Limited Edition Spotlight

Pelikan Limited Edition Fountain Pens from the 1990sHave you ever looked through a catalog or the literature accompanying a product that you’ve purchased and wished that the ads were in 3D so you could get a really good look at the item in question?  I feel that way when I look at catalogs for fountain pens.  While going through the literature that accompanied the 1996 limited edition release, “1000 Years of Austria,” I noticed that I could do something about that.  I thought that it would be a great opportunity to walk you through some of my favorite Pelikan limited edition releases from the 90s and early 2000s which were based off of the M8xx chassis.  These limited editions encompass a varied assortment of colors and subject matter.  All of the pens below have long been out of production.  This means that some can be a challenge to find while others are more challenging to afford.  Read on to learn a bit more about the unique characteristics of each of these models.

 

Blue Ocean L.E. (M810) – 1993

Pelikan Blue Ocean M810 Pelikan Blue Ocean M810

Length Diameter Weight Production Nib
5.47 in 0.51 in 1.02 oz 1993 18C-750
Pelikan M810 Blue Ocean

A compass is seen engraved on the piston knob

The Blue Ocean fountain pen, designated the M810, was Pelikan’s first official limited edition and was released in 1993. This model was built upon the successful sales of the M800 Green Demonstrator Collectors’ Edition which came out the year before.  The Blue Ocean is a demonstrator made from a transparent, deep blue resin.  Built off of the M800 chassis, it has all of the usual furniture including two trim rings at the piston knob, a single trim ring at the section, and two trim rings on the cap.  The cap band is inscribed “Pelikan – Germany -.”  The cap top has a gold medallion with the two chick Pelikan logo.  The end of the piston knob also bears a gold medallion depicting the image of a compass rose.  Unlike the preceding Green Demonstrator, the Blue Ocean was a numbered release with the edition number engraved around the crown of the cap top in the format xxxx/xxxx.  The nib is the standard 18C-750 two-toned gold and bears the PF customs stamp.  The commercial success of the Blue Ocean likely paved the way for many of the subsequent limited edition pens released to date. In total, 5000 Blue Ocean fountain pens were produced with 1000 of those sold in sets with a matching ballpoint pen.  It is reported that 1,200 of these fountain pens and 300 sets were sold in Germany alone after hitting the market in late Autumn of 1993.

Pelikan’s own literature described this release as follows;

“[The] Catalyst for this high-caliber writing instrument was the desire to create a new dimension in transparency and coolness.  The exclusive piston-filled fountain pen boasts an 18-carat gold nib, finely engraved and numbered by hand.  Limited edition of only 5,000 pens worldwide, 1,000 of which were released as part of a set with the matching Blue Ocean ball pen.” 

 


Hunting L.E. (M915) – 1994

Pelikan Hunting M915 Pelikan Hunting M915

Length Diameter Weight Production Nib
5.47 in 0.51 in 1.02 oz 1994 18C-750

Hunting, designated as the M915, was released to the market in 1994 with sales targeting the hunting community.  The pen’s design is similar to that of a standard Toledo, with a hand-engraved sterling silver sleeve depicting a classic motif.  The scene is dominated by the depiction of a stag held at bay by two hunting dogs.  As you pan around the barrel, you see representations of classic game animals such as pheasants, quail, wood grouse, and ducks taking flight.  There is even a scene of a fox slinking away.  This entire landscape is set within an oak-leaf border.  The cap and piston knob are done in a shade of hunter green with a green lacquer used to fill in the areas between the engravings on the overlay.  The trim is the same as described for the Blue Ocean with the exception that it is silver colored instead of gold.  The cap band reads “Pelikan 925 Germany.”  The ink window is done in green and the nib is the standard two-toned 18C-750 gold seen on the M8xx line.  Hunting also has a medallion on the piston knob (not engraved) and cap top in addition to the edition number engraved along the crown.  In total, 3000 Hunting fountain pens were made.  The pen bears the signature of the engraver at the end of the barrel, near the piston knob.  This particular work of art was done by the same engravers responsible for the Toledos.  While beautifully designed, the execution was somewhat lacking as there have been issues with the lacquer used on these pens which you can read more about here.

Pelikan M915 Hunting

Motif depicting a stag surrounded by an oak leaf border

 


Wall Street L.E. (M815) – 1995

Pelikan Wall Street M815 Pelikan Wall Street M815

Length Diameter Weight Production Nib
5.47 in 0.51 in 1.02 oz 1995 18C-750

Pelikan’s Wall Street limited edition was designated the M815 and came to the market in 1995.  This model was obviously designed to target the world of banking, stock brokers, the economy, and industry.  It has been reported that the initial design of the pen was to have a pinstriped appearance.  While still on the drawing board, the book “Nieten in Nadelstreifen”  (“Failures in Pinstripe Suits”) was published prompting Pelikan to go back to the drawing board.  The result is the mottled grey pen that we have today.  The barrel is inlaid with a small 24 carat gold plaque.  The trim continues to be consistent with other M8xx models and the furniture is gold-plated.  The ink window here is a complimentary grey color and the nib is two toned 18 carat gold.  The crown again bears the edition number.  There were 2,600 fountains pens produced, 1,900 of which were sold in sets with an accompanying ballpoint pen.  Reports have indicated that 700 pens and 300 sets were sold in Germany alone.

