Let’s start with pen wraps. Above is a representative sample of mine.
Pen wraps turn out to be my favorite. They protect pens from scratching, but are small, lightweight and inexpensive.
The red one holds four pens or pencils and has a small zippered pouch. It’s in a sturdy but fun-color leather, with a stylish belt.
Next is a small Japanese fabric wrap, from Jetpens. This holds three pens and closes with a fabric cord. It’s nice, but akin to loungewear, not a winter coat.
Next is my standup pen case from Elizabeth Newton. This holds five pens and closes with velcro. It’s attractive, protective and compact.
On the far right is a pen wrap made by a friend. This holds nine pens and closes with a leather cord and an opal. It’s spectacularly beautiful, and it means the world to me.
Note that three of these stand up.
That’s Wilde, Blake and I, standing shoulder to shoulder.
Another useful category is the hard-shell pen case, like the two below.
On top is a handmade “Nakaya-type” case from MY63 cases. This holds one pen, and it’s great. I wrote more about it here, and also about a different hard-shell design from MY63.
On the bottom is a case that a friend of mine made from an eyeglass case. He managed to section it off inside to hold six pens.
I use a hard-shell case when I’m worried about crushing or dropping pens, which isn’t that often for me. But it’s a nice option to have.
Next comes the zippered-case category. Here are two of mine.
On the right is my Kaweco Traveler case, in distressed leather. This is fabulous. It has loops for six pens and a large interior mesh pocket. I use this a lot: it’s small enough to fit in my purse, but feels tougher than a wrap.
On the left is a zippered case from Franklin-Christoph. It has loops for three pens, though one of the loops is right next to the zipper. I rarely use this case, but I won’t part with it: it’s pink, it was a gift and it means a lot to me.
My last category is the black leather cases.
Here is a representative sampling.
Underneath is the common zip-up case so many people have. Collectors carry around multiple 48-pen cases, but I have 20-pen cases, and I use my two mostly at home. They stand on a shelf like books, for space-efficient storage. I don’t tend to carry mine, because I don’t carry 20 pens.
I’m not enthusiastic about these. I’d happily get rid of them. But first I may have to get rid of the pens inside. Pause to note that I am wise in pens, too — and here comes another high five from my man, William Blake.
The case on top, with the orange zipper pull, is a complete mystery, a stowaway. I only know I didn’t buy it. It’s more of a pencil pouch, but it’s nice.
The black cases below that are fancy leather cases, holding two pens each. These look dignified, and are perfect for those who bring pens to business meetings.
And here, finally, we reach the end of the road of excess. I am obviously the wisest person in pen cases who isn’t actually a store. Here is what I have learned: they are all good, depending on your needs. And I will be holding a pen-case garage sale soon.