Classic Pens LP1 Grapevine Limited Edition 2009

by Jim Mamoulides, January 7, 2012

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And now for something completely different

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Classic Pens LP1 Grapevine 2009 closed

Classic Pens is well known by collectors for its long running series of sterling silver guilloche pens in the CP collection. Classic Pens Limited was formed in England by Andreas Lambrou and Keith G. Brown in 1987 with the objective to create exclusive fountain pens for their fellow pen lovers. Their first limited edition pen was the Classic Pens CP1, a stunning guilloche engraved sterling silver Sheaffer Targa released in 1990 as a series of 250 pens. Classic Pens collaborated with major pen manufacturers, including Sheaffer, Aurora, Parker, Sailor, and Pelikan to produce additional unique sterling silver guilloche editions in the collection. The CP collection has grown to eight editions, with the latest being the CP8 Murelli Pens, released in 2008, the first edition to use a completely new pen design, produced by Classic Pens.

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Classic Pens LP1 Grapevine 2009 open

In April, 2009, Classic Pens introduced a new sterling silver Limited Edition, the LP1 Grapevine, at the Chicago Pen Show. This new pen is based on the solid sterling silver full size Legend 766 fountain pen, the same base pen "canvas" as for the CP8 Murelli Pens Flamme and Vannerie. It's very much a departure from the dazzling guilloche patterns cut by machine on the caps and barrels of the Classic Pens CP line of pens. The LP1 is hand crafted by chiseling the silver on the cap and barrel.

Andy Lambrou sent me the prototype for the LP1 Grapevine prior to the the April 30 to May 3, 2009 Chicago Pen Show so I could photograph it for publicity.

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Juan Carlos Pallarols at work

The LP1 Grapevine is a collaboration between Andy Lambrou and master silversmith Juan Carlos Pallarols from Buenos Aires, Argentina, thus the LP designation. The Pallarols family have been the top silversmiths in Argentina for 250 years. They have made many sterling silver items, accessories and house ware such as cutlery, large bowls, and art pieces. They have made exclusive pieces for the Royal families of Spain and the Netherlands. According to, "In 2001 he (Pallarols) began collaborating with Parisian penmaker S. T. Dupont to create 999 unique fountain pens. One made for King Juan Carlos I of Spain has a basket-weave pattern reminiscent of leatherwork. Princess Máxima of the Netherlands got one festooned with 32 rosebuds for her 32nd birthday."

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Juan Carlos Pallarols at work

Andy Lambrou met Juan Carlos Pallarols at one of the Washington, DC pen shows and fell in love with his work. They began to discuss a working relationship between Pallarols and Classic Pens and since the pen would be sterling silver based, the Legend 766 sterling silver model was chosen. At the 2008 Washington, DC pen show, they discussed designs and chose the grapevine design. Pallarols was given a plain silver unassembled CP8 to work out a prototype. Pallarols makes the cap and barrel tubes by chiseling the Grapevine design by hand and the plain polished sterling silver end caps are added. The base sterling silver Legend 766 pens are produced by Aquila Brands in Italy. Once the Grapevine caps and barrels are completed by Pallarols, the LP1 Grapevine pens are assembled and quality controlled at Classic Pens.

Juan Carlos Pallarols makes the cap and barrel of the pen through established silversmith methods, as sometimes used in the jewelry industry. He creates each Grapevine design by hand so that each LP1 art pen is unique and a little different from the rest. It is a lengthy process of more than 40 hours for each pen and requires the highest degree of craftsmanship. The Pallarols passion and meticulous care create an art pen rarely seen except with a few vintage fountain pens during the golden era of jeweler's craft pens in the early 1900's.

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Classic Pens LP1 Grapevine 2009 closed

Because the LP1 Grapevine pens will be individually hand chiseled, each will be a little different from the others. The overall look of the pen will be similar to two art high relief sculpted panels set in highly polish silver frames. The effect creates an even stronger emphasis on the three dimensional nature of the silver work. The final finishing technique gives the pen an antique, museum piece quality. Each pen has the artist's hallmark located near the base of the cap above the cap band.

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Classic Pens LP1 Grapevine 2009 open

Classic Pens commissioned this artist proof to test the design and show the pen at major pen shows, in print and online. Several of the photographs in this article, especially the panorama, where used. The principal difference between the prototype and the final official pens would be adding the laser engraving to the cap band, which would include the Classic Pens logo, pen model and edition number.

LP1 Grapevine

The Lambrou Pallarols LP1 Grapevine was a limited edition of 25 pens set for release in September 2009. The pens are housed in an elegant gift box and are accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Warranty. List price: $9,000 each pen.

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Classic Pens LP1 Grapevine 2009 panorama showing four sides of the pen

Identification guide and features:

  • Hand chiseled very high relief grapevine decoration cut into sterling silver cap and barrel
  • Polished sterling silver cap top and barrel end cap
  • Two gold plated engraved cap bands
  • Rhodium plated clip and cap band
  • Clip has unique Classic Pens cravat shape design
  • Solid 18 karat gold two-tone platinum plated nib with Classic Pens logo design and "18K" and "750"
  • Nibs available in Fine, Fine Italic, Medium, Broad and Broad Italic
  • About 5 3/4 inches long capped, about 6 3/4 inches long with the cap posted on the end of the barrel
  • Cartridge / converter filling system
  • Full Classic Pens warranty against factory defects
  • Retail price the fountain pen is US $9,000.00
  • The pens will be presented in an elegant gift box and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Warranty


I decided rather than write with the prototype pen, I would use a Classic Pens CP8 as the test pen as it is the exact same size pen and uses the same nib unit. The LP1 Grapevine is more hefty, given the more pronounced high relief chiseled work in the sterling silver but is close enough in look and feel that the writing part of the review would not be materially different.

Like the CP8, the LP1 Grapevine is a large and heavy pen, weighing almost 2.5 ounces. The silver work is nearly three dimensional, having the look and feel that it wraps the pen rather than being chiseled into it. My guess is that the work was done on a significantly wider tube than the CP8 begins with and the work creating the design left the background flush with the CP8 cap and barrel end pieces so they would mate evenly. This is really impressive work. If you have handled high relief sterling silver flatware, such as Baltimore Rose, you will get some basic sense of the amazing depth in the work on this pen. I tried to capture this in the photographs.

The overall effect to me was I was handling a museum piece. Something I would expect to see in a glass case at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 19th century silver collection. The only hints that this is not a recently made item is the clip, which would compliment better with a handmade Paul Rossi clip, and when the cap is removed, showing the very modern nib unit.

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Classic Pens LP1 Grapevine 2009 cap and nib detail

The cartridge / converter system works very well, being identical to the CP8, and the Bock nib unit is an excellent writer, providing a very smooth and even line. Dry writing with the LP1, the pen is quite heavy, and I could only see using it unposted. I found the clip to be difficult to use due to the tightness with the underlying design and actually thought the pen might also be well served clipless. A heavier Rossi made clip would be an improvement.

If I were to own one of these pens, I would tend to see it more as a display piece than a daily user. This is a powerful statement pen, very much an art piece.


This pen was loaned and the photos of Juan Carlos Pallarols were provided by Classic Pens for this article. We would like to thank Andy Lambrou for providing the pen, photos of Juan Carlos Pallarols, and the background information for the article.

You can download a 1024x768 desktop wallpaper of this new design here: Desktop Wallpaper - Classic Pens LP1 Grapevine

Selected References

"The Eye: Rare Luxury Finds," Ann Abel, Jack Forster, Jim Brosseau and Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Copyright © 2009, Forbes Magazine

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