It all began three decades ago in 1978. In recognition of his extraordinary performance, Mel Wimore’s employers gifted him a stunning Montblanc pen. Overjoyed, inspired, Mel embarked on his decades-long journey with Montblanc pens- a journey which culminates this June with The Mel Wilmore Collection of Extraordinary Montblancs auction at Bonhams. And before the gavel bangs on the exquisite pieces, they will be showcased at cities like Hong Kong and New York. Bonhams earlier collaborated with Butterfields for hosting an auction of rare Montblanc pens, including the the Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Royal LeGrand, a legendary Diamond Solitaire pen featuring 4,500 brilliant cut white diamonds over an 18k yellow gold barrel, also known as one of the world's most expensive writing instruments.
Before we go exploring Wilmore’s fantastic collection, let us take a journey back in time and find out more about his undying love for all things Montblanc. Mel’s first Montblanc, the one he received as a gift from his employers, was a black Meisterstruck. This initial token of recognition triggered an exceptional interest in pens. As Wilmore’s career scaled new heights, his fondness of pens continued to grow. With time, he became one of Mont Blanc’s most loved North American clients. Such was his heavenly devotion to Montblancs that the man had a discreet room constructed in his residence, which would store nothing but pens, pens and more pens! For years, Wilmore’s secret pen kingdom lay hidden behind a brilliantly designed hinged bookcase. And what exactly did he have in there? Simply put- the most wondrous collection of Montblanc pens in the world. From anniversary editions to Bohemes to Limited editions- the collection was huge. A Montblanc enthusiast to the core, Wilmore had rarely experimented with other brands. However, on those rare instances that he actually did, Wilmore made sure to get hold of the best and the most interesting. Some these non- Montblancs, which includes the likes of OMOS Mandela pens and Nimikis, also go under the hammer at Bonham’s this June.
Having discussed Wilmore’s exceptional fascination for Montblanc pens, check-out some of the most brilliant pieces from the collection.
75th Anniversary Solid Gold Skeleton Fountain Pen
Estimated price: $60,000-75,000
While the auction is slated to feature 300 pens, the spotlight undoubtedly remains on a stunning piece from Montblanc’s 75th anniversary edition. The solid gold Fountain Pen and Watch Set embodies the artistry and fine craftsmanship which represents Montblanc pens around the world. Bathed in 18 karats of solid gold, the pen’s skeleton over lay peeks from a translucent resin barrel. The telescopic piston is engraved with a signature of its master creator.
Charlie Chaplin Limited Edition Fountain Pen
Estimated price: $25,000-35,000
A mesmerizing tribute to one of twentieth century’s greatest performers, the Charlie Chaplin Skeleton pen draws inspiration from the machines featured in “Modern Times”. The tiny cog wheels have all been crafted out of 18 Karats solid white gold. In what can be described as a stunning specimen of artistic brilliance, the pen has been designed to signify Chaplin’s persona. If the pen’s cone and barrel remind you of Chaplin’s baggy trousers, then the captop resembles his bowler hat.
The Stars and Stripes Limited Edition Fountain Pen
Estimated Price: $15,000-25,000
The Stars and Stripes pieces pay tribute to the Old Glory and the spirit of patriotism. Handcrafted to perfection, the pen contains a translucent resin overlaid with white gold filigree. An American flag designed from fine cut rubies and diamonds adorns the resin.
White House Limited Edition Fountain pen
Estimated Price: $20,000-30,000
Designed around the White House architecture, this Montblanc beauty is made from blue transparent resin. White gold columns imitate the actual columns of the White House. A Sapphire eyed Eagle sits gracefully at the base of the clip. The nib, moreover, comes with an engraving of the presidential seal.
The Ruby Creation Limited Edition Fountain Pen
Estimated Price: $12,000-20,000
In what can be described as a perfect example of a modern day fountain pen design married onto oriental figures, the Ruby creation will leave you mesmerized. As if the 18 karat gold dragon, set with rubies and diamonds, was not enough the solid background of black resin captivates your senses further. A pearl gleams majestically from the dragon’s mouth as emeralds make its eyes flash with a mysterious glow.
The list further includes breath taking creations in the form of Limited edition John Lennon pens or the princess cut diamond pens. Internet shoppers have reasons to cheer. If you cant make it Bonham’s in person, then 75 sets of skeleton pens and watches await you on eBay. We had earlier told you about the Montblanc diamond solitaire which is expected to grab $175,000 at a Bonham’s and Butterfields sale on May 23rd. Next in line at Bonhams from the stable of Montblanc, Wilmore’s exquisite collection, let us all hope, smashes records.
All aspects considered, the Montblanc collection, it goes without saying, cannot be described in words. The sheer vastness and diversity of it leaves us with one realization- we now understand why Mr. Wilmore had to have an entire hidden treasury built to guard his possessions!