San Francisco—The only known existing example of a rare Waterman "Three Snakes" Sterling Silver Fountain Pen achieved $37,500 on December 18, leading the Fine Writing Instruments auction at Bonhams New York. The pen, circa 1888-98, features six genuine emerald eyes and is one of the earliest Waterman pens. It sold ahead of its $25,000-35,000 estimate.
Also selling at the top of the charts was a Conway Stewart Elite Gold Series Set of Three 18K Solid Gold Limited Edition 50 Fountain Pens, produced in 1999 (Harlequin, Cracked Ice & Floral Rose), which sold for $28,750.
Montblanc pens, too, sold particularly well in the auction. A rare No. 126 14K Gold Octagonal Fountain Pen, c.1938, signed S 585 (indicating it is the work of master Montblanc penmaker Sarastro) brought $20,625, ahead of a 10,000-20,000 estimate.
Additional noteworthy Montblancs included a sealed Peter I the Great and Catherine II the Great Patron of Art Series Limited Edition 888 Fountain Pen Set that brought $10,000; a Cardinal Richelieu Solid 18K Gold & Diamonds Limited Edition 40 Fountain Pen that sold for $8,125; and a Meisterstück Solitaire 149 LeGrand Solid Platinum Fountain Pen that took in $7,500.
Namiki examples also attracted enthusiastic bidders and took many top spots in the sale. A Royal Rooster Maki-e Yukari Series Fountain Pen achieved $13,750 ahead of a $6,000-10,000 estimate; a Setsugekka [Snowflake] Emperor Maki-e Limited Edition 99 Fountain Pen brought $10,000; a Butterfly & Chrysanthemum Emperor Maki-e Limited Edition 99 Fountain Pen claimed $9,375; and a White Tiger of Asia Maki-e Limited Edition 300 Fountain Pen sold for $8,125, past an estimate of $5,000-8,000.
Namiki and other Maki-e examples of note, which sold above their estimates, included a Pilot-Namiki Fuji Deer Emperor Maki-e Fountain Pen that brought $10,000, ahead of a $6,000-8,000 estimate; a Pilot-Namiki Shishi Komainu 88th Anniversary Maki-e Limited Edition 88 Fountain Pen that sold for $10,000, past an $8,000-10,000 estimate; and a Dunhill-Namiki Rakucho and Cherry Blossoms Maki-e Limited Edition 100 Fountain Pen took in $8,125, past a $4,000-6,000 estimate.
Rounding out the auction's highlights was a unique Jean Pierre Lepine G8 Summit Set of Nine Limited Edition Fountain Pens & One Rollerball Pen that brought $9,375; a Montegrappa Classical Greece 18K Rose Gold & Diamonds Limited Edition 1 Rollerball prototype – the only one ever made, that took in 8,750; and an Omas Legni Pregiati [Precious Wood] Collection Limited Edition 500 Set of 15 Fountain Pens that achieved $8,125, past a $3,000-5,000 estimate.
The Director of the Fine Writing Instruments Department at Bonhams, Ivan Briggs, commented of the sale, "Awareness of fine pens as objects of fascination continues to spread. Yesterday's sale was marked by strong interest from many new bidders who have discovered the attraction of great pens and were determined to obtain outstanding examples. Truly rare vintage examples were hotly contested, and modern limited Montblanc and Namiki pens continue to dominate the pen market."
For further information about the sale, please visit www.bonhams.com/auctions/21041/. The next auction of Fine Writing Instruments at Bonhams is scheduled to take place March 24, 2014 in San Francisco.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com