Pelikan’s 24 pen Collectors’ box was announced last year but issues with manufacturing resulted in a significant delay bringing the product to market. Vendors are finally starting to get stock and I thought that it would be worthwhile to share my impressions for those that may be interested in picking one up. Finding an adequate storage solution becomes a problem every collector faces at some point. I have seen no shortage of creative solutions during my time with this hobby and I’ve even employed a few of my own. Many people take to retrofitting objects made for other purposes to the task of fountain pen storage. I presume Pelikan hopes to change that with their own branded pen chest. The chest that I review here was purchased from Appelboom in the Netherlands and I cannot recommend them enough for their excellent customer service and communication (no personal or professional affiliation, just a satisfied customer). Read on to find out how this chest stacks up as a storage solution for your flock.
1. Appearance & Design (10/10) – It’s the little details that add up to an excellent design
The Collectors’ Box has a very attractive design and it’s the little details that come together and really add to the appeal. To start, the 4mm safety glass on the top is fitted so well and looks so good, I had to make sure that it wasn’t real glass. The ability to see the contents of the top drawer of pens really sets off the look of this chest and is perhaps the boxes’ nicest feature. The wood grain appearance is dark and fitting for most any decor. The Pelikan logo that adorns the front and back is a type of appliqué and blends nicely with the design. There is a felt lining on the bottom of the box along with four rubberized feet to help prevent scratches to any surface you may set it upon. The individual trays, which can be easily pulled out and set aside, also include felt on the bottom. The faux-leather that lines the drawers appears to be made from the same material as the pen pouches that Pelikan includes with their gift boxes. This material grips the pens nicely and keeps them from rolling around in their slots which is an improvement over the felt trays that I’ve used in the past. Speaking of slots, they are nicely proportioned and can handle any pen in the Pelikan line-up, including the oversized M1000. This chest is designed to hold 24 pens and I think that is a very reasonable number given the smaller form factor.
2. Construction & Quality (9/10) – The Collectors’ Box feels solid and durable
This pen chest leaves no qualms about the quality of its construction when seen in person. When you pull it out of the box, the first thing that you notice is the heft. It instantly feels solid and durable which actually surprised me a bit. Pelikan claims that the frame is made of MDF which is then covered with a high-quality wooden paper to which a layer of clear lacquer is applied for added protection. MDF is medium density fiberboard, a high-grade composite material made from recycled wood fibers and resin that is more stable than solid wood and stands up better to changes in heat and humidity. I was skeptical but seeing is believing. The heft is reassuring and I don’t think this is something that would be easily knocked off of a shelf or desk. The faux-leather dividers appear to be secured to the drawers and don’t slide around. The dividers are thick and sturdy which serve to keep each pen isolated from those around it. I do wonder how the white faux-leather will hold up over time. For instance, how would it handle an inadvertent ink spill? This is not something that I’m willing to test out but it may be something to consider in the future as I could see staining becoming a problem if a pen were to leak. My personal practice will be to use this chest for un-inked pens only. Absent are findings of rough edges or shoddy seams imparting a precision feel to everything about this box. The drawer handles appear to be made of a simple machined aluminum and serve their purpose well.
3. Weight & Dimensions (10/10) – A 24 pen capacity with a surprisingly small footprint
As I previously mentioned, the weight of this pen chest is the first thing that you’ll notice when you pull it out of the box. It weighs in at approximately 7.06 pounds when empty. Aside from the safety glass top, my second favorite thing about the chest is that it gives you a 24 pen storage capacity in a surprisingly small footprint. The design is just 9.8 in W x 8.3 in D x 5.3 in H (including the aluminum handles which are just shy of half an inch). That’s not too shabby if you think about it. Those dimensions would certainly allow it to fit nicely on a desk in a non-intrusive manner if one were so inclined.
4. Cost & Value (4/10) – The hefty price tag will be a barrier to ownership for many
The Collectors’ Box is made of MDF covered in wood paper but is priced like it’s cut from bocote (one of the pricier hardwoods that you can buy). I certainly would anticipate a premium to be paid for a Pelikan branded product and I wouldn’t even begrudge them that but this item goes above and beyond. It is a very well-built, functional, and exceedingly attractive storage solution for your pens. That is why it pains me to report that the US MSRP is around $450 with actual street pricing somewhere between $340 and $360, depending on the vendor. If you look overseas, you can find prices of $200-260. Regardless of the price paid, this feels like an overpriced luxury item and this is the biggest downside to the chest, one which will bar many from ownership.
Conclusion – A beautiful storage solution that checks all of the boxes but falters in its lack of affordability
Collectors’ Box: 33/40 or 82.5%
The Collectors’ Box has everything that I look for in a pen chest. It has clean lines, beautiful styling, and a near perfect form factor when you consider that it can accommodate 24 pens. This is about as perfect a roost as anyone could hope for. It is a shame then that the chest is marred by a price tag making this a very exorbitant purchase. If you have the money to spend and are looking for a nice chest, I would not hesitate to pick one of these up. I’m tremendously pleased with mine. Unfortunately, many people won’t be able to justify the high price for what you’re getting and I completely understand. There certainly is better value for the money to be had elsewhere. If money is no object, this may be the pen chest for you.
- Beautiful styling with clean lines
- A very sturdy, solid overall feel
- The see-through safety glass top is a nice touch
- The small foot print makes it very versatile
- The $200+ price tag will be a barrier to ownership for many
- It’s not made from actual wood but is certainly priced like it
- Better value for the money can be found elsewhere
An Unboxing & Video Review of Pelikan’s 24 Pen Collectors’ Box
*The Collectors’ Box utilized for this review is my own from my personal collection and therefore the opinions expressed are also mine and free of any undue influence.