Ink Pens Buying Guide

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Ink Pens Buying Guide

History has dictated the human need to document information and no utensil has been more influential in such a task than the ink pen. Its features have helped detail some of history’s most important moments. The pen we currently see today was introduced in the late 18th century and has sustained as the premiere writing implement. In 1822, the ink pen entered mass production for the first time and its popularity skyrocketed.

The ink pen in fountain form would remain popular up until the introduction of the readily disposable plastic ballpoint pen. This would be due to the affordable nature of what the ballpoint pen was offering. However what was initially to the disadvantage of the fountain pen has now rebounded in its favour, non-plastic ink pens from all eras are now considered collectable.

No matter whether you’re a perspective collector or just someone who is on the lookout for a reliable pen, eBay has plenty of options to suit all requirements.

Types of Ink Pen

Ink is a versatile substance and is used in a variety of pen forms. What pen style is purchased is dependent on what a user requires. A pen seems disposable at first glance but collectors' models can cost anywhere up to £1000. Be aware of what pens are available before entering the online auction environment.

  • Ballpoint – The plastic ballpoint pen is considered disposable to most users. It isn’t the most reliable type of pen, hence the low-end price. The metal ballpoint pen is considered the pinnacle of modern pen construction, it utilises ink cartridges to the fullest of capabilities and is built for longevity.
  • Fountain – Considered the crème de le crème by historians and takes a special sleight of hand in order to use properly. It can create elegant lines and shapes that other pens simply can’t. Both new and old models can command a high price tag. Antique fountain pens are considered the premiere piece in any collection and require a moderate budget to purchase at auction.
  • Porous Point – Known as either soft tip or felt tip in Europe. Uses absorbent ink that soaks into paper at a faster rate than regular ink. Porous point pens offer the highest degree of colour variation.
  • Highlighter – Similar to porous pens. However, highlighters use either brightly coloured or in some cases neon ink. Used to draw attention to certain words and passages within a text.
  • Roller Ball – The jack-of-all-trades pen that takes features from other pens to try and create something unique. It uses a rollerball tip to disperse ink in a similar fashion to a ballpoint pen. Such pens contain fluid ink that is similar in consistency to a fountain pen and is considered as simple to handle as a porous pen. Its effectiveness is often debated and it hasn’t gained a great deal of popularity since its inception in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

The pen market largely comes down to either fountain or ballpoint, however there are many more options available that are worth exploring. eBay and their sellers offer a wide variety of pens, some of which are custom made. It is the sheer amount pens for sale that means anyone and everyone will be able to find a writing utensil that suits their tastes.

Nibs and Points

Pens come in a variety of forms but they also have a variety of nibs. The nib is the part of the pen that disperses ink into the point; it consists of a shaft that acts like a form of filter. The design of each nib is different and created to a specification that suits a certain type of pen. Each type of nib offers a different use whether that be for writing, drawing or even calligraphy.

  • Metal Nibs - Metal nibs are built to slot in and out of penholders thus are easily interchangeable. Strength and flexibility make it a viable option and it has the most variety in terms of line widths.
  • Lettering Nibs – Comes in a variety of points that are either round, oval, chisel or double pointed. They are shaped for specific strokes and come in great use to calligraphers. Some nibs of this style have an ink reservoir attached in order to aid use.
  • Fountain Pen Nib – A variation on the metal pen nib that is specifically built for use with fountain pens. Unique in the sense that it can feature decoration such as gold and bronze plating.

If the nib is the provider then the point is the executioner as it is what delivers the ink to the paper. Similar to the nib itself the point comes in a variety of styles that differ slightly in what they offer.

  • Chiseled Point – Perfect for use when writing in a stylised fashion or italic script.
  • Standard Point – Standard issue on all pens unless what is purchased states otherwise.
  • Fine Point – Designed for use by those who have small handwriting.
  • Medium Point – At their best when used by those who have bigger handwriting.

Ink pens have evolved to the point in which every style and requirement is catered for. Try out different pens to see which suits your handwriting style best before heading to eBay to get best deal on a new ink pen.

Ink Pen Accessories

Ink pen features aren’t simply limited to ink output; comfort and design is another important thing to consider. When looking to buy a new ink pen these accessories can add a level of luxury to the writing experience.

  • Rubberised Barrel – Ink pens that are built with a rubberised barrel allow for a simpler and more comfortable grip.
  • Counter Mounts – Ideal for those working at a desk, it is a weight loaded pen dock that connects via a small chain or cord.
  • Desk Set – The compliment to any ink pen, the pen is secured to the rest or base to allow maximum comfort and conformity whilst writing.
  • Pocket Protector – Accidents happen and sometimes the ink can escape a pen before it has even been used. For people who carry a pen around daily, using a pocket protector can protect them should the unfortunate occur.

The above accessories may not be core to the use of an ink pen but they can make it more comfortable. When purchasing accessories be aware that some are custom made for certain models. Enquire with a seller before committing to a purchase in order to make sure an accessory is suitable for your pen.

Ink Pen Buying Tips

  • When buying an ink pen as a gift or for personal use, take hand size into consideration.
  • Ink pen accessories such as cartridges are essential and can be expensive, always take this into account when purchasing an ink pen.
  • eBay prides itself on its reliable sellers, all of which offer different pens at different prices. It pays to shop around and see who is offering what.
  • Enquire about warranties, as it is something high-end pens tend to offer.

How to Buy an Ink Pen on eBay

The ink pen is a global institution and the trademark of the literary world. Its simplistic nature means that anyone can pick one up and enter the world of writing and calligraphy. To start looking for the perfect ink pen to compliment your writing click the collectables category to the left of eBay’s homepage. From there, click on pens and writing equipment, this will display all live auctions. If shoppers have a particular pen in mind they can use the keyword search at the top of the page. To narrow results down further use the advanced search option. Once a shopper has found an ink pen they’re interested in they’ll need to either place a bid, make a best offer or purchase it via the buy it now option. From there winning bidders will need to complete the checkout process, using PayPal to do so means that the transaction is covered by the buyer protection program.


Ink pens have been around for hundreds of years and even though they’re popularity has slowed their influence is undeniable. Investing in the right ink pen can provide years of use whilst be a highly versatile writing utensil. In today’s market many ink pens are viewed as luxury items and even as a symbol of social status. They’re an almost everyday requirement and continue to compete with its common counterpart in the plastic ballpoint pen. They are the complete opposite of the disposable pen. In fact, they’re collector items and can be an investment in the right circumstances. Times may have changed in how manufacturers construct ink pens but the quality they provide still remains the same. Once a pen user has decided to invest in an ink pen they won’t look back and this guide is here to help them wade through the many offerings available. With this information at hand prospective buyers will need to log-on to eBay where they’ll be sure to find ink pens that suits all their writing needs.

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