For over a century, German manufacturer Montblanc has enjoyed a reputation as one of the world’s leading providers of luxury writing pieces. Combining expert craftsmanship with the finest materials available, its range of pens are among the best, and most expensive, in the world. Of all its pieces, those in its Limited-Edition collection are perhaps the most noteworthy. With each unique piece drawing inspiration from some of the most significant figures in history, collectors of Montblanc pens have been known to spend up to a million dollars apiece on the highly desirable items. Read on for a rundown of Montblanc’s all-time greatest hits.
20. Fountain Pen Patron of Art Hommage à Scipione Borghese Limited Edition 4810
Just creeping into the top 20 is the Fountain Pen Patron of Art Hommage à Scipione Borghese Limited Edition 4810, a celebration of the Italian Cardinal, art collector and patron of the arts, Scipione Borghese. Featuring a crystal encrusted clip, a solid granite barrel, and an Au 750 solid gold nib, the pen is a fitting tribute to one of art’s most significant figures.
19. Luciano Pavarotti Limited Edition 4810 Fountain Pen
For opera fans looking for a cheaper alternative to the $9,200.00 Luciano Pavarotti Limited Edition 888 Fountain Pen (more on which coming up), the Luciano Pavarotti Limited Edition 4810 Fountain Pen may be just the ticket. Designed to represent the black tuxedo and white bow tie and shirt Pavarotti wore during performances, the piece is as fine a homage to one of opera’s greatest legends as you could wish to find.
18. Fountain Pen Heritage Rouge et Noir Spider Metamorphosis Limited Edition 1906
Fountain Pen Heritage Rouge et Noir Spider Metamorphosis Limited Edition 1906 is a celebration of the 110-year history of Montblanc. The piece features a long, slim silhouette and an elegant design that perfectly exemplifies the expert craftsmanship of the brand. Made of Ag 925 sterling silver and overlaid with a spider’s web featuring a ruby encrusted spider at its heart, the pen is a perfect example of why Montblanc has enjoyed its legendary status for over a century.
17. Fountain Pen Patron of Art Homage to Ludwig II Limited Edition 4810
Stealing in at number 17 is the Fountain Pen Patron of Art Homage to Ludwig II Limited Edition 4810. Like the Fountain Pen Patron of Art Hommage à Scipione Borghese Limited Edition 888 (see number 8 on our list for more details), this piece is inspired by the King of Bavaria, Ludwig II. Unlike its $8,760.00 counterpart, however, this blue, gold and white lacquered piece comes in at a much more affordable $2805.
16. Great Characters The Beatles Limited Edition 1969 Rollerball Pen
Number 16 on our list is the Great Characters The Beatles Limited Edition 1969 Rollerball Pen. Designed to celebrate the Fab Four, musical influences abound on this highly desirable limited-edition piece. The cone draws inspiration from the button of the mixing table at Abbey Road studios, while the cap is designed to resemble a microphone. The clip, meanwhile, is shaped in the style of the mustaches worn by the Beatles during their heyday, while the limited edition run of 1969 pieces references the release date of the band’s most iconic album, Abbey Road.
15. Fountain Pen Patron of Art Homage to Hadrian Limited Edition 4810
Coming in at number 15 is the modestly priced Fountain Pen Patron of Art Homage to Hadrian Limited Edition 4810, a writing piece that draws inspiration from one of history’s most famous rulers, Hadrian. As noted by Forbes, this striking, bold design comprises of a gold-coated cap top with a cone shape inspired by the Roman buildings Hadrian commissioned. Both cap and barrel are crafted from rare Egyptian basalt, while the Montblanc emblem that adorns its cap is made from black and white precious resin. Completing the exquisite design is a gold-coated clip shaped to resemble a sheaf of wheat, while the cone is encircled with rings decorated with Romanesque patterns.
14. Great Characters James Dean Limited Edition 1931 Fountain Pen
At number 14 on our list, we see the Great Characters James Dean Limited Edition 1931 Fountain Pen. Priced at $3305.00, the pen celebrates Dean at his most iconic in the 1955 film, Rebel Without a Cause. Shaped to resemble the switchblade used by Dean in the film, the pen’s theme is continued in the engraving of the actor’s favorite sports car that adorns the Ag 925 sterling silver barrel. Completing the homage to Dean is the engraving of his legendary quote "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today’ that decorates the cap.
