LOS ANGELES — International auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields are pleased to announce the company’s first auction exclusively dedicated to modern Montblanc writing instruments on Feb. 15, 2010. The sale will contain more than 130 lots of exceptional pens with a focus on the Writer’s Editions, Patron of the Arts and 333 series, as well as several of the more limited items including the highly sought after Black Widow and Diego Rivera editions mostly coming from the Ron Renaud collection.
Offered on President’s Day, and timed to coincide with the annual Los Angeles International Pen Show, the auction will offer examples from several of the major Montblanc categories including rarely seen pens, like the George Washington and Texas Ateliers prives Skeleton in solid gold. In addition to the preview at Bonhams & Butterfields’ Sunset Boulevard galleries on Feb. 12-14, select highlights will also be on display at the Los Angeles International Pen Show in Manhattan Beach, Calif., on Feb. 11-14.
"This auction is undoubtedly one of the largest and most complete offerings of modern Montblanc writing instruments to be publicly offered in recent years. It will bring together some of the finest contemporary examples of refined craftsmanship and technical mastery in calligraphic instruments created by the leading masters in this field. The auction will include several rare and highly sought after examples, several of which have not been available in the secondary market before this offering," said Rick Propas, Fine Pens Consultant for Bonhams & Butterfields.
Highlighting the auction is one of the most sought after Montblanc pens ever produced, the Magical Black Widow Skeleton limited edition 88 fountain pen (estimate $18,000-$24,000). Encased by a web of white gold, the instrument features a filigree spider studded with black diamonds on the clip. In some countries, the spider is seen as a symbol of luck, and, in honor of the lucky spider, whose figure 8 shaped body symbolizes infinity, Montblanc produced only 88 of these beautiful pens.
Also highly popular with collectors is the Diego Rivera limited edition 70 fountain pen (estimate $12,000-$18,000). Rivera was a master of the mural and world-famous for his revolutionary politics and his revival of Mexican fresco art. Montblanc celebrates his legacy with a pen crafted from white gold with a partial black lacquer finish in Aztec design. The unusual red-orange translucent cap is overlaid with a white gold windowpane with elaborate Mexican etchings and a black sapphire set in the clip.
In honor of President’s Day, the sale will also feature several examples of presidential pens. Inspired by the world leaders and their iconic residences, these pens have been painstakingly created from a variety of resin and precious materials designed to evoke the spirit of freedom. From the America’s Signature Series the Thomas Jefferson fountain pen is constructed in an unusual octagonal shape in homage to his Virginia home, Monticello (estimate $21,000-$24,000). Inspired by third president of the United States, the instrument is decorated with solid gold rings as well as petrified wood inlays that represent Jefferson’s commitment to nature and Monticello. The clip bears a mandarin garnet and is engraved with a portrait of the former President.
Additional presidential themed fountain pens on offer during the February auction will include the limited edition White House 43. Made from blue transparent precious resin and striped with white gold columns evoking the exterior of the White House, the instrument is adorned with an eagle and bears the Presidential seal (estimate $10,000-$15,000).
Montblanc pays tribute to Asian culture with the Axis Mundi limited edition 101 fountain pen. The white gold skeleton of this pen echoes the form of the famous structure, which is said to express a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. Adorned with diamonds of various sizes, the pen is expected to bring $15,000-$25,000.
In many cultures the number 8 has magical or religious significance. Its shape is a symbol of the infinite, but nowhere does it have such strong meaning as Asia, where it is associated with good fortune. The Fortune Number 88 limited edition fountain pen has an unusual clear body encased in red gold lattice-work design of interlocking "8" shape (estimate $4,000-$6,000). Eight rings circle the cap and cone, while the clip is decorated with a diamond studded number "8".
The sale also features the distinguished Soulmakers for 100 years limited edition fountain pen (estimate $10,000-$15,000). According to Montblanc, the instrument is named in honor of the ancient belief, which states: "if a person touched an object, that object would form a bond with part of their soul." This exquisite instrument was designed to celebrate Montblanc’s centennial anniversary in 2006. Made from solid white gold with white lacquer stripes, the pen boasts an engraved ‘Op Art’ pattern formed by overlapping Montblanc stars along with the words "100 years Montblanc." The highly sought after example is topped with an unusual cap, which boasts a large diamond cut into the shape of the Montblanc logo.
Included with the centennial celebration pens, The Juilliard Centennial Celebration limited edition example will also be featured (estimate $6,000-$8,000). Since 1905, the Juilliard School has trained the foremost dancers, musicians and performing artists in America. In this pen Montblanc has commemorated the school’s 100 years of excellence with this black lacquered white gold fountain pen. The clip is in the shape of a "J" while the cap ring is engraved with "Juilliard School, 100 years." The gold nib boasts engraved image of Augustus D. Juilliard, whose philanthropy built the renowned conservatory of dance, music, and theatre in New York City that bears his name.
In celebration of one of the most charismatic actors of all time, Greta Garbo, Montblanc has created a pen "Dedicated to the women with the power to believe in their visions." Diamond studded to honor the star, the example is crafted from solid yellow gold with mother-of-pearl inlay striping the cap (estimate $14,000-$16,000).
A Hundertwasser limited edition fountain pen will also be offered during the spring auction. This fanciful example embodies the spirit of contemporary Austrian painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Embracing the artist’s style, the pen rejects straight lines and embraces bright colors, varied textures, and wild patterns. Hundertwasser’s common spiral motif can be found in the barrel engravings and in the form of the clip. The irregularly shaped barrel is striped with twisting lines of blue lacquer. The cap top is studded with various colored precious and semi-precious stones. The instrument is estimated to bring $10,000-$15,000.
The illustrated catalog for this sale is available online for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com/us.
Photos courtesy Bonhams & Butterfields.
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