How much can you spend on a fountain pen? Fountain pens are slowly turning into collectibles and objects of desire and the rare the pieces, the bigger the appeal.
Globally, sales of fountain pens are growing as other luxury products remain flat, according to research by Euromonitor. Last year, fountain pen sales hit Sh107 billion.
In Dubai, where a number of Kenyans shop, there are different types of ultra-exclusive executive pens and some of the most expensive come as cartoons.
The iMG World of Adventures in Dubai City recently opened a comic-themed park— Marvel Vault— which stocks the Hulk Ultra Exclusive, Iron Man Ultra Exclusive and Iron Man Roller Ball— fountain pens that come in different colours and fittings.
Iron Man and Hulk who are fictional super heros in Marvel comics books are among the top-highest earners in the 12 characters and now the come in pen-form.
Rajiv Sangari, the iMG vice-president for retail and licensing said for people who have an eye for exclusive offerings, ‘‘the cartoon character pens are heavenly collectables.”
“You may be wondering who buys cartoon characters for pens and why. Diehard Marvel fans would appreciate these kind of high-valued exclusive products,’’ said Rajiv.
The price of these collectable ultra-exclusive pens at the Marvel Vault range from Sh60,000 to Sh3.5 million.
These pens are weighty, beautifully designed pieces of art, handcrafted in bronze with yellow gold and rhodium finishes.
The Hulk Ultra Exclusive, Iron Man Ultra Exclusive and Iron Man Roller Ball pens are bejewelled with two-carat blue topaz precious stone and decorated with red Chinese lacquer. They flawlessly become more beautiful when it is accompanied with an impressive Marvel comic character sculpture in bronze.
“We have a number of exclusive pens which have been created in close association with Marvel’s creative team and at the best factories in the world. For example, the Iron Man Ultra pen, is an exclusive limited edition—one of a kind in the region, and our guests treat this as a cherished possession in their collection to be used for special occasions,” said Rajiv.
iMG has been doing good business from customers who buy them as fancy souvenirs or for own use. The Marvel pens are manufactured in collaboration with the masters of the game, S.T. Dupont, a French luxury brand which makes lighters, collectible pens, handbags, perfumes and cigarettes.
“We have been receiving a number of buyers and booking orders from people even out of Dubai,” said Rajiv. S.T. Dupont chief executive, Alain Crevet said in an e-mail interview that the company has recently hit the luxury news with some high-profile collaborations with Marvel, James Bond, Star Wars and Spectre. S.T Dupont is known for its ballpoint pen designed for former US First Lady Jackie Kennedy.
As the world goes digital, Alain said demand has not slowed down but pen makers have to stay relevant in a fast-changing world of technology.
“We keep hearing that the world has changed, that everybody is using iPads and so on. I’m an optimist. I really think that it’s up to us (pen companies) to promote and keep writing alive,” he said.
“Interestingly the premium brands like Montblanc, Dupont or Montegrappa are not declining. We have been rolling steadily and even growing in value.”