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America's signature for freedom series fountain pens lead Bonhams Fine Writing Instruments Sale
MONTBLANC: The Fortune Number 88 Limited Edition Skeleton Fountain Pen. Solid 18K rose gold lattice of interlocking 8s over translucent precious resin. Eight rings circle the cap and cone, and the clip is decorated with a diamond-studded 8. Medium 18K red gold nib engraved with yin-yang symbol. Outer box, inner box, display box, papers. Limited Edition: 59/88. Sold for $23,750; est. $15,000-20,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Bonhams announced its last sale of the year in San Francisco, the December 19 auction of Fine Writing Instruments, realized a successful result of $781,263. The 430-lot auction was well attended with nearly 90% of lots sold.

At the top of the auction’s lots was a Montblanc America's Signatures for Freedom Series Limited Edition 50 Fountain Pen, in honor of former US president George Washington. The limited edition pen was the first in a series honoring America's presidents, and it sold for $25,000, at the high-end of its presale estimate of $20,000-25,000. Highlights from the America's Signatures for Freedom Series continued on with the sales of editions honoring James Madison and John Adams, which took in $22,500 and $17,500, respectively.

Leading lots of the auction continued with a Montblanc Fortune Number 88 Limited Edition Fountain Pen, sold for $23,750, ahead of a presale estimate of $15,000-20,000, and a Montblanc 4th of July Limited Edition 56 Skeleton Fountain Pen, sold for $18,750, which surpassed an estimate of $15,000-18,000.

Ivan Briggs, Specialist of Fine Writing Instruments at Bonhams in San Francisco, said of the auction, “The response to our sale was outstanding. Fine pens are attracting great attention for their craftsmanship and aesthetic virtues, and more and more people are becoming interested in them. This sale had more participants than any previous pen sale at Bonhams, and bidding activity was enthusiastic. There was lots of bidding activity across the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.”

He added, “Limited edition Montblancs fared particularly well, followed by Montegrappa, Namiki, Cartier and Visconti. I was especially pleased with the performance of our vintage pens. Previously, there was little crossover between collectors of modern limited and vintage pens. Today, a number of fine vintage pens were sold to clients whose interest was previously restricted to modern limiteds. I’m pleased at how the market is developing.”

Montblanc highlights continued in the sale with an Antoni Gaudi Limited Edition 128 Skeleton Fountain Pen, influenced by the spectacular architecture and curving balconies of the Casa Batllo in Barcelona, sold for $18,750; a Greta Garbo Commemorative Limited Edition 100 Fountain Pen, paying tribute to one of Hollywood's most glamorous and enduring stars, in solid 18 karat yellow gold, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, sold for $15,000; and an Hommage à John Harrison Skeleton Limited Edition 333 Fountain Pen, in honor of John Harrison, inventor of the chronometer, sold for $14,375.

Additional lots of note included a Montblanc Meisterstück Solitaire 162 White Gold & Diamond 75th Anniversary Limited Edition Rollerball Pen, sold for $11,250, and an Omas Merveille du Monde Series Marco Polo 18K Gold Limited Edition 300 Fountain Pen, featuring a dragon encircling its body, symbolic of the far reach of the ancient empires, sold for $10,625.

The next sale of Fine Writing Instruments at Bonhams will take place June 11, 2013 in San Francisco, with previews June 7-9.

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