Looking for the best pen display boxes for the money depends on how many pens you have and what your goal is. People who collect thousands of pens say all the colors of the Esterbrook J for example, will want a dramatically larger, and different type of fountain pen storage boxes than someone who wants to keep a few pens on their desks for easy access.
My aim for this particular article is for the average pen collector who wants to keep ten to fifty pens in a nice case somewhere within fairly easy reach. I am also aiming at people who don’t want to spend more money on their display case than they do on the pens inside it, yet want something nice that won’t hurt their pens (scratchy fabric, manufacturing issues leaving sharp edges or defects where they can touch the pens, chemicals used in the manufacturing process that can leach out and damage your pens, etc).
This led me to boxes between roughly $150 and $200. Here are some of what I have on my list for the best fountain pen display case.
First up we have this Stained Mahogany 10 Pen Display Box by Lanier Pens. This is probably my favorite wooden pen display box design to keep on a desk as it is small, unobtrusive, and has a slant to it so I can see the pens without having to lean over the top too much. I would go so far as to say this is one of the best wooden pen cases I have seen for beginners at this price.
Don’t let that go to your head, it is still a lightweight product made from fairly cheap components but they did a pretty good job putting it together. No, you won’t mistake this for a $350 case made from teak, but then again it costs about $300 less and does the same job.
Eventually, you will probably want something nicer, but for a first case, this is an excellent choice.
Second, we have the Tech Swiss 26 pen box in black or burlwood. I don’t like keeping too many pens on my desk and won’t tolerate a box that has more than one drawer so this case fits perfectly holding thirteen pens under the flip-top glass and thirteen more in the drawer below.
Both the black and burlwood finishes are very nice and I particularly like the fact that the knobs on the black are not gold. This gives it a nice simple, elegant, and utilitarian look that I personally like more than the burlwood.
All the hardware feels nice as does the finish on the wood although the burlwood is obviously a fake finish it still looks reasonably well. If you want a real burlwood finish you can get it on products costing over $300. For the money, this one is fine for me. Besides, after playing with both, I kept the black as it looked more Montblanc like and that is primarily what I collect.
One thing that I noticed immediately is the hinges that are far and away nicer than the ones on the Lanier Pens model above. This alone makes it a good investment even if you discount the larger size and better build quality.
Overall, good value for the money.
Next, I like the Timelybuys 30 pen 3 drawer case. It has a slightly smaller footprint than the previous Tech Swiss 26 pen case but adds a third drawer allowing it to hold four more pens using less space on your desk.
I have to admit I was impressed with this case at this piece point, it felt like it should have had a higher price tag. It also looks a little more modern if you like that. The hardware feels good, the finish on the wood is nice, and everything works very well for a case in this price range.
One thing I should mention about this case is the drawers come all the way out, as in completely removable. At first, this may seem like a problem, you can pull it too far and have it fall out when you are not expecting it. Once you start using it, however, it is an amazing feature. I can pull out an entire drawer which then becomes a pen display tray and take it to my desk to play with the pens, or remove the two drawers that hold my really expensive pens and place them in the safe.
Timelybuys also sells this case in different sizes including 20, 30, and 60 pen capacities which are really nice if you think you might need different cases for different places. A good example is you could have the 8 pen case on your desk at work while keeping a 30 or 60 pen case at home and they match. In fact, that leads me to our next case which is….
The Timelybuys 60 pen 6 drawer case. This is basically the same case we just talked about, with three more drawers on the bottom to hold thirty more pens. Fit and finish is the same as the previous case, as is the hardware. In fact, I can find no difference between the two other than the additional drawers.
Just like the 30 pen case listed above, this case has completely removable drawers which I really like.
In the beginning, I talked about a collector who wanted to collect whole sets of pens, like all the colors of the Esterbrook J for example. I said they would need a vastly different solution, this U.S. Art Supply 4 Drawer Wood Artist Supply Storage Box is that solution.
What a lot of collectors looked for in the past was map drawers, typically used to store large maps, blueprints, etc. The problem is these are usually expensive and honestly too large for what you need. These artist supply boxes are just right because they are designed to store exactly what you want, sets of pens, pencils, brushes, whatever.
Simply take one of these and use some spray adhesive and felt to line the individual sections, and start putting in your pens! As a bonus, it gives you areas to store extra clips, caps, sections, whatever you want.