Nearly every major company in the world has created business merchandise like company pens and promotional USB sticks at one time or another. It‘s fun to collect them because you’d never know what you’ll find next.
We often pick up a plastic pen at a hotel or a promotional USB stick at a seminar and think how cool it looks. We end up keeping it because they have a cool logo or unique design printed on it. Plus, they are often free!
There is an enthusiastic collector in every one of us, but Thomas Fredriksen of Norway is possibly one of the most accomplished the world has ever seen.
Pen Collector Dot Com
Below the nondescript website name, pen-collector.com, are photos of Fredriksen’s most-prized possessions. What he calls pens with advertising imprints. His collection page scrolls from Africa to Asia, Europe to the Americas to Oceania. They range from the complimentary hotel and airline pens to the more colourful ‘I-heart-country’ souvenir pens. Many of them are in mint condition too. In fact, on his about page, Fredriksen says he would only allow pens with a promotional imprint that is unique and completely readable to enter his collection.
14,000 pens and counting
A graph on Fredriksen’s website also charts his rise in pen-collectorship, from around 3000 pieces in 2008 to more than 14 thousand pieces in 2011. To manage his immense collection, he developed his desktop application to help him keep track every piece.
He painstakingly logs in every pen with details including the name of the advertiser company, the country of origin, and the warranty date if any. The register also states if he found it on his own, bought it from eBay or traded from another collector. Every newly logged pen synchronises in real time with the list on his website, allowing visitors to see the latest updated collection. Apparently, his software works so well that some collectors in Norway have adopted it.
The search never ends
Among his favourites are “The Governator” which features the face of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a tree-branch pen from a European energy company, and a Harley-Davidson pen with a cool photomontage of the American flag and American culture elements. He also has a wanted list. So the search never ends, as any enthusiastic collector knows.