Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stationery Hobby Box No. 20

Thanks to a faithful friend in Tokyo, I recently received volume 20 of Stationery Hobby Box (Shumi no bungu bako), the sumptuous magazine for pen, paper and ink enthusiasts published three times a year. As much as I look forward to each issue of the magazine, reading it has become something close to exasperating. For a long time it was easy to run out and buy many of the goods advertised, as well as encounter on occasion some of the people featured in the stories. These days a ten thousand mile distance make that next to impossible.

This new issue is as beautiful as ever, chock full of fountain pens, ballpoint pens, pencils, notebooks, paper, stationery, ink and a dozen more categories of goods. The cover feature in this issue is the new Caran d’Ache RNX 316 series, which includes a fountain pen, rollerball, ballpoint and pencil. The body in this new series comes in either a round or hexagonal shape and is crafted of something called 316L stainless steel.

A feature article in the volume 20 issue is one on vintage Montblanc 146 fountain pens made between the years 1949 and 1993. Beautiful, each and every one, but something of an investment considering the least expensive is listed at $688.00 (seventh from the top, a black 146 made in 1980) and the most expensive at $3,767.00 (second from the top, a green and black 146 made in the years between 1949-1960). The average price of these eleven vintage Montblanc fountain pens $1,247.00.

The page above shows a spread of notebook, memos, passport cases, pencil cases and tiny pencils from Italian company, Fabriano. This page is one of several advertising quality European stationery goods.

The pages above and below are part of a feature on “The Strength of Handwriting.” The caption on the top example describes the pages of handwriting exhibited as having the qualities of ‘warmth and sound.’ The bottom examples are all the handwriting of men.

Popular with many people now is the collection of Mix Free inks allowing users to blend inks and create their own colors. The scan below shows a color wheel of the shades possible with just three colors: Aqua Blue, Cyclamen Pink and Sunny Yellow. Mix amounts are shown between the outer and inner swatches. M=Aqua Blue, M=Cyclamen Pink and Y=Sunny Yellow.

Interested in earlier posts about the magazine Stationery Hobby Box? Click on the links below.

No. 13

No. 15

No. 16

No. 17

No. 18

No. 19


  1. Do you have all of the ink colors on the color wheel? If so, you could never have to buy ink again, but mix your own. Maybe you ought to become a mixologist and sell your could make some good money and you would love it, I'm sure.

  2. Actually had a similar thought as Beverly. Was thinking, "Sounds like somebody should import some items from Japan and set up a small (or huge) internet business." Would certainly be easier for you to navigate how the Japanese do business. Just saying . . .

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America