If you have ever had the fortune to come across any of Pelikan’s more upscale vintage models, you’ve probably seen a golden cap with an inscription on the band that read something like; “Rolled Gold Doublé L.” Variations of this type of engraving can be found on models such as the P1, M30, M60, 500, and 520 to name just a few. Many of these models have held up well over their decades of service, their durability stemming from the decision to incorporate rolled gold into their construction rather than gold plating. That resistance to wear directly follows from the fact that the layer of gold utilized with rolled gold is much thicker than what can be achieved with standard electroplating. In addition to the added longevity, the look of rolled gold frequently has a richer, deeper appearance than what is typical of electroplated items. The cap band inscriptions will vary, owing to changes made over time as well as model specific factors. For instance, a 500NN may read “Pelikan Günther Wagner Germany Doublé L,” “Pelikan Germany Rolled Gold Double L+,” or some other variation of the same. Similar scenarios play out with the other models mentioned. Regardless of the format or the model, this stamping raises a few questions which I thought might be worth exploring. For instance; what is rolled gold, why is there an acute é in “Doublé,” and just what does that lonesome “L” stand for? Read on as I will explore these issues and more while trying to definitively answer some of the esoteric questions surrounding the inscriptions found on these models.
It can be quite frustrating when you finally decide upon buying a certain pen only to find that it is not just out of stock with your preferred vendor but others as well. Such has been the case for perhaps the last six months for those in the market for a new Pelikan M800 or M1000 for instance. Vendors have consistently been frustrated by estimated delivery schedules that seem to be constantly pushed back. That’s not to say that some models aren’t making it out into circulation. Special editions such as the M600 Tortoiseshell-Red and the M205 Petrol-Marbled have found their way into retail channels and consumer’s hands. As I first reported in August of last year when discussing COVID-19’s impact on Pelikan’s operations, the global supply chain continues to feel the ramifications brought about by the coronavirus pandemic which is still infecting people across the globe. This has hindered Pelikan from receiving certain materials necessary for their manufacturing in a timely manner while also disrupting the company’s ability to deliver its finished goods to their distribution partners effectively. Last year, Pelikan’s Global Marketing Manager for Fine Writing Instruments, Jens Meyer, was optimistic that most issues would be hammered out by the fourth quarter of 2020. In saying that, he also conceded that, for some select products, it might take a little bit longer to end the backlog, particularly with Pelikan’s standard assortment. Since that backlog has now persisted through the first quarter of 2021, I reached back out to see where the company stood. Read on to see just how he responded to that line of questioning.
With the first quarter of 2021 done and dusted, uncertainty remains over just how extensively the pandemic may continue to disrupt Pelikan’s operations, including their timeline of new releases. The Petrol-Marbled M205 should be landing soon for those eager to get their next Pelikan fix. If you were hoping for something a bit bigger, just today Pelikan has given us a glimpse of the next Maki-e release coming out of Hannover. Meet the Maki-e Seven Treasures limited edition, the successor to 2020’s very well received Kingfisher. Pelikan has this to say of their newest model;
“Seven Treasures are listed in the Buddhist scriptures. The typical seven treasures are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, giant clam, coral, and agate. The seven treasures are expressed on this Pelikan M1000 as auspicious omen motifs by drawing additional fortunate items. By this, the Pelikan Maki-e ‘Seven Treasures’ fountain pen is a collection of symbols which are believed to bring good fortune.”
Keeping with past trends, the Seven Treasures is once again built off of Pelikan’s flagship M1000 chassis. Limited to just 123 pieces worldwide, this newest Maki-e release is anticipated to launch sometime in June 2021.
For those of you that keep up with Pelikan’s usual cycle of releases, you know that by the end of March in most years, we’ve already had news of two and sometimes up to three new fountain pens. Sadly, this year, like the one before it, is not like most years. That unfortunate fact, made evident by the dearth of new releases out of Hannover, is almost certainly attributable to the chaos that the coronavirus pandemic has wrought upon supply chains across the globe. The drought may be coming to an end however as Atlas Stationers out of Chicago, IL broke news of Pelikan’s next release via their website this evening. The next pen to market will hail from the company’s Classic line and carry the moniker of M205 Petrol-Marbled. Petrol is a color scheme that Pelikan has employed with pens from some of their other lines including the Pura, Jazz, and Twist. Pelikan’s new marbled finish will combine blues and greens in a way that, to me, is reminiscent of the M805 Ocean Swirl from 2017. Rather than a standard addition to the line-up, this one looks to be a special edition release, intended only as a limited run. The Petrol-Marbled is reportedly targeted for a mid to late April 2021 ship date. I would expect most vendors to start taking pre-orders soon.
