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  Filigree Pens: see also Filigree Pens for Another Category of Desirable Fountain Pens

The most desirable pens today date generally from the period from the beginning of the century until the mid thirties.

The qualities which make pens desirable are size, rarity, workmanship (including scale of complexity of the art work), presence of precious stones in the design and lastly aura.

Naturally pens with filigree work over hard rubber will be more valuable than pens without such work, and pens with pierced and engraved work will be more valuable than pens with filigree work.

Considerations of size are relatively self explanatory. In collecting terms, the most desirable pens are the Watermans (or Swan) No: 20s , the Parker Giants (black and red), the Mont Blanc No: 12 safeties and currently above all others, the Namiki giants which see figures above $350,000 which some feel to be quite a lot of money to pay for a single pen.

While not quite as large, the Leboeuf No 75 or 90 is also collectable principally because the plastics which that company used are so phenomenally beautiful

Conversely at the moment, small (ladies size) pens do not command the same values as their larger counterparts.

All of these large pens have an inescapable aura about them, which is sometimes divorced from their actual beauty.

Such can hardly be said about the next two categories. Although the concept of beauty in complexity is something which seems to have been forgotten at around the time of the depression, some of the earlier pens were incredible works of art in themselves.

In collecting circles, pens with intricately hand carved snakes , aztec heads, tree-trunk designs or cupids represent the centrepieces of any collection.

Generally exceptionally desirable ( and rarer) is the elegant piercing and engraving work in minute detail, as well as japanese hand painting called Maki'e work.

Although such snake (etc) pens have all the aura with collectors, rarer are the pens which combine these hand (?) engraved motifs with the elegant piercing and engraving work, as in the cupid examples of (usually) Watermans safety pens.

However rare these pens were, they did feature in catalogues, and could be ordered through ordinary dealers. Of ultimate rarity are the pens which were so rare that they didn't even feature in the catalogues, principally because of the complex workmanship.

Pens with precious stones fall into this category, as they were normally only 'ordered' as special presentation pieces.

Probably rarer still are the individually signed pens, such as the Watermans safeties featuring a certain religious symbol, pens featuring beautiful depictions of scenes from classical literature and the one signed Cavardi in the photograph . These were usually made or commissioned by Watermans of Italy; although fakes abound, -and were of particular concern to Watermans at the time of manufacture, the truth today is that the pens did harm only to the companies' profits, and assuming high standard, are almost as valuable as those produced by the major companies.

Rarer than this are the pens which one hears about but which one will probably never see. Into this category fall the few items described in the Faberge order books, elegantly mounted by the artist over Onoto mechanicals for Russian princes in around 1912, and the fabled Eversharp Coronets in solid gold with diamonds studded around the crown, made in the late thirties.

As these Coronets were only made for special presentation to heads of state it is relatively unlikely that many will find their way onto the general market.

Filigree Pens: see also Filigree Pens for Another Category of Desirable Fountain Pens

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