Why Pelikan?

Pelikan M200 Marbled Fountain Pens

Marbled variants of Pelikan’s M2xx series from 1985-2017


The early days of 2018 have provided me some time for introspection (there is not much else you can do when in the midst of a bomb cyclone).  There has been a lot to reflect upon personally, professionally, and globally.  This past year’s world events alone have been quite tumultuous, leaving the future seemingly more uncertain than ever.  Trying to turn to lighter fare, one thing that has been on the forefront of my mind recently is a question that I’ve been asked several times over the past few months.  That question can be summed up in two words; “Why Pelikan?”  In over three years of blogging here at the Perch, I can’t believe that I haven’t addressed this sooner.  It’s true that there are many great manufacturers out there who have produced a countless number of awesome and desirable fountain pens.  What then does Pelikan have that puts it above all of the other brands in my mind and how informed am I to even make that type of declaration?  I hope to share with you my experiences before Pelikan and why I chose to dedicate myself to just that brand of fountain pen.  I thought this would make for excellent fodder for the first post of the year.  All I can say up front is that Pelikan pens have some indescribable quality, a character and a discipline, that makes owning and using them a joy that transcends the sum of their parts.  By the end of this article, I hope to be able to impart upon you just a little sense of that magic.


Pelikan M1000 Fountain Pens

Go BIG or go home. Two M1000s and an M1050


Before exploring why I chose Pelikan, a brief history of my journey with fountain pens is in order.  I had always wanted to try a fountain pen as my tastes run toward the traditional.  There was something about a nib and ink that had always fascinated me.  Of course, nobody that I knew used fountain pens and there were no mainstream brick and mortar stores readily available to me.  Simply put, I had no idea how to get started and so my interest in the topic remained largely dormant.  Fast forward to 2009 when I received my first fountain pen, a Waterman Expert, gifted to me when I graduated from medical school.  I was overjoyed to finally own an “ink pen” but a complete lack of knowledge and a lot of frustration with the nib and cartridge led me to only briefly use the pen before discarding it and moving on.  That sour experience might have been a small footnote in my life and the end of my desire to write with a fountain pen for all eternity had it not been for a fortunate stroke of serendipity.  On a cold November day in 2012, a random catalog arrived in the mail from Colorado Pen Direct.  It might have been discarded like so much junk mail but, on a lark, I flipped though the pages and that old desire to try a fountain pen resurfaced.  I decided to give it another shot so I ordered a yellow Pilot Vanishing Point, a more unusual gateway pen to be sure.  Perhaps the biggest and most influential difference this second time around was that I also discovered The Fountain Pen Network which provided me a great wealth of knowledge (conspicuously lacking during my first go round) and allowed me to better understand what I was doing.  Armed with my VP and some know-how, I was off and running, never to look back.  I loved my Vanishing Point and subsequently ordered a yellow Lamy Safari (I like yellow) from The Goulet Pen Company.  I also enjoyed that experience and started venturing down the path of a collector as is my natural inclination.  When I started collecting fountain pens, I collected everything from a large swath of manufacturers; Waterman, Sheaffer, Visconti, Pilot, TWSBI, Parker, Montblanc, Esterbrook, etc.  That education included exposure to modern and vintage models encompassing all types of filling systems along with a great variety of nibs.  It was a wonderful schooling in the history and evolution of the industry and it gave me a level of confidence that I had not previously known.  


