Artist collects magic markers

 Articles Wp-Content Uploads 2011 04 Markerline
Graphic artist Allister Lee of Toronto collects black markers of all varieties and vintages. He has 600 of them. And whenever he gets a new one, he renders it on paper. Using a black marker, of course. Collectors Weekly interviewed Lee:
 Articles Wp-Content Uploads 2011 04 Magic I have bit of a nerdy hobby of writing to marker companies. I’m usually asking for free samples, but I’m also interested in the company’s story. When I went to Hong Kong, I got excited about visiting the Zebra distributor, particularly when I walked in and realized, “Oh, wow, this is their little head office.” I’m always trying start up a dialogue with marker makers, but for the most part, they don’t really see themselves as interesting.

The most fascinating company I’ve researched is Ideal. They started out in 1919, making stencil machines, as well as other marking products. My friend bought one of those machines, called Diagraphs, which were often used for marking uniforms with your last name and your company during Vietnam and World War II. Do you remember those old tape-label makers–where you would punch the letters into black tape? It’s similar to that, but heavier, and it punches the stencils out of paper.

This vintage Ideal Felt Tip is my favorite marker because it seems to be my oldest one. Plus, it’s metal, it’s unused, and I got it from a friend. I’ve always known that it existed, and I see it on eBay all the time, but I try not to spend a lot of money online. I prefer to collect things by stumbling upon them or trading with friends.

"Plotting a World Record, One Marker at a Time"


  1. Collecting is fun.

    Having an 80 year old fan belt in its factory sleeve, I Googled it and was amazed to discover that no one collects vintage fan belts.

    1. You do, nixiebunny. If nobody else collects vintage fan belts, you are thus the world’s foremost collector. Yay!

  2. I’m a Sharpie man myself. There’s one within reach of me, usually a fine point, 24 X 7. Markers are awesome.

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