Élysée Edition Number 2 Limited Edition 1994

by Jim Mamoulides, December 27, 2001, Updated July 1, 2017

PenHeroÉlysée Edition Number 2 Limited Edition 1994

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Vernissage: A private viewing for invited guests

Élysée's second cloisonné Limited Edition is also by artist Karl Diesner and the middle of a series of three editions using art as the basis for the pen's design. Each pen was a commissioned work, and the series was called Vernissage, a French term for a private or pre-exhibition viewing of an artist's work. The edition is based on Élysée's Parthenon, their top pen line.

With this second Vernissage pen, artist Karl Diesner uses geometric forms and strong colors. The Edition Number 2 is composed of different panels of green lacquer framed by platinum plated lines and bands. Karl Diesner says the purpose of his work is to "activate our vision."

PenHeroÉlysée Edition Number 2 Limited Edition 1994

Where the first pen, Edition Number 1, was abstract, Edition Number 2 is an ordered theme of pure and dark blue-green elements offset by narrow and wide platinum plate lines to form banded segments of trapezoidal blocks that create a zigzag pattern down the length of the pen. This design is intended to create a sense of "cool nobility." A contrast to the brighter and warmer Edition Number 1.

PenHeroÉlysée Edition Number 2 Limited Edition 1994

Identification guide and features:

This second Vernissage series edition was introduced in 1994 as Edition Number 2. The pen or multiple instruments were presented in an elaborate snap closure display package that opens like a bookcase. The fountain pen is fitted with a highly decorated fully platinum plated solid 18 karat gold nib that was offered in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad point sizes. All Élysée Limited Edition instruments came with an implied lifetime warranty.

PenHeroÉlysée Edition Number 2 Limited Edition 1994

The Edition Number 2 Limited Edition came in individually numbered instruments in four writing modes:

  • Fountain Pen, 6,000 numbered pieces - $425.00
  • Capped Rollerball Pen, 6,000 numbered pieces - $350.00
  • Twist Action Ballpoint Pen, 4,000 numbered pieces - $325.00
  • Twist Action Pencil, 4,000 numbered pieces - $325.00

PenHeroÉlysée Edition Number 2 Limited Edition 1994 cap and nib detail

  • Cap and barrel is cloisonné, with two shades of green, blue-green lacquer filled into cut depressions, polished smooth and then finished with platinum plating
  • Platinum plated trim
  • Cap band has Élysée engraved on the front, W. Germany on the back
  • Edition No 2 is painted on the back of the cap
  • Edition number is laser engraved on the back of the cap
  • Cap top has cast Élysée logo
  • Cap pulls off
  • 18 karat gold platinum plated open nib with Élysée logo
  • Nib grades offered were extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad
  • About 5 5/8 inches capped and 6 1/8 inches with the cap posted on the end of the barrel
  • International type cartridge / converter filling system
  • Presented in large display box
  • Matching rollerball pens, ballpoint pens and pencils were available


The Edition Number 2, like the other Vernissage editions, is based on the all brass construction Parthenon, and thus has a similar weight and feel in the hand as the slightly larger Cross Townsend line. It is a long and slender pen, 5 5/8 inches capped and 6 1/8 inches posted. These are solid and substantial pens, yet nicely balanced, capped or posted. Having all three cloisonné pens to review together, this review is something of a composite of my impressions of all of them, with focus on this particular pen.

The cap snaps securely both on the section and the barrel end, another similarity to the Townsend. The cap adds weight to a fairly heavy pen, but it is well balanced in the hand either way.

PenHeroÉlysée Edition Number 2 Limited Edition 1994 cap top and nib detail

All the pens in the Vernissage Collection are decorated using Chinese cloisonné technique. The work feels very smooth, but there is some slight variation where the enamel fill and the plated ridges meet. The metal surfaces are heavily plated, which should make them wear well.

The Edition Number 2 is striking among the three pens with its platinum plating and cool colors in an orderly geometric pattern. It is the most subdued of the three. The all platinum plated nib is an extension of that thought.

The clip is not very springy, so it probably won't clip well to a flannel shirt or a coat pocket, but it does the job well. The pen sits fairly deep in the pocket, but one should consider a starched shirt, as the pen's weight may cause it to flop around. The platinum "winged" cap top makes this definite pocket jewelry that hints at the flashy pen hidden in your pocket.

This pen has a wonderfully smooth and even writing medium nib. The pen fills easily with a piston converter or with standard international cartridges.

PenHeroÉlysée Edition Number 2 Limited Edition 1994 open

My one real gripe with the Élysée Limited Edition pens is the plating loss I've experienced at the end of the section. This problem is not unique to Élysée pens, but also with other high-end brands. Apparently ink will eat away at plating over time. The problem seems to be controllable if the section is judiciously wiped after each filling, but it's a problem that should not happen.

The Élysée Limited Edition pens are good daily users with a very arty and flashy flair. Definitely not a button down pen. Other than the section plating, these pens, with careful use, should retain their great looks over time.

As Élysée is out of business as of early 2000, these pens and their Parthenon siblings are becoming harder to find. The limited edition pens are rising in value. As of this writing, the pens become available only occasionally, making this a pen to consider before they get away.


Élysée Edition Number 2 Limited Edition 1994 package inserts

Fountain Pens of the World by Andreas Lambrou, © 1995 Zwemmer, London, United Kingdom



Comments on this article may be sent to the editor, Jim Mamoulides Bibliography

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