News: Pelikan Price Increases 2016

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The new year has brought with it the welcomed news of several upcoming and promising releases.  Unfortunately, not all news is good news and on Monday, February 15th, we will be forced to contend with price increases across most of Pelikan’s lines.  Nobody likes to read headlines of a cost increase but I think that this round of new fees in particular won’t sit well with the community at large.  It is unclear to me whether or not these new prices will be effected globally but I do know that the U.S.A., already historically priced above overseas vendors, will be sure to see the fares outlined below.

The following table depicts Pelikan’s upcoming MSRP for US prices as well as MSRP at several time points this past decade for comparison.  This table is certainly not all-inclusive but gives a good idea of the pricing prior to the upcoming surge.  2012 marked one of the biggest increases in recent memory but the subsequent years have seen prices rise on the average of 5-10%.  The upcoming change represents a rise of roughly 6.5% over the current pricing.  Pelikan’s price increases have always far outpaced the rate of inflation and that continues here.  Of course, there is no law that says a product must solely keep pace with inflation and only those at Pelikan are in the know about what formula guides regional pricing.  Alas, that information is protected by a non-disclosure agreement and so we are only able to speculate.  Certainly the cost of labor, equipment, taxes, and raw materials have gone up but I suspect at a pace not nearly as rapid as what we have seen with these sustained price increases year after year.  Keep in mind that the prices outlined below are suggested and that vendors do have some leeway depending on many variables.  In terms of the price you can expect to pay, vendors have traditionally offered their wares for up to 20% off of the MSRP.

Pelikan US MSRP Price List 2011-2016

Pelikan’s U.S. MSRP for their Classic and Souverän line of fountain pens & inks

 

My concern is that Pelikan is trying to establish itself in the luxury market with this aggressive pricing a la Montblanc.  The strategy here is not dissimilar from what has been employed, with some success mind you, by other luxury brands catering to a wide variety of markets.  Regretfully, that is not why most of us got into Pelikan and it certainly makes the brand hard to recommend to novices.  I feel as if they are pricing themselves out of the market and alienating a fair portion of their fan base.  I plan to explore this topic further in an upcoming post.  What are your thoughts on this trend?  Does this drive you away from purchasing new Pelikan pens?  Thankfully, there is a thriving vintage market which makes available many of those great Pelikans with unbeatable nibs from days gone by at rather reasonable prices.

 

77 responses

  1. My hubby just bought me the Pelikan M600 pink striped pen. I love it, and it’s gorgeous, but OMG, it sure wasn’t cheap! I love Pelikans, but they were never cheap, or even reasonably priced. As of now I have only two (count ’em: 2) of them because of their high prices. The other Pelikan I have is an M200. Despite their wonderful, smooth-as-silk nibs, it’s difficult to justify paying those prices on any but a truly occasional basis. And I agree with the article; it does look like they are now trying to price themselves right out of a loyal fan base into a wealth-based market. It’s really a shame for those of us who would like to buy one of their pens at least once in a while. And it’s especially bad for those who buy them a little more often – Pelikan’s bread and butter.

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  2. This past November I purchased my first NEW Pelikan – a M200 Cognac. I got it for what I consider I good price, but I had to go to a Japanese seller to do so via Amazon. Who knows when I will be able to be a NEW one again. My other Pelikan’s have all been purchased in the secondary market, and if I want to continue to buy Pelikan’s will probably need to remain firmly rooted there unless something extraordinary happens.

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    • Thankfully there is a thriving secondary market. I am not an economist but I do wonder whether increases in new pen prices, presumably intended to elevate the perception of luxury, will have the side effect of raising prices on the secondary market?

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  3. This is bad news but I suppose the bottom line is how much Pelikan are increasing the price their dealers have to pay and, subsequently, whether the dealers are prepared to lower their margins.

    There must be a considerable mark-up on pens in general, my last two NEW purchases (Pelikan & Waterman) have seen reductions of 20% and 70% without too much twisting of arms.

    It would be a shame to switch my attention away from Pelikan but it wouldn’t kill me!

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  4. I collect Pelicans. I still collected. Let others sell their pens. The price will fall. Pelikan also lower prices, as it will fall sale. Besides, there are auction sites. There we buy pens at a price which suits us.
    Greeting for Joshua!

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    • While that may be true for some pens, the ever increasing number of special releases made in limited editions are likely to command and keep their increased price tag and not come available at a discount anytime soon.

