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This isn't a great deal, guys. The holder is considered all right, but very generic, and not the best of its price range. Nibs like these are also rather inexpensive, typically ranging from $1 - $2. While this set is okay for the lazy and uninitiated, $21 + S&H is a bit ridiculous, especially considering the fact that it comes with no ink. You can compose your own custom order using online calligraphy shops for about the same price, and get some ink too. Consider it before throwing money at it, please.
I feel like I should clarify - these are good nibs, and comparable with Speedball or Mitchell nib quality (I prefer Mitchells myself, but that's just person preference). Keep in mind a well-taken care of nib will only last a couple months. The set is not a good value for the goods.
It would be great if you could provide an actual link for similarly priced options with ink or better deals?
I originally didn't want to for fear of breaking some rule, but for you I will.
My go - to place for calligraphy supplies is Paper and Ink Arts ( http://www.paperinkarts.com/). They have a great selection, and good customer service. Another option is John Neal Bookseller (http://www.johnnealbooks.com/), but his shipping out of the USA seems a bit high.
I can't actually link you to my cart, but I can describe it. I've managed to make a beginner kit for $19.83.
Brause C Nib in 3mm, 2mm, & 1mm.
Brause Steno Pen
Manuscript G nib
Tachigawa T25 Holder
Calli Ink, Black.
In case Brause nibs were a necessary feature, I've included them as the three broad-nib nibs. There are alternatives, which are cheaper and, in my opinion, better. Mitchell's nibs come to mind. Broad-Nibs are used in Broad-nib scripts, such as Textura Quadrata, Blackletter, and Uncial.
To replace the three pointed nibs, I've re-included the Steno Pen (Referred to as the blue pumpkin in calligraphy circles) and added The Esterbrook 355 and Gillot 303. All of these are flexible, and are used in writing pointed-pen scripts like Copperplate and Spencerian. I've also thrown in the Manuscript G nib to act as a non-flexible everyday nib, to balance the load a bit.
The Tachigawa holder is not the cheapest holder by far, but is in my opinion one of the better, in terms of finish and longevity. It has a finish on it to prevent staining, and a decent girth which is quite helpful for keeping the nib steady. To save money, you could go with the round, double wooden holder.
So, we've upgraded the holder and replaced the original 6 nibs with seven, and have saved about $6. Now you can afford to buy a bottle of ink. Typically I'd recommend the walnut ink crystals, as they're amazing and cheap, but they seem to be out of stock. Calli ink works just as well, or you could try out some Sumi. There's quite a few colors to choose from. Higgin's Eternal is also heavily recommended, and I find Windsor & Newton to be relatively well behaved on cheaper paper.
Anyway, this brings us to ~20. Oh, and you don't have to wait months for it to arrive. You can spent the extra $2 on a pad of okay paper from a bargain store - there's no sense investing in something like Rhodia paper for practice until you're sure you enjoy it. Try to find the smoothest paper you can that looks like it won't absorb very well.
Check out https://www.reddit.com/r/Calligraphy/wiki/index for a really good start-up-guide. You can stick around for a great community too.
Hope that helps.
Thanks for your suggestion and the full writeup. This is part of what makes MassDrop so great. Also I would like to add to your guide that if you're purchasing from "Paper and Ink Arts" you can enter the code "lovecal" and get an additional 5% off. Not a lot but it helps. Takes another buck off the package you suggest.
Awesome, I didn't know about that. Thanks.
Locketh, Alawishis: Thanks very much for your helpful comments! In particular, I really appreciate all the details.
Hey @Locketh -- Great info here, and just wanted to let you know that we don't censor people sharing great prices on the same products anytime they're available. We're happy to help members find the best prices on the products you like, and we always try to make Massdrop the place that happens, but sometimes lower prices can be found on other sites or in certain regions.
When it does, we still appreciate that Massdrop can be the place where members find that info.