Montblanc rarities featured in PBA Galleries pen auction July 19


Montblanc James Watt 18K Gold Skeleton fountain pen, one of 35 made. PBA Galleries image

SAN FRANCISCO – PBA Galleries, the West Coast’s leading auctioneer of fine books, manuscripts and printed material, will conduct its debut Fine Pens Auction, to be held in San Francisco on July 19 at 11 a.m. Pacific Time/2 p.m. Eastern. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The sale features 361 lots of outstanding modern and vintage fine writing instruments, with a strong selection of Montblancs, including numerous examples from the company’s Writers Series and Patron of Art Series. Also featured are fine pens from prominent penmakers including Namiki, Cartier, Montegrappa, OMAS, Krone, Stipula, Waterman and Henry Simpole. Of special note is a selection of key vintage pens, comprising dozens of Montblancs, as well as rare early overlay eyedropper pens by Waterman, Parker, Houston, Paul E. Wirt Co., Aiken Lambert, John Holland and others.

The sale highlights include a fine Montblanc James Watt 18K Gold Skeleton fountain pen (above), one of 35 made in 2014. This ingenious pen is a tribute to the Scotsman whose engineering innovations powered the Industrial Revolution. The skeletonized 18K gold barrel and cap, with oversized flywheel motif, reflect the “parallel motion” linkage system of Watt’s steam engine. The estimate is $30,000-$35,000.

There are seven other Montblanc Artisan Editions in the sale, including a Leonardo da Vinci 18K Gold Skeleton fountain pen, one of 74 made in 2013. This pen features one of Montblanc’s most innovating designs, with a skeletonized solid gold barrel and cap revealing the pen’s piston-filling mechanism, and had very low distribution outside of Europe. This example is in uncirculated condition, still sealed. The estimate is $14,000-$18,000.


Montblanc Architect’s Fountain Pen with original case, circa 1925. PBA Galleries image

Collectors of vintage Montblancs will be impressed by numerous rarities, foremost being a 1925 Montblanc Architect’s Pen in the original carrying case, one of very few known to exist (estimate: $2,000-$3,000) and a Montblanc No. 12 Goliath with silver snake clip, circa 1922-1928. The Goliath is the rarest vintage Montblanc, and this example is in very fine condition (estimate: $6,000-$9.000).


Rare Montblanc No. 12 Goliath safety fountain pen, 1920s. The most desirable vintage Montblanc. PBA Galleries image

The sale features rare vintage eyedropper pens, perhaps the most impressive of which is a Waterman No. 402 sterling silver fountain pen, circa1888-1898. It is one of two known examples, with an elaborate cable twist overlay in superb condition. The estimate is $10,000-$15,000.

Aficionados of fine Italian pens will be pleased with our selection of Montegrappa instruments, which includes exceptional limited editions, such as a Montegrappa Eternal Bird 18K gold fountain pen, created in 2005, with an elaborate solid gold phoenix overlaid on marbled red celluloid. This pen is the premiere example from an edition of 100 examples. The estimate is $7,000-$10,000.


Montegrappa Eternal Bird 18K gold overlay fountain pen, numbered 0 of 100 examples. PBA Galleries image

Japanese pens have dominated the fine pen market in recent years, as rare early examples continue to escalate in both value and appeal. Our sale showcases an extraordinary Pilot-Namiki red lacquer maki-e and raden masterwork by Shogo, circa 1930. This elaborately ornamented instrument is covered in an abundance of gold powder with mother-of-pearl highlights by one of Namiki’s most celebrated artists. The estimate is $30,000-$40,000.


Pilot-Namiki Red Lacquer Maki-e and Raden fountain pen by Shogo, A-grade, circa 1930. PBA Galleries image

Topping off the sale is a small sampling of watches by Rolex, LeCoultre and Vacheron & Constantin.

For more information, please contact the curator of the sale, Ivan Briggs at 415-989-2665 or