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New Classic

Maker: Pelikan.

This pen comes from the end of the bad times for fountain pens, which I might compare for historians to the early 11th century; there were still Vikings about, but they were starting to find places to settle down.  It is very much an example of that period, being a rather heavy metal-bodied pen so slender as to be slightly difficult to hold.

The weight and girth issues are a shame, as the business end of the pen is pretty brilliant; springy, comfortable and willing.  This pen’s production, relative to the company’s history, falls between the end of Pelikan’s crippling attempt to diversify and its second sale to far eastern investors, and I think it is fair to say that it represents a very fine recovery from the loss of focus.  It might be seen as an early announcement of the impending fountain pen renaissance, in fact.

There are several different sub-models, each of which has a model number of its own.  P370 has a steel point and brushed steel body, P371 a steel point and lacquered body, P380 a gold point (as do all those which follow) and steel sheel, P381 a lacquered body, P390 is silver-plated and P395 is gold-plated.  There’s not really a pattern to those number, but there is some sense of progression.  Also, if you have an ill-spent youth like me, you will now be thinking of Walther handguns; it’s quite aside the point, but that’s the way the brain works sometimes.

This pen represented my first exposure to a “real” Pelikan with a gold point, and I will admit a small degree of startle at how nice a point it is.  The only reservation I have is that it claims to be a medium-size point, but the marks it makes are fat.  I understand this is not uncommon in modern Pelikans, generally.

Production Run: 1992 – 1996.

Cost When New: An informant tells me that the P381 cost 190DM in 1994;  that’s about $117 then (for modern value, try this calculator).  The lower and higher trims will have had different prices, but I don’t have the data on them. Update: More data has appeared, also for 1994, confirming the informant. The low-end P370 was DM90.- and the P390 (the price list) was DM285.-, which are roughly $60 and $188, respectively.

Size: 13.9 cm long capped, 16.6cm posted, 12.8 cm uncapped.

Point: 14k gold.

Body: Brass with various treatments.

Filler: Cartridge, capacity approx. 0.6 or 1.4 ml (international pattern).  Using a supplied converter, it takes in 0.7 ml.

Pelikan New Classic (p381) in burgundy.  If I have anything against the pen’s looks, it’s that screened-on maker’s mark under the clip.

The box it comes in is not extremely inspiring…

…but one feels assured that the pen will be safe.

 

 

If you are relying on the preceding information to win a bet or impress a teacher, you should read the site’s scholarly caveat. Remember, this is the internet, and it’s full of bad information.

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