

“Let’s stick to our original deal,” I said as I placed the pens back in the case.  “I’ll give you $100 credit for the pens as trade.”

“Those pens are worth more than that,” he said, pointing to the pens I really didn’t want at any price. “Look, this one’s worth at least $30 ...”

“You can keep the pens and give me $300,” I said, interrupting him.  

But the young man was keen on winning the deal with the remainder of pens he had brought back with him and continued quoting prices.

“Listen,” I said, “take your pens.” I could feel the blood rushing in my face.  “I didn’t come three thousand miles to argue pen prices,” I added.

The young man left my table, and I wondered if he had been to the seminar the day before.  I could imagine the remarks he’d now post on the chat boards if he had.  As for myself, I was a little angry for not seeing it coming…and for not handling the situation better.  I guess I’ll just have to try a little harder next time.