Montegrappa is proud to honour one of the greatest heroes of the 20th Century, with a limited edition pen marking the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space. It signalled the start of manned space flight, launching the most exciting period in the history of man’s unquenchable thirst for exploration.
Born on 9 March 1934 in Klushino, Russia, Gagarin was a Soviet Air Forces pilot who, in 1960, after completing the selection process, was chosen with 19 other pilots for the Soviet space program. Gagarin was further selected for an elite training group known as the Sochi Six from which the first cosmonauts of the Vostok programme would be chosen. He became the first human being to journey into outer space when his the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1) spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961, with a time in space of 1 hour 48 minutes.
Following this momentous flight, Gagarin became a worldwide celebrity, touring widely abroad. Beginning in 1962, Gagarin served as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union; he also spent seven years working on designs for a reusable spacecraft. Gagarin achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the Soviet Air Force on 12 June 1962 and on 6 November 1963, was promoted to Colonel.
Because of his importance as a Soviet hero, and fearing for his safety, officials banned him from participating in further spaceflights. Gagarin had become deputy training director of the Star City cosmonaut training base, later named after him, while re-qualifying as a fighter pilot. On 27 March 1968, with tragic irony and despite the best efforts of Soviet officials to protect him, Gagarin and flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin died when their MiG-15UTI, on a routine training flight, crashed near the town of Kirzhach. Their bodies were cremated and the ashes were buried in the walls of the Kremlin on Red Square.
Originally conceived as part of the new Cosmopolitan collection, the importance of the 50th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s space flight has elevated the pen to the status of a stand-alone limited edition. The Montegrappa Yuri Gagarin Pen joins the company of other honours including a series of commemorative ruble coins issued by the Soviet Union for the 20th, 30th and 40th anniversaries, his title of Hero of the Soviet Union and the re-naming of the town of Gzhatsk in 1968 as Gagarin.
Montegrappa’s artisans have engraved the barrel with the image of Yuri Gagarin in bas-relief, bordered with an interplanetary motif, while the cap features the coat-of-arms of the USSR. The pocket clip, fitted with a rotating ball at its tip to facilitate smooth insertion to and removal from a pocket, is flanked by reproductions of Moscow’s monument to Yuri Gagarin, completed in 1980 and located in Gagarin’s square. The fountain pen features a built-in piston-fed filling mechanism, providing ink to the two-tone 18K gold nib with ebonite feeder.
Both the roller ball and the fountain pen arrive in presentation boxes, fashioned in wood. The lid of the box is embellished with a metal plaque bearing an engraved image of Yuri Gagarin, with a commemorative message in Cyrillic characters. The box for the fountain pen also includes a complimentary bottle of ink.
To mark the 50 years since Yuri Gagarin’s historic space flight in 1961, Montegrappa will issue the Yuri Gagarin pen in a limited edition consisting of:
• 1961 silver fountain pens
• 1961 silver roller balls
• 50 solid 18K gold fountain pens
• 50 solid 18K gold roller balls
Since 1912, Montegrappa has been manufacturing high-quality writing instruments in the same historic building in Bassano del Grappa, North East Italy.