Pelikan M800 Fountain Pens

A collection of M800 sized special editions.  Left to right; Hunting (1994), Wall Street (1995), Concerto (1996), 1000 Years of Austria (1996), Genesis of the Olympiad (1998), The Spirit of Gaudi (2002), Chronoswiss Styloscope (2002), Tortoiseshell Brown (2012), Burnt Orange (2015), Grand Place (2016), Renaissance Brown (2017), Ocean Swirl (2017)


In 2013, I acquired my first Pelikan, a lightly used white M205 from Malaysia.  I was captivated by the piston filling system, the clean design, and the perfect balance in the hand when posted.  I started to specifically seek out other Pelikans.  It wasn’t a spot decision or something that happened overnight.  I simply began to gravitate towards other Pelikan models in varying shapes and sizes such that a flock started to grow.  It was a slow transition at first but these birds started commanding my attention more and more and were easily able to outcompete all of the other brands in my collection.  That initial M205 was soon followed by an old-style green striped M600 and then an M400 Tortoiseshell White.  The more Pelikan pens that I purchased, the less I liked non-Pelikan models.  Of course, I was still on a poor medical resident’s salary at this time so I started selling all of my prior non-Pelikan acquisitions to fund my purchases, a decision that I have never regretted.  I was fortunate to try both the Classic/Traditional series and the Souverän line early into my Pelikan collecting experience.  As such, I really came to appreciate the quality of the lower end Classic series as well as the lower price tag.  I also loved the variety that had been released since the line’s introduction in 1985.  To give my collecting a focus, I chose to concentrate on the Classic series (M1xx/M2xx) which really made hunting for the 90 or so models released to date great fun.  That collection is now 98% complete, missing only two very rare examples.  Of course, I have also picked up a lot of other models as well over the years.  The heritage and available variety of the pens released by the company really allows you to focus your collecting if that’s your thing (ie; certain sized models, colors, vintage vs modern, etc).  I’m not completely without sentimentality though and to this day, I still own the Vanishing Point and Safari that sparked the fire of my fountain pen passion.


Pelikan Bayou, Neptune Blue, and Mars Red

1 of 100. Three special editions released in batches of only 100 pens each. Left to right; M200 Bayou (2015, Fountain Pen Hospital exclusive), M201/M205 Neptune Blue, and M201/M200 Mars Red (2015, Fahrney’s Pens exclusive)


For the past four years, I have collected Pelikan pens exclusively.  So what are some of the intrinsic qualities that helped to win me over?  To start, the piston assembly is outstanding, so good that it hasn’t been improved upon in decades.  Pelikan’s piston fillers fill almost completely in one cycle and filling the pen saturates the feed thereby enabling it to instantly start laying down ink.  The interchangeable nib is also a unique and welcomed boon to users.  This allows for easy customization or a simple replacement if a nib isn’t to your liking or worse, inadvertently damaged.  Better yet, some of the older Pelikan nibs that have a lot more character can be swapped into modern bodies which adds a completely new dimension (and joy) to the writing experience.  If you’re anything like me, you hate running out of ink.  It’s particularly bothersome to me as I only carry one pen at a time.  As such, I value the large number of Pelikan’s piston fillers that have an easily viewed ink window which is often nicely integrated into the design.  Speaking of design, small nuances such as the pelican beak clip and the conservative German aesthetics make for a style that I can get behind and appreciate.  These pens are not at all “blingy” or intrusive and can be at home in the board room as much as the park for some journaling.  All of the above would be for nought if it took a too long to get down to the business of dashing off a quick thought.  Pelikan excels here as well.  The cap is easily removed with a simple turn which allows you to quickly get writing.  When capped, the threads hold securely and I have never had a pen come unscrewed unintentionally in my pocket.  Thankfully, the pen can remain uncapped for a bit because the feed is well saturated and resists drying out better than many others that I’ve tried.  I have, inadvertently, left pens inked and unused for over a month only to pick them up and find that they write just as well from the first stroke as if it were freshly inked.  All of this is well and fine but might be negated by a pen that is a nuisance to clean and maintain.  Here again, Pelikan outdoes themselves.  Their pens are easily flushed and the nibs can be removed, if need be, for a more intense soaking/cleaning.  Should the piston begin to stiffen, a tiny drop of pure silicone grease can restore it to like new functionality in an instant, no special tools required.  This also speaks to the durability of Pelikan’s models which has generally been excellent from their earliest offerings through modern times.  With a collection of features like that, you could ask; “Why not Pelikan?”


