Vintage and limited edition pens see uptick in demand

Vintage and limited edition pen collectors are finding much to desire this year with two significant events setting the tone for the entire hobby.

First, Bonhams & Butterfields of Los Angeles announced record setting results for the company’s first auction exclusively dedicated to Montblanc writing instruments. The Feb. 15, 2010 sale contained more than 130 lots of exceptional pens with a focus on the Writer’s Editions, Patron of the Arts and Montblanc’s 333 series.

15th annual Atlanta Pen Show

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., April 10-11

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel Atlanta, Perimeter NW; 6345 Powers Ferry Rd.; I-285 East; exit 22

Features: Vendors offer a range of eras including Victorian; 1905-1915 Art Nouveau pens topped with gold or silver filigree, mother-of-pearl, gems; bold-color 1920s Art Deco; 1930s Art Moderne streamliners; Mid-Century Modern pens. Choices run the gamut: enamel, wood, chrome, silver, celluloid and acrylic in styles from sporty to retro to glam to executive.

Contact: 770-955-1700

Offered on President’s Day, and timed to coincide with the annual Los Angeles International Pen Show, the auction brought more than $715,000 and featured examples from several of the major Montblanc categories including rarely seen pens, several of which have not been available in the secondary market before this offering.

The second event collectors captivating collector’s interest is the 15th annual Atlanta Pen Show, April 10-11. This year Delta, the Naples, Italy, pen company is introducing its latest edition of the annual Indigenous Peoples Limited Edition series. Designed by famed Italian designers, the pens take their look, symbolism and trims from people and places worldwide. In addition, it is also a series-within-a-series of three so a collector isn’t locked into adding in perpetuity.

Yair Greenberg of the firm Yafa, Delta’s North American distributor, points out “Each pen also offers a choice of styles, exclusivity and price. There’s the very high-end Celebration model with gold trim and a traditional lever filling system. Usually less than 60 of a model are produced.”

The second level is a fountain pen with a lever filling system and vermeil or sterling silver trim; usually fewer than 1,000 are produced. The third and fourth tiers are a fountain pen with an ink converter/cartridge ink system and a rollerball that converts to a ballpoint. Both have sterling trim and production usually runs under 2,000.

“All pens, as all Delta limited editions, are hand-rolled from solid resin rods and hand-engraved by Italian artisans. The run for each model is determined by parsing a significant date in each group’s history and prices upon issue generally run from several thousand for the Celebration to under $500.”

The 2010 Indigenous Peoples pen, Mapuche, and second in the current series, debuts at the April 10-11 Atlanta Pen Show at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Perimeter North. The stone-gray-swirled-pen honors the Mapuche of Southern and Central Chile and Southern Argentina.

Central to Mapuche is the female Machi “shaman,” who performs ceremonies to cure ills, banish evil, influence weather, harvests, relationships and dreamwork. They also practice litholatry, the cult of ritual and sacred stones. Delta took inspiration from these stones and Machi robes for this Limited Edition.

The pen is the color of striated granite punctuated with colorful stripes as on the Machi ceremonial robes. The woven patterns in these garments are repeated in hi-relief on the sterling or gold bands and crown’s medallion. While the clip, which is unique and distinct for each pen in the series, is carved like a Machi stone totem.

Greenberg, who is giving away the $995 Mapuche lever-filler fountain pen at the Atlanta show, says “this use of relevant colors and implements such as totems and daggers are central to the series.”

antique trader 2010 price guide


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