Bonhams & Butterfields, announce the company’s eighth offering of exceptional writing instruments in the United States on May 23, 2011. The auction contains over 200 lots and offers a diverse selection of excellent fountain pens, chiefly Montblancs, including a Sir Winston Churchill fountain pen, the last of 53 produced.
Churchill famously preferred Montblancs and used them to sign many documents of great importance. This handsome example, which is fashioned of 18 karat pink gold inlaid with tortoiseshell lacquer bands, with captop ringed with 53 diamonds, is a fitting tribute to the man voted greatest Briton of all time. Currently, records indicate no other auction sales of this pen. This example was displayed in the London Imperial War Museum and is accompanied by provenance documents (est. $15,000 – 25,000).
The auction also includes some of Montblanc’s most extraordinary limited edition fountain pens, including several examples seldom seen at auction. Of particular interest is a Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Royal LeGrand, the legendary Diamond Solitaire (est. $125,000 – 175,000). Set with over 4,600 brilliant cut white diamonds over an 18 karat yellow gold barrel; this pen was made to order in limited quantities and is one of Montblanc’s most exclusive creations.
Also of interest are single-owner, unused examples of some of Montblanc’s most coveted limited editions, including George Washington (est. $18,000 – 24,000), 4th of July (est. $12,000 – 15,000), Brandenburger Tor (est. $14,000 – 16,000), Georges Pompidou (est. $14,000 – 16,000), Teatro alla Scala (est. $12,000 – 15,000), Rotary Centennial (est. $6,000 – 8,000), John Harrison (est. $12,000 – 15,000), Airbus A380 (est. $6,000 – 8,000), and Qing Dynasty pens (est. $4,000 – 5,500).
Montblancs are far from the only exceptional limited edition pens offered in Section I of the sale. Splendid examples from Caran d’Ache, Cartier, Montegrappa, OMAS, Visconti and other great makers are here as well. Highlights include an OMAS Merveille du Monde Almirante, resplendent in 18 karat gold fashioned by master Parisian goldsmith Lefebvre and limited to 30 made-to-order pieces (est. $7,000 – 10,000) and a selection of 12 stunning Dupont lighters (estimates vary) round out the first session.
Section II of the May auction presents a brief interlude of fine vintage writing instruments. Especially noteworthy is a 1920s Dunhill-Namiki maki-e pen depicting a bird in flight over ferns, signed by master lacquer artist Shucho (est. $4,000 – 6,000), and a unique, specially- made Watermans #20 Giant with signed provenance letter from Frank D. Waterman, Jr., president of the company (est. $3,000 – 4,000).
The sale concludes with Part III featuring a variety of additional Montblanc pens including a variety of Writers Series and Patron of Art Series pens (estimates vary), as well as OMAS, Loiminchay, Montegrappa, Parker and Pelikan examples. Of special note is a Namiki White Tiger of Asia limited edition maki-e fountain pen limited to 300 (est. $8,000 – 10,000), among others.
The illustrated catalog for this sale will be available online for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com/us in the weeks preceding the sale.
Los Angeles Preview: May 20-21, 2011, Los Angeles
Auction: May 23, 2011, Los Angeles