Comprehensive Analysis of Fountain Pen Ink Costs (v.2)

The world has changed since my first ink analysis: countless boutique brands have popped up (or died off), Iroshizuku bottles are no longer hand-blown, and I've forgotten how to write self-aggrandizing blog posts without making fun of myself in some meta-fashion. All is well. Better even.

Here's an alphabetical list.

Brand and LineCommon PriceSize (mL)$/mL
Akkerman Dutch Masters$38.00120$0.317
Akkerman Standard$28.0060$0.467
Beaufort Trial Pack$9.4540$0.236
Blackstone (Bulk Large)$35.00250$0.140
Blackstone (Bulk X-Large)$70.001000$0.070
Blackstone Colors of Australia$8.0030$0.267
Blackstone Colors of Australia (Large)$14.0060$0.233
Blackstone Colors of Australia (Pouches)$5.0050$0.100
Blackstone Mixing Ink Set$36.00120$0.300
Blackstone Scents of Australia$12.0030$0.400
Blackstone Waterproof$14.0030$0.467
Blackstone Waterproof SE$30.0050$0.600
Callifolio Bottle$12.0040$0.300
Callifolio Pouch$8.0050$0.160
Caran d' Ache INKredible$33.2050$0.664
Colorado Pen Liquid Velvet (Large)$15.0090$0.167
Colorado Pen Liquid Velvet (Small)$8.0030$0.267
Conway Stewart$12.9580$0.162
De Atramentis$12.9535$0.370
De Atramentis Archive/Document Ink$19.9535$0.570
De Atramentis Scented Ink$14.9535$0.427
Diamine (150th Anniversary)$15.5040$0.388
Diamine (Normal Size)$15.0080$0.188
Diamine (Sample Size/30)$7.5030$0.250
Diamine Box Set$99.00300$0.330
Diamine Registrar's 30$16.9530$0.565
Diamine Shimmertastic$18.5050$0.370
Faber Castell$18.0062.5$0.288
Fahrney's Ever-Write$12.0075$0.160
Fountain Pen Revolution (Large/60mL)$8.5060$0.142
Fountain Pen Revolution (Small/30mL)$6.0030$0.200
Franklin Christoph (1 oz)$8.2529.57$0.279
Franklin Christoph (2 oz)$12.5059.15$0.211
Graf von Faber Castell$30.0075$0.400
Hakase Sepia (Dark)$63.2150$1.264
Hakase Sepia (Light)$54.1850$1.084
Higgins Fountain Pen India Ink$4.9073.93$0.066
J. Herbin (Large Size/100mL)$22.00100$0.220
J. Herbin (Normal Size)$11.2530$0.375
J. Herbin (Sample Size)$4.7510$0.475
J. Herbin 1670/1798 (Sparkly)$20.0050$0.400
Krishna RC Series$4.3120$0.216
KWZ Iron Gall$16.0060$0.267
L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio$12.0040$0.300
Louis Vuitton $52.0050$1.040
Montblanc (New Writers/Great Characters)$43.0050$0.860
Montblanc (Normal Size)$23.5060$0.392
Montblanc (Shakespeare Velvet Red)$20.5035$0.586
Montblanc Permanent Inks$28.0060$0.467
Monteverde (Large)$15.0090$0.167
Monteverde (Small)$8.0030$0.267
Montblanc (Old Writers/Great Characters)$20.5030$0.683
Nemosine TwINKle$10.0035$0.286
Noodler's Black/Firefly (4.5oz)$18.00133.08$0.135
Noodler's UK/Russian Series$19.5088.72$0.220
Noodler's Waterase Ink (4.5oz)$19.00133.08$0.143
Noodler’s (Eyedropper Size/4.5oz)$21.00133.08$0.158
Noodler’s (Normal Size/3oz)$12.5088.72$0.141
Octopus (Large)$18.32250$0.073
Octopus (Small)$6.1030$0.203
Organics Studio Elements$13.5055$0.245
Organics Studio Ernest's Vintage/Masters of Science$16.0055$0.291
Organics Studio Masters of Writing$14.0055$0.255
Ostrich Ink (Carton)$19.004080$0.005
Papier Plume (Large/50mL)$12.0050$0.240
Papier Plume (Medium/30mL)$8.0030$0.267
Papier Plume (Small/15mL )$5.0015$0.333
Parker Quink$7.1850$0.144
Pelikan 4001 (1000mL)$78.001000$0.078
Pelikan 4001 (30mL)$9.0030$0.300
Pelikan 4001 (60 mL)$13.8062.5$0.221
Pelikan Edelstein$23.0050$0.460
Pen BBS$16.0060$0.267
Pilot (350mL)$22.00350$0.063
Pilot (70mL)$16.0070$0.229
Pilot Drafting (30mL)$8.0030$0.267
Pilot Iroshizuku (Full Size)$20.0050$0.400
Pilot Iroshizuku (Sample Size in Boxset)$25.0045$0.556
Pilot Iroshizuku (Sample Size Individual)$10.0015$0.667
Pilot Namiki (Normal Size)$12.0060$0.200
Platinum (Regular/Pigmented/Carbon)$20.0060$0.333
Platinum Classic$25.0060$0.417
Private Reserve$11.0066$0.167
Raduga 2$5.0070$0.071
Robert Oster$17.0050$0.340
S.T. Dupont$26.0040$0.650
Sailor Jentle Pigmented $24.5050$0.490
Sailor Jentle/Four Seasons$15.0050$0.300
Sailor Shikiori$15.0020$0.750
Sailor Storia (Regular Size)$18.0030$0.600
Sailor Storia (Smaller Size)$14.2520$0.713
Scribal Workshop Invisible Ink$10.9529.57$0.370
Scribal Workshop Washable Ink$10.9559.15$0.185
Scribes’ Regular Inks$12.0045$0.267
Scribes’ Scented/Wine/Liquor Inks$12.0045$0.267
Scribes’ Waterproof Inks$18.0045$0.400
Seitz-Kreuznach (Large)$15.60100$0.156
Seitz-Kreuznach (Small)$7.7830$0.259
Sheaffer Skrip$9.0050$0.180
Stipula Calamo$22.0070$0.314
Stipula Ferrogallico $35.0070$0.500
Super 5$20.6030$0.687
Takeda Jimuki/KYOTO TAG$21.5040$0.538
Thornton's Luxury Goods$5.0030$0.167
Toucan (Sample Size)$6.9030$0.230
Wahl-Eversharp Wahlberry $15.0080$0.188

