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Fountain Pens - General

Fountain pens have their roots in old sharpened quills. To avoid having to constantly dip the nib of the pen in ink, inventors began to develop mechanical fountain pens. The earliest-known fountain pen dates from 1702, and numerous designs and patents appeared throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

In 1884, Lewis Edson Waterman, an insurance agent, experimented with perfecting the capillary action in fountain pens and designed the first practical fountain pen. Similarly, George Parker, a telegraphy teacher from Wisconsin, invented a better fountain pen through his efforts to fix the pens he was selling as a second job. He received his patent for the Parker Pen in 1889. Other notable early fountain pen manufacturers include the Conklin Pen Company, Sheaffer, and Wahl, which later became Eversharp.

Collectors of vintage fountain pens are interested in the different innovations in pen technology that occurred over the years, as well as the many attractive and interesting pen styles. Some collectors focus on just one brand of fountain pen, such as Sheaffer or Montblanc, while others focus on a pen style or type of technology.


Quick Facts

  • Fountain pens with rare types of nibs are valued at higher prices. The nibs themselves are collectible, with some specialty nibs valued at up to $300
  • Montblanc pens, introduced in Germany in 1907, are considered one of the top international luxury pen brands. Montblanc pens are easily identified by a white star on the cap
  • The Fulgor Nocturnus, made by Tibaldi of Florence, Italy, with 945 black diamonds and 123 rubies is the current record holder as the world's most expensive fountain pen. It sold for $8,000,000 at auction in 2010

Recommended Items at Auction

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Alfred Dunhill 18K Yellow Gold Nib Fountain Pen
Mar 12, 11:00 AM EDT
Alfred Dunhill 18K Yellow Gold Nib Fountain Pen
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$1503 Bids
Hugo Boss Fountain Pen In Original Box
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Hugo Boss Fountain Pen In Original Box
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$63 Bids
Pilot Custom Fountain Pen 1974 18K Nib Japan, No ink
Feb 28, 5:00 PM EST
Pilot Custom Fountain Pen 1974 18K Nib Japan, No ink
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$22 Bids
Signature Cross Fountain Pen 18K Gold Nib 750 With Org Box And Ink Cartridges
Feb 28, 5:00 PM EST
Signature Cross Fountain Pen 18K Gold Nib 750 With Org Box And Ink Cartridges
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$11 Bid
Cartier Pasha de Cartier 750 Gold fountain pen,
Mar 15, 12:00 PM CET
Cartier Pasha de Cartier 750 Gold fountain pen,
by Antikauktion Krefeld
Est: €200- €0
€2001 Bid
JINHAO Fountain Pen
Feb 29, 9:00 AM EST
JINHAO Fountain Pen
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Minka Purple Lacquer Iridium Point Fountain Pen
Mar 12, 11:00 AM EDT
Minka Purple Lacquer Iridium Point Fountain Pen
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
Stylochap "Grand Prix" 18K Gold Nib Fountain Pen
Mar 12, 11:00 AM EDT
Stylochap "Grand Prix" 18K Gold Nib Fountain Pen
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Antique Sterling Fountain Pen
Feb 28, 5:00 PM EST
Antique Sterling Fountain Pen
by Absolute Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Sheaffers Fountain Pen Desk Set
Mar 01, 9:00 AM MST
Sheaffers Fountain Pen Desk Set
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$100 Bids
Picasso Art Collection fountain pen
Feb 29, 11:00 AM CST
Picasso Art Collection fountain pen
by Toomey & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $200- $300
$500 Bids
Ville d'Argent ''Jumbo size'' fountain pen, silver.
Mar 06, 11:00 AM CET
Ville d'Argent ''Jumbo size'' fountain pen, silver.
by Goudwisselkantoor Veilingen
Est: €75- €150
€350 Bids
Rare St Dupont Andy Warhol Fountain Pen Yellow Box & Papers 18ct Gold Nib
Mar 24, 7:00 PM GMT
Rare St Dupont Andy Warhol Fountain Pen Yellow Box & Papers 18ct Gold Nib
by James Auctioneers London
Est: £380- £425
£3750 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Fountain Pens - General


Setdart Auction House

Setdart Auction House

Auctions at Showplace

Auctions at Showplace

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Auktionshaus Rotherbaum OHG

Auktionshaus Rotherbaum OHG