13. Montblanc Writers Edition Homage to Rudyard Kipling Tribute to “IF” Fountain Pen Limited Edition 1895
In at number 13 we have the Montblanc Writers Edition Homage to Rudyard Kipling Tribute to “IF” Fountain Pen Limited Edition 1895. Influenced by some of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work, the pen is a celebration of all things Kipling, from the engraved lines of the seminal poem, If, that decorate the cap top and cone ring, to the clip ring that draws inspiration from the wolf pack of The Jungle Book. Priced at $4,080.00, this limited-edition piece is an aspirational buy for any true fan of the celebrated author.
12. Montblanc Writers Edition William Shakespeare Fountain Pen Limited Edition 1597
What would a fine pen collection be without a fitting tribute to one of the greatest English writers of all time, William Shakespeare? Here, we see a pen fit for the writer himself. Its round cap draws inspiration from London’s Globe Theatre (the theatre at which Shakespeare premiered most of his plays), while the pen’s black and white coloring reflects the different colored flags raised by the theatre during performances. The shape of the pen, meanwhile, pays homage to the Quill pen used by the great writer himself, while each of its encircling rings represents one of his major plays. With just 1597 pens in production (a reference to the date of publication of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet), it’s little wonder the pen is in such high demand.
11. Writers Edition Antoine Saint-Exupéry Limited Edition Fountain Pen
As with most Montblanc limited editions, our 11th pen draws inspiration from a significant figure from the past. In this case, the figure in question is Antoine Saint-Exupéry, famed writer of "Night Flight". The pen takes inspiration from that same novel (and others), along with his legendary Caudron Simoun plane. Starting with the nib, we see a homage to “The Little Prince”, one of his most famous works. Moving up to the barrel, we see engravings of the geographic positions of the cities that proved most influential in Saint-Exupéry’s life. Reaching the cap, we have a representation of the night sky as seen by Saint-Exupéry during his first flight in the Caudron Simoun on November 1, 1929, at 23:00.
10. Leo Tolstoy Limited Edition Fountain Pen
Polling at number 10 we have the Leo Tolstoy Limited Edition Fountain Pen. Inspired by Tolstoy’s most famous work, the colors of the pen reflect the blues and greens used on the cover of the first edition of War and Peace. The clip and cap top, meanwhile, represent the entrance to Tolstoy’s estate, while the modest shape represents the simple, humble nature of Tolstoy’s philosophy. To complete the Tolstoy connection, we see his portrait finely engraved on the Au 750 solid gold nib. With work this detailed, it’s easy to understand the $4,240.00 price tag.
9. Writers Edition Homage to Homer Limited Edition Fountain Pen
In 9th place, we have the Writers Edition Homage to Homer Limited Edition Fountain Pen, a very special pen that takes inspiration from the story of the Trojan horse. The barrel (made of champagne-tone gold-coated and coral-colored precious resin) is shaped to reflect the curves of the horse, while the back and clip are designed to represent the spear. Meanwhile, the delicate engravings around the cone take inspiration from ancient Greek pottery, as does the coral color of the barrel.
8. Fountain Pen Patron of Art Hommage à Scipione Borghese Limited Edition 888
Coming in next is the unique limited-edition pen that draws inspiration from the Roman Baroque interior design of the Villa Borghese. The dark green, marbled case is offset by rings of rose gold, intended to represent the wealth and nobility of the Villa’s historical occupants, while the cap has been crafted in the shape of the cardinal’s hat. The gold nib is embellished by a delicate engraving inspired by the Scipione Borghese coat of arms, while the drop stone in the clip draws inspiration from watercolor. All in all, a very fine pen.
7. Peggy Guggenheim 888 Limited Edition Fountain Pen
Yet another limited-edition Montblanc creation to hit our top 20 is the Peggy Guggenheim 888 Limited Edition Fountain Pen. Dedicated to Peggy Guggenheim, one of the most significant and celebrated art collectors of the 20th century, this beautiful and unusual pen is decorated with intricately rendered engravings of lion heads in tribute to the exterior of Peggy’s home, the ‘palazzo venier dei leoni’. 10 glistening red garnets decorate the lion’s eyes, while the body of the pen dazzles in red gold and translucent red lacquer. Topping of the creation is the hallmark Montblanc diamond on the cap, and a nib engraved with Au750 solid gold paws to represent Guggenheim’s 14 Lhasa apso dogs.