Pelikan Toledo, Raden, and Maki-e fountain pens

Toledos, Radens, and Maki-e, Oh My!  Left to right; M900 Black Toledo (1991-2002), M910 Black Toledo (1992-1997), M910 Yellow Toledo (2010), M800 Raden Royal Gold (2017), M1000 Raden Sunrise (2016), M1000 Maki-e Koi (2015)


Some other smaller features worth noting are the sheer number of pen sizes available.  There is a size for every hand out there.  No matter whether you like a smaller pen or a larger one, Pelikan has something to accommodate.  I really appreciate this variety as it allows me to draw on different models for different situations (ie; M800 or smaller sized pens for daily travel to and from work and M1000 sized pens for home use).  The size of their pens is also particularly well thought out for those of us who prefer to post their caps.  The M2xx/M4xx/M6xx models in particular take on a near perfect balance in the hand when posted.  In addition to all of the modern offerings, there is a tremendous back catalog of vintage models that continues to hold up as great and durable writers.  Also, don’t take my neglect of cartridge pens as a sign of poor craftsmanship.  There are many great offerings there too, they just aren’t my thing.  Finally, the company has 180 years of very interesting history.  I appreciate that kind of heritage which, for me, adds an intangible quality to the brand.


Pelikan M101 and M101N Fountain Pens

A splash of re-imagined vintage color. Left to right; M101 Lapis (2001), M101 Jade (1998), M101N Lizard (2012), M101N Tortoiseshell Red (2014), M101N Tortoiseshell Brown (2011), M101N Bright Red (2017)


Don’t get me wrong, Pelikan pens aren’t all sunshine and rainbows.  There are warts too and I fully acknowledge that.  Inconsistent pricing across continents is a major problem and many of the pens are somewhat overpriced for what they actually are, particularly when compared to comparable models from other manufacturers.  I used to recommend Pelikan’s Classic line as a great entry point to the brand.  In the last several years, I feel that their piston fillers have been priced out of the reach of most beginners.  In addition to that, not all of the lines are treated equally in terms of finishes with the M6xx and M1xxx models notably getting fewer refreshes than other pens in the Souverän line, a sore point for those who favor those sizes.  The US distributor is also somewhat lackluster in their performance either due to their own policies or those handed down from Hannover.  The fact that US customers who purchase pens overseas are denied domestic warranty service is somewhat ridiculous.  These are not grey market purchases but rather sales made through authorized retailers.  Such a policy completely ignores the global ecosystem.  In addition to the aforementioned, Pelikan’s cartridge system has an odd implementation which requires torque from the back of the pen’s barrel to seat the cartridge, a less than reassuring mechanism.  Finally, today’s nibs have blobby tipping and are very firm, lacking any real character and only available in the boring standard sizes of EF, F, M, and B.  Pelikan did away with all of their more interesting nib options years ago.  There is a big difference when compared with nibs from the mid 1990s and earlier and it’s a shame that Pelikan has not done more on that front though its hard to fault them given the overall dependability of the writing experience.  One thing that you may see pointed out disproportionately in online forums is the quality control of nibs that leave the factory.  I agree that it is hugely disappointing to invest the amount of money that Pelikan pens command only to get a pen that writes poorly or not at all but this is hardly a problem endemic to the company and certainly a situation that is no worse than what other manufacturers subject their customers to.


