There are Montblanc pens and then there are Montblanc pens… this is very firmly the latter. We’re absolutely delighted to be offering another Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 1950’s Celluloid Silver Rings Fountain Pen, which comes with its original luxury mottled presentation box.
If you’ve come this far, then you’re likely already familiar with these pens, but if not then let me explain a little for you… the Montblanc 149 is a writing legend and central to its mythical status are the 1950’s offerings, which are distinctive for two main reasons. The first is that they made from celluloid, rather than the now commonly used resin – the second is that the two rings that surround the main cap band are sterling silver. After 1960 these were then changed to the gold plated version, which has been ever present since.
It’s difficult to write a description for a pen that conjures up so much history and warrants its place in the highest echelons of all Montblanc writing instruments. The 149 has always been seen as a symbol of power and stature, but these original 1950’s versions take this a stage (in fact many stages!) further and create a writing experience that simply has to be experienced.
Here at izods, we love what we do and handling hundreds of pens each year never fails to put a smile on our faces… but sometimes you have a moment where genuine excitement takes over you, and when we source these celluloid 149’s that’s exactly what happens.
Let me explain the important details about this pen…
Nib: The pen is fitted with the legendary 14C tri-tone broad nib, which is an absolute joy to write with and lays down a gloriously varied line. The gold is bright and the imprints crisp – these nibs are renowned for their levels of feedback, spring and ease of writing, making them hugely sought after. Their modern counterparts simply can’t compete.
Feed: The celluloid 149’s came with two feeds over the time that they were produced – the first being known as a ski-slope feed and then those from the mid 1950’s being fitted with a round ebonite feed with grooved face and shank. This pen has the latter.
Filling System: One of the stand-out features of the celluloid 149’s is the ingenious telescopic filling system. This is a two stage process, where by the piston knob is turned during the initial stage, it then is turned again to engage the telescoping system, which then fills or empties the ink reservoir. We’ve fully engaged the filling system and it travels the full distance and fills well.
Ink Window: The celluloid pens are famous for their ink window and with use the original green colour then turns to various shades of amber and red. The lines on this one are faded, with the ink window having a dark amber hue. This is the short ink window version, with some of the earliest examples having a longer ink window.
Celluloid: Celluloid is a notoriously tricky substance to work with and is very susceptible to storage conditions. For this reason, many of the 149’s available suffer from varying degrees of shrinkage – this is most obvious on the cap, where the main part is then noticeably smaller than the gold plated clip ring and two silver rings. There is very little shrinkage on this pen, with the two silver rings moving slightly but not at any point being close to coming off. Whilst on the subject of celluloid, you will often see people advertising 149’s as being demonstrator versions – this is not the case, it’s simply where the black celluloid has worn away on the barrel to reveal the clear structure below. It will present as an amber colour and you can then see the internal workings of the pen – often this wear isn’t even and although people like to coin the term ‘demonstrator’ it’s simply not the case.
Silver Rings: The most recognisable feature of these 50’s pens are the two wonderful sterling silver rings found on the cap. A common problem, due to shrinkage of the celluloid, is that these rings become very loose or heavily distorted. Neither of these pitfalls have befallen this pen, with the rings being overall straight with only a slight wave at one point and as mentioned the rings do spin slightly if pushed, but they’re certainly not going to come off.
Markings: The celluloid pens were heat-stamped with a variety of different markings – this particular one has 149 imprinted on the piston knob and B denoting a broad nib. This pen features the traditional ‘Meisterstuck’ on the main cap band rather than the other option at the time which was ‘Masterpiece’ – this was used for certain export markets. The imprint ‘made in Germany’ appears very lightly on the barrel – this is interesting as usually this appears on the cap.
Presentation Box: The vast majority of celluloid 149’s appear without any box or simply a modern version. This pen comes complete with its original mottled luxury presentation box. This was a very expensive option at the time of original purchase and as such very few of them were purchased… as you can imagine, some 60 years later even fewer of them still exist. This one is in very good condition, with the hinges being entirely in place and only some ink staining to the inside cloth.
Condition: The pen is presented in lovely condition – this is a 60 year old pen, so there are marks associated with use over time, but still a great example. We’ve lightly polished it, but you could polish it further if you wanted.
Well, you’ve probably not read a pen description that’s as long as this on ebay for a while. Hopefully what comes across, is how passionate we are about such fine writing instruments like this. You can undoubtedly find a cheaper celluloid 149 than this example, in fact a quick Google search will probably find you a few – but for the person who’ll buy this pen, they’ll do it because they know that they’re purchasing a piece of Montblanc history. When you consider that a modern solid gold 149 sells for around £6,500.00 (we know that the fact it’s solid gold makes it far more!), I’d say that this pen represents tremendous value… we know which one we’d rather have.
There’s very few pens that I’d consider to be investment grade, but this one seems to tick all the boxes. I’m not one to make claims about future values, but pens like this are only increasing in price and scarcity. It would make for a wonderful addition to any collection or simply to be admired… the choice is yours, write with it every day and you’ll be rewarded with a pen that barely has an equal, or simply stare at it and keep it in a collection.