Pelikan M815 Wall Street

A close up of the mottled grey pattern and 24 carat “gold bar” inlaid into the barrel

 


Concerto L.E. – 1996

Pelikan Concerto Pelikan Concerto

Length Diameter Weight Production Nib
5.47 in 0.51 in 1.02 oz 1996 18C-750

The Pelikan Concerto fountain pen was originally due for release at Christmas in 1995.  Production was ultimately delayed due to negotiations over the use of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” on the pen’s barrel as well as problems encountered during testing of the lacquered finish.  Customers who had pre-ordered the pen received an apology letter from Pelikan along with a CD of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  While the finish was ultimately better executed than the Hunting, it still had some issues with durability if used regularly.  Another quirk of the Concerto is that it was reported to have been banned from sale in Switzerland due to regulations regarding the hallmarking of the gold-plated sterling silver barrel overlay.  The resin on this pen is done in a deep blue with the standard gold-plated furniture of the M8xx line.  Here too you will find the edition number engraved along the cap crown.  The barrel just above the piston knob depicts the artist’s initials and is stamped 925 indicating a sterling silver overlay that has been gold-plated.  The Concerto was a limited run of 4000 fountain pens that reached the market in 1996.

Pelikan Concerto

The barrel depicts Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”

 


Golf L.E. (M816) – 1996

Pelikan Golf Pelikan Golf

Length Diameter Weight Production Nib
5.47 in 0.51 in 1.02 oz 1996 18C-750

Pelikan’s Golf limited edition, also known as the M816, was designed in 1995 but did not reach the market until 1996. It appears that Pelikan stopped consistently providing separate model numbers following this release.  The green barrel is adorned with an inlaid pair of golf clubs surrounding a golf ball.  I’ve seen it reported that Pelikan did extensive testing of the finish, perhaps in response to issues with the Hunting and Concerto, prior to release.  The standard gold-plated trim is again seen here.  The nib remains a two toned 18C gold and the edition number is inscribed on the cap crown.  The Golf was a limited run of 2500 fountain, 2000 of which were available in sets with a matching ballpoint pen.  Packaging included a golf tee and a ball marker which were nice thematic inclusions.

Pelikan M816 Golf

Two golf clubs flank a golf ball on the M816

 


1000 Years of Austria L.E. – 1996

Pelikan 1000 Years of Austria Pelikan 1000 Years of Austria

Length Diameter Weight Production Nib
5.47 in 0.51 in 1.02 oz 1996 18C-750

Pelikan produced this limited edition to commemorate Austria’s 1000th Jubilee in 1996.  The design was entrusted to Gustav Peichl (1928- ), an Austrian national and esteemed architect.  Once finished, the pen was presented to an audience of 100 special guests in the Emperor’s Pavilion, located in Schönbrunn’s Zoological Garden in Vienna.  It has been reported that pen number 1/1000 was auctioned off with the money raised donated to charity. 699 additional pens were supplied to Austria with another 150 to Germany and the final 150 divided amongst the rest of the world.  The pen is made of sterling silver complimented by a beautiful red resin.

Pelikan’s own literature described this release as follows;

“An allusion to the heady, lavish charm of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this peerless fountain pen was designed for Pelikan Austria in honor of the Alpine republic’s millennial celebration.  Fiery red and glowing, passionately graced with colored guilloche engraving, this noble writing instrument is a worthy addition to the crowning masterpiece of any collection.  Made from solid 925 sterling silver, with silver decorative rings and an 18-carat gold nib with rhodium trim.  Limited edition of 1,000 pens worldwide.” 

Pelikan 1000 Years of Austria

Close up on the detail of the “1000 Years of Austria”

 


Genesis of the Olympiad L.E. -1998

Pelikan Genesis of the Olympiad Pelikan Genesis of the Olympiad

Length Diameter Weight Production Nib
5.47 in 0.51 in  0.91 oz 1998 18C-750

Pelikan designed this pen to commemorate the first ever Olympic games, held in the year 776 B.C.  To pay homage to that date, Pelikan made this limited edition a run of just 776 pens, the smallest of all the models discussed.  The early Olympics consisted of only one major event, the track race.  Even as additional events were added in later years, the track race remained one of the most prestigious.  The Genesis of the Olympiad features three runners in gold plated silver accented by terracotta colored resin.  This gives the appearance of a motif on a clay jar.  All of the usual trappings of the M800 are included here.  The cap band is inscribed “Pelikan Germany Ag 925.”  Despite being released in 1998, the cap top and piston knob still bear the gold medallions seen on the pre-1997 models.  The crown on the cap shows the edition number as xxx rather than xxx/xxx as seen on the prior limited edition releases.  The packaging was unique for this model in that it was done to emulate a stadium.