Pelikan M7xx and M4xx Fountain Pens

Some bling for those that like that sort of thing.  Left to right; M700 Black Toledo (1985-1990), M710 Black Toledo (1992-1997), M730 (1993-1997), M750 (1988-1990), M760 (1988-1990), M425 (2005), M430 (1999), M450 Green Vermeil Tortoise (2004), #660 Mitsukoshi (1995)


To sum it all up, I love the brand, warts and all for the above stated reasons and for some that I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention.  The traits that I describe above come together and transcend the sum of their parts.  There is some elusive quality when writing with a Pelikan that is hard to describe but, whatever it is, it has me lock, stock, and barrel.  I don’t mean to imply that other brands aren’t awesome or special, they certainly are in their own ways and I’m sure there are those who feel just as passionately about Sailor or Montblanc for instance.  I know that I’m missing out on great models produced by other companies but there is only so much time and money to invest in this hobby of ours and I do better when I have a focus.  That’s one of the beauties of our fountain pen ecosystem, there is something for everybody.  For me, Pelikan is the ticket and will remain the unabashed focus of my passion.


Vintage Pelikan Fountain Pens

A touch of vintage flavor. Left to right; 100N Gray Marbled w/ Nickel Trim (1949-1951), 100N Green Marbled Danzig (1937-1939), 130 Ibis (1949-1954), 140 Green Striped (1952-1965), 400N Green Striped (1956), 400NN Tortoiseshell Brown (1958)


Please take a minute to leave a comment below and share your thoughts.  What characteristics, good or bad, have made you decide to embrace or avoid the brand?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.


59 responses

  1. another great read, Joshua. although i only own 4 fountain pens they are all Pelikans (3 8xx and a 205 and honestly I’m not that fond of the 205. it just doesn’t have the same feel and the nib needed a lot of tlc to get into an acceptable range.) I don’t consider myself a collector but i do love writing with them… and secretly miss them when i travel for business,,, they never leave my desk. (the k800 ballpoint is my traveling companion) all that being said, its still hard to come up with my answer to
    ‘Why Pelikan”. i love the way they look and write. i just have no desire to try something else only to find that i don’t enjoy it the same way. i am totally happy with my pens and enjoy reading how much you enjoy yours as well. thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mark! I can understand the difficulty in articularing “Why Pelikan.” It took me a lot of thought to put the piece together. I guess the brand either speaks to you or it doesn’t and, if it does, its not usually something so objective that it can be easily articulated. Enjoy your flock.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great read Joshua and I have to agree with nearly everything that you say. The one exception is your comment about cartridge/converter fitting. I have several cartridge Pelikans, the most resent being the P200, and in all cases the cartridge/converter fits very securely, interesting. I started on the Fountain Pen trail in around 1955, mostly with Parkers but now, with the exception of a couple of Montblancs and a Sailor 1911 Realo, I buy exclusively Pelikan. My two daily pens are a M600 (old style) which I bought in 1991 and a Parker 75 with needlepoint nib.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Peter. Thanks for reading. The cartridges can have a decent bit of wobble on the nipple at the back of the feed until seated properly by the barrel. It is a fully functional solution, for sure, just not the best one out there IMHO. I point it out as a negative because it usually brings about a lot of confusion amongst those unfamiliar with Pelikan’s implementation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s interesting Joshua as I have a P200, P381, P390 and a couple of the P36 Legend (Dutch Market) and none have any discernible wobble and fit firmly both with cartridge or converter.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Same here Joshua, Cartridges seems to negate all of the excellence of the Pelikan dynasty. The cartridge pens are interesting non the less.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for that very interesting insight into your thoughts on collecting and using fountain pens, your aesthetics and the reasoning behind your focus!

    For me it is the M300 line that is really special. I do own a clear M200 [custom 1.1 mm italic] that I really like as well as the beautiful M400 White Tortoise [custom architect grind (E)EF down/0.7 mm sidewards], but I really love my M300 Black [custom EEF] and my M320 [great and soft factory M]. These tiny piston fillers fascinate me, they are little perfect wonders of beauty and funtionality.

    Having really small hands the bigger models upwards the M400 size almost feel obscenely huge to me and uncomfortable to use, but the smaller sizes and the vintage models are definitely something I will concentrate on collecting in coming years.

