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Monday, March 3, 2014

001 Pelikan Toledo M900

Introduction

The Pelikan M900 Toledo was released as a limited edition in 1991. I don’t know how many were manufactured, but only 500 were sold in the United States. My pen came with a certificate saying it was #431 out of 500.

Toledo Certificate

This is a very expensive pen, perhaps the most expensive in my collection. A Google search showed that the pen, in mint condition, sells for around $1800. That is about twice what I paid for it in 1991[1].

One thing that puzzles me is that, even though the pen was marketed as a limited edition in 1991, today there are many pen stores selling the M900 Toledo. For example, The Pen Boutique is selling it for $1800 and Amazon is selling it for much less.[2].

Open M900

The Pelikan Pen Company describes the Toledo pens like this:

The body of the fountain pen is made by use of an elaborate damascening technique. Its hand‑carved motif was coated with a layer of gold.

Pelikan’s detailed description of the Toledo models is here.

Physical Characteristics

Here is a picture of the M900 Toledo next to a TWSBI 580. They are just about identical in length when capped. However, the M900 is much heavier as shown in the table below.

Toledo-TWSBI

I made these measurement using a calibrated digital scale and a micrometer. The weight agrees with the numbers I found on the internet.

The Pelikan M900 Toledo compared to the TWSBI 580
Measurement Units Pelikan M900 TWSBI 580
Weight g 39 28
Length, capped mm 141 142
Length, uncapped mm 128
Length, posted mm 158

Like the beautifully hand-carved exterior, the nib of the M900 Toledo also has beautiful carvings on its upper surface. nib

How it writes

I can only guess that it writes like any other Pelikan’s with gold nibs. If a pen is truly rare, it can only lose value by writing with it. Although I write with many of my antique pens, I don’t write with the ones in mint condition except under certain circumstances. I’m planning a future post on the subject.

References

  • The Fountain Pen Network has a very detailed review of the Pelikan Toledo M900 here. The review contains several closeups of the pen including the top and bottom of the nib.

  • Another review is from the blog Write to Me Often. This review is bilingual, so scroll down to find the english version.

  • The Fountain Pen Hospital, based in New York City, has a brief description of the process used in making the Toledo pens[3].


  1. That sounds like a good investment, but it only works out to about an annual increase of 3%. A certificate of deposit would have done as well and an equity investment would have returned 3.75 times as much.  ↩

  2. The certificate, as shown in the picture, identifies the pen as the “Toledo M900 Collectors Edition”. I suppose this makes it stand out from the ordinary Toledo M900, but I don’t see any differences in the pen dealers pictures from my pen. Perhaps the only major difference is in the wording of the certificate itself!  ↩

  3. I confess to a certain nostalgia when I think of the Fountain Pen Hospital. Although I have been buying fountain pens since 1957 (that’s not a typo, I’ve been writing with fountain pens for 57 years) I never thought of myself as a pen collector until I discovered that there was a thriving hobby in collecting antique pens. I bought my first antique pen from the Fountain Pen Hospital in January 1990. It was a black Shaeffer Snorkel, with gold nib and trim, from the 1950s.  ↩

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