- Mont Blanc Leonardo Ballpoint Pen
This very unusual ballpoint pen is named after Leonardo Da Vinci.
The unique shape — rounded on the back, with 3 straight sides, vaguely triangular — make this a very comfortable pen to hold. It has a nice heavy weight to it, and a great feel. The interior is solid brass and the exterior is stainless steel. It looks great, too, with the round side polished and the straight sides — the sides you hold — brushed.
I have two of these pens. One, as you can see in the photos, is brand new old stock, complete with the box and the original users manual. This one works perfectly.
The other one, which I have not shown here, is the one I use regularly. The mechanism to extend and retract the refill is broken. In fact, this mechanism is the downfall of the pen and the reason Mont Blanc only made this model for two years from 1979 to 1981. To replace the refill you have to slide a long plastic carriage out of the top of the pen. Once the new refill is in, you slide the carriage back. The pusher on the top of the pen extends the refill and the tiny plastic button on the back of the pen retracts it. It is the tiny plastic button and the plastic lever mechanism it attaches to that breaks so easily.
In the case of the pen I regularly use, I sent it back to Mont Blanc in Germany to see if the carriage could be replaced. They sent it back to me with a very nice note saying that they did not have the part. Their master repairman could make the part from scratch, but it would cost “much more than the pen is worth.” In the end, I had to have a jeweler friend of mine replace the button with a small screw. The refill no longer retracts, but I am glad he could figure it out, because I really like using this pen!
Even though this model has its flaws, it is still very collectible. The look of it and the fact that it was only in production for two years make it highly sought after. The repaired one I have would still fetch about $50 to $75 on eBay today. The new old stock pen in its original box is worth well over $300.
Be careful if you plan to buy one on eBay. Besides the flaws I mentioned in regard to the pen itself, you often see them for sale in boxes, which, while they are Mont Blanc boxes, they are not original to this pen. This plastic clam shell box is the only box these pens came in, and the correct box does make a difference to the value.
One last comment: most Mont Blanc writing instruments came in a variety of formats — ballpoint, rollerball, pencil and fountain pens — but these Leonardos only came out as ballpoint pens. The only variation was that there was a gold-plated version as well as this one.