Review: Pelikan Collectors’ Box

Pelikan 24 Pen Collectors' Chest

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.

Pelikan 24 Pen Collectors' Chest

Three drawers, each holding eight pens

 

Pelikan 24 Pen Collectors' Chest

The back of the chest has the same applied Pelikan logo as the front

 


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.

Pelikan 24 Pen Collectors' Chest

A dark brown wood finish, aluminum pull handles, and a metal Pelikan logo adorn the front of the chest

 

Pelikan 24 Pen Collectors' Chest

A felt lining and rubber feet along the bottom of the pen chest prevent damage to any surface you might set it on

 

Pelikan 24 Pen Collectors' Chest

A close-up of the white faux-leather lining that appears to be made from the same material as the envelope in Pelikan’s gift packaging

 


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.

Pelikan 24 Pen Collectors' Chest

The drawers can be easily removed

 

Pelikan 24 Pen Collectors' Chest

The bottom of each drawer is felt lined

 


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.

Pelikan 24 Pen Collectors' Chest

Capable of holding 24 of your flock, the see through safety glass top is an especially nice feature

 

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.

PROS

  • 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

CONS

  • 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.

27 responses

  1. Great review, Joshua! And what a fantastic collection of M800s (or M800 sized, since there seem to be some toledos there). Congrats!
    But I see two empty spots… 😉

    What a coincidence that you posted this today, as I bought one this morning and was bit concerned, since I couldn’t find any reviews. It’s great to know that it is a high quality product.
    I had been looking around for a second box for a couple of months and none really fit the bill of being a quality product and at a good price. I actually thought that the Pelikan one, when bought from abroad, is pretty competitive – and with a Black Friday coupon I got an excellent deal.

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    • Thanks Luiz!. That is indeed my collection of M8xx sized pens. I’m sure those last two slots won’t stay empty for long. Congrats on picking one of these up yourself. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed. The lack of reviews is exactly the reason that I wanted to get this out there. I’m glad you were able to get a deal. I did as well which is why I was able to make the purchase.

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  2. Very nice. My concern seems to one of your larger ones as well. A price point that would justify being made from solid wood and not MDF. Levenger has a 10 pen case made from alder for under $100. The footprint is slightly larger and the pens are held at an angle. (11W x 7 1/2D x 3 1/2H) vs, (9.8 x 8.3 x 5.3) It does have a glass top according to the website. Of course one is paying some for the name Pelikan on the box as well.

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    • Thanks! It looks great and there are some advantages to MDF over solid wood but I don’t think the price tag reflects this construction at all. It feels like the “Pelikan” brand is coming with an ever increasing premium these days. That will only get them so far I fear before it backfires.

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  3. Nice review Joshua.

    I really like the look of the Pelikan case and was seriously tempted until I saw the price!

    Last year I was lucky enough to pick up a 936 model case from Ferocase Germany at a very good price, actually cheaper than the Pelikan one.

    The case holds 150 pens and is built very well. The current price is very steep at around 480 Euros, but at over 5 times the capacity it seems to be better value given the way Pelikan pens seem to multiply all by themselves!

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    • And this is precisely what I meant by there being better value out there. If we look at these two cases as they are currently for sale from La Couronne du Comte, the Ferocase is 392.56 euros and the Pelikan Collectors’ Box is 173.55 euros (prices excluding VAT). Looking at it on a slot by slot basis, the Ferocase cost just 2.62 euro per pen slot whereas the Pelikan chest is 7.23 euro per pen slot. That makes the Pelikan case 176% more expensive on a per slot basis. The kicker is that the Ferocase is made from actual wood. I think this case will be very tempting to a great many until, like you, they see the price and do a little homework.

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  4. Indulge myself this beautiful box I just tapped into my December “allowance” and bought it thru Appellboom. Justifications: I need one, can’t have my pens sitting on top of each other or hiding in the drawers; I’ll cut back on my Starbucks and many unnecessary expenses; an even smaller Christmas tree (smaller when I bought my Stresemann M4 – which is arriving Monday … so exciting!) 🤓

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      • Thank you, Robert J. It turns out Appelboom sent me an email this morning saying the box sold out and refunded my purchase. So I immediately jumped into LCDC with your coupon code. Holding my breathe until I receive the shipment confirmation.

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          • Yikes! LCDC sent me an email saying out-of-stock. Luckily so far they didn’t cancel my order (yet), said will ship when available. As to your thought, Joshua, this is interesting behind this eCommerce model. I suspect Appelboom & LCDC (both in NL) do not keep inventory of these items but sourcing from the same supplier (could well be HQ in Germany?). I am still holding my breathe until I get my box. Silly I actually had “Dear Santa …” in my thought! 🙂

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          • Given the cost of these boxes, they probably stock a few but I’d agree vendors likely have to order from the distributor if significant demand arises. I hope that you are indeed able to get your box at that great price. Good luck!

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  5. Excellent review, thanks Josua,

    just to remind your followers that La Couronne du Comte has a Cyber-Monday sale ongoing using CYBERMONDAY2016 that will give you an additional 16% on everything. The Pelikan Collectors Box comes at less than 150 Euros or 160 USD shipped using the coupon.
    Not related to the shop only satisfied customer

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    • You’re welcome. That is a really good deal. Anyone interested in one of these should definitely jump on it since it likely won’t be that cheap again for some time. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Thanks Joshua for the comprehensive review. The chest looks great when full of Pelikans.
    Ps. My (first) M800 arrived this week with Medium nib and is settling in nicely…delighted with my purchase. Rupert.

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  7. It is a very pretty box, but I agree that it is way overpriced for MDF. For Pelikan to put all that detail and workmanship on MDF is like putting a 14K gold nib on a $15 fountain pen. Sure, it can be done, but you’d really have to like the $15 fountain pen to do that. And I don’t really like MDF.

    Another one of Joshua’s points is demonstrated by a listing I saw on Amazon. They’re selling a real, solid rosewood fountain pen box that also holds 24 pens, with a glass lid, for $91. The footprint is only a tiny bit larger, 8 1/2″ X 12 1/2″. It has two 12-pen drawers. The reviews were mixed. One reviewer did say it would fit an M800. Beyond that, some reviewers were very happy while others mentioned quality control problems. (Note: I’m not recommending this box, I’m just mentioning it here as a comparison.) Quality-wise, it’s probably hit or miss with something like this, but the price does seem to reflect that. Another example is a pen chest I saw on Amazon (a year or so ago) that was solid rosewood, held about 76 pens, and cost $350. That one looked really nice. So there are lots of options out there that seem more attractive.

    It is a shame that Pelikan has put so much thought and care into a box with (to me) deficient materials. It is a beautiful box, but even if I had that much money to spare, I wouldn’t spend that much on a box made of MDF when real, solid wood boxes are available for less.

    Great review and video, Josh. Thanks for that and for your honest opinion.

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  8. Pingback: 2016 In Review: A Look Back At Pelikan’s Line-up « The Pelikan's Perch

  9. Have anyone gotten hold of this pen box since November? Just wondering because I am still waiting for mine which was paid for but out-of-stock.

    Like

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