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 Perch may have been quiet recently but I assure you that it has not been idle. Almost a year’s worth of research on a very interesting topic is coming to a close and I hope to get it out into the wild in the coming weeks. For today’s post, I wanted to bring you something a little more timely because I know that a lot of people remain on the fence about this one. I’m referring to Pelikan’s recently released M800 Stone Garden. Pelikan’s pre-release photos continue to cause consternation amongst potential customers. In this case, the official marketing photos look more like a computer rendered image than an actual photograph. With so much of the decision to purchase a fountain pen relying on its visual appeal, inaccurate photos can result in significant buyer’s remorse. Sadly, that is just how many products are advertised today. Pelikan’s literature describes the pen as follows;
“Stone gardens are known for their serenity and peaceful effect. The new Special Edition Souverän 800 Stone Garden was created to be symbolic of this special place and the calming influence from life’s hectic everyday pace. The combination of opaque dark blue and the sophisticated marbled structure with blue and brown colors give a noble and elegant look to this series.”
While dark blues and browns are not the palette of most of the stone gardens that I have ever encountered, I’m willing to allow Pelikan some artistic license provided that the pen is able to bring something new to the table. It has been a very conservative and dichromatic year thus far for the bigger birds as seen with the M815 Metal Striped and the M805 Raden Royal Platinum. Read on to find out whether or not the Stone Garden can bring some much needed color to this year’s line up.
The quintessential collector understands passion. It permeates every act of assembling, using, preserving, and displaying whatever may be the focus of one’s interest. The aforementioned undertaking can convey a tremendous sense of satisfaction. The activities of the collector should not, however, be confused with those of a hoarder. The collector is deliberate, focused, even if only loosely, and with a self-awareness that the hoarder lacks. Why do we collect? It seems to be a part of human nature, the motivations behind it as varied as the individuals who partake. Some of us do it as a celebration of the objects as works of art. Others use collecting in order to make sense of the world or as a means of accumulating a source of knowledge and ideas. Collecting can showcase a prowess or even be used to teach a lesson. Over the years, Pelikan has produced individual pens meant as part of a larger grouping. One such assortment began in 2001 when Pelikan released the first model in a group of pens known as the City Series. These special editions have become incredibly coveted by collectors. The pens are part of the M6xx line and officially dubbed M620. A total of twelve models in all were made and collectors have spent a considerable amount of time and energy trying to amass the entire series. Many have been successful while others continue the hunt. What follows is meant to highlight the City Series and to pay homage to the efforts of my fellow collectors. I can assure you that photos do not do these pens any justice. Their beauty needs to be seen in person in order to be truly appreciated. This particular post is dedicated to the efforts of Mike W., a fastidious collector whose years of effort and perseverance brought the pens that you see below together.
This year has seen some rather conservative releases as far as color and styling go. When you look at the Spirit of 1838, the M815 Metal Striped, and the M805 Raden Royal Platinum you see pens with a very monochromatic or two toned styling (usually black & silver). I don’t say that to take anything away from those models but many of us out there yearn for a splash of color. The M205 Olivine and the upcoming M800 Stone Garden help scratch that itch somewhat but even their colors are more subdued. To the casual observer, it would seem that Pelikan has been using their M600 line over the last few years to provide an outlet for more colorful releases. We saw this with the Pink and the Turquoise-White for example. Well, today we have a new addition to that line, the M600 Vibrant Orange. Rumored since earlier this year, the Vibrant Orange is due out by mid-November and is sure to be a welcome addition to many who find the M600 line of pens to be the sweet spot in terms of size and weight.
