Premium on Gold Nibs

It’s no secret that the price of gold has increased sharply. The price of gold-nibbed pens has likewise risen. The Lamy 2000, one of the most common suggestions for a first gold-nib purchase, used to go for $120, $150. Now it’s pennies away from $200. Adding a gold nib to a regular Lamy pen is $100; for an Edison, it’s $150. A gold Pelikan M400 nib costs as much, if not more, than the steel-nibbed Pelikan M200 pen.

Gold-nibbed pens are getting out of most hobbyists’ reach. (Or otherwise, I’m much poorer than most fountain pen users, which is also quite likely.)

So whereas many fountain pen reviewers will critique pens going for $150 and above for “only” having a steel nib, I’ve begun to look at it the other way. Why should I pay an increasing premium on gold nibs, when steel is just as good under most conditions?

A standard Vanishing Point runs for $156; its spare (gold) nib unit is $81.15. How much cheaper could the VP be if they also offered steel nibs? In some ways, this is the premise of the Platinum Curidas – to take the complicated retractable mechanism but make it more affordable by not having gold nibs. Unfortunately, it’s also a hideous nib…

But why do some pen companies insist on making us pay for a gold nib? I’ve been relatively happy to pay the high cost for my Edison and Franklin-Christoph because I know I’m pay for the labor and care put into the pen-making rather than for a single expensive raw material that may not actually be all that much of an upgrade.