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History Inked at Bonhams & Butterfields Sir Winston Churchill Fountain Pen Sets World Auction Record
MONTBLANC: George Washington Limited Edition America's Signatures for Freedom Series Fountain Pen. Est. $18,000-24,000, sold for 24,400, a new world auction record for a George Washington Limited Edition America's Signatures for Freedom Series Fountain Pen at auction. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams & Butterfields.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- International auctioneers, Bonhams & Butterfields, announced the company’s eighth offering of exceptional writing instruments in the United States on May 23, 2011. The auction contained over 200 lots and offered 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 homage to the man voted greatest Briton of all time. This example was displayed in the London Imperial War Museum and was accompanied by provenance documents. The highly sought after writing instrument sold for $24,400 and established a new world record for a Montblanc Sir Winston Churchill fountain pen at auction.

Also of interest were single-owner, unused examples of some of Montblanc’s most coveted limited editions, which included 4th of July (est. $12,000-15,000, sold for $15,860), Georges Pompidou (est. $14,000-16,000, sold for $17,080), Rotary Centennial (est. $6,000 - 8,000, sold for $7,320), John Harrison (est. $12,000-15,000, sold for $14,640), Airbus A380 (est. $6,000-8,000, sold for $8,540), a Year of the Golden Dragon 888 (est. $4,000-6,000, sold for $7,930) and George Washington (est. $18,000-24,000, sold for $24,400–a new world auction record), which surpassed the current record set by Bonhams & Butterfields in February 2010.

Montblancs were 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 were there as well. Highlights included 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, sold for $10,980), among others.

Section II of the May auction offered a brief interlude of fine vintage writing instruments. Especially noteworthy was 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).

The sale concluded with Part III that featured a variety of additional Montblanc pens including a variety of Writers Series and Patron of Art Series pens, as well as OMAS, Loiminchay, Montegrappa, Parker and Pelikan examples. Of special note is a Montegrappa Silver Dragon limited edition fountain pen and inkwell (est. $2,500-3,000, sold for $3,416), among others.

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