Swann Galleries' Inaugural Auction of Fine & Vintage Writing Instruments

New York—On Thursday, September 13 Swann Galleries will conduct an auction devoted to Fine & Vintage Writing Instruments—the first sale the auction house has held of collectible pens. Swann—well known for auctions of books and manuscripts—will conduct semiannual auctions of select fountain pens from the early 20th century through the present, featuring limited edition and luxury pens from the most respected manufacturers as well as historic rarities.

The Writing Instruments department at Swann is headed by pen collector and historian Rick Propas, who has sold fine pens both on his own and working with another auction house.

The September 13 auction features the Chilton collection of William Baisden, which is the finest group of Chiltons ever offered at one time in one place. Best known for their innovative pneumatic fillers, Chilton’s most distinctive product was the Wing-Flow of the mid-1930s, which featured patterned gold and silver inlays against a modernist design. A Wing-Flow gold-filled fountain pen and mechanical pencil set—which is quite possibly one of a kind—is estimated at $3,000 to $4,000. Among the late model Golden Quills are an extremely uncommon translucent burgundy celluloid with a yellow translucent section ($1,000 to $1,500) and an excellent, unrestored blue celluloid ($1,200 to $1,800). There are also Crockers, Bostons, Long Islands, Chiltonians and more.

A fine selection of modern Limited Edition pens includes mint in box examples of the most highly sought-after Montblanc Patron of the Arts and Writers Editions, such as Friedrich II ($2,500 to $3,500); Alexander the Great ($2,000 to $3,000); and a pair of Catherine the Great and Peter the Great with matching serial numbers ($3,000 to $4,000).

By Montegrappa are a Luxor Blue Nile 750 with solid 18k gold overlay ($6,000 to $9,000); and a Silver Dragon with sterling silver overlay ($1,500 to $2,500).

The sale also features a choice selection of vintage Parkers including a pair of 16s ($400 to $600 and $800 to $1,200) and an abalone slab-sided 45, and a Snake 38 ($2,000 to $3,000 each). Among other vintage pens are early chased Aikens and Watermans, as well as a very fine red ripple Waterman 58 ($1,000 to $1,500); and an iconic 20 in black ($1,500 to $2,500). There is also a handful of later Parkers including Duofolds and Vacumatics; a pristine Empire State 51 set ($1,500 to $2,000); a T-1 titanium set ($400 to $600); and a Waterman Hundred Year set in the box ($600 to $900).

From Europe are early Montblanc Rouge et Noirs as well as later safety pens, overlays and Masterpiece models going up through the 1960s. In this group are multiple 129, 138, and 139s as well as black and colored 146s and 149s. Pelikans are represented by the iconic 110, 111 and Toledo models as well as tortoise and lizard 101 and 101Ns.

Italy is most strikingly represented by Aurora’s Asterope ($2,000 to $3,000) and Etiopia, which was created to commemorate the conquest of Ethiopia ($2,500 to $3,500), both in exquisite condition.  There are also oversize models from both Aurora and OMAS, not to mention pens from Ancora, Columbus, Tibaldi and others.

Rounding out the sale is choice handful of both modern and vintage Japanese maki-e urushi lacquer pens.

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 13.

The writing instruments will be on public exhibition Saturday September 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, September 10 through Wednesday, September 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, September 13, from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.

For further information, and to make arrangements to leave a bid or to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Marco Tomaschett at (212) 254-4710, extension 12, or via e-mail at mtomaschett@swanngalleries.com.

Live online bidding is also available via Artfact.com.

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