Ever since a human being first decided to scratch the surface of a moist clay tablet with an instrument around 6,000 years ago, civilization has relied on writing instruments to record traces of its history. Egyptian scribes used thin reed brushes to design their hieroglyphs, ancient Sumerians employed a triangular stylus to leave wedge-shaped marks on soft clay, and graceful Chinese characters have traditionally been written with a brush. On the other hand, Western civilization has seemed to prefer writing with some form of pencils or pens. The first proper fountain pen was invented by an insurance broker in 1884, and it was in essence very similar to earlier writing instruments like the quill. The principle of the ballpoint pen was also discovered around the same time, toward the end of the 19th century. However, it was not exploited commercially until the 1940s, when Joseph Lazlo and Georg Biro came up with a modern version of it.The ballpoint pen was popularized during World War II, as it satisfied the demand for robust writing implements needed in the battlefield. Ballpoint pens were introduced to the United States market after the end of the War, and consumers found them more accessible once the French Baron Bich developed extremely inexpensive units. Felt-tip and roller-ball pens came in the following decades, and they were made possible thanks to the continuous technological advances achieved in the field. The superior design, fine execution and top-quality materials involved in the making of certain pens and precision writing instruments have launched them into the category of collectibles. Antique and vintage writing instruments are objects that specialized collectors take a deep pride in possessing. An updated and illustrated price guide is one of the best available resources to find out about the cost of vintage and antique pens and fine writing instruments.