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  5. Yikes–$500 for the M400…with a retailer’s 20% ‘discount,’ that’s still $400 for a M400. So, leaving aside the M300 for a mere $5-10 less, $400 is now the minimum price of entry to the Souverän class–surely more of a barrier than a portal.

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    • One of the things that Pelikan used to have going for it was world class pens at great prices. We still have world class pens but today’s prices make it hard to recommend to people. A barrier indeed.

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  6. I wish I could raise my prices, but they are dictated by the government and insurance companies, and there has not been a real increase in years. It must be nice for Pelikan to be able to raise theirs anytime they like.

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  7. In days of yore, I used to recommend an M2xx as a good starter pen. That sounds hilarious now. The price increases are bad enough, but combined with my experience of lackluster nibs on modern Pelikans, it’s enough to put me off future Pelikan purchases. Looking at my pen spreadsheet (don’t laugh–I bet you have one too), I notice that all but one of my favorite modern Pelikans have required work by a nibmeister. Pelikan, if you’re going to raise prices, you’d better match that with improved QC!

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  8. Fortunately, I have a list of superlative pens made by Pilot and Sailor that I would like to add to my collection… though I’ll still keep an eye out for the occasional M8xx LE (am waiting for the White Tortoiseshell in this size). Thus far, all but two of my Pelikan purchases have been made at substantially reduced cost from Japan or Singapore via eBay.

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  9. Thanks for shining a spotlight on this, Joshua. Hopefully Pelikan will take notice. I agree–whether or not the price is justified, it certainly contradicts for me the type of branding that once may have pushed some people to take up Pelikan instead of Montblanc. Combined with the high price of the m200s it reinforces the idea that Pelikan is a corporation above all, there to make profit. I do think it will price people out of the market. My concern is if it will affect overseas vendors and vintage modern pens too–just look at how the price of the City series pens have shot up in the last few months.

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    • Very well said. Your statement, “…it certainly contradicts for me the type of branding that once may have pushed some people to take up Pelikan instead of Montblanc” particularly resonated with me.

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  10. The idea of seeking out vintage Pelikans sounds like a better alternative than paying these rates. I love my birds, but I don’t see my flock increasing any time soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I just checked and I paid $355 for a new M805 at the Philly Pen Show in January 2011. (Not sure what the MSRP was then.) Amazing that the MSRP for that pen will soon be twice that price.

    Despite the natural comparisons to Montblanc (as they are both German) – I am wondering whether the real target here is the Visconti buyer. That would be misplaced – since I think the Visconti buyer is looking for innovation. The Pelikan buyer is looking for high quality consistency.

    I have to think that Lamy is smiling at this. It would be interesting to see an inflation comparison between Lamy and Pelikan.

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    • Thank you for your comments. I default to Pelikan vs Montblanc in my thinking because I have always seen Pelikan as the much more reasonably priced, high quality alternative. Interesting to think about other targets.

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    • Back in 1985 I bought my first M400 (then pretty new on the market in Germany for DM 150.- (at the time a US$ 75.- equivalent). The same store had a Lamy 2000 at DM 170.- for sale IIRC. That has changed, hasn’t it? I can now get an M400 for US$ 350.- and a Lamy 2000 for US$ 160.-!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post!
    While I’m sad that Pelikan is raising their prices, since it will certainly affect my ability to buy new ones, I really can’t blame them.
    If one looks into the market, who offers pens of that quality, with a piston filler, size of nibs, etc.? The companies that have pens of similar quality are all priced above Pelikan (Montblanc, Omas, Visconti). Japanese pens are excellent, but they offer a different writing experience and they are only a good value if you buy them from Japan (but so is Pelikan if bought from Europe). So, from the point of view of the company, why would they continue to sell their products bellow their perceived market worth? Their goal IS, like any private company, to maximize their profit. And I’m sure they did some market research that shows that increasing their price is the way to go.
    Besides, most people perceive expensive as good. So, maybe this is like what happened a few years back with colleges: everyone was complaining about the prices of tuition, but consulting companies advised on steep price increases because those always were followed by a huge increase in applications.

