Vintage Pelikan pens



2015-06-26 10:34:05

Pelikan pens are pens manufactured by the German company Pelikan.

Company history

The Pelikan company started life as an ink company in Hanover, Germany. It was established in the 1830s by Carl Hornemann, but when he retired in 1871 he sold the company to the factory’s chemist and plant manager Gunther Wagner. Wagner used his family’s coat of arms as the company logo, which featured a Pelican, and changed the company name accordingly. For many years the company continued as a successful manufacturer of high quality inks and office supplies, expanding to employ 1057 people by 1913. Then in 1929 the company produced the first of its celebrated line of fountain pens.

The first model was the Pelikan 100 which featured a now-trademark green shaft, a transparent ink window and an innovation piston ink mechanism which proved so popular it soon became the standard for fountain pens across Europe.

It went on the produce a number of variations on this model during the 1930s before ceasing production during World War II. After reopening they released the Pelikan 400 series in 1950, and the model went on to influence a large number of their later designs.

During the 1960s they began to offer a less expensive range of school pens including the Pelikano, but fell into financial trouble due to competition with mass-produced disposable ballpoint pens during the 1970s and 80s. They returned their focus to high-end fountain pens by reintroducing the 400 model in 1982, followed by the Souverain series and the Pelikan M800 model in 1987.

During the 1980s and 90s the company changed hands twice, first purchased by Swiss investors in 1984 before being bought out by Malaysian buyers. They continue to produce high-end pens today, which are renowned for their quality and design.


Pelikan pens are extremely popular with collectors due to their high quality and design. The most sought after models are the early 100 and rare 400N models, along with the 101 series and the deluxe variations on the 100 model.

The 101 series is essentially the 100 model with a number of different cases including marble, tortoiseshell and lizard skin finishes. The deluxe range includes the 110, the 111 and the 112, all introduced in 1931. One of the rarest and most sought after models is the 111 Toldeo.

Modern editions to look out for include the limited edition M620 series with different designs named after cities such as Madrid, Chicago and Shanghai. However, as Pelikan is well-known for changing its designs very little, and reissuing old styles (such as the 400 model which was reissued in 1982), it can sometime be difficult to tell a vintage model from a newer pen without close inspection and research.

Many pen collectors regard Pelikan pens as the best on the market in terms of quality, smoothness, ink flow and responsiveness, meaning even the less rare models can still sell for several hundred dollars.


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