This is a series of limited editions offered by Delta, which it described as being “inspired by the customs and traditions of populations around the world”, and if the company’s website is to be believed the series concludes with thirteen different representations; not, one might say, an exhaustive survey of the globe’s indigenous cultures. The unifying factor, apart from being named after (mostly) non-European ethnic groups, is a certain chunkiness; only the first, the Maasai, has a rounded top on the cap.
Most of these pens were offered in three levels of trim: Limited, Special Limited, and Celebration. The first generally saw the body hardware done in sterling silver, the second with vermeil (silver plated with gold), and the last solid gold hardware with some amount of precious gems mounted on it. Celebrations seem to have been given up on starting with the 2008 Sami variant, suggesting that even extremely limited editions don’t find enough buyers to justify their production. When there is a variation of filler, the Limited gets the less-expensive cartridge/converter rig; the converters at this end of Delta’s line actually screw into the section, making them a semi-captive, nearly-built-in filler, there are some who grumble at the step-down in luxury for a (relatively) small savings of cost in the pen.
I suspect one’s enjoyment of these pens is going to vary a lot depending upon one’s thoughts on cultural appropriation and awareness of history. The number available of each Limited edition (there are less of the Special, and a literal handful of each Celebration), for example, usually reflects a date that is not particularly positive for the culture involved. Only the Papuasi seems to be something the people in question can celebrate, the Sami seem to not have gotten a lot of mileage out of their potentially positive event, and most of the others seem to be a more or less overt slap in the face. The one exception to this arrangement is the Maya, whose number is appropriate if strangely arbitrary. I’ve added these numbers to a chart laying out the various versions below, so you can join me in open-mouthed wonder as to what Delta might have been thinking.
In a similar vein, it seems odd to me that there is a “Native American” model, suggestive as this is of a uniform culture covering a fairly large continent (except for the Inuit, who get their own pen). Living in North America, I would counter-suggest a “European” model which is based on people living in one suburb of Aachen, and which studiously leaves out the Scots. It would do just as thorough a job of reflecting the whole mosaic of the continent.
Starting with the 2014 Bribri model, the pens began mounting Delta’s signature “Fusion” point. This has not seen a reduction of prices, surprisingly.
My limited exposure to these pens leaves me with the sense that they are made for people who collect pens to display more than for use. The are so broad as to give trouble in getting a grip, and become all but unusable if the cap is posted. The quality control of the point also a source of concern; the only reason I’ve had anything to do with them is people have sent them to me asking me to render them capable of writing, which is startling in a pen costing so much. When they do write, the write well enough, and some people report great enjoyment out of the box, but if buying one that has not been previously tuned it would be well to expect at least the hesitations of baby-bottom tipping.
Production Run: 2003 – 2015, with gaps; for year of a specific version, see chart. Given the gaps, they may make more at some point.
Cost When New: Varies with model– see chart
Size: Varies from one run to another– measurements are attached to the images below.
Point: 18K gold until 2014, then steel with some gold stuck to it.
Filler: See chart. Capacity for lever-fillers is approx. 0.8 ml, cartridge, capacity approx. 0.6 ml or 1.4 ml (international pattern), converter is also supplied, capacity approx. 0.8 ml. Button-filler is probably also 0.8 ml, but I haven’t tested one.
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.