Here's a clickbaity list of the TOP TEN MOST EXPENSIVE INKS!!!!!!

Hakase dethrones Louis Vuitton.

Brand and LineCommon PriceSize (mL)$/mL
10. Montblanc (Old Writers/Great Characters)$20.5030$0.683
9.   Super 5$20.6030$0.687
8.   Sailor Storia (Smaller Size)$14.2520$0.713
7.   Sailor Shikiori$15.0020$0.750
6.   Waldmann$23.0030$0.767
5.   Montblanc (New Writers/Great Characters)$43.0050$0.860
4.   Bungubox$39.0040$0.975
3.   Louis Vuitton $52.0050$1.040
2.   Hakase Sepia (Light)$54.1850$1.084
1.   Hakase Sepia (Dark)$63.2150$1.264

As well as the top ten cheapest by cost per mL.

Bigger isn't always better, but it usually is: six of these clock in at/over the 250 mL mark.

Brand and LineCommon PriceSize (mL)$/mL
10. Pelikan 4001 (1000 mL)$78.001000$0.078
9.   Octopus (Large)$18.32250$0.073
8.   Raduga 2$570$0.071
7.   Blackstone (Bulk X-Large)$70.001000$0.070
6.   Higgins Fountain Pen India Ink$4.9073.93$0.066
5.   Pilot (350 mL)$22.00350$0.063
4.   Hero$3.0056$0.054
3.   Koh-i-noor$1.9950$0.040
2.   Daytone$4.701000$0.005
1.   Ostrich Ink (Carton)$19.004080$0.005


The world really has changed: Iroshizuku 15 mL bottles are now at the same unit cost as the large bottles once were, and those large bottles no longer crack the top ten most expensive. Kon-Peki is one step closer to being as affordable as it is popular (especially when Amazon has it for $17.) On that note, let's do some math:

According to scholars' most trusted source, Wikipedia, a standard Olympic swimming pool is 25 meters wide, 50 meters long, and 3 meters deep* and thereby holds 3750 cubic meters of water, i.e., 3750000 liters or 3750000000 milliliters, equivalent to 75 million 50 ml bottles of Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki Yo. Since a 50 mL bottle of Tsuki Yo costs (on average) $20, 75 million would cost 1.5 billion dollars, a surprisingly reasonable sum, given that the two frontrunners in the 2016 election collectively raised that along with a few hundred million to spare on a nice Kon Peki kiddie pool. 

Let's say we're tight on money this Olympic cycle, so we need to fill our pools with something significantly cheaper. Sense doesn't exist here, so water is out. The next cheapest option is Tianjin Ostrich ink, which you can buy in a minimum quantity of five barrels for $20 a barrel. A single barrel holds 158987.3 mL for $20, so five of them hold 794936.5 mL and cost a reasonable $100. Since an Olympic swimming pool holds 3750000000 milliliters, one of them would hold ~4,717 5 barrel orders of Tianjin Ostrich ink. At $100 for each of those, we're looking at $471,736, with which you can buy a fairly nice home in Atlanta, assuming you can also travel back in time to 2014 when CBS's top minds put together that slideshow. Also interesting to note is that this price is significantly lower than the one you'd incur if you tried to fill the same pool with your run-of-the-mill bottled water at $1.22 per gallon (a little over $800,000 for your whole pool). 

*FINA specifies a minimum of 1.35 meters; we're being optimistic to make the numbers work out: Wikipedia says 2-3. There's no official maximum depth, so like Jay-Z we're doing some approximating, and let's say...3.

Here's a fancy embedded version for those interested in sources/sleep-deprived notes. Assuming that version won't work, follow this link to the original (locked) Google sheet. Thanks goes out to reddit's /r/fountainpens for drawing my attention to several of these inks, especially the Indian brands I'd never heard of before. 


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