    I do not exclusively seek out Pelikans, my niche are small pens like vintage KaWeCo, esp. the Sports and Dia serieses, the tiny Montblanc 114 line (too bad these a re not piston fillers, I do love mine but they make me appreciate Pelikan’s M3xx-line even more), and Japanese Long-Short-pocket pens.

    And that, as you said, is one of the great thing about that hobby of ours: There is a niche for everyone and still so much to discover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome. The M300 line is too small for my liking, the only Souveran that I cannot comfortably use. They remind me of mini-golf pencils. Like I said though, that’s one of the beautiful things about the brand, a pen for every sized hand. There are a lot of beautiful M320s out there and I think we may see that orange marbled finished resurrected in a bigger pen this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Joshua for this detailed and well argued piece. It was interesting to hear your back story too. I appreciate my Pelikans for all the reasons you mentioned, although I have just three, the M205 blue demonstrator, M800 in blue, and a vintage M400 tortoise. I am yet to try the M1000 but that has long been in my sights. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy to have had a forum to be able to share. It was a bit nostalgic and I enjoyed recounting my experience. That’s a nice flock you’ve put together. The nib on the M1000 is the best of the modern lot and I hope that you get to try one out one day.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. As an electrical engineer that loves fountain pens I believe that Pelikan is the ultimate engineer’s pen: piston filling, nibs interchangeable nibs, reliable, robust and balanced.

    What I miss in your article is the long involvement of Pelikan with inks. That puts them in the best position to understand the fluid behavior not a minor point.

    I had the opportunity to get an S nib in Hannover, well actually in Peine, and is an experience that should be tried by any Pelikan fan.

    Keep the excellent job, Joshua

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent points Santiago. With the wet nature of Pelikan’s feeds, I find that the behavior is well tamed by Pelikan’s inks so certainly there is some interplay there. I’m jealous of your S nib. It is on my bucket list but I doubt that I’ll be able to get over to Germany anytime soon. Definitely a dream of mine though.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful detailed post to start the year. I am off this upcoming weekend to the Philadelphia Show. And hope you will be able to attend. Glad to have been able to be a part of putting together some of your collection. As a dealer people ask why I focus heavily on the Pelikan Brand and the answer is obvious -“it sells well repeatedly”. As they say 1,000s can’t be wrong

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Bill! I have a lot of family obligations this coming weekend but will certainly try to sneak away. I cannot miss my home show and the first of the year. Haven’t been to a show since D.C. so I’m excited. Two of the pens that you sold me are actually in the photos for this post; the Genesis of the Olympiad and the Yellow M910 Toledo. Thanks for sharing you’re perspective about the brand as a dealer.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for all of your posts, and for this one in particular. You sum up both the technical aspects that make it such a pleasure to write with a Pelikan as well as the aesthetic reasons that just make Pelikans a joy to look at, to hold and to write with.

    I also have a long-standing love affair with fountain pens, going back to my first–an entry-level Waterman–in the 1970s. My first Pelikan was also a used 2xx I purchased at the Levenger outlet in Delray Beach, FL. My second, the one that really fueled the pen affair, is a 4xx white tortoise shell with a broad oblique nib. I had despaired of ever writing legibly, but the care that I learned to take in writing with the BO nib required me to slow down and write larger. So for me one of the results of this fountain pen addiction is legible handwriting.

    Pelikan pens have also become part of our family lore. I’m a retired pastor. When my son and daughter-in-law married in 2011, they asked my wife what to give me as a way of saying “Thank you” for doing their wedding. They wanted to give me something I’d use every day and by which I would always remember them and the wedding. She suggested a Pelikan. They found a 8xx Blue-O-Blue in a Seattle pen shop that remains my favorite.

