Every Spring for the past 25 years, Montblanc releases a special edition pen in honor of the arts. The German luxury pen maker features a collection of pens designed and named for a historical or contemporary person who inspired arts and architecture. Each pen is designed meticulously and handcrafted to create a unique writing utensil with a lot of value. This year’s Foundation Pen Patron of Art honors the Roman Emperor Hadrien who ruled the Holy Roman Emperor across three continents helping to stabilize the time in peace and prosperity. At the same time, Hadrien was a great benefactor of art and architecture across his Empire. Here is a look at Montblanc’s annual “Fountain Pen Patron of Art” homage to Hadrien, limited edition 4810.
History of the Fountain Pen Patron of Art
Montblanc began as the Simplo Filler Pen Co. in Hamburg, Germany in 1906. The company produced fountain pens which were called simple pens because they contained their own ink well. In 1910 the company became Montblanc. In 1977 Montblanc was purchased by Alfred Dunhill Ltd and began selling luxury goods including upscale pens. Other luxury goods included jewelry, watches, eyewear, leather goods and fragrances. Today, the Rupert Family owns Montblanc and its sister companies include Cartier, Chloé and Van Cleef & Arpels.
In 1992 Montblanc introduced its first Patron of the Arts fountain pen as an homage to the great benefactors of the arts throughout history. The Patron of the Arts pen was in honor of Lorenzo de Medici, a patron of the arts during the Italian Renaissance. The limited-edition handcrafted pen is worth between $5,000 and $10,000 today if in good condition. There were only 4810 made. The pens feature intricate details and often gold, silver and gems. Since 1992, Montblanc has released a limited-edition handcrafted fountain pen in honor of a patron of arts each Spring. Other Patron of the Arts pens include those honoring Elizabeth I, Joseph II, J.P. Morgan, Pope Julius II, Francois I, Rudyard Kipling, Peggy Guggenheim, Luciano Pavarotti and Henry Steinway. The Fountain Pen Patron of the Art released in the Spring of 2019 is in honor of Hadrien, the Roman Emperor.
Who was Hadrian
Publius Aelius Hadrianus was born in 76 AD and became a Roman Emperor in 117 AD. He is the third in what are called the “Five Good Emperors” because his rule was marked by peace and prosperity. Hadrian’s main achievements were to create a great prepared army, , establish civil and religious institutions, encourage art and culture, and create building and renovation projects throughout the Roman Empire. Hadrian is also known for creating Hadran’s Wall which his Roman army built in England to protect the northwest realm of the Empire. He is also known for encouraging Athens, Greece to become a cultural center. Hadrian traveled to most of the provinces of the Empire which stretched over three continents. Some of Hadrian’s building and renovation projects include Rome’s Panthenon renovation and The Temple of Venus and Roma and Egypt’s renovation of Serapeum of Alexandria.
Montblanc’s Fountain Pen Patron of Art Homage to Hadrian is incredibly detailed and valuable. There are four limited-edition collections and each varies a bit. There are 4810 Montblanc Patron of Art Homage to Hadrian. The more prevalent collection has many interesting features. The cap top and cone are inspired by Roman architecture and are gold coated. The gold coated cap ring features intricately handcrafted medallions in honor of the Antinous, a Greek hero, and Medusa, the Greek mythological creature. The Montblanc emblem is in mother of pearl on the cap top. The top ring and cone is created to represent the Roman god Janus. The cap and barrel are made with matte Egyptian basalt and features a shiny peacock. The clip is carved as a grain of wheat. The nib is handcrafted in 18-carat gold and embellished with a phoenix engraving. The cost for a pen from this collection is about $2,500.
A second collection of Montblanc’s Patron of Art Homage to Hadrian has 888 fountain pens. These handcrafted fountain pens are a bit different than the 4810 collection. The 888 edition has a sterling silver dome-shaped cap top in honor of Roman architecture with the Montblanc emblem in mother of pearl and two red gold medallions in honor of Aureus, an ancient Latin coin. The red marble barrel has red gold detail. The red gold nib is coated in rhodium and features an engraved Hadran Phoenix crowned with a laural leaf halo. A pen from this collection costs about $7,500. The third version of the Patron of Art Hadrian fountain pen has just 76 pens in its collection in honor of the year of Hadrian’s birth. The difference with this collection is that its made from solid white gold. The barrel is in matte Egyptian basalt and features an engraving of a peacock coiled around the barrel. Montblanc lists a pen from this collection as “price on demand”.
The fourth and most limited edition of the fountain pen Patron of Art Homage to Hadrian has just 5 handmade pens in its collections, so these are costly but will certainly increase in value over time. The 5 pens are in honor of the “Five Good Emperors” who rained over the Roman Empire during the first and second centuries. The cap represents Roman and Greek architecture with black and white glass mosaic hand laid. It has a rotating solid gold sphere with the Montblanc emblem hand engraved. The barrel is white gold with the coiled peacock which is surrounded by handsety blue sapphires. Montblanc lists ta pen from this collection as “price on demand”. Collectors of fountain pens from the Montblanc Patron of the Art limited edition collections are certain to see their investments increase in value over time. If the pen is in good condition and has its box, it’s of higher value. The Homage to Hadrien pens are already being sold for more than their purchase price.