In the realm of luxury writing instruments, the Montblanc Great Characters series stands out for its eye-catching designs and broad range of tributes to individuals who have left an indelible mark on history. This collection not only pays homage to these extraordinary figures but also provides us with some amazing looking pens!
Great Characters – the beginnings
Launched in 2009, the Great Characters series has arguably the most wide-reaching collection of designs and subjects. The usual model line-up includes a special edition and then two limited editions (this does vary with the older models). The first person chosen in the series was Mahatma Gandhi and this remains one of the most coveted pens, not only from the Great Characters range, but also from the wider Montblanc back-catalogue.
We’re big fans of the series and one of the main reasons for this is that Montblanc tend to go further than other series when it comes to intricate details of the use of different materials. As mentioned, the Mahatma Gandhi was the first release – so let’s look at this one as an example. The overall design of the LE3000 is inspirated by the symbol of India’s independence and Gandhi’s actions, the spinning wheel. The lacquered finish on the cream resin barrel and cap recall the structure of cotton, with the sterling silver trim having a woven design to reflect the thread. On the clip there’s a mandarin garnet, which represents the Indian flag.
We could write for hours about the individual details found on this series of pens, but here are a few of our favourites. The mesmerising finish on the barrel and cap of the Alfred Hitchcock alludes to the dizzying effect of the staircase in ‘Vertigo’. The hidden Montblanc snowcap inside the cap of the Leonardo da Vinci can be seen reflected in the internal mirror, a nod to his love of mirror studies. The Albert Einstein has an intricately engraved barrel which features a selection of important formulas. The list goes on, but as you can see, these really are pens which truly reflect the person they pay tribute to.
The Complete List
2009: Mahatma Gandhi (LE 3000 and 241)
2011: Alfred Hitchcock (LE3000 and 80)
2013: Albert Einstein (LE3000 and 99)
2014: Leonardo da Vinci (LE 3000 and 74)
2015: John F. Kennedy (Special Edition, LE1917 and 83)
2015: Andy Warhol (Special Edition, LE1928 and 100)
2016: Miles Davis (Special Edition, LE1926 and 90)
2017: The Beatles (Special Edition, LE1969 and 88)
2018: James Dean (Special Edition, LE1931 and 991)
2019: Walt Disney (Special Edition, LE1901 and 90)
2020: Elvis Presley (Special Edition, LE1935 and 98)
2021: Enzo Ferrari (Special Edition, LE1898 and 98)
2022: Jimi Hendrix (Special Edition, LE1942 and 99)
2023: Muhammad Ali (Special Edition, LE1942 and 98)
A Brief Buying Guide
The Great Characters series sees some of the biggest price differences between models of any Montblanc collection. The first four pens (Gandhi, Hitchcock, Einstein and da Vinci) are the most sought-after and this is in part due to the fact that there isn’t a special edition version, so the only option for ownership is to purchase the limited editions.
The series has evolved to now include a fountain pen, rollerball pen and ballpoint pen edition, but this isn’t the case for all releases – the Gandhi and Einstein were fountain pen and rollerball only.
Pricing is difficult on the rarer pens, as they do fluctuate, but as an example the Gandhi and Leonardo da Vinci LE3000 Fountain Pen will be approximately £3500-4500, with the Einstein being extremely sought-after and usually priced around £6000. The Special Edition fountain pens will range from approximately £700-1100, depending on the model.
The Montblanc Great Characters collection is more than a series of luxury writing instruments; it is a celebration of human achievement and the enduring power of the written word. With its exquisite craftsmanship, thoughtful design, and homage to iconic figures, this collection continues to captivate the fans not only of Montblanc but also of the person who the pen pays tribute to. In our opinion, it’s a really enjoyable series to collect as each pen features so many little design details and each one is extremely distinctive.
You will usually find a wide selection of the Montblanc Writers Edition series available in the IZODS Preloved section, but if you have specific requirements then please do get in touch. There are many releases from the series, especially earlier examples, that often sell before they reach the website or are only offered for a short period of time before being snapped up. We can source specific example and work with collectors around the world to help fill elusive gaps in their own collections.