Photo Courtesy of Montegrappa/Susan KimeMontegrappa pens are known for their history and legacy, but their unusual designs, symbolizing their unique relationships and associations with substantial celebrities, are quite significant also. Montegrappa writing instruments have been designed for the POPE, Fidel Castro, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Bruce Lee, and others. Recently, Sylvester Stallone was chosen as the brand spokesperson for Montegrappa pens because of his Italian origins, but also because, like the pens, his image is durable, creative, and colorful.
Since 1912, the Montegrappa pen facility’s home has been in a small town called Bassano Del Grappa, Italy. I recently attended an event there, hosted by Montegrappa, that combined two things: first, the 100th anniversary of the company, and second the launch of the newest pen design, The Alchemist, dedicated to Paulo Coehlo, a world-famous Brazilian author of the novel, The Alchemist. He has written many more books, but this one has hit the 65 million mark, and continues to grown in popularity. It joins the all-time best-selling books in publishing history and been translated into more than 70 languages, the 71st being Maltese. The book is also in the Guinness Book Of World Records, for the Most Translated Books By A Living Author.
Mr. Coehlo traveled to Bassano Del Grappa to receive his new, limited edition Alchemist pen on March 19, 2012. His presence added another dimension to the substantial literary and writing history of this town. Though founded in 900 AD, it is known in literary circles as the place where Hemingway wrote his firsts drafts of A Farewell To Arms, while being an ambulance driver at Bassano.
The town sits at the base of the Dolomite Mountains, about an hour north of Venice. It is a small (45,000 residents) community, somewhat rural with antique cobblestone streets, with the Brenta river flowing through the town. The air and water are clear, and it would be easy to see how Hemingway and also John Dos Passos and Scott Fitzgerald wrote here, also during World War I. Mr. Coehlo continued this tradition, as the location of his press conference was at the Villa Ca’Erezzo, where Hemingway wrote the Farewell To Arms drafts.
"As a writer,” he said, “I acknowledge the immense power of the pen. It is with the pen and the written word that I have been able to give life to my thoughts. Montegrappa has forged the most beautiful writing instruments in the world.” The pen that was designed for Mr. Coehlo combines fine basic silver with the designs of the basic alchemist element symbols. Montegrappa conceived a pen that represents a search for a type of knowledge that could be used for the betterment of all.
The cap and barrel represent circles or spheres, which stand for the seven alchemical processes. The chain of elements links the Sun with gold, the Moon with silver, Mercury with quicksilver, Venus with copper, Mars with iron, Jupiter with tin and Saturn with lead. They are represented through sculptural representations, with engraved symbols and ancient names.
The Alchemist Pen will be issued in an edition of 1,987 fountain pens and roller balls in total, in honor of the year (1987) The Alchemist was originally published. The series will consist of 71 in solid gold (38 fountain pens and 33 roller balls), for the 71 languages into which it has been translated. Nine hundred pens will be offered in resin and sterling silver (450 fountain pens and 450 roller balls) to represent the number of copies in the first edition print run.
One thousand more pens will be produced in sterling silver with accents in translucent enamel. There will be four colors of enamel, representing the four elements: air, fire, earth and water. Only 125 fountain pens and 125 roller balls will be made in each color. Lastly, 16 pens (eight fountain pens and eight roller balls) will be produced in gold with diamond enhancements, the precious gems described in the Alchemist’s journey.
Though there were over 300 international photographers and journalists at the press conference, Mr. Coelho appeared genuinely surprised and pleased at the design beauty of the writing instrument. He started speaking with admirers of his works, and began signing books immediately, with his new Montegrappa. Visit Montegrappa.com to see more.