    As we enter 2018, I’m anticipating a family trip to Germany in August. Early on in the trip, we’ll be visiting Hanover. I can hardly wait to visit the Pelikan facility. I’ve seen pictures of the store and will certainly visit. With our tour agent, we’re hoping to arrange a tour of the factory. We discovered, to our disappointment, that the newly-opened Pelikan Hotel does not have enough rooms to accommodate our whole group. 😦

    Thanks again for your postings, Joshua, for helping us keep up with the goings on in Pelikan world, and for today’s invitation to “display” our pens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words Dick. That story of the Blue O’Blue is great and I appreciate you sharing it. That is something I would cherish for all time. I’m jealous of your trip to Germany. If you haven’t checked this it out already, here is the link to Pelikan’s Make A Wish Nib program that needs to be booked in advance.


  8. Joshua, cool post, and also honest by pointing out some of the “warts”. Currently have 3 pelikan’s in my collection and enjoy them all.
    Started on this “journey” many years ago, when the boarding school I was had a choice of either FP or pencil to write with, ball-points were a “no no”, and recently I have found myself gravitating back to FP’s and actually using them again.
    Enjoy your posts, please keep up the good work.


    • Thanks! I tried to keep it balanced and readily acknowledge that Pelikan is not a perfect brand. None of them are. Glad to hear your coming back to fountain pens.


  9. I did a similar act on reflection not too long ago, and was slightly surprised when I realized that of all the pen makes I had tried, Pelikan was my favourite. They really are excellent pens, at least back to the 1950s; I haven’t tried anything older… yet.


  10. I purchased my first Pelikan pen last summer at a pen show. The grey marbled vintage one pictured second from the left on the top photo. It is now my favorite pen and will be looking for another one at my next pen show. Love the nib on that thing and you’ve confirmed my fear that the modern versions are not the same.


    • The gray marbled is one of my favorites of the marbled variants. Since we’ve seen the re-introduction of the blue and green marbled variants, I’m holding out hope that we’ll see the gray resurrected in the near future. Here’s hoping.


  11. Another great post, Joshua. Love the way you were able to articulate the answer to “Why Pelikan?” I am working on that one still. Of my 30+ pens, only six are Pelikan’s. But they are among my most used pens. A 120 Merz & Krell, a 140, a M150, and 3 M200’s. (Cognac, Blue Marble old style, Brown Marble), all but the 120 are currently inked. Usually it is only the 140 an the M200’s. The most recent are the 140 and Brown Marbled. The other makes that I have multiples of are Esterbrook and Parker. But none of those get nearly the use my Pelikan’s do.

    Brad Merill's Pelikan Pen Collection


  12. What a wonderful way to celebrate Pelikan Pens by asking the question “Why Pelikans”. Joshua great commentary & photos on my favorite pen both the pre-war models, post war and the M series. Lately I have started to enjoy writing the 200 series, specially if you can take a broad nib and grind it to an oblique which Dan Smith has masterfully done for me on two occasions. I also like the lightness of the 200’s when writing with the pen. Keep up the good work!


    • Thanks Francis! I love the M2xx fountain pens. They handle well, balance beautifully, and the nibs are much cheaper. Dan has ground some nibs for me as well and his work is great. He’s improved every nib that I’ve set before him. Enjoy your flock.


  13. Great post and very enjoyable reading, Joshua. I agree with everything you said!
    Although Pelikan is not the only brand I collect, it is by far my favorite. I started with Pelikan 3 years ago, during the Christmas of 2014, with the M640 Mount Everest. At the time I only had 5 pens, but I was so impressed by the M640 than less than a month later I already had 8 birds (by now I have a decent flock and a beat up wallet 🙂 ). There is absolutely no competition for the quality of the Pelikan piston and the ability to easily change the nib.
    I am looking forward for this year’s releases and to reading about them here at the Perch.


    • Thanks Luiz! The M640 is a unique and wonderful bird but not the most common entry point to the brand. Sounds like your flock really took off quickly. I think we’re gonna see some great releases this year.


