Hongdian fountain pen

Five Fountain Pens You Need To Write the Perfect Thank-You Note

Even the Queen would approve.
By Marissa Wu
July 22, 2021
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Confession: I'm a bit of a stationery geek. Whether that means obsessing over John Steinbeck's preferred writing utensil at my favorite pencil store or wistfully walking past the rows of fountain pens in Monoprix (the French version of Target) on a grocery run, I am all about the hand-written note and the experience of doing it. I even belong to a Facebook group called the Stationery Nerd Herd. Judge me, I dare you.

I first caught the fountain pen writing bug while in France. Every shop where you might find school supplies sold them. Fountain pens are a staple in the French school child's pencil pouch. I asked why, and my charge replied, "c'est plus beau comme ça, Marissa!" (It's more beautiful like this.) He was right. I had never seen more beautiful (or more white-out ridden) fifth-grade math homework.

The fountain pen makes the act of writing a thank-you note—any correspondence—an old-fashioned experience that tickles me as much as it tickles the recipient. It's inky. It's tactile. It's a little bit scratchy. Flowy, elegant, and did I mention fun?

Here are five of the best fountain pens you need to write the perfect thank-you note, letter, postcard, and maybe even the term paper.

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Parker 51 Fountain Pen

This is reportedly Queen Elizabeth's preferred pen, the company having held a royal warrant since 1962. The best news? It may be fit for the Queen, but it's accessible to us commoners, too, at just over $80.

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Lamy Safari Fountain Pen

This is a great entry-level pen, especially if you want to introduce children to the joys of the hand-written note. It's made of plastic so it'll withstand the inevitable drops off the school desk, but still holds a nice-sized ink cartridge.

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Hongdian Black Forest Fountain Pen

This pen is highly likely to become my next purchase. With over 12,000 reviews, a four-and-a-half-star average rating, and the fact that it's the number one best seller in Amazon's fountain pen category, this pen sounds like it doesn't disappoint.

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Parker Vector Stainless Steel GT Fountain Pen

I personally use this pen. After learning, in a French course I was taking, that a particular writer waxed poetic about his $10,000 Parker Pen, I decided I needed a less-expensive version for myself. Every time I look at the cap, I'm reminded of his remarks—that each word should be like an arrow, piercing its target.

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Pilot MR Retro Pop Collection

This pen currently holds the title for best design on Amazon. With so many fun colors, you might need one of each.

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