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'Starting from $10, all the way up': A look at the booming luxury fountain pen industry

Terry Wiederlight has been in the pen business in New York City for more than 50 years.

Wiederlight and his brother Steve operate Fountain Pen Hospital – a family owned store opened by their father and grandfather in 1946. In the 73 years since opening its doors, the Fountain Pen Hospital has remained a fixture of Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood.

‘$56,000 – now that was a sale’

Wiederlight’s customers range from ordinary folks to high powered entertainment types – like Tom Hanks and Jerry Bruckheimer – to former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Between 2005 and 2015, global retail value of old-fashioned fountain pens grew by 37% — largely thanks to massive growth in China — while retail volume fell by 7%. By 2021, the luxury pen market is expected to generate a an estimated revenue of more than $2.8 billion.

Limited Edition luxury fountain pen. Montegrappa Samurai – $15,000. (Photo: Fountain Pen Hospital)

“We have pens starting from $10, all the way up, as far as you want to go,” Wiederlight told Yahoo Finance. “Right now the most expensive pen is on the cover of our catalog, which is a Montegrappa Samurai, which is a limited edition – $15,000.”

Wiederlight noted that the “most expensive pen I ever sold, this was about 15, 20 years ago, was roughly I think, $56,000 – now that was a sale.”

His five decades of experience comes in handy every day, though there is still room to be surprised.

“I’ve been flabbergasted at some of the things that people have bought, but that's their choice and that's why we have a wide variety of writing instruments.”

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