Pelikan’s own literature described this release as follows;

“Noble competition, nourishment for the body and soul – this is the philosophy behind the Olympic Games.  To honor the Olympic spirit, Pelikan has created a very special fountain pen: Genesis of the Olympiad.  Released in a limited edition of only 776 pens, this is a true rarity.  An engraving of a track race – the original Olympic discipline – graces a gold-plated sleeve made from sterling silver.  The terracotta-hued cap matches the color of the ceramic on which the athletes are depicted.  The 18-carat, hand numbered nib features rhodium trim.  The number engraved on the clip nut identifies each individual pen as one of a kind.  Genesis of the Olympiad is truly a work of art – ideal for collectors and connoisseurs alike.” 

Pelikan Genesis of the Olympiad

Three Olympians depicted in a foot race

 


The Spirit of Gaudi L.E. – 2002

Pelikan The Spirit of Gaudi Pelikan The Spirit of Gaudi

Length Diameter Weight Production Nib
5.47 in 0.51 in 1.02 oz 2002 18C-750
Packaging for Pelikan's The Spirit of Gaudi

Packaging for The Spirit of Gaudi

The Spirit of Gaudi limited edition was inspired by Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera (the stone quarry), a building designed by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) and constructed in the early 1900s.  Mr. Gaudi was a renowned modernist architect and the year 2002 marked the 150th anniversary of his birth.   La Pedrera is regarded as a great modernist symbol in city of Barcelona.  This fountain pen was crafted to resemble the wrought iron doorways of Case Milà.  The design took place over the course of a year in Barcelona, Spain and was later produced in Germany.  The clip is made of solid nickel silver and the nib is 18-carat gold which is completely rhodium plated, the only model discussed here to have a monotone nib.  This edition was limited to just 1,000 pieces.  The crown cap top continues to show the edition number but it appears to be more of a laser type engraving, differing from the prior releases.  One word or warning to those who like to post their pens, the Gaudi is the only pen of this bunch that absolutely will not post securely due to its design.  All of the pens discussed today have had some form of unique presentation but The Spirit of Gaudi takes that one step further.  It comes enclosed in a case made of silver plated zamac and its design is inspired by the chimneys on the roof of Casa Milà.

Pelikan’s own literature described this release as follows;

“An exceptional edition conceived and designed in Barcelona, this is Pelikan’s homage to Spain’s master architect, Antonio Gaudi, and his unmistakable, one-of-a-kind Art Nouveau sensibility.  The entrance to “La Pedrera” served as inspiration for the playful decoration on the fountain pen, which was precision-crafted from solid sterling silver.  A nickel-sliver clip and an 18-carat gold nib with full rhodium plating add the finishing touches to this handmade masterpiece.  Limited edition of 1,000 pens worldwide.” 

Pelikan The Spirit of Gaudi. Photo of La Pedrera taken from wikimedia commons; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gaudi_iron_door_LaPedrera_Barcelona.jpg#metadata

Left: The skeletonized sterling silver overlay is designed in the style of the gates of La Pedrera. Right: The wrought iron gates of La Pedrera in Barcelona, Spain

 


 

Pelikan family of limited edition fountain pens

 

† Excerpts taken from the “Statements of Inspiration” catalogue printed in 2004.

17 responses

  1. Great article Joshua and fantastic pictures. Thank you so much. Wall Street is on my wish list, but that Gaudi remains my Grail pen. Just love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to apologize to anyone who came to this article when first published. I had yet to proof the draft and its publishing was completely accidental. Kind of a blogger’s nightmare scenario. Thankfully it wasn’t in too bad a shape in draft form. All is as it should be now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for introducing me to these extraordinary pens! The photos and descriptions help me appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of each.

    Like

    • Most of them are quite beautiful and demonstrate great artistry. I love how pens can be both a work of art and a functional tool. I’m glad that you enjoyed.

      Like

  4. Thank you for this very comprehensive, authoritative and enjoyable piece. It is fascinating to hear the background stories to these special and limited editions. Fortunately I am very content with my standard issue, blue and black M800:)

    Like

  5. Amazing job as usual, and great pictures. Today I played a visit to my local pen store in Verona (the fair one 🙂 ) and WS and BO were both exposed brand new at regular pricies. I really hate the gold plaque on the WS finding it intrusive. The BO was nice but I think that monochromatic demonstrators in general are wasted in the Souverän châssis. Gaudi is breathtaking and surely a benchmark for the whole industry.

    Thanks for sharing

    Like

    • Thanks and you’re welcome. Great find at your local pen store. Hard to believe these can still be found anywhere at “regular prices.” I don’t mind the Wall Street gold plaque simply because the pattern on the barrel looks so good. I find that demonstrators are very polarizing with some loving them and others hating them.

      Like

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