America's signature for freedom series fountain pens lead Bonhams Fine Writing Instruments sale

Fine Writing Instruments
19 Dec 2012
San Francisco

San Francisco—Bonhams is pleased to announce its last sale of the year in San Francisco, the December 19 auction of Fine Writing Instruments, realised a successful result of $781,263. The 430-lot auction was well attended with nearly 90% of lots sold.

At the top of the auction's lots was a Montblanc America's Signatures for Freedom Series Limited Edition 50 Fountain Pen, in honour of former US president George Washington. The limited edition pen was the first in a series honouring America's presidents, and it sold for $25,000, at the high-end of its presale estimate of $20,000-25,000. Highlights from the America's Signatures for Freedom Series continued on with the sales of editions honouring James Madison and John Adams, which took in $22,500 and $17,500, respectively.

Leading lots of the auction continued with a Montblanc Fortune Number 88 Limited Edition Fountain Pen, sold for $23,750, ahead of a presale estimate of $15,000-20,000, and a Montblanc 4th of July Limited Edition 56 Skeleton Fountain Pen, sold for $18,750, which surpassed an estimate of $15,000-18,000.

Ivan Briggs, Specialist of Fine Writing Instruments at Bonhams in San Francisco, said of the auction, "The response to our sale was outstanding. Fine pens are attracting great attention for their craftsmanship and aesthetic virtues, and more and more people are becoming interested in them. This sale had more participants than any previous pen sale at Bonhams, and bidding activity was enthusiastic. There was lots of bidding activity across the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East."

He added, "Limited edition Montblancs fared particularly well, followed by Montegrappa, Namiki, Cartier and Visconti. I was especially pleased with the performance of our vintage pens. Previously, there was little crossover between collectors of modern limited and vintage pens. Today, a number of fine vintage pens were sold to clients whose interest was previously restricted to modern limiteds. I'm pleased at how the market is developing."

Montblanc highlights continued in the sale with an Antoni Gaudi Limited Edition 128 Skeleton Fountain Pen, influenced by the spectacular architecture and curving balconies of the Casa Batllo in Barcelona, sold for $18,750; a Greta Garbo Commemorative Limited Edition 100 Fountain Pen, paying tribute to one of Hollywood's most glamorous and enduring stars, in solid 18 karat yellow gold, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, sold for $15,000; and an Hommage à John Harrison Skeleton Limited Edition 333 Fountain Pen, in honour of John Harrison, inventor of the chronometer, sold for $14,375.

Additional lots of note included a Montblanc Meisterstück Solitaire 162 White Gold & Diamond 75th Anniversary Limited Edition Rollerball Pen, sold for $11,250, and an Omas Merveille du Monde Series Marco Polo 18K Gold Limited Edition 300 Fountain Pen, featuring a dragon encircling its body, symbolic of the far reach of the ancient empires, sold for $10,625.

The next sale of Fine Writing Instruments at Bonhams will take place June 11, 2013 in San Francisco, with previews June 7-9. For more information, please visit


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

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