In my review of this year’s Stone Garden M800, I included a picture of the Nord/LB limited edition which generated a few inquiries. Given the history behind the Nord/LB and its somewhat obscure nature, I thought that the topic would be ripe for a post of its own. First off, this limited edition was designed at the request of the Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale. Somewhat unique to Germany, the Landesbanken are a group of state-owned banks that are regionally organized and predominantly focused on wholesale banking. Abbreviated Nord/LB, this North German bank was at one time counted amongst the top 10 banks in Germany and the top 100 banks in the world. As of 2016, the company’s total income was $2.3 billion with total assets of approximately $205 billion. It is a public corporation owned by the federal states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt with headquarters in Hannover. Originally established in 1765 as the Braunschweigische Staatsbank, it began operating under its current name on July 1, 1970 following the merger of four predecessors. Nord/LB specializes in investment banking, agricultural and real estate banking, corporate finance, ship and aircraft financing, and private banking. In 1995, the company celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding. To mark the occasion, the firm’s board contracted with Pelikan in order to provide each of its employees at the time with a Limited Edition Souverän M800 fountain pen. The pen in question was never made available for purchase to the general public but several examples have entered into the collector’s space over the past 23 years.
The Nord/LB M800 Limited Edition fountain pen was done in a solid dark blue color to emulate the company’s color scheme. This particular shade of blue is quite dark and could easily be mistaken for black in poor lighting. It is perhaps one of the darkest blues to grace an M8xx pen. This model exemplifies the pre-1997 styling which included gold colored medallions on both the cap top and piston knob, the former sporting Pelikan’s two chick logo which was in use at the time. The remainder of the trim is not too dissimilar from what we have today and is characterized by two cap bands, two trim rings at the piston knob, and a single trim ring on the section. The standard pelican beak clip is present and all of the furniture is gold-plated. The cap band of this limited edition is engraved “25 Jahre Nord LB – Germany -” or “25 Jahre Nord LB/LBS – Germany -.” The German word “Jahre” means “Years.” The nib for this model was a two toned 14C-585 gold originally in a medium width. It is reported that a total of 6,920 pens were produced, one for each member of the company at the time of their 25th anniversary. Of that lot, 5,920 pieces were inscribed ‘Nord/LB’ on the cap band (see the first photo of this post) with the remaining 1,000 carrying the inscription ‘Nord LB/LBS,’ the latter destined for employees of Landesbausparkasse, a division responsible for real estate financing. Interestingly, there is a discrepancy found in the second edition of Pelikan Schreibgeräte which relates that it was 5,500 pens made for Nord/LB and 1,450 for Nord LB/LBS, figures that stand contrary to other reporting and do not quite add up to what Norddeutsche Landesbank themselves reported.
The Nord/LB M800 came packaged in a special gift box which included the pen and a bottle of ink. The box itself was rather small (measuring 6 inches in its largest dimension) and square with a hinge on the back side. It was all white with “25 JAHRE NORD/LB – DENKEN IN NEUEN DIMENSIONEN” written on the top which roughly translates to “25 years Nord/LB – Think in new dimensions.” Nord/LB is also found written more simply on the front of the box. The packaging is otherwise without additional markings. When opened, there is a place for the pen to rest and a 5omL bottle of Pelikan’s 4001 Royal Blue ink, the type of bottle which included a built-in pen stand. The cap of the ink bottle had a special sticker that again reflected the branding on the box. It has been suggested that many of the boxes may have been destroyed making boxed pens harder to find.
Included was a small leaflet that again displayed the box top logo and the following text (translated from the original German);
The fountain pen corresponds in its basic form to the model Souverän M800 by Pelikan
Limited Edition of 6,920 pieces
Barrel color Nord/LB blue, ink view window gray, piston mechanism with solid brass parts, gold-plated beak clip and trim, with two-tone rhodium decor nib in a medium width
A second business card sized piece of paper was included that stated;
On July 1, 1995 NORD/LB celebrates its 25th anniversary. As a reminder of this anniversary and as a thank you for the accompaniment of our house, we present you a present. With friendly recommendation, The Board
I hope that this has helped to shed some light on this less well known limited edition from several decades ago. If you like dark blue pens, the Nord/LB is certainly one to go after. It’s dark color is nicely complimented by the gold trim including the two gold colored medallions.