No. 20 Lever Filler

This pen is from the personal collection of Ariel Zuñiga - a generous contributor on FPN, seminal Montblanc collector’s books, and now this website. Watch out for a series of reviews of truly rare pens thanks to AZ’s generosity!

This No. 20 "Masterpiece" made between 1928-30 has many special characteristics. First, it is a lever filler. Montblanc wasn't too excited to use lever mechanisms but was probably pressured to do so because this technology was popular internationally. So, they made lever fillers for a rather short time between 1922 and 1930, and probably for the export market because the safety was filler was better received in Germany. Hence, they are hard to come by and very valuable today. Second, the ball clip on this pen was made for only a short period between 1929 and 1932. I haven't come across many pens with this particular clip (which is different from the more common teardrop clip). Finally, and arguably most importantly, the colour - we have the beautiful and rare Azurite blue here!

For bibliography, see Resources page -->link

In 1924 Montblanc introduced the "Meisterstück" series which was intended to be the company's top-of-the-line offering. At that time, the pens were numbered based on their price. So, No. 20 meant that it cost 20 Reichsmark (RM) which was the currency in Germany at the time. The smaller numbers meant that the pens cost less but also that they were smaller in size. The smallest pen in the line up was the No. 20 we have here at around 11.7 cm capped. And, the largest was the No. 45 (see reviews here --> No. 45 Mottled Red, No. 45 Black).

Notice that this pen has "Masterpiece" and not "Meisterstück" imprinted on its cap. This means it was made for export to an English speaking country. Similarly, pens from this series that were made for Italy were imprinted with "Capolavoro", and those made for the French market said "Chef D'œuvre". They all mean the same thing - Masterpiece. See in pictures from late-1920s catalogues here. 

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