The latest from Pelikan is a neat little pen. As with many other recent pens, though, it's a case of "good news/bad news. The good news is that it's a great pen, the 1931 Toledo is part of the Originals of their Time series from Pelikan, and like the others, it's true to the great vintage Pelikans of the 1930s. Of course, in true dichotomy fashion, this is also the bad news...
The Pelikans of the 1930s, you see, were not big pens. In fact, by today's standards, they were tiny pens! And the Toledo, in keeping with tradition, is, by most standards of today, very small. In fact, it's about the size of the M400, but seems smaller, thanks to the shape. With the cap posted, it's easily long enough for writing, if you don't mind the narrow girth. But still, all in all, it is a small pen. There's no getting around it, it's tough to sell a high end LE these days if it's diminutive in stature.
And selling is going to be the operative word! With a list price of over twice the other Originals Series pens, the Toledo is not going to be the pen in everyone's pocket this coming year. In fact of course, the edition size of 1,100 will be a big help with that, making the Toledo a lot more exclusive than the first pens in this series. That might be enough to overcome the high sticker price.
The manufacture of these pens is probably the primary cause of the high price tag. The sleeve is made in the traditional fashion, with the design first engraved into soft iron, and then gold inlayed by hand to finish the design. It's a twelve step process to emboss the inlayed gold and finish the resulting tube into the barrel sleeve. The workmanship is absolutely first rate, as you would expect from Pelikan. The barrel sleeves are made for Pelikan in Toledo, Spain, the world-wide center for this art form.
The remainder of the Toledo is also made in the traditional fashion. Instead of acrylic or injection moulded plastics, hard rubber and celluloid are used. The cap rings are 14K gold. In fact, the only thing that really sets this pen apart from an original Toledo of 1931 would be the fact that the nib is of 18K gold, instead of the 14K gold used 72 years ago.
This is in keeping with Pelikan's current supply of 18K nibs, and maybe the current popularity of 18K gold nibs on "high end" pens I am sure. Otherwise they doubtless would have gone with 14K gold, just to keep the pen authentic. It's that true to the original pen. I wasn't able to compare one side by side with one of the first Toledos, but I've examined a few vintage Toledo pens, and this is, if not an exact copy, so close that I wouldn't want to have to pick between them with the caps on!
So, with the Originals of their Time series, we've had a nice gold pen, a nice white gold pen, a nice green celluloid pen, and a nice blue celluloid pen. Of course, that's just the way you describe them if you're not an appreciator of Pelikans.
If you are, you have to acknowledge the workmanship that Pelikan has put into this series, and the effort made to ensure that these pens are as close to the originals as could be accomplished today. The 1931 gold, 1931 White Gold, the 1935 Green and 1935 Blue really are extraordinary modern pens.
To these four great pens, we can now add the 1931 Toledo, and we'll just have to try to come up with an adjective better than "extraordinary" to describe it.