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Another Pelikan Hubs event has come and gone meaning that it’s time for a proper recap. September 21st was a big day for lovers of fine writing as it marked the fifth installment of Pelikan’s annual gathering. Word continues to spread about the fun and excitement of the evening as demonstrated by the ever-expanding number of registrations. This year saw gatherings take place in 181 cities spread across 46 countries with over 4500 registered participants, a roughly 30% increase over the year prior. Given the gravity of the occasion, Pelikan kindly provided me an opportunity to interview the Hubs team ahead of this year’s event, allowing us a fresh perspective and a small peak behind the curtain. Not all was smooth sailing this year, perhaps a reflection of some growing pains. There are reports of Pelikan’s gifts not being delivered to a few of the Hub locations in time for the event. Other Hubs have reported Olivine ink boxes containing Smoky Quartz, a puzzle that’s beyond me to solve. While disappointing, I think that it is important to keep things in perspective. The free gifts are indeed nice but they are by no means what brings the majority of us together so hopefully those Hubs were able to make the best of the situation. The Hub masters continue to show no shortage of passion and commitment and deserve a lot of kudos for ensuring the success of their local venues. Many went above and beyond by making or purchasing their own items for attendees to sample and take home. It is the dedication of the Hub masters that goes a long way to making the event as great as it is. Their efforts are even more commendable when you look at the ever increasing burden of finding a venue for such large groups without any budget. It’s that burden which prompted me to relinquish the title of Hub Master this year in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Frank Limper of Federalist Pens and Paper picked up the mantle and ran a great event. Our local hub has been held at a variety of locations and this year brought us somewhere new, The Victoria Freehouse Pub. The venue was cozy, provided good food and drink, and had a nice atmosphere. Everyone that I spoke with had a great time and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the venue for a future gathering. The only major blemish on my night was the parking ticket waiting for me when all was said and done (¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).
As anticipated, news broke early this morning across Europe regarding the next big release out of Hannover. All I can say is prepare to hear the sound of jaws dropping. Today we have the Pelikan M800 Stone Garden Special Edition and, if the product shots do it justice, it looks to be a gorgeous fountain pen. Of course, given the inconsistent track record of Pelikan’s product photography over the last several releases, we’ll have to reserve judgement until we can see some real world pictures. Still, there is a lot of promise here. This model follows closely on the heels of the M205 Olivine which just recently entered retail channels and the much more limited Raden Royal Platinum. The promotional literature for the Stone Garden states; “Rock gardens are known for their soothing effect. The new special edition Souverän M800 Stone Garden absorbs this atmosphere and offers tranquility in daily chores.” It is anticipated to be available around mid-October.
The Pelikan’s Perch turns 4 years old today! No longer a toddler, part of me still cannot believe that the site is going strong and continuing to grow year after year. I can only attribute that fact to my love of the brand, the great products Pelikan puts out, and the support of all of you, without which none of this would be possible. My blog was born from a desire to share the knowledge and perspective that I had gained in researching my favorite fountain pens. I wanted to give back to the community that empowered me in my quest and fostered my love for fine writing. All I can do is say thank you. Thank you for reading, for sharing my work, for interacting and contributing to the conversation, and for four great years. To celebrate this anniversary, I have decided to host the first ever contest to grace The Pelikan’s Perch. In trying to decide just what type of prize to offer, I reflected back on my own collection. In doing so I realized that the Pelikan P16 Stola III fountain pen would be well suited for the task at hand and entering for your chance to win one couldn’t be easier. Read on to learn about all of the details.
Over the past four years, I have endeavored to bring you news and unique insights about the Pelikan brand of fountain pens not readily available elsewhere. Personally, it has been a lot of fun researching some of the more esoteric aspects of the company’s products and history. Because there is so much nuance out there, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that many people still don’t fully grasp the fundamentals or overall landscape of Pelikan’s current line-up. I could drone on about the topic but I thought this may be one area where a picture might just be worth a thousand words. To that end, I have devised an infographic, my first, to serve as a reference for the community. It is my hope that this graphic visual representation of information will allow for a quick and clear understanding of some of the differences amongst both Pelikan’s Classic and Souverän lines. The nature of an infographic prevents it from being all-inclusive but I hope that you will find it a good jumping-off point into the brand’s offerings over the last few decades. Click the link below to jump to the visual. You can stop there but feel free to read on as I will endeavor to walk you through some of the panels of information and expound upon their contents as well as provide relevant links to past posts where appropriate.