News: M800 Black-Red (Psst, It’s Back!)

Pelikan M800 Black-Red

Close up on a young Carol Anne Freeling answering the ring of an old rotary phone. After a brief pause to listen to the caller and with the phone still pressed to her ear, she glances over her left shoulder and says, “They’re ba-ack” in a lilting voice. This pop culture staple is from 1986’s Poltergeist II trailer and it was the first thing that sprang to my mind when I learned of the return of the M800 Black-Red. Yes, you read that correctly. News of the Black-Red’s triumphant return was first broken by The Nibsmith. Oh, it was a good run while it lasted. The M800 Black-Red was on the market as a regular production model circa 2001 until its discontinuation in 2012. Since then, they’ve become increasingly scarce on the secondary market and, consequently, all the more desirable. It is high on the list of many who missed out on the original run and one of the most requested pens that I hear people ask about Pelikan re-releasing. Someone in Hannover must have been listening because, as of mid-March, the M800 Black-Red will once again join the standard Souverän line-up and will likely be around for the foreseeable future. Read on to learn about all of the details.

Pelikan M800 Black-Red

Why is the Black-Red a must have for a lot of Pelikan fans? Seeing one up close, there is just something striking about those red stripes stretched across the girth of an M800 that makes one take notice. Pelikan’s literature describes it thusly;

“The Souverän M800 Black-Red is a timeless classic. The rich red tone in the striped pattern of the barrel harmonizes wonderfully with the elegant deep black components and is perfectly complemented by the golden trimmings. This classic has now returned to Pelikan’s standard product range.”

Like their other models, those iconic stripes that form the outer portion of the barrel are made from cellulose acetate. They are complimented by a black resin cap, piston knob, and section. The furniture is plated in 24 carat gold and includes two trim rings at the knob, two cap bands, a beak clip, and a trim ring at the section. The cap top features the company’s single chick logo also plated in gold. Pelikan’s M800 nib is a bi-color 18C-750 gold available in the standard widths of EF, F, M and B. For those interested, there will also be a matching ballpoint pen featuring a twist mechanism as well. Of course, the M800 is a bigger pen and won’t be a good fit for everyone. From what I can tell, there should be little to nothing that distinguishes this one from a late run model prior to the discontinuation (except for the barrel’s transparency which is to be subject of another post).

Pelikan M800 Black-Red

Provided this won’t be subject to the pandemic shortages that we’ve seen other Souveräns succumb to, Pelikan is claiming a mid-March availability. Global pricing is not yet known but, in the USA, the MSRP looks to be about $740 with a retail price in the neighborhood of $592. That’s not too bad when you consider recent auctions for these have been closing somewhere between $700 and $800. Of course, you may be able to find cheaper pricing abroad though no details from those regions are yet available.

There you have it. After a 10 year absence, the M800 Black-Red is coming home again, and I think many will be delighted by that fact. I’m sure a few may kick themselves for caving into the temptation of eBay and paying the markup pricing that low supply and high demand creates. None the less, if you’ve been missing out, now is your chance to pick up an awesome pen. Will this one be joining your flock? What other models might you like to see resurrected in the future? Leave me a comment with your thoughts below.

53 responses

        • But since the problem that you can not observe the remaining of ink due to its new opaque barrel . I do think it is a stupid change .

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        • Pure Pens, formerly Niche Pens, UK, just put out an advertising email for new stock which recinds their previous statement that the barrel would be opaque, and now say it will have the same transparency as before. It confuses the heck out of me! While translucence of some sort is a good idea, I’d prefer the new version to differ somehow from my ‘original.’

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          • The M800 Black-Red that vendors are getting now IS transparent, just like they used to be. Pelikan’s email to vendors said, “The switch already started to take place for Souverän Black-Green and Souverän Anthracite Stripes (Stresemann). It will follow for Souverän Black-Blue and Souverän Black-Red in the next weeks and months.” So it looks like it could be a few months before we see a change over in the Black-Red based on that information.

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    • For vintage Pelikans, it was a thin decorative sleeve applied over the barrel. The word is still thrown around today and is usually meant to refer to the barrel.

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      • The binde still exists (and in fact can still be removed and replaced with alternative materials). I suppose the difference in the modern Souverän is in the factory manufacturing process of the barrel. The binde is formed first, and the the interior of the barrel is injection molded underneath it. Here is decent description of the Souverän manufacturing process (posted by Appelboom Pennen).

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        • I suppose any decorative barrel sleeve covering the actual barrel could be construed as a binde. The modern implementation is different than the vintage though and I don’t really hear the modern barrels referred to much as having bindes these days. Just semantics.

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  1. The last one we sold was $1,000 and we still have one NIB in inventory. I shudder to think what we paid for it.

    Pelikan needs two more to complete their lineup: M1050 in gold/red and one M1050 in gold/blue.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is good news. I have the red stripe M600, but missed the M800. I will probably buy one. Of the Pelikan striped pens, the green has to be the most iconic, but I find the red the most attractive. Well, I do really like my brown/black striped M800. Tastes will vary, but that’s mine.

