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March 27, 2005

Namiki Murex FM H772

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Shelly visited yesterday with Sam and that was a treat. Have not seen Shelly in a very long time and now Sam is all of 17 and headed for engineering at Queens University in Kingston. Joe and Lucca joined us later in the day, which was lovely as I've not seen them in ages too. At one point, Shelly reached under his sweater and into his shirt pocket and displayed a very special fountain pen, a Namiki Murex short, fine tip, "pilot" pen of 1970s vintage. Exquisite. Shelly collected fountain pens for many years and now has about 100, but has stopped. I love fountain pens and am dedicated to my two Pelikan pens, not as a collection, but rather as an insurance policy. They stopped making the ones that I bought years ago, two-tone green and black, and when mine were either lost or damaged, I had no choice to but to replace them with the newer models--the company was sold I believe. Then, to my shock, amazement, and utter delight, Shelly made me a gift of this wonderful pen!

I explained to Sam that a gift is a barometer and the perfect gift a sign of how well you know someone and how much you care. This one hit the jackpot!

It is dated July 1972 and has a fine medium nib. "The design of the Pilot MYU was inspired by the original quill pens of a former age. The unbroken contour from the fingers to the tip of the nib on the MYUs -- and the subtle contour on the Murexes -- do make for a more natural, more intuitive experience in writing and drawing." Leave it to Shelly to give me the quintessential Murex:

"The first Murex appeared in 1971, and was called the "MYU 701" in Japanese and identified by the Greek letter for "m" in Pilot's advertisements. Its model number is M-350SS. This pen is displayed in the Pilot Pen Museum (now called "Pen Station") in Tokyo. This one of those ingenious Japanese short style pens with long cap and short barrel that made the pen short when capped, and full size when the cap was posted. It was an extremely streamlined design with no markings anywhere except for the small Pilot name engraved on the cap. There is also a tiny date stamp with month and year on the barrel.

This model is considered the quintessential MYU/Murex, and therefore the most popular model today. It has also been called the "ultimate travel pen" because of its small carrying size as well as its sturdiness and reliability. It retailed for 3,500 yen when it first came out over 30 years ago, but an original MYU with price sticker (identical to the one in the photo) was sold last year on an internet auction for over 500 dollars. The market value of all the MYU/Murex models has been increasing dramatically as more collectors show interest in them, and those that remain will continue to grow in value."

The fine nib is particularly valued in Japan, where one Kanji character can have up to 30 tiny strokes.

Here is the Namiki story:

"Ryosuke Namiki, founder of Pilot, realized during his tenure as a professor at the Tokyo Merchant Marine College that drawing pens needed improvement. After making a prototype fountain pen, he started manufacturing and selling fountain pens with a colleague in 1918. The company was known as The Namiki Manufacturing Company, was renamed The Pilot Pen Co. Ltd in 1938, and renamed again in 1989 as Pilot Corporation. Since Namiki was Pilot's former corporate name, it was a natural name to use for its high end line of beautiful writing instruments. Today Namiki's unique features and designs are their trademarks. The Vanishing Point-still the only click-retractable fountain pen in the business, was introduced in 1964 and has been pleasing pen enthusiasts for over 30 years. Namiki's use of the Japanese art of Maki-e, which incorporates lacquer and powdered gold onto writing instruments for beautiful effects, is among the best in the business. Namiki to be the ultimate writing tool for every creative endeavor."

Posted by BKG at March 27, 2005 11:00 AM

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