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Parker Bird Prototype, Late 1970s

0.935 Sterling Silver Parker Bird prototype rollerball pen.

This rare prototype dates from the end-1970s. Parker originally decided to create this top of the market ballpoint pen model in response to the emerging market sector for luxury brand pens... alongside wristwatches and other branded luxury items... a market phenomenon that would become iconic during the 1980s.

The project was entrusted to Parker France in order to achieve a "European Look", since the main competition was perceived to be brands such as Montblanc, Cartier, etc. that had begun to make enormous inroads within the US as well as international markets at the time. As such, Pierre Laffly, the CEO of Parker France personally headed up the project.

Unfortunately, Parker underwent a major "business reorganization" shortly thereafter and - somewhat akin to what happened with General Motors last year - was "reborn" with new capital shortly thereafter; and the Parker Bird never was launched.

In 1989 and 1990, I organized the 1st International Pen Show and Auction in Geneva, Switzerland. Parker sponsored the event (also continued to do so until Parker was acquired by Waterman-Gillette, after which Waterman and Montblanc successively became the sponsors). These events were a resounding success with 500+ participants from throughout Europe, the USA, Japan and Australia on each occasion. Highlights of the auction sales included a Parker Swastika (only known surviving example at the time) whose sale earned an entry into the "Guinness Book of Records" as the "most valuable vintage fountain pen ever sold".

At the time, I asked Parker if they had any prototypes we could have for the auction. They agreed to make a limited "numbered" edition out of the 70 Parker Bird prototypes they still had in their vault and to include 69 of them in the auction.

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Added by:  Macquid

Date:  13th Jan 11

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Category:   Ballpoint Pens

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