To use or not to use

There is a widespread conviction among American pen collectors that vintage pens should not only be usable, but also used. While we too love writing with vintage pens, we strongly feel that those who condemn the collecting of nonfunctional pens are being small-minded.

Old pens are items fully worthy of study as objects of historical, cultural, and esthetic merit.  Collecting and preserving them should require no justification, least of all through protestations of utility.  Indeed, if one takes pens seriously as artifacts, the argument that old pens should be used because they were made to be used seems ridiculous.  Would one apply the same argument to Greek vases, or to historic costume, or (ouch!) Japanese swords?

So we come down on the side of the preservationists, at least as far as the truly rare, fragile, and pristine is concerned.  Why feel guilt in owning a mint specimen that will never be used?  Most  collectors have their user pens and their pens for display only, each giving pleasure and satisfaction in its own way.