Two misplaced fountain pens
mistakes at the Money Museum (Budapest)

On 15 March 2022, the Money Museum, founded by the Hungarian National Bank, was opened on Széll Kálmán Square (the political opposition name for it is Moscow Square, although this has now been given a special meaning), in the former Postapal Palace. An exhibition on the history of money is housed in a quarter of the building's floor space. Unfortunately I was unable to make it to the opening ceremony, but I recently made up for it by visiting the museum. During my trip, I came across two fountain pens on display. I shouldn't have.

A Pénzmúzeum tárgyi tévedései


Although entry is free, online registration is required to visit the museum. At the chosen time, I was given a "work access card" at the reception desk (ground level), which I had to activate (by entering my nickname) at the terminals in the basement, which I used to go up to the second floor, where the magic began. All information is available in three languages (Hungarian, English and Chinese). On the path marked with a light bar, there are several online game points where you can trade crops or securities (using your card), and print gold, silver or bronze " certificates " in proportion to the amount of "dollars" you have collected before you exit. We also have the opportunity to directly grab a pure gold brick (the two ends of the brick are carefully secured).

Lost Little Buddy

In the thick of monitor forests and projectors, I came across the following spectacular installation. The atmosphere of the past was created by the circa 1890-1920 photograph in the background, the desk in front of it and the office supplies on it. On the calamari I noticed a fountain pen and some seal waxes.

"Kis Pajtás" (Little Buddy) in the Money Museum

The calamari was typically used as a dipping pen accessory. A dip pen once rested between the two inkpots. The combination with the calamar fountain pen is quite peculiar, but not surreal. However, the black fountain pen on display is from a different world.

The "Little Buddy" pen was easily identifiable, a product of the early Kádár (communist) era. The pen was placed in such a way that the brand name would not spoil the overall impression, but it is certain that a bank employee did not use a pen made for small school children even under the Kádár regime. Perhaps the exhibitor could have chosen a more elegant and relevant pen.

Misplaced Parker 51

The final part of the exhibition features Hungarian explorers and designers. Here I spotted the second misplaced fountain pen, a Parker 51. It's a beautiful piece, the matching 51 with a flawless case is a real rarity. It was immediately clear what the exhibitor had in mind. It just so happens that the myth that the Parker 51 pen was designed by Moholy-Nagy. I wrote an article in December 2021 refuting this, but belief can move mountains.

A Pénzmúzeum tárgyi tévedései

However, the date 1922 in the background is out of any reference system, as the number 51 of the Parker 51 refers to the 51st anniversary of the founding of the Parker company, when this fountain pen was released (1888+51=1939). Moholy-Nagy's artwork was exhibited, along with that of László Péli, at the Der Sturm gallery in Berlin in 1922, and the Parker company was in the United States. Moholy-Nagy came into contact with the Parker firm in the mid-1940s, shortly before his death.

But take two steps to the right in the exhibition space, and in the next window we meet the explorer László Bíró. The picture and the date are correct. The Parker Jotter ballpoint pen displayed as an illustration, which Google mistakenly shows on page 7260 as having been designed by Moholy-Nagy, is not the best guess. There is a ballpoint pen with the Biro logo. On this pen and its box, as well as on the enclosed papers, we find the name of the discoverer directly. Just as a suggestion, it might be worth replacing the red Jotter for this one.

The robot at the exit said a sad goodbye to me. It informed me that Config error.
Super robot, you were right!

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