Published: July 31, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO – PBA Galleries made a big splash in the fine writing instruments auction market with its successful debut sale of pens on July 19. The 361-lot auction attracted participants from all over the globe, and more than 90 percent of the lots sold went above their low estimates.
Montblanc Artisan Edition pens performed particularly well in the sale. A Montblanc Leonardo da Vinci 18K gold skeleton fountain pen soared past its $14/18,000 estimate to achieve $48,000, while a Genghis Khan 18K gold fountain pen brought $45,000 against an estimate of $14/18,000. A Montblanc Charlie Chaplin 18K gold skeleton fountain pen also reached $45,000, beating expectations of $20/25,000, and a Wassily Kandinsky “Masters of Abstract Art” 18K gold skeleton fountain pen fetched $24,000. Strong Montblanc results extended to Writers Series and Patron of Art series pens as well, with a Peter the Great and Catherine the Great matching-numbered pair of Patron of Art pens achieving $10,200, an Alexander the Great Patron pen reaching $4,500 and a Marcel Proust Writers Series pen selling for $2,160.
Vintage Montblanc rarities also found favor in the sale, with 43 of 44 vintage lots sold, many of them well above the estimate range. A Montblanc No. 12 “Goliath” reached $9,000, while a Montblanc Architect’s pen sold for $6,000 and a No. 128 Platinum-Lined celluloid pen fetched $2,700.
Other brands achieved impressive results as well, with a Montegrappa White Nights 18K gold fountain pen selling for $6,600, an OMAS Gentleman Seaman 18K gold pen selling for $5,400 and an OMAS Aleksandr Pushkin 18K gold pen reaching $4,800. Vintage results include a Parker No. 47 eyedropper pen (known to collectors as the “Pregnant Parker”), circa 1925, which sold for $5,400; a rare Pilot-Namiki red lacquer maki-e pen by Shogo, circa 1925, which reached an impressive $24,000; and a Dunhill-Namiki Goldfish maki-e pen, Yukari-sized, 1930s, which achieved $6,600.
PBA Galleries’ director of fine pens Ivan Briggs said, “The market for fine pens continues to grow, with demand for outstanding modern and vintage Montblancs leading the way. Montblanc’s Artisan Editions are truly pocket-sized masterpieces, and the dynamic response to our sale demonstrates the high regard in which these pens are held. The strong surge of interest for vintage Montblancs shows that the company’s present successes are founded upon a hundred-year history of great pen design and meticulous craftsmanship.”
Prices are given with buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house.
PBA Galleries’ next pens sale is scheduled for December 6. For information, 415-989-2665 or www.pbagalleries.com.
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