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      • I totally agree with you that it does not lessen the sting. For me it meant giving up the intention of collecting M800s.
        One thing that Rajesh mentions above (innovation) is a very interesting point. I, for one, would like to see Pelikan being more innovative and trying different models (like Visconti and MB), not just reissuing the current line in different colors. If I’m not mistaken the last different pens they released were the “beauties of nature” series – many people seem to have been hooked by Pelikan through those pens (myself included): they bought one for the aesthetic appeal and learned to appreciate the other qualities of the brand. I believe that for a brand place itself in a luxury sector of the market and continue to have a loyal base of customers, with new ones coming in on a regular basis, innovation is necessary. I sure would love to see Pelikan release really “new” models.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I can understand raising prices when one has to keep up with inflation, however from 2012 to 2016 the average price increase is 30%, which is substantially greater than inflation over this same time period. Also, over this same time frame the average salary in the U.S has been stagnant or decreased for many wage earners
    While Pelican pens seem to be of,high quality and I was saving to purchase my first one, I don’t know now if they are worth what they are charging., I imagine other potential buyers are in the same quandary!
    I hope Pelikan reconsiders their pricing strategy or they will become a high end product only and won’t have a base of loyal customers to draw from. The fountain pen market is a small niche market and this will, in my opinion, only reduce Pelicans market share.

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    • I could certainly see a signifiant portion of buyers in the US market second guess any upcoming purchase based on this pricing strategy but sadly I doubt that there will be an reconsideration. I’m sure that much time and money was spent prior to the decision to raise the prices so they must feel confident enough in their strategy.

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  14. These price increases do seem high. When looked at in terms of percentage it is clear that this is not just a reflection of inflation. The US price increase makes sense given that the dollar is generally making a stronger recovery from the great recession than other world currencies. All this taken together supports the notion that something else is driving these otherwise unreasonable rates of increase, and the attempt to move to another category in the market makes as much sense as anything else.

    I am surely not smarter than Pelikan’s top management yet I cannot help but wonder if they the dramatic per unit price increase will be able to make up for the lost revenue from lack of volume as people move to other less expensive brands. It is clear that many people are rethinking their buying decision because of this big jump in price. After all, there are only so many fountain pen aficionados and the average Joe and Jolene are not likely to jump into the market because this brand is now seen as more of a luxury item. I was for many years a bicycle guy (still am) and there is one thing that is constant in that industry. Most major brans offer products across the market, always offering entry level products while at the same time producing very high end models.

    The new pen market is not where my interest lies, particularly with Pelikan, but even so, in the past I would buy the occasional new offering which ‘spoke to me’. But at these prices I am more likely to pass on these pens and save my money for vintage pens which is where my heart lies, particularly when it comes to Pelikan. My real concern, and it seems to be borne out by comments of previous posters here is that people will turn increasingly to the used and vintage Pelikan market and that will inevitably drive prices up for these pens. I have always thought that vintage Pelikans were a great value. Because these old pens are so reliable and this long lived there has been a very plentiful supply which obviously keeps prices down. But I can see that in the coming years the demand is certainly going to go up (“If I can’t afford a new M400, I can certainly afford a much less expensive used one”) so we shall most likely see prices for these vintage gems rise as well.

    I don’t mind a company making a decent profit, but I am not pleased to be gouged. In some ways this reminds me of Martin Shkreli.

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  15. I was a little bit surprised of the announcement. Unfortunately I expected it earlier due to the fact all other great brands (eg. Mont Blanc, Sailor and some Italians brands [Visconti, Aurora]) already did it more than a year ago. It is not so nice for the collectors and fans, but I think the strategy of Pelikan is upgrading their total assortment. It depends of course of the increasing economical situation world wide. I think the success keeps going on.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pelikan has been a brand favorite since I first discovered their drawing inks in my pre-teen years. I am happy that I have been able to collect my three most desired Pelikans already, and received amazing deals on them. A price increase will certainly rule them out as a whim purchase, but maybe the vintage pens will be easier to acquire. On the other hand, I LOVE the three I have, and will continue to enjoy them.

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  18. I thought their prices were high BEFORE. I’ve wanted to buy a Souveran for a long time but just never see one at a price I’ve liked–and I buy almost all of my pens used. This increase will completely price me out of the Pelikan market. And for the record, the two I have–“introductory” M205s (because of price), one in white tortoisehshell–both needed nib work. Pelikan, I am not impressed.

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    • If you have a White Tortoise, it is not an M205 but rather an M400. The M205 have never come in the White Tortoise finish. You can still find some Souverän bargains on the used market but these do seem to be getting harder to come by.

