Given that the literacy rate in the United States is 99% in modern times, it’s hard to imagine a society in which writing would be prestigious, or anything other than ordinary. Yet, throughout human history writing has been extremely rare and something that only the most elite of the elite of a particular society knew how to do—if that society had any writing at all.
Since the invention of the stylus and tablet by the ancient Mesopotamians in the 4th century BC writing utensils have come a long way. From quill pens to typewriters, and everything in between, we’ve covered a lot of ground in the 5,000+ years that humans have been writing. Yet, while writing is more common now than it ever has been before there is still a lot of value placed in the art.
Let’s take a look at ten valuable writing instruments from the past, present, and future!
1. Most Expensive Pen
It may seem like they are becoming increasingly obsolete with humanity’s shift toward computers, yet there are still many people around the world who value a good pen! The current title holder for the world’s most expensive pen is the Fulgor Nocturnus by the famous pen-makers Tibaldi of Florence. This fountain pen sold for $8 million in a 2010 auction in Shanghai, China.
So what’s so special about the Fulgor Nocturnus that makes it about 8 million times more expensive than your average Bic pen? It was created based on the Divine Proportions of Phi, so the ratio between the cap and the visible portion of the barrel when the pen is closed is equal to the phi ration 1.618. In addition to its divine shape, the pen is decorated with 945 black diamonds and 123 rubies.
2. Most Expensive Ball Point Pen
Fountain pens can be messy, so if you’re looking for an extremely expensive writing utensil that won’t get ink all over your hand look no further than the Mont Blanc Ball Point! For just $730,000 this pen is a steal in comparison with the Fulgor Nocturnus. It’s beauty is complemented by stunning jewelry art.
3. Most Expensive Pencil
If you’re prone to mistakes though you might be more interested in the world’s most expensive pencil: a limited edition of the Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil. At $12,800 this classic pencil is crafted with 240 year-old olive wood and 18-carat white gold, and includes a handy built-in eraser and sharpener! Not to be outdone by the world’s most expensive pens, it also features three diamonds.
4. Most Expensive Computer
You may be the most up-to-date collector of new gadgets out of all of your friends, but chances are you will not be anywhere near being able to purchase what is soon to be the world’s most expensive computer. At $15 million, let’s just say this computer won’t be in the price range of any college freshman looking for a good computer to type their papers on!
Just last month NASA and Google announced a partnership to create the world’s first quantum computer, and by virtue of its extreme powers, the world’s most expensive as well. This is big news for the world of computers and advancing technology! The computer’s processor will compute an estimated 3600 times faster than the computers of today. Here’s to hoping that one day soon those of us who are not billionaires will be able to have a quantum computer in our own modest households!
5. Most Expensive Keyboard
If you use your computer for namely writing you may be more interested in investing in a great keyboard rather than a fast processor. The world’s most expensive keyboard is the Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional HP Japan, which sells for $4,240. Not only is this a comfortable keyboard for all of your hands’ typing needs, but it’s dusted with gold! Imagine the quality of writing you could produce if you were typing on gold.
6. Most Expensive Typewriter
While most of us don’t use typewriters for our everyday typing needs anymore, they are becoming increasingly popular collector’s items—and valuable ones! The most expensive typewriter ever sold was sold is a light blue, Lettera 32 Olivetti manual machine that went for $254,500 in an auction. It belonged to author Cormac McCarthy, who wrote such books as All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, and The Road. Apparently, the typewriter saw a lot of great novels in its day, no wonder people found it so valuable. McCarthy bought it for just $50 back in 1963!
7. Printer Ink — The World’s Most Expensive Liquid
If you own a printer you’ll know that replacing the ink is cripplingly expensive, but did you know that the cartridges that you purchase actually contain the most expensive liquid in the world? That’s right, colored ink costs $5,654 per liter and black ink costs $5,544 per liter, making printer ink by far the most expensive liquid per liter that you can buy, followed by human blood and penicillin. See, the manuscripts of struggling screenwriters are more valuable than you thought!
8. Most Valuable Ancient Tablet
Cuneiform tablets were the earliest place in which people could practice the art of writing (if you consider collecting taxes an art!). How much will purchasing one of these ancient artifacts set you back? Well, it depends on whether or not you buy one legally—though we highly recommend buying legally! For example, a Sumerian cuneiform tablet dating back to the 4th century BC sold last March in an auction in Colorado for $10,500.
But illegally purchased cuneiform tablets cost a lot less. Apparently, back in the early 2000s you could buy ancient cuneiform tablets on eBay for as little as $10! In doing so you would of course run the huge risk of the tablet being fake; or even worse the risk of it being stolen and then you could be arrested for trafficking ancient artifacts.
9. Most Expensive Modern Tablet
Then of course we have the modern tablet. Though not as old or as rich in history as the ancient Mesopotamian tablets, an iPad is great for your email writing needs! Tablets are increasingly replacing desktop or laptop computers for modern consumers—so what’s the best tablet money can buy? Microsoft’s Surface Pro currently holds the title forworld’s most expensive tablet at a whopping $899. That’s a full $879 more expensive than the world’s cheapest tablet, which was created by an Indian company called DataWind and costs only $20.
10. Most Expensive Notebook
If you’re sick of writing on your tablet or your computer though, you might be looking for nothing more complicated than a good old fashion notebook—and no, I don’t mean a notebook computer. The world’s most expensive notebook, and probably the most impressive, belongs to none other than Bill Gates. He purchased this notebook in 1994 for $30.8 million. What’s so great about it? Before Gates it had an equally as impressive owner: Leonardo da Vinci. That’s right, the world’s most expensive notebook is the Codex Leicester, a notebook used by da Vinci to pontificate about astronomy and astrology.
The world has come a long way in developing writing since the creation of the first stylus and tablet. With the advent of more modern technology how we write is evolving more quickly than ever before, and it’s still a big business. So whether you’re nostalgic for older writing instruments like typewriters or looking to the future for the most up-and-coming computing technology, there’s something for anyone willing to spend millions!