6. Fountain Pen Patron of Art Hommage à Scipione Borghese Limited Edition 888
As a fitting tribute to the Swan King (or in other words, King Ludwig II of Bavaria), Montblanc has created a fairytale pen featuring an Au 750 solid gold, engraved nib, a solid Au 750 gold skeleton overlay, and a platinum-coated clip. In homage to the King’s royal emblem of the swan, the pen’s clip has been crafted to resemble the elegant shape of a swan’s neck, while in honor of Ludwig’s love of the arts, 'WWV75' (the code assigned to Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin), has been subtly engraved along the clip. The result is a beautiful creation well worth its $8,900.00 price tag.
5. Luciano Pavarotti Limited Edition 888 Fountain Pen
This limited-edition tribute to the late, great classical singer Pavarotti is inspired by the opera “Turandot”, the Puccini Opera that bought the singer to worldwide attention. A magical celebration of eastern influences, music and the man himself, the pen’s cap eschews the usual star-shaped Montblanc diamond for a white lacquer dragon with red garnet eyes. Engraved around the elegant casing are depictions of opera ornaments, while a delicately engraved bent nail (Pavarotti’s good-luck charm) adorns the solid gold nib. Completing the limited-edition piece is a gold-coated clip designed to imitate the singer’s trademark scarves.
4. Limited Edition Boehme Papillion Pen by Montblanc
Another limited-edition pen to add to the list is 2006’s Boehme Papillion Pen. Coming in at $230,410, this stunning demonstration of Montblanc at its most creative is available in three variations: white, yellow or rose gold. Each of the exquisitely crafted pens is set with 1400 glittering diamonds and sapphires. Engraved around the elegant casing are delicate butterflies in flight, while the cap features the Montblanc hallmark of a star-shaped sparkling diamond. Only 6 of the limited-edition pens were created in total, which no doubt helps explain its status as one of the most desired of Montblanc’s creations.
3. Prince Rainier III Limited Edition 81 Fountain Pen
Created in tribute to Prince Rainer of Monaco, the Prince Rainier III Limited Edition 81 Fountain Pen creeps into bronze position. Created in honor of Rainer’s 56 years on the throne, the pen is a fitting tribute indeed: its 18k white gold barrel is set with 996 diamonds and 96 rubies, each precisely placed to resemble the patterned shield on the prince’s coat of arms. With only 81 pieces created in total (a number chosen in remembrance of the Prince’s age when he died), this Limited-edition piece has seen no wane in interest since its creation in 2007.
2. Mystery Masterpiece by Montblanc and Van Cleef and Arpels
Narrowly missing out on the top spot is the exquisite Mystery Masterpiece by Montblanc and Van Cleef and Arpels. Its hefty $730,000 price tag is justified by its background: in 2007, Montblanc teamed up with fine jewelers Van Cleef and Arpels with the explicit intention of designing one of the most stunning pens that had ever been crafted. In that, they succeeded. As noted by Luxury Experience, the limited-edition Mystery Masterpiece was released in three variations; one was set with rubies, the other with sapphires and the third with emeralds. The variations were limited to three pieces each, making a grand total of nine extremely limited-edition pens for the world’s richest calligraphers to drool over.
1. Montblanc Boehme Royal Pen
Price: $1.5 Million
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the best Montblanc pen also happens to be the most expensive. At $1.5 million, this dazzling example of master craftsmanship is clearly not for the fainthearted (or the tight of purse). So, what makes this particular pen so expensive and so worthy of a place at the top of our list? For starters, the 5294 sapphires and 570 diamonds that have gone into its making. The jewels aren’t just there to bump up the price, however- as Architectural Digest notes their careful placement around the casing is designed to recreate the sparkling night sky, a homage to Johannes Kepler, the 16th-century astrologer and the main inspiration behind the pen. Of course, it goes without saying the pen writes beautifully (guided, no doubt, by the engraving of the constellation Ophiuchus which sits on its nib).
Written by Dana Hanson
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