Pen collector makes mark with his hobby


June 27, 1996|By Judy Reilly | Judy Reilly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THERE'S HARDLY a day that goes by that I don't get pens from somewhere," said Carroll Wantz of Taneytown. Wantz is a pen collector, and the walls of his basement office are lined, floor to ceiling, with novelty ballpoint pens and pencils from all over the world.

I had heard about this man's collection and was delighted when he and his wife, Mabel, gave me a tour of the display he has been working on for more than 60 years.

It's a rainbow of color that lines the walls, with the pens lined up like soldiers, held in place with white elastic bands and organized according to various schemes.

All are in mint condition.

The thousands of novelty pens come from many sources.

There's the pen topped with a miniature wooden llama from Peru, a babushka doll pen from Russia and pens from Scandinavia that have clear tops filled with snow-globe fluid and scenery painted in the background.

There are pens from the Beijing Friendship Hotel and old pens from the original Howard Johnson's restaurant chain.

There are pens from nearby -- Giant Food and the Baltimore Orioles -- and far away.

One from Alaska, another from Paris and still another from Australia allow one to take an imaginary trip around the world. Another wall of Wantz's collection carries you through the past.

Wantz has collected pens and pencils from many old Taneytown businesses that are now defunct, and these are the ones he treasures. An especially prized pencil is one from the Rainbow Skating Rink and Bowling Alley that stood near the Big Pipe Creek Park outside Taneytown. He also owns pens and pencils from all the fire companies, funeral homes and banks.

One category of the collection simply makes you smile. These are the pencils and pens shaped like back scratchers, golf tees, baseball bats, Mickey Mouse or light bulbs.

A pen shaped like a train and another like a hypodermic needle give added meaning to "novelty."

Wantz even owns a baby-chick pen and a pig pen from a local Agway store.

Presidential pens -- from Bush, Eisenhower and Truman -- are reminders of past eras. A pen from the Secret Service complements these.

Wantz embodies the joy of collecting. Each pen was given to him by a friend or someone who knows he's always on the prowl for a new item. Wantz always carries a pocket full of pens to trade -- with his minister, a waitress, anyone likely to carry a pen.

No two items in the collection are alike. If he receives a duplicate, he'll trade it for a different one.

Wantz catalogs the assortment on paper tablets, each item listed and described, with date and donor.

Wantz began collecting Eversharp pencils when he was 21, and then ballpoint pens when the pencils were no longer manufactured.

His collection took off, he said, when he joined the American Pen Collectors Society six years ago. The group publishes a newsletter that encourages trading among members. Wantz always has a mailbox full of pens.

Another boost to his collection came two years ago at his 80th birthday party. Guests were asked not to bring presents, just pens.

They came bearing 600.

Wantz is one of those born collectors; he has also started collections of key chains, refrigerator magnets and Hess Co. toy trucks.

Information: 756-2481.

Lacrosse camp

Lacrosse is a sport gaining popularity in northwest Carroll, and if you know a boy or girl who is interested in learning the fundamentals of the game, the Union Bridge Recreation Council is sponsoring a lacrosse clinic from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. July 22 to 26. John Baugher, coach of the Francis Scott Key lacrosse club, will conduct the clinic.

Drills and games will not involve contact, and equipment will be provided. Children who own a lacrosse stick should bring it. Registration is at 8: 30 a.m. July 22. The camper's parent or guardian needs to be present for registration.

Information: 775- 7892.

Eagles soccer

Last chance to register for the Francis Scott Key Junior Eagles' Soccer Club is from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday at the Taneytown MacDonalds.

The cost begins at $22 for one player. Both in-house and traveling teams for girls and boys will be offered. Tryouts for the traveling teams are planned for early in August.

The coordinator for the Junior Eagles soccer teams is Dan Whitcomb. Information: 751-1743.

National Gallery trip

Art lovers will appreciate the opportunity to take a bus trip sponsored by the Maryland Art League to the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The trip is scheduled for 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. July 12. The bus leaves from the Route 70 East Park and Ride, at Exit 16 of the Baltimore Beltway. The cost is $17.

A special feature of the trip is a conducted tour of the Meyerhoff Collection of contemporary art, one of the most extensive collections of post-World War II art in the world.

If you're interested in going, write a check payable to the Maryland Art League and send it to Mary Lou Darrell, 42 Sheraton Road, Randallstown, 21133.

Information: (410) 922-2666.

Judy Reilly's Northwest Carroll neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 6/27/96

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