You don’t have to convince Dunwoody resident Rich Lapin of the “power of the pen.” He’s been collecting – though he readily admits that it’s more a habit of “accumulating” pens — since the early 1980s.
His collection has grown to include about 115 fountain pens “of all makes,” he told Global Atlanta, and “probably seven to eight times that many ballpoints, a lot of which are fun and functional but not collectible.”
“My collection is an amalgamation of fountain pens, ballpoints pens, rollerball pens and mechanical pencils,” he added. “The focus of my efforts is primarily on ballpoints and secondarily on fountain pens.”
“Typically, I focus on vintage American brands, Parker and Sheaffer, that were made between the 1930s and the 1970s. I also have foreign brands like Montblanc, Pelikan, Lamy, Waterman, Aurora, Montegrappa, Delta and Visconti, among others.”
While collecting these writing instruments, he’s also become knowledgeable about the historic role that pens have played in U.S. history, sometimes responsible for the writing of new chapters of history.
And as an observer of international politics he would like nothing better than to have a replica of a pen used to sign a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Such a pen, fueled by the Trump administration’s desire to reboot negotiations by sending Mr. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to the Mideast to begin negotiations, would grace his collection of other replicas representing some of the most historic moments in the U.S.’s past.
As examples, he cites his replica of the Parker 51 fountain pen that Dwight D. Eisenhower as supreme commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces used to sign the end of World War II in Europe. He also has a replica of a Parker Duofold as well as the Parker 51 that were used in a signing ceremony on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay to conclude the war in the Pacific.
His collection also includes an Eversharp Lyndon Johnson Presidential fountain pen such as those used by President Johnson to sign a broad range of civil rights and constitutional rights legislation such as the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Freedom of Information Act of 1966 and the Public Broadcasting Act of 1968.
His Ronald Reagan “Big Red” rollerball pen is the sort that President Reagan used to lower income tax rates with the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, initiate the War on Drugs, and launch a peacetime defense buildup through his “peace through strength” initiative.
He also has a Bill Clinton Presidential ballpoint pen of the sort President Clinton used to sign the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act also of 1993, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Mr. Lapin’s hobby extends beyond his historic interests, and he has enhanced his enjoyment of travel, especially with family members. Traveling with his eldest daughter in Bogota, Colombia, he came across a flea market where he bought a Parker ballpoint and experienced the excitement of finding “an attractive fountain pen made by an unknown company.”
“On a trip last summer to Barcelona, Spain, we wandered through a flea market whose location goes back centuries,” he also recalled. “l purchased a couple of pens and had a wonderful time. Seeing and using these pens reminds me of our visits and how we enjoyed our time together…”
Back home, he keeps his interest sharp through his relations with fellow collectors in the Southeast Pen Collectors’ Club and the North Atlanta Pen Posse who “have provided me greater knowledge about pens and camaraderie. This has enhanced the fun.”
He also keeps his eye on the news, looking for documents on which pens have signed creating “new chapters in political, social or legislative history.”
As to the prospects for that Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, he wishes Mr. Kushner well, adding “In fairness, many diplomats with years of experience have tried before him and failed on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. We certainly wish him well and if he is fortunate to do so, he’ll be using a pen to seal the deal.”
Mr. Lapin may be reached by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org