Spot a FAKE Montblanc pen!

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You can pick up a fake Montblanc in Asia for about AU $20 -they cost about AU $5.00 to produce.  Some fakes are poor and the differences are obvious to the naked eye, others however a really good, so exercise extreme caution and do your homework. 

Background-Montblanc has been making writing implements for about 100 years.  The range includes fountain pens, rollerball, ballpoints and pencils as well as the associated refill, inks etc.  The most recognized brand is the Meisterstuck (Masterpiece) range.  Of these the Classique Roller Ball (163), LeGrande ballpoint (161) and the LeGrand Rollerball (162) are probably the better known-as far as I can tell. I am sure others will either agree or disagree with this observation. Lovers of finely crafted fountain pens will have their own favourites in the Montblanc range.  Montblanc also produces limited and special edition writting implements-these come in a range of materials and can also include the use of jewels, engraving, patterns and materials.  True collector pieces!

Research Research Research-If you can, go to a few authorized Montblanc dealers and look at the range of pens on offer. Ask to hold a pen and get a feel for it.  Try to write with it.  Ask the dealer to point out the unique features of each model and get a feel for retail prices. Go into eBay and use the advanced search option (completed listings) to get an idea of the range and final selling prices on the eBay market.  Finally, search the internet for as much information on the product that you can.

eBay photos and description- Is the description sound? Can you distinguish the model and condition. If so you will be able to compare this information with a legitimate pen of that era. Is the photo blurry or clear enough for you to distinguish the pen details? If not, ask for better pictures or ask for more information.  You ideally want to see the pen from different angles, clearly see the star, serial number, ring, clip, nib, box or service guides.  If the seller is vague or will not provide clearer photo's or specific information, then I would be very cautious.

The Box-The box is a dead giveaway to a fake pen.  Note that not all pens on eBay will have a box, this doesn't mean that the pen is fake and not all Montblanc pens in a box are genuine. When I received my first Montblanc pen are a corporate gift, I didn't realise the significance of the box and papers and subsequently lost both. The perfect situation for you is when the pen is displayed in a box.  When opened, a Montblanc box should have the trademark Montblanc name and logo on the inside lid.  The star is always shown as WHITE on black flash.  Reproductions are generally the opposite (ie a black star on a white flash). Somethime the box will be white or have white padding inside, however the logo will always be the same WHITE star.  The box ideally should contain a booklet on how to look after and service your pen. The booklet should contain the pen serial number, and a warranty with the dealer name and date of purchase in it.

Serial numbers-The Meisterstuck model has been produced since the 1950s, however on the newer models (after about 1991)  may have a serial number and the word "Germany" etched on the upper cap ring (in some I think it is on the clip). Contrary to popular belief, the serial #s don't have a specified number of digits or letters and some of the earlier #s started with GE or GER.  Vintage pens may not have a serial # at all, but should have "Germany","made in Germany" or "West Germany" etched into the upper ring.  The serial number will be neatly and precisely etched, not pressed.  Vintage is considered to be pens produced from 1908-1989.

This is where your research comes in.  You need to know the model, when the pen was made, if it should have a serial number or marks and where they should be.

Trademark name- Your Montblanc pen should never say "made in Paris", "Titanium" or any other wording.  The lettering for the Montblanc Meisterstuck can be found on the middle band of the cap.  It should say "Montblanc Meisterstuck".  The lettering is etched (not pressed), it is neat, precise, evenly spaced and takes up almost the entire middle section of the ring.  Fake lettering tends to be pressed, it can be smaller, uneven or take on an overdone or bubbly appearance.  Note, the Montblanc originated in Germany- not Paris or Rome.

Trademark star-The star is a pure white 6 sided emblem over the cap of the pen. It should be symmetrical and have absolutely no outline at all.  Rotate the pen, the star always dead centre and appear to "float". The shape of the cap differs between models but the star itself is always completely white and symmetrical.  I have never seen a Montblanc with a black star on a white background- this would be a fake.

Pix Logo- this logo was introduced around 1990.  In some pens it can be found on the underside of the clip, or on the cap, and in others it is inside the barrel. Pease remember that many genuine Montblanc pens do not have PIX on them and the location depends on the model and year of production.

Resin-This one is harder to assess unless you already have a pen. Montblanc uses a "precious resin" that looks dark to the naked eye. If you unscrew the pen and shine a very bright light up the barrel the pen should have a "ruby" type glow. This is because the resin in a true Montblanc is porous and lets the light through.  Most fakes don't have this glow. Other Montblanc may glow bluish depending again on the make and colour but the key is that the Montblanc will glow.  The exception I believe is the Solitaire which is not always made of the trademark resin.  The resin of a Montblanc pen also feels warm and not cold to the touch.

Refills-Montblanc refills are crafted to specifically fit a Montblanc pen and vice versa.  Does the Montblanc refill perfectly fit your pen? No? Your pen may be fake. Does a Parker refill perfectly fit your pen? Well it shouldn't.

The nibs-I have never used or owned a Montblanc fountain pen.  My research indicates that the nib may have a a number (eg 4810) above which is engraved the letter "M" within an engraving of the famous trademark star.  Both of these sit within a complete circle. Above this trade mark (and closer to the actual pen is the karat nomination (eg 18k or 14k). A true Montblanc nib is never painted or rough.  It is always finished beautifully,engraved by hand and has perfect symmetry.  The ink aperture is aligned between the tines and will feed directly into the pen.  There is no extension between the feed and the nib.  If you hold the pen up and eyeball it -the nib is a 100% fit.

The Dealer-Finally, if you are unsure and need to be a 100% that you are buying a genuine Montblanc pen/pencil- you may consider going straight to an authorized dealer. Please be aware that an authorized Montblanc dealer is prohibited by Montblanc from selling Montblanc items on eBay or equivalent.

If you are selling, have purchased or own a pen and doubt its authenticity, take your pen to an authorized dealer.  There are many elements that a specialist will consider -ie the distance between each component of the pen, the size and placing of each component, the quality of the workmanship, the material, nibs, clips, insert, logo, serial numbers and age of the product to name just a  few.

My information is a guide only.  It is based on discussions with authorized Montblanc dealers, internet research, Montblanc catalogues, owning a Montblanc pen and comparing these to fakes.  I am  no authority.  However I was completely frustrated with the sheer volume of FAKE Montblanc pens sold at premium prices. 

It is your hard earned money... knowledge is power.  Happy eBay-ing and good luck!

 

 

 

 

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