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When I was on holiday in Phoenix recently my sister and I visited Scottsdale Pen and Knife. We had a great visit with Jay Sadow, one of the shop owners, along with his wife Karen. Click here for their beautiful web site and here for their excellent blog. And don’t miss the video; it shows lots more of the store than my few photos.

Scottsdale Pen and Knife

Look at that huge pen in the window!


This is what you see as you walk in the door. It’s a small but mighty shop. Beautiful Rhodia spinner that took my eye.

Mr. Sadow had a fantastic variety of pens, accessories and notebooks, including a pricey Montblanc Writer’s Edition Imperial Dragon 3 Piece Pen Set. We saw the box, straight from the factory, unopened. He explained if one is going to invest in such an item, one wants to be sure no other hands have touched it. Imagine knowing you are the first to break the seal and expose the wonder of such beauties to the air, for the very first time. It’s that kind of sensitivity to pen collecting that makes Scottsdale Pen and Knife a very special place to shop.

Visconti display

This beautiful Visconti display case is to the immediate left when you enter. I couldn’t take my eyes off the Jacques de Molay pen advertised in the poster; I’ve never seen it before. So beautiful. And the Viscontis in the case weren’t bad to look at either! In the foreground you can see the beautiful blue and brown Divinas.

Visconti Declaration of Independence pen

Oh the famous Declaration of Independence Fountain Pen. Such a breathtaking set. And on the top shelf you can see the Visconti Traveling Ink Pot – very tempting!

Visconti travelling ink well

Here’s a better picture of the ink pot. And in behind you can see the excellent display of notebooks, from Moleskine to Quo Vadis to Clairefontaine.


And this is the view from the other side of the shop.

For a while we had the shop to ourselves and enjoyed a lively discussion with Mr. Sadow. I am so grateful that he let me take a few photos. (Any mistakes there might be as to the pens I describe in the cases or indeed in the text of this post are mine alone.) I also learned from him that Mark Twain used a Conklin and was in fact a spokesperson for the brand in 1898. I felt my resolve falter when I saw the Conklin Crescent Filler Chased Rose Gold fountain pen.

I prefer it to ten other fountain pens, because it carries its filler in its own stomach, and I can not mislay even by art or intention. Also, I prefer it because it is a profanity saver; it cannot roll off the desk.

I told him what I was looking for and how much I wanted to spend and he showed me a few beautiful examples. In the end I chose the Monteverde Artista Clear Demonstrator with a medium nib; a folding 10x magnifier (on the advice of SBRE Brown); a Pilot Plumix in purple; two Platinum Preppy pens, in blue and green; another box of Pilot Mixable Colour cartridges; and an orange leather Rhodia notebook holder with notebook included, graph style.


I will elaborate on each of these items in Part 2.

I loved all of the displays, especially the Visconti. A wonderful morning spent in the company of pens, ink, and paper, and wonderful people to share it with. If you are in Phoenix and in the Scottsdale area do drop in and say hello. You’ll be glad you did.