An enormous pen collection is up for sale, bringing tears to the man who dedicated countless hours to his eccentric hobby.

John Trinder spent years amassing and sorting his collection of about 54,000 pens, which used to hang proudly in the garage of his Papamoa home.

But now that he's sold up and moved to a smaller house, the pen collection has to go.

"I'm hoping to sell it because we've got nowhere to hang them up, and they're no good sitting in a box," he said. "I'd rather sell them to someone who would put them up and enjoy them."

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The pens are now packed into 22 heavy banana boxes, but they used to line Mr Trinder's 26sq m garage.

"The walls were all completely covered."

Mr Trinder said he had spent "heaps" of time out in the garage, colour-coding the pens and sorting them into alphabetical order.

"In a full day I'd probably spend about four or five hours out there, sorting them out and shifting them along to slot pens in," he said.

"It kept me out of mischief."

Taking the pens down was a sad day. "I actually wept."

He was also emotional about the prospect of letting all the pens go.

"There'll probably be a little water in the eye. It'll be a sad day but you've just got to face the fact and move on."