I must implore you at the outset to forgive my jubilation over this post and ask that you indulge my exuberance. Today we take a look at something special, something not often seen, a rarity even amongst a brand that has created its fair share of unique and uncommon goods over nearly a century of pen making. What I’m alluding to is the Pelikan music nib or musikfeder in its native tongue. For some reason, I cannot think of telling the story of how I came across this nib without the soundtrack to Frank Oz’s 1986 big screen adaptation of “Little Shop Of Horrors” running through my mind, specifically set to the tune “Da-Doo.” With your leave; So there I was, browsing around Yahoo! Auctions in Japan one day and I passed by a bunch of listings where I sometimes find weird and exotic pens ’cause you know that Pelikans are my hobby. They didn’t have anything unusual there that day so I was just about to, ya know, browse on by, when suddenly, and without warning, there was this strange Tortoiseshell Brown 400NN. It had a nib like something from another world just, you know, stuck in, among the 140s and M800s. Thank you for letting me get that out of my system. The nib was unique indeed. It had two slits and three tines with the pre-1954 Pelikan lettering below. I could hardly believe my eyes but was almost certain that I was looking at one of Pelikan’s fabled music nibs. I had to wait six days for that auction to conclude and fight hard during the last thirty minutes of bidding but, in the end, I prevailed which is great for me and good for you because it allows me to give you an up close and personal look at this seldom seen specialty nib. Of course, just for a bit of added drama, the pen got lost in the mail for a short time while on its way to me but all’s well that ends well.
While we await official news of this year’s upcoming releases, I wanted to take one last look back at a model from last year. I have already reviewed the M205 Moonstone and the M600 Tortoiseshell Red so this time I will be performing a shakedown of the M405 Silver-White. Pelikan has embraced the use of white resin over the past several years, predominantly amongst their M6xx models. This time around, rather than something in a medium size, the company has decided to instead show some love to their M405 line which consists of smaller pens by today’s standards. The M405 series has only been around since 2002 and the Silver-White is just the fifth pen to grace the line. It is also the first of its line to incorporate white resin into its design. The other M405 models are the Black, Blue-Black, Dark Blue, and Stresemann. Upon first glance, the Silver-White has a very similar appearance to 2017’s M605 White-Transparent. The major difference between the two are their size and the barrel’s striping. What makes the M405 Silver-White worth reviewing is the fact that it is not a limited or special edition but rather a release added to the standard line-up meaning that you will have time to pick this one up should it suit your fancy. The Silver-White is a very solid release but brings nothing new to the table. Read on to find out if this is the pen that you’ve been waiting for.
How well do you know Pelikan’s Classic/Traditional line? Not as well as you might think I’m willing to wager. Let us review; M100, check. M150, check. M200, M205, M215, and M250; check, check, check, and check! Many of those model lines have since been discontinued but a few still persists and are being expanded to this day, some 35 years after the series’ introduction. There is another entry into that line-up that is not nearly as well known and easily overlooked, even by the most hardcore of collectors. Enter the #350. There is a lot to unpack here so please bear with me. First, let’s tackle that hashtag or number sign. Most of Pelikan’s fountain pens have an ‘M’ or a ‘P’ preceding the model number. These designate either a Mechanik-Füller (piston filling) or Patronen-Füller (cartridge) fountain pen respectively (though exceptions exists). The ‘#’ was widely used in Japan during the 1980s and 90s for many of Pelikan’s piston filling models sold in that market and is therefore an appropriate regional prefix. You might recall that I first introduced the concept when detailing the Mitsukoshi #660. In addition to the unusual prefix, model numbers also sometimes differed. For instance, the M400 used to retail in Japan as the #500. Today, the regional sales literature generally adheres to the M/R/K/D prefix scheme and model numbers used elsewhere. The #350 will be easier to understand when its predecessor, the #250, is considered so I will detail both of those models in this post. Japan has long been a fertile ground for some of Pelikan’s most interesting releases, models not widely available anywhere else. The Maruzen Tortoiseshell Brown M600, the Mitsukoshi #660, the East/West reunification commemorative M800, and the Merz & Krell 400NN re-issue were all either exclusive to the Japanese market or came about as a result of that market’s influence. Read on to learn how the #250 and #350 models fit into Pelikan’s Classic series.
I haven’t yet had a chance to officially wish all of you reading the blog a Happy New Year! If you blinked, you may have missed it but a mailer from Fahrney’s Pens at the end of last year alluded to a price increase for some of Pelikan’s products in 2021. The actual header read, “Certain models increase in price effective January 1.” The United States has seen a steady rise in prices for Pelikan’s fine writing instruments and inks over the last several years. Some of that is to be expected due to inflation, fluctuations in manufacturing costs, and the numerous other factors that play into market pricing. Still, the United Sates remains home to some of the highest prices for Pelikan’s products anywhere around the globe. Increases this year may be more justified than years past due to the economic realities brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s without dispute that every step of the manufacturing process has been impacted. Raw materials are harder to source and production costs have risen. For the most part, ink pricing has remained stable and some pen pricing is relatively flat. On the one hand, we see some notable increases for models within the Classic series and on the other, some small reductions in Souverän pricing. Across the board, effective January 1st, 2021, there was what looks to be an average increase of nearly 5% in the company’s MSRP across all product lines for the United States’ market. Read on to get a sense of which of your preferred products may have been affected.