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What's Your Collection?: Promotional pens find a home with local collector

2:38 AM, Jan. 16, 2013  |  Comments

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This is part of an ongoing weekly series. Each Wednesday, the Daily Tribune will feature a local collector and his or her collection. Send an email to Deb Cleworth at deb.cleworth@cwnews.net or call 715-422-6730 if you have an interesting collection or know someone who does.

NAME: Ben Holberg, 23, Wisconsin Rapids

WHAT HE COLLECTS: Holberg collects pens from different companies.

"Just anything that has got some sort of promotional information on it," he said.

HOW HE STARTED: Holberg's collection got its start courtesy of his grandmother, Delores Holberg, who died in 2009. Holberg's grandmother collected pens wherever she went.

"When we moved (my grandparents) out of their bigger apartment to their smaller apartment, there were probably three shoeboxes or so of pens," Holberg said.

One of his uncles tried a pen, and, finding it no longer worked, was ready to toss all of the pens. Holberg decided to keep the collection.

"I was unemployed for several months and was kind of looking for something to do, so I started emailing different companies, asking businesses, law firms, to send any pens they had," Holberg said.

His efforts paid off, and his collection now ranges between 700 and 800 writing implements.

"It actually got to the point our mailbox at home was getting too full," Holberg said.

The mailman told him it was getting a bit annoying, so Holberg checked into different delivery means. Being unemployed, he sought a little help. The UPS Store offered the use of a mailbox at no cost.

That helped, as one day, Holberg received 12 packages filled with pens from different businesses and states.

"I actually just got one from Australia two days ago," he said

The collection also includes pens from Netherlands and Japan.

FAVORITE IN THE COLLECTION: "I think probably my favorite one, as far as cool-wise, was (one) to promote the '007' movie that came out a few years ago," Holberg said. "It has a voice recorder and FM radio."

His locally obtained favorite is one from his grandmother's collection. It is a pen commemorating the 25th anniversary of Bull's Eye Credit Union, dated 1932-1957.

"That one was in one of the boxes that I got from my grandma," Holberg said.

HOW THE COLLECTION IS DISPLAYED: Right now, the hundreds of pens remain stored in boxes, pending a more permanent display when Holberg moves sometime in the future.

"My eventual plan is to take a bunch of 2-x-4's and drill individual holes in them and then mount the boards on the wall," Holberg said.

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