No. 30 & 40 Meisterstück
These pens are from the personal collection of Paul Farrell, an enthusiastic collector of modern MB Pens (especially Writers Editions and 149’s) and a collector of exceptional vintage pens too!
In 1924 Montblanc introduced the "Meisterstück" series which was intended to be the company's top-of-the-line offering. The series started off with safety filler and lever-filler technology before moving on to push-knob filler technology. The pens were numbered based on their price. So, the No. 30 meant that it cost 30 Reichsmark (RM) which was the currency in Germany at the time, while the No. 40 cost RM. 40. 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. The largest pen was the No. 45.
The pen in the top picture with the fluted clip is a No. 30, while the pen in the bottom picture with the teardrop clip is a No. 40. Both clips are period correct and possible on this series. The No. 40 pen here does not have a "40" imprint on its push knob, while the No. 30 does have a "30" imprint. Danish models often did not have model imprints on the push knob.
The nibs on both pens look the same, with the "4810" and "M" imprint, but the No. 30 has a size 235 nib while the No. 40 has a size 245 nib. These pens are also found with a nib that had the model number imprinted inside the star outline, for example "40" instead of the "4810" imprint.
Both pens are relatively large. Their lengths are identical at 13.7 cm capped, but the No. 40 is noticeably thicker.
Meisterstück push-knob pens were made in Germany in the early 1930s, but also in Denmark from the late-1930s till the mid-1940s. The differences between them are subtle. And this is where it gets a little complicated and also mysterious!
Type 1 - Made in Germany, "Meisterstück" with DRP Patent imprint on the barrel, straight cap and big star. A very knowledgable collector tells me that this is the rarest type. Models were available in 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45. These were the earliest ones, made in c.1929 for a very short time. Here are some examples --> No. 45 (link) and No. 40 (link).
Type 2 - Made in Germany for export to Denmark, may have been assembled in Denmark, and possibly even made in Denmark according to one expert. These "Masterpiece" models were found with and sometimes without the DRP Patent imprint on the barrel. It had a straight cap and big star. Models available were 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45. These were made around the early 1930s. It is suggested by another expert that the 35 and 45 were sold as 'luxury' models and had the 18c "35" and "45" nibs on them. It does seem logical that if MB sold a 30 and 35 at the same time, and since they were both identical in all dimensions, then the least MB could do is justify the higher price of the No. 35 by positioning it as 'luxury' and putting a distinct number imprint nib on it. But, there are early Danish advertisements that show even the 20 and 25 with numbered imprints on their nibs. Also, I have yet to see an advertisement that shows the 30 and 35 or 40 and 45 together - I have only seen one or the other advertised in catalogues which makes me wonder if the 35 replaced the 30 altogether (in which case it wouldn't be a luxury version of the 30).
I believe my No. 35, as well as Paul's 30 and 40, all pictured in this article, are Type 2 Masterpiece pens.
My very own straight cap Danish-made No. 35 with "4810" nib
Type 3 - Made in Denmark with the characteristic 'taper cap', where the cap crown with the star is smaller than the German version. It allows for a more streamlined cap top, whereas the German cap tops stick out a little. A No. 40 cap star on the Danish pen is the same size as that on a No. 30 German pen. Apart from this, the pens are indistinguishable from each other. There is no DRP Patent imprint on the barrel. These pens were made the latest, during the mid-1930s to mid-1940s. All the advertisements show the tapered one only available in 20, 25, 30, and 40. No documentation exists for a 35 or 45 tapered cap version. Notice the top of the black cap in the picture here - see how it tapers perfectly in line with the small cap top in comparison to the red straight cap with the larger cap top star beside it?
Pic Credit: Montblanc in Denmark
by Holten & Lund
For bibliography, see Resources page -->link