  14. Enjoyed your article. I have been a very big fan of Pelikan pens for years. There broad and double broad nibs are some of the best made. They write smooth as silk whether you are dealing with steel nibs 14 k or 18 k nibs
    I recommend them highly for the novice to the most experienced pen collector
    Louis Fisher
    Plantation Florida


  15. What a great post Joshua! I actually wondered many times what brought you to focus on Pelikan–I don’t know if you actually mentioned it in one of your posts, but I always thought it was the case. Anyway, you inspired me to ponder over my choices I have made over the last couple of years I’ve been collecting fountain pens. I think I’m going to be a little bit more focused and intentional in my purchases… Thank you so much! As always, your posts are excellent!


    • Very good reading with an interesting chain of pen ownership. We have met at several HUBS and I’ve learned
      My start as a teen was with a Black Esterbrook Pen. I hated the way I wrote, and practiced for months to duplicate a European Pen-Pals writing.
      Then added some flourishes to some letters that I liked.
      When out of High School, and in College I learned of a pen called a MontBlanc. It was the very best, or so I was told. One weekend I took the El into Center City Philadelphia to work in my family Jewelry Store. I went into John Wanamaker Dept Store and headed to the Stationery Dept. There under glass was a gorgeous M-B #149 with a Broad Nib. In 1961 I paid the Princely sum of $42.00 for that pen. (I still have the receipt, and box.
      The M-B serves me til this date. Sometime in the 1980’s I was at a Convention in Cincinnati and visited a pen shop. So many pens that I never heard about. The owner sold me on a Pelikan and a Bexley.
      I now have many Bexleys and they write terrific. The Pelikan however spoiled me from the start. Light and comfortable. Writes effortlessly, but still makes spelling errors.
      My accumulation of Pelikans now looks like a rookery. My prize is a 1050 and it writes like nothing else.
      I like the Namiki Vanishing points and have a dozen from the 1990’s with facets. Also some from the 1970’s but they seem more crudely made.
      Saturday I’ll be visiting the Philadelphia Pen Show, and hope that some Pelikans will follow me Home if I drop a breadcrumb trail.
      Keep accumulating and keep writing. In my retirement this has proven to keep me out of trouble quite well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good to hear from you on the blog Ed. Your collection is always a joy to see. Thanks for sharing your story. The price of that 149 is unreal! Perhaps I’ll run into you at the Philly show Saturday. See you there.


    • Thanks! I can’t believe it took me this long to write this post but I feel good that it’s out there. Having focus in my collection is the only saving grace that keeps me from grabbing one of everything out there. It also makes the hunt that much more fun and challenging.


  16. 1. The filling system of Souverän range is excellent.

    2. The nibs of M800/805 are solid with no springiness but uniformally good performers.

    3. The M1000 nibs are softer but not always smooth. I had an excellent experience with a B nib, moderately good experience with a M nib , but some surprises with my F nib. I had to work hard on it to make it reasonably good.

    Thank you for your passionate review!


    • You’re welcome John. 1) Agree. 2) Agree. 3) The fine and medium nibs on my M1000s are great so that has not been my experience. They are some of the best modern nibs in my entire flock.


  17. Thank you for this post. Pelikan is my favorite brand too, and I especially like the vintage 100Ns/101Ns. I own a 1930s lizard 101N and a green marbled 100N, which I wouldn’t trade for anything!


  18. Great article, thanks. You covered all or most of the reasons that Pelikan is the favorite brand of so many of us.

    I well remember the first time I saw the beak clip of a Pelikan in a b&m pen store. I wasn’t into fountain pens yet, but was something of a stationery nerd. I thought the beak clip was about the coolest thing I’d ever seen on a pen. I still think that. Only the Parker arrow clip and Montblanc’s snow cap are in the same league as aesthetic design elements, imo.

    I’m also bothered by the lack of nib choices for modern Pelikans, but this is more the norm than the unique variety that, say, Pilot and Sailor offer.

    There have been instances of one major pen company making nibs for another major company. It will never happen, but it would be incredible to see a new Pelikan come out with the 15 nib options one can get on a Pilot CH 912.


