The Toledo - some hardly known facts

The Toledo

If a Pelikan collector is asked a question on which pen is the heart of his collection, you will get an almost unison answer: "The Toledo".

This unique fountain pen had its market introduction in 1931. In former days the Toledo was never the masterpiece within the range of products, rather more a fountain pen priced in the upper middle-class, which is proven by its former sales price of 27 Reich Marks compared to the golden Pelikan 112 at 40 Reich Marks.

It is very interesting to know that two false statements concerning the view of the Pelikan T111 (Toledo), have spread amongst collectors worldwide.

A very serious misunderstanding results from the name itself: Despite its name the Toledo was never produced using classical Toledo workmanship. In such cases, a steel that gains black colour through a chemical process (burnished) is usually the basic material of Toledo production. The surface, for instance, is stitched with a chased cutter, which creates a dovetailed groove. Afterwards a thin golden thread is hammered into the groove to get an almost even surface again. This kind of work is also known as exchanging/ compensating. A short glimpse at the surface of the Toledo clearly shows, that a different production technique is used for its creation.

Toledo body one
Toledo body two

The motifs of the body were carved into a relief by using a corrosive method, deep parts are burnished, distinguished motifs are gold-plated and parts of the line drawings are then re-engraved by hand. Even though some parts of the method are identical - the grooves of the real Toledo workmanship could also be corroded -, the decisive process of the exchanging is not carried out.

Another mistake made regards the material of the body. Since the body of today's Toledo fountain pens is made of sterling silver, the same feature is expected from the historical version. It has been proven that the basic material is steel - not silver! This explains why the price was set far under the flagship, the Pelikan 112.

If a collector is considering to buy this great expensive collector's item, it would be wise to look out for two details. Due to the fact that the Toledo was simply not viewed as a variation of the Pelikan 100 body, it was given its own cap design. The clip was engraved alongside with a Pelikan motif and both cap rings had a fine line drawing. Indeed, half of the Toledos known amongst collectors lack at least one of those features mentioned, which indicates an exchanged cap or clip. The documents of the Pelikan archives give enough evidence to that a variant of the Pelikan Toledo without any special ornamental rings and clip never existed.

The Pelikan T111 was produced between 1931 and 1937. The model 100N, as the Toledo, was produced again after 1937. It could have possibly been manufactured to sell on the export market and is therefore extremely difficult to find.

Clip and Rings of the Toledo

Martin Lehmann