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  19. My retailer did not increase the prices yet, tomorrow I will visit him and ask for the status within the Benelux. Fortunately Pelikan is still cheaper than Mont Blanc, Sailor or Visconti. Maybe the increase will follow after a while.

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    • I’m not sure that these are global price increases. And, if they are not, it really begs the question as to what Pelikan’s strategy is. If the goal is to elevate the brand to the luxury level, price increases should be across the board. Makes less sense to strangle a single market with high prices. I do question whether or not the US distributor factors into it at all.

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      • I would hope that retailers wouldn’t increase prices on inventory that’s already in stock. That would be fair. Of course, life is rarely fair.

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      • Joshua,

        I looked up prices in Euros for the M800 for the last 6 years from past German Pelikan catalogs and compared them to your list for the US:

        US price dollars German price Euros(dollars)
        2016 $760 460e($504)
        2015 $715 460e($511)
        2014 $715 450e($597)
        2013 $635 450e($597)
        2012 $575 400e($514)
        2011 $520 370e($514)

        As one can see the price in dollars has gone up 46% while the German price in Euros has gone up only 24%. Once more if you convert those German prices in Euros to dollars (using historical yearly averages for exchange rates) you get the prices listed in parenthesis. As one can see that the European prices after converting to dollars have stayed pretty much constant. Also, one can see that in 2011 the price from Europe in $ was essentially the same as that in the US, but since then the prices in dollars here and abroad have diverged.

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        • This is most excellent insight Mark! Thank you for sharing. Really interesting how the German prices have stayed kind of flat but that US prices are regularly creeping upwards. I do wonder how much the US distributor has a hand in that. Whatever the cause of the disparity, it seems that there is not a single, unified pricing strategy for the brand. This further serves to illustrate how US buyers can save by purchasing overseas. The biggest downside is the lack of readily available after purchase support that a local vendor could more readily provide.

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  20. Due to the comments in this thread about foreign vs. U.S. pricing, I have been looking at foreign websites, something I originally wouldn’t have thought of. However, I am finding it is true, seemingly across the board, with fountain pens and parts. Prices in Europe and England do seem to be less than U.S. prices. I will not hesitate to shop foreign sellers; why should we in the U.S. be gouged when consumers in other countries aren’t?

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    • Debra, This is very annoying I know, but you need to be careful what you buy due to customs and excise. I often find goods (including pens) sold by US vendors at a greatly reduced price compared to the UK. However, once you add on 20% VAT and an £8-£12 charge from the carrier, things don’t look so good.

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      • No VAT needs to be added for US buyers and customs are rarely every charged so it makes overseas purchases much more attractive for us in the states, particularly with the improved position of the dollar compared with the Euro.

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        • To Joshua, and everyone else who put in their two cents about overseas shipping concerns: thank you or alleviating my worries about buying from overseas vendors. As Joshua says, it does take a little longer to receive your order, but that’s not a deal breaker for me when I’m getting substantially better prices. If I’m going to buy a Pelikan fountain pen and I’m saving a good bit of money on it, I don’t mind waiting an extra week or so to actually receive it. I think as long as I’m buying from a vendor I trust, this should turn into a very nice new source of fountain pens for me. I also noticed some very good prices on 14K gold Pelikan replacement nibs! Now I just have to watch my wallet; I could go a little crazy here!

          Liked by 1 person

    • 47% of my collection comes from overseas vendors and I have realized a significant cost savings over domestic suppliers. Never have I ever had to pay any additional customs. M800s, for instance, can be had for up to $275 cheaper overseas. The only issues are after sales service and prolonged shipping times but I don’t find that to be enough of a deal breaker. There are many excellent foreign sellers out there.

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  21. Thanks, Peter. I am obviously not experienced in shopping overseas, so I hadn’t fully considered all this. I appreciate the heads-up. I’ve only purchased one item from England, from Cult Pens. So far it appears to be a good deal, but I’m still waiting for delivery. I will wait to see whether I have to pay extra after-the-fact for import fees or what not. I had been under the impression that once I paid the vendor, the matter was concluded. Nothing against Cult Pens; I don’t even know if I’ll have to pay extra or not. I’m just inexperienced in these matters. Again, thanks for the heads-up.

