9160231 NAMIKI Rare Red Lacquer Maki-e
Rare vintage red lacquer Namiki fountain pen, A-grade, c.1930; estimate £42,000 – 60,000
One of the finest red lacquer Namiki pens ever made will lead Bonhams’ Fine Writing Instruments: The European Namiki Collection and Other Pens sale on 14th December at Bonhams New Bond Street.
Estimated at £42,000 – 60,000, the A-grade red lacquer fountain pen is the first of its kind to surface on the auction market in over 20 years.
With approximately only 1500 in existence and almost all of them consolidated in private collections, vintage Namiki pens are exceptionally rare. Red Namikis, which are outnumbered by their black counterparts 20:1, are rarer still.
“This is one of the most distinguished pens the auction market has ever seen,” said Ivan Briggs, Bonhams Director of Fine Writing Instruments. “The elaborate, raised takamaki-e work combined with the mother-of-pearl inlay on red urushi background give this pen an unsurpassed radiance.”

The pen was made by Shogo in about 1930, one of the Namiki Company’s most highly prized artists. Each pen took a Namiki artist four to six months to make and required a level of craft that allowed no margin of error. Only the very best Namiki artists were permitted to work in red lacquer.
The pen comes from the remarkable European Namiki Collection. Begun by the current owner’s father in the 1950s, the dynastic collection grew from generation to generation and covers both demographics of the collector’s market: vintage and modern.
The sale will also feature pens from other vendors, including an A-grade Emperor Dragon and Cloud maki-e Namiki fountain pen that is the only known example of its kind.
9239897_1, NAMIKI Emperor Dragon and Cloud Maki-E Fountain Pen, Unique Prototype, Grade A, c.1995
A-grade Emperor Dragon and Cloud Namiki fountain pen, c.1995; estimate £30,000 – 50,000
“I’ve never seen a pen before that was made with so many different techniques,” said Briggs. “The design is so complex, it was never commercially produced. Without question, it is the most elaborate and artistically accomplished modern Namiki pen ever offered at auction.”
Decorated with gold leaf hyomon, burnished togidashi maki-e, low relief hiramaki-e, raised takamaki-e, and mother-of-pearl inlay, the pen has an estimate of £30,000 – 50,000.
A number of pens from the collection of Jens Rösler, a descendant from the founder of Montblanc, will also feature in the sale.
These include the Montblanc Meisterstück no. 134 piston-filler fountain pen. Part of a new design development that was never commercially produced due to shortages of material in WWII, it is one of only six known prototypes made in 1942 – 44 and the only example with its colour combination. It is valued at £6,500 – 7,500.
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Manuel Galvez & Andrea Foffi - authors


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