A Glorious Montblanc Safety

The modern Montblanc is not to my taste for various reasons and in any case I wouldn’t spend that much on a current pen. I’m told that they are good writers but so is the Lanbitou I’m using to draft this article. It cost three quid. Of course that’s a rather shallow argument – the Lanbitou doesn’t have the quality of a Montblanc and it may not be as durable. That said, if I want superior quality I just need to use my vintage Swans or Onotos – the highest quality at a tiny fraction of the price of a modern Montblanc.

I promise not to rant on interminably about modern Montblancs. Just two other things I would mention: associating pens with dead artists and authors seems a spurious piece of marketing. In truth they had nothing to do with the pens. Secondly, drawing attention to yourself by flashing an expensive pen seems a bit jejune. But maybe that’s just me.

It was not always so. A few years ago I used to buy forties and fifties Montblancs to restore. Wonderful pens with outstanding nibs. They’ve gone a little beyond my budget now but I’m glad they’ve reached their proper level and are suitably appreciated.

Long before that Montblanc made many safety pens. The well-known White Top of 1912 and the famous Rouge et Noir of the same period are highly collectable – if you can find one!

In the twenties this beauty came along, another much-sought-after collector’s pen, photographed here with a fine Swan.

As well as being treasured by collectors these pens are perfectly practical writers. I’m told this one is somewhat stubbish. I love the nib – a real work of art.

Such Montblancs as these are expensive too, but worth every penny!

With thanks to Hans Gilliams for his excellent photographs.

4 thoughts on “A Glorious Montblanc Safety

  1. Hello again,
    I agree with you about the Montblancs. I have two which I use regularly, one button-filler from the 1940s which on the Penboard DE a similar one was described as Ersatz (cobbled together with whatever was available just post-war), and a late 40s early 50s 244 made in Denmark … both have steel nibs and write beautifully; both cost me very little back when ….. I also remember not too long ago when you could pick up MB safeties for not a lot …. I used to clean them up (even got Eric to service a couple) and sell them on for not much more, oh I wish I’d held on to a couple.
    Nowadays the Montblanc name occasionally makes me twitch nervously. Last week there were two pens being offered at a bricks and mortar Auction … a Montblanc Year of the Golden Dragon FP which as far as I can see is a resin piston filler with a golden dragon clip (with a pearl), made in 2000 with a limited edition of 2000. This went for £1500 + commission so were talking about roughly £1950, which when you see some being sold for much more than that is ‘not bad’ …. but would I pay that? Do pigs actually fly?
    The other pen at this Auction was a 1939 18ct solid gold lever-fill, and when I say solid gold I mean just that, not an overlay but a barrel and cap made of solid gold. The cap is crowned with sapphires and diamonds (not as tasteless as it might sound), and the cherry on top of the cake was the Dunhill Namiki #2 fine nib. Excluding the nib this has a scrap value of maybe £800. How much did it sell for? Including commission and postage £1056; almost half the price of the MB. This was a one off most likely, possibly a Dunhill pen (hallmarks show everything bar the makers) the MB was 1/2000 (no papers and no original box). Would I buy the gold pen with a DN nib? …… I did. I sometimes think I’m out of synch with the rest of the World.
    I’ll happily send you some photos if you’d like to see them.
    Keep up the great blog
    Mario

    1. Hello Mario,
      I would love to see pictures of your Dunhill Namiki and if you would permit me I would write something about it. I always think those large limited edition Montblancs are rather a joke. Many models of expensive pens wouldn’t sell as many as 2000 anyway! It’s isn’t very limited! I’m sure they are nice but I wouldn’t pay that much for such a pen. I’m happier down among the user pens and the occasional collector’s item. I don’t think I have ever bought or sold a pen worth as much as £500, though the way prices are rising, who can say what my limit will be in a year or two!

      1. Hello, photos are on their way. At this point in time I’ll only say that the nib is a Dunhill Namiki and most probably 1930’s. I’ll have to wait and see what my research throws up. If it’s a Dunhill pen then that’ll be a nice bonus!
        All the best
        Mario

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