DUNHILL-NAMIKI: Portuguese Trade Ship Maki-e Fountain Pen, Emperor Size, A-Grade, Signed by Ritsuzan, early 1930s\nA rare and exceptional A-grade Emperor-sized Dunhill-Namiki fountain pen of the highest quality. Plunger-filler, balance form with rounded endpiece and captop, measuring 168mm, early 1930s. 18K gold Dunhill-Namiki heart-vent right oblique nib, No. 50 size (not marked as such), engraved "FABRIQUE AU JAPON". Elaborately decorated in togidashi and takamakie on highly-polished kinji ground, fully embellished with maki-e work extending to the feed, depicting a 15th century Portuguese trade ship, masterfully designed and executed with great subtlety and skill. Immaculate condition, no damage or wear of any kind. Signed by Ritsuzan Yamazaki (Ritsuzan was born 1895, studied under Eizan Inoue in 1912, and began working for Namiki as a subcontractor in 1928. One of Namiki's most esteemed and highly-awarded artists, he was a core member of Namiki's elite Kokkokai group assembled by the legendary Gonroku Matsuda in 1931).\n\nIn Namiki: The Art of Lacquer Pens, Julia Hutt and Stephen Overbury state that A-grade Emperors were the best and most expensive pens in Dunhill-Namiki's inventory: "The most expensive pen would be a giant men's model No. 50 pen... Most of the best quality Dunhill-Namiki pens were custom-ordered and as such were about double the cost." Christophe Larquemin remarks in The Four Seasons of Namiki that "the most sought-after [Namiki] is also the largest, the 50. It is the most famous Namiki, dubbed Emperor, Jumbo, or King-Size by some collectors." Tomihiro Murakami states in Dunhill-Namiki and Lacquer Pens that vintage Emperor Dunhill-Namikis are of the greatest scarcity, with production limited to a period of a few years from 1932: "It is almost impossible to find this kind of pen due to the very small quantity that was made." According to Jean-François Canton's recent book on Namiki pens, only about 15 vintage "balance" or "dome-top" Emperors are known to exist.\n\nVintage Namiki A-Grade Emperor fountain pens are incredibly difficult to obtain, and this example may be the finest in terms of aesthetics and condition to come to auction in decades.\n\nReferences:\n-Lambrou, Andreas. Fountain Pens of the World. (Los Angeles: 2005), pp. 367 & 368.\n-Murakami, Tomihiro. Dunhill-Namiki and Lacquer Pens. (Sakura City: 2000), pp. 60 & 67.\n-Hutt, Julia & Stephen Overbury, Namiki: The Art of Lacquer Pens. Toronto: 2000, pp. 53 & 151.\n-Larquemin, Christophe. The Four Seasons of Namiki. (Paris: 2009), pp. 188 & 197.\n-Canton, Jean-François. Namiki: The Poignant Beauty of Fragile Things. (Aurillac, France: 2013), p. 74 ("Few Namiki pens were made in the '50' size. Experts claim that their number does not exceed forty, including twenty-five 'flat-top' and fifteen 'dome-top' pens.").