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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

The Clavius Collection of Fine Writing Instruments to be Offered at Bonhams & Butterfields

Bonhams is to present Part I of the Clavius Collection of exceptional writing instruments, assembled by a California collector and entrepreneur, in its Los Angeles salesrooms on February 17, 2009. Select highlights will be on display at the LA Pen Show on February 15th in Manhattan Beach.

pen-book.jpgThe Clavius Collection is undoubtedly the finest single owner collection of modern writing instruments to be publicly offered in more than a decade. It brings together some of the finest contemporary examples of refined craftsmanship and technical mastery in calligraphic instruments, and is especially rich in the artistic embellishment by the leading craftsman in this field.

Beginning in the late 1990s, the creator of the collection began to gather a highly select representation of the finest examples of modern limited edition pens. His goal was to document a broad aesthetic of these extraordinary works of art.

The collection includes the rarest, often custom-made, one-of-a-kind pens from major manufacturers such as Loiminchay, Mont Blanc, OMAS, Parker, Pelikan and Visconti, as well as examples by highly respected artisan pen makers such as L. Michael Fultz, Grayson Tighe and Paul Rossi. On offer will be exquisite maki-e pens from Asia as well as gem-encrusted, atelier-made pens from Europe.

The Bonhams sale will feature more than 20 examples of one-of-a-kind pens by the celebrated artisan Grayson Tighe, including one crafted of intergalactic matter – iron from a section of the famous Gibeon meteorite discovered in Namibia (est. $3/5,000). As well, as many as 20 examples of Tighe’s celebrated ‘Dragon Series’ pens feature examples fashioned from titanium and precious gems: the Sea Dragon pen with emeralds, the Ice Dragon pen with diamonds and the Sky Dragon pen with sapphires, among others (estimates between $2/4,000 each).

The collection also includes the celebrated Dunhill-Namiki Sakura Rose, designed to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their celebrated partnership. This exquisite instrument, designed by Maki-e master Kyusai Yoshida, represents the pinnacle of Alfred Dunhill-Namiki development. The pen’s cap bears a spray of cherry blossoms in pink above an array of golden roses on the body in an astonishing display of maki-e lacquer work. Renowned as one of the most expensive pens issued in the modern era, Bonhams & Butterfields expect it to bring as much as $50,000.

Just in time for the inauguration, the collection also features the celebrated Mont Blanc “The White House” pen. Inspired by the architecture of the First Residence, this pen is made from blue transparent precious resin and striped with white gold columns evoking the entry to the President’s home. An eagle with sapphire eyes adorns the base of the clip, which is decorated at the tip with a third sapphire. The rhodium plated 18-karat gold nib bears the presidential seal (est. $10/15,000). Also featured is the Mont Blanc Stars & Stripes pen in white gold, displaying the American flag rendered in diamonds and rubies across the cap (est. $10/15,000).

Collector interest should be strong for pens honoring historical figures, literary greats and artists. A Mont Blanc limited edition Salvador Dali pen in solid gold could bring $6/8,000 while the limited edition Catherine the Great pen is estimated at $2/3,000.

The collection derives its name for the celebrated mathematician, inventor and astronomer Christopher Clavius, the primary architect of the Gregorian calendar and the standardization of modern time. Bonhams & Butterfields offered and sold fine watches from the Clavius Collection in its December 2008 Fine Watches and Wristwatches auction, with strong interest and competitive bidding.

The illustrated catalog for this sale will be available online for review and purchase at in the weeks preceding the sale.