    • Thanks and I agree that I too don’t ever think we’ll see the day when a larger nib variety is offered. I don’t see a broader market for it but it would be sweet if they offered custom orders.


      • Yes, a 15 nib option pen isn’t going to happen (or Pilot making nibs for Pelikan), but I could see them again making nibs they’ve made in the past on a limited basis. Italic and BB being obvious possibilities.

        If you don’t mind answering, are all the pens seen in the pictures in this post from your personal collection?


          • Wow, good for you! I didn’t realize you had some of those bigger birds in your collection. I’ve drooled over the 1000 Austria pen for some time.


          • I like a variety of birds. The collection is roughly about 90 pens in the Classic Series and then 35 or so M8xx sized pens and 4 M1xxx sized pens with a smattering of special and standard editions in between. The flock is at just over 180 birds. The Austria is an amazing pen and well worth tracking down.


  19. Hi Joshua, another amazing article as usual. Loved reading how you got into the brand and as you know I love Pelikan as well and the reasons you provided I wholeheartedly agree with. The preferred size for me is the M600 and I am slowely but surely collecting the city series. They have made some amazing models in this range and the Athens is my fave (but honestly, can you choose 1 particular fave?!) Also I have learned a lot from your site and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us! I refer fellow Pelikano’s to your blog due to this fact! Looking forward to read more from you this year! All the best, Cheetarah


  20. Nice article. I also love Pelikans. I started using fountain pens when I started grad school back in the late 80’s. Can’t remember when I bought my first Pelikan, but I think it was an Anthracite M200. Of the approximately 100 fountain pens I own, probably 35 or so are Pelikans, from the M800 down to about 15 M200/205, and a few vintage as well. I especially like a solid dark green M200 that I have. To me Pelikans are the perfect balance between value and reliability.



    • Thanks Matt! The anthracite is my favorite amongst that run of M200 demonstrators from the early 2000s. Seems telling that over 1/3 of your collection is Pelikan. The fir green M200 is neat. That along with the red M205 and yellow M200 are some of my favorites. Thanks for commenting.


  21. I think of myself as especially liking Japanese pens, yet my Pelikans (4) are high among my favorite pens. I like the M600 size best, but I love my bright red M101N the most, and I really envy your beautiful M101Ns above. I enjoyed your very thoughtful post!


  22. I’m collecting Pelikan since 5 or 7 years. And yes, they are great. I totally agree with your comments. A lot of people ask me why I “waste” my money and Pelikan. After I think they have no idea about pens…


  23. As a relative newbie to the fountain pen hobby (less than a year — albeit with the exception of a lovely 1980s Montblanc-made Alfred Dunhill that was a gift many years ago), I found this piece very interesting and helpful, especially as I’m about to purchase my first Pelikan. Maybe you could advise: I’m having trouble deciding between an M200 and an M215, mainly because I’ve heard rumblings of discontent from some about how light the M200 is. I understand the M215 addresses this somewhat as the barrel includes quite a lot of brass. My main question: you mention the perfect balance of the M2XX pens when posted, but does the heavier barrel weight of the M215 knock this balance off at all? I’d prefer a balanced pen to a heavy one…

    I’m not necessarily opposed to writing with a light pen (a recent purchase was a vintage Conway Stewart 73, which is very light indeed but a pleasure to write with again because the balance is good when posted), but generally my young but growing collection has pens that are heavier than the M200’s 14 grams. What would you suggest? M200 or M215?

    Thanks for your excellent post.


    • Thank you for your comment and your kind words. You’ve narrowed it down to two good choices. There is a definite difference between the M200 and M215 in terms of weight and it is noticeable in the hand. I don’t think that balance is a big issue on either model but, if it were me, I’d go with the M200. There are a lot more options out there, the ink windows are a bit more useful, and the balance is a touch better. I don’t think you’d go wrong unless you absolutely needed to have a hefty pen. Good luck deciding.


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