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    • Debra, no worries. I learnt the hard way. I once won a lot of ten Sheaffer pens on ebay which I thought was a good deal. The added extras came as a big surprise. In the cold light of day, I convinced myself it was still a good deal, I just hadn’t budgeted for it !

      Customs & Excise charges depend on what you are buying, where from, how much it is and, on occasion, what the seller declares on the documentation. Sometimes it a lottery😉

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  22. The prices in Euros that I listed above include VAT, so if you are in US, the price should be ~20% lower. However, most dealers in US discount ~20%, so either way the prices in dollars can l be lower by ~20%.

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  23. So it is only increased price levels that one views? I may be more cavalier about such “shocks”, but really if one MUST have a Pelikan, then one pays the going rate…or finds wholesale sources for new product. I don’t understand the consternation: who pays retail anyway? Of more interest to me, as I have been considering another Pelikan, is that with an increasing price comes the question of whether there is also increased quality and desirability. Of course, one may mark those two aspects as clearly personal for any pen choice at this level, yet I must say they have diminished with new Pelikan models. For example, I find the printed, rather than etched, logo on the cap a prime sign of this diminishment. Hence, I am quite happy that I bought my two Pelikans (400 and 600 series) over 25 years ago given my perception of the decline. As for desirability, these pens are merely some plastic and a few thinly coated gold parts. At the same price levels (retail or wholesale), I can (and will) move to Nakaya, Namiki, and the Japanese makers who do create a quality and desirable hand-made pen.

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    • Yes, you sound very cavalier about such “shocks.” Obviously you have no empathy for some who don’t have the resources to go out and buy a Pelikan any time they feel like it. If the prices go up, it hurts all of us who are interested in buying Pelikans. And some people still feel that Pelikan has very good quality to offer. And as far as “who pays retail, anyway?” Not everyone has a wholesale source. You wanna share that source with us?

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      • Ms. Humphrey:

        As Mr. Danley noted, my comment is based on my judgments of quality and desirability. It matters not what others think, but what I think of a particular pen. The Pelikan’s Perch has provided fascinating reading on the history of the company’s pens; it is easy to form an opinion based on past evidence and compare that with present production. Pelikans are no longer desirable to me, though I still like their look. Parts like the cap and the nib have declined in quality from past examples: the pens are no longer what they were.

        Actually, I am in complete agreement with you. I have absolutely no empathy with (nor do I have sympathy for) those who are “hurt” by higher Pelikan prices. This post thread includes some excellent ways to find savings. I do have compassion for those who have no food, shelter, or are alone. An expensive fountain pen is neither of those heartaches.

        I hope you bag the Pelikan of your dreams.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Bebe. I have certainly obtained the Pelikan of my current dreams, the Souveran M600 pink model. Who knows what I will be dreaming of in the near future? I do apologize if I took your thoughts more personally than I should have; I do tend to get a little worked up about interests that I am passionate about. But you are correct; what matters to each individual collector is only his or her own opinion about Pelikan quality. And you are correct; most likely those who simply cannot afford to buy any Peikan they wish but who have the basics covered probably don’t want our empathy or sympathy anyway, and certainly don’t need it.

          Being a late-comer to fountain pen collecting, I like to get involved in discussions in order to learn more about it. Sometimes I do reveal my lack of knowledge and experience. However, I do adore my tiny flock, and plan on expanding it as I am able.

          I have only good wishes toward all who share this fascinating hobby.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Obviously, people are passionate about their Pelikan pens. Any issue, even one as unpopular as price increases, will have a variety of viewpoints and I welcome all of them here. Thank you for sharing your opinion Bebe. As you said, there certainly is a price point that will drive people to other brands.

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      • Thank you, Joshua, for your calming influence. I admit, I do get a little excited about my flock, though it is a small one. It just seemed that everyone was working and playing together so nicely before.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. My retailer told me that no price increases are set yet in Europe, anyhow it might be coming soon as well, he did not know. Unfortunately price increases are not welcome anytime, besides Pelikan is still cheaper than other well known brands (eg. Mont Blanc, Sailor, Visconti) and they still compete in a good way. So it seems to be a smile and a tear, look at the bright sight of life. A true fan will buy the Pelikan he likes to buy in his own segment, and that’s what it is all about. Of course Maki- e pens are real collectors items, please do not let your purse cry. The sunny side will be that there a lot of new Souverans available for a nice price, just follow your heart

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