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    • None of them are hard on the eyes at the end of the day and that’s the problem, lol. The blue can be pretty sharp too but, you are correct, the green is the most iconic. I have always had a soft spot for the red. I have an M400 and M800 in that finish but not an M600, not yet anyways.

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  3. It is great news that this beautiful version of the Pelikan M800 series will soon be back in circulation. Personally, I find it one of the most beautiful fountain pens Pelikan has produced and I treasure my Black Red M800 which has the rare old style 14C nib (with two chicks) produced in the 1990s. Some say the old 14C nibs have a flexibility that later 18C models lack, but for me both types are excellent writers.
    I also have the M600 Red Black which has a special place in my collection.

    I hope this new edition is a sign of renewed production and exciting new editions from Pelikan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those old 14C M800 nibs are very desirable but I don’t find much difference in writing between the 14C and 18C. Both are great. I’m hoping for a brand new M800 this spring, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

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  4. Joshua, is it possible that Pelikan will make this beautiful pen in a M1000 size? I’m looking for a 1000 to finish my collection and wanted something more unusual than the standard green stripe pen.

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    • Well, anything is possible though I’m not certain how likely that is to occur. They may get around to it at some point but I haven’t heard of any plans to do so. That’s not one that I would hold my breath for so to speak. If you had to pick an M1000 based on what is our there now, I’d look for a Stresemann personally.

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  5. For what it’s worth –

    I attended a local retailer’s pen show last fall and spoke with the Pelikan rep.

    He acknowledged the lack for new products during Covid and said that the main issue was supply chain issues with the required raw materials (which come from a variety of outside sources).

    Without guaranteeing anything, given the ups and downs of Covid, he said that there are several exciting new products on the horizon, including M800s, which I specifically asked him about. He also mentioned some kind of “anniversary” Souveran.

    I’m not holding my breath, remain hopeful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do hear that there is an M800 slated for the Spring. As for an anniversary, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of the M400 Sovuerän so we may see something playing off of that.

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  6. I’m not so much interested in pens that have been discontinued as in pens that never were. For instance, I would love to see an M600 in brown tortoise, or an M650 in brown or green tortoise. Or how about a Herzstück 1929 with EF or oblique nibs like they had in 1929? Just dreaming.

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    • Well, an M600 Tortoiseshell Brown (1999) has already been done though on an ultra limited basis so that would be a resurrection. The M650 idea with a different barrel could be cool. I’d just like to see them have more exotic nibs for any release, even if they were special order.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s great that the black-red is back, and I will be getting one. I am certainly looking forward to the rumoured black-tortoise – but with the supply chain issues – I do wonder if it will even be slated for 2022. Do you have any information about Maki-e releases for 2022 ?

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    • All of the release schedules are a mess. For instance, the M800 Black-Red as I hear it told, was slated for a December 2020 release and we aren’t seeing it until March 2022. I don’t have any info on Maki-e just yet but will post when I do. I have also heard rumors of a Transparent Green M800.

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      • Does your reference to a Transparent Green M800 indicate something like the Green Demonstrator M800 which Pelikan brought out in 1992? That would be exciting for a lot of collectors (except that I already have that pen…) but rumours of a Black Tortoise M800 are particularly interesting!

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  8. It’s undoubtedly attractive and will please many. I would prefer to see the vibrant blue, tortoiseshell and Renaissance (in that order). The red tortoiseshell, that was a recent M600 model, would also be good.

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  9. Thank you for the post, Joshua.

    This is indeed great news that the red M800 will be re-issued. I may even have to pick one up myself when they appear. My favorite size Souverän is the M6xx, but my red M600 one has been confiscated by my wife for her use. As she finds the M8xx a bit large for her taste, the M800 seems to perhaps have a better chance of staying in my flock…

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  10. They’re beautiful. I have the blue and green stripe for many years now. They’re worth it and of value but I’m not adding a 3rd at what will be more than $600. Not me.

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  11. Pingback: Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 6, 2022 | Fountain Pen Quest

  12. I’ve been around the internet in the past three years trying to source one without selling a kidney, so this news came with so much enthusiasm that it was the fastest 500 euros spent in my life. Personally, I never understood the business decision to take it out of production, as the red striated sheets were already used for other models. No sales? well, the price in the aftermarket proves otherwise. I can’t wait for Appelboom to ship it

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    • Ditto to what Stratman says.

      I once heard a Pelikan specialist at a pen show joke, “The red/black M800 was one of Pelikan’s most popular pens, so of course they discontinued it.”

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    • It has always boggled my mind why this one was stopped given the aftermarket sales. Perhaps of a case that people only want something that they cannot have. Interestingly, I haven’t seen any vendors reduce pricing for these older models so I expect that they might still hold onto their value despite the re-introduction.

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  13. I have made an enquiry to my local agent, he told me the red/black stripe m800 is translucent, so I will go down to the shop to validate before purchasing.

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