In this article, we're going to ask the question, how much are Cross pens worth?
Why are we asking this question? Because it seems that there's either too much or too little talk around the pen brand: purist pen lovers often look down their noses at Cross while big name vendors over-exaggerate the value of Cross writing instruments.
Some readers might not consider luxury pens worth it in general, but instead of answering the big general question, we want to focus on Cross in particular.
So without further ado...
How much do Cross Pens usually cost?
Cross pens have many different lines of pen designs ranging from out-and-out luxury pens like the Peerless 125 to economy lines of high-quality metal pens like the Calais and the Coventry.
As far as writing styles are concerned, fountain pens tend to be more expensive than ballpoints, and rollerballs tend to split the difference.
Finally, construction materials: sterling silver or 10k gold pens are obviously going to run much higher than a chrome plated pen.
All that said, here's a short list of some of the best Cross pens and each of their price ranges from ranked from lowest to highest:
- The Coventry: $27.49-$44.09
- The Calais: $28.34-$73.49
- The Classic Century: $37.79-$199.49 (The Classic Century has the most variations of style so its worth exploring all your options here).
- The Bailey: $46.19-$104.99
- The Tech2: $36.74-$38.49
- The Tech3+: $59.84-$68.19
- The Century II: $77.69-$151.79
- The Townsend: $104.99-$482.99
- The Peerless 125: $188.99-$657.29
"Why are Cross pens so expensive?"
$657.29 for the most expensive cross pen, huh? Besides Jeff Bezos, who even has the cash to blow on a pen like that?
Well, clearly a great many people find luxury pens at that price well worth it.
Consider the fact that Montblanc, one of the most well-respected luxury pen brands in the world, doesn't offer a fountain pen cheaper than $500. In that light, a $40 pen obviously isn't even in the same universe.
We're talking about two different strata of luxury pens, one of "luxury" in the full, Montblanc-esque sense and one of luxury in a more qualified sense.
Cross pen lines span both sorts of pens, but they principally land in the second. One might call these kinds of pens "professional pens" or merely "high-quality pens" if "luxury pens" feels like an exaggeration.
But, to answer the question, Cross pens cost as much as they do precisely because of their design, writing tip style, and construction materials which we mentioned previously. And the most expensive are going to be gold fountain pens.
Are Cross pens real gold?
Yes! 10k, 14k, and 23k gold pens from Cross are plated in real gold. Almost all, however, naturally make use of other sorts of metals and plastics; some (particularly, the Peerless) have more gold than others.
So... Are they really worth the money?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer really has to do with what you, the shopper, need from a pen manufacturer like Cross.
If you're looking for something in the Montblanc range of luxury pens... well, there's Montblanc (While the Peerless is a great pen, there's just a thousand more options out there to consider before going with a Cross pen).
However, if you're looking for a high-quality writing experience with a lifetime mechanical guarantee for an affordable price, then Cross is a fantastic option for a pen company.
Plus, you can get very close to the fine Montblanc experience without paying the $500 price tag for it.
Top 3 Cross Pens Worth Your Money
To the above point, here's three different options from the A.T. Cross company that we think are worth buying.
They aren't ranked from worst to best; rather, I mean to set them out as three separate options for different sorts of pen buyers.
3.) The All-Around: The Classic Century Ballpoint Pen
The Classic Century collection from Cross has the widest variety of quality pens for a spectrum of writing experience. This wide range makes it appealing to pen buyers of all kinds, making it our #2 most popular pen.
The slim, solid barrel design makes it seem unobtrusive, subtle, but still elegant. It's a pen that means business without being shouty or obnoxious.
Be sure to also shop the pen's other writing tip and nib styles, and make sure to check out the other color options including the black and gold rollerball.
2.) The Professional Economy Line: The Calais Chrome Ballpoint Pen
The Calais ballpoint in chrome is our most popular pen by far.
The price tag of the Calais is one of the lowest in the Cross company line, and the medium barrel makes it both comfortable on the hand but also a grand surface for the eye: it's large enough to engrave a decently visible business logo onto it making it perfect for bulk business gifting.
The reflective, silver sheen of chrome makes this pen stand out without giving you buyer's remorse.
1.) The Reasonably Priced Penthouse: The Century II Rollerball
In design terms, the Century II is closely related to both the Classic Century and the Townsend. It's like the middle ground between them.
In particular, the black lacquer rollerball is one of the best models available in the $100 price range. Also check out my review of the Century II fountain pen model; it rivals a lot of other nib pens in the $300 range.
I hope these buying options present a good place to start, but you can also check out our entire selection of Cross brand pens for more.
Other Frequently Asked Questions...
Are vintage Cross pens worth anything?
One of the most frequently asked questions about Cross pens has to do with the vintage pens from the late-19th and mid-20th century Cross co. pen lines.
Cross was founded circa 1858, and so there are some Cross pens which collectors greatly covet, especially the old stylographic pens that the founder, Alonzo Cross, famously patented.
The online fountain pen community generally considers vintage Cross fountain pens to be extremely rare; it's likely that the earliest one was the Century I, the precursor to the popular Century II.
The company made a pen commonly known as the "Art Deco" pen in the 1930s but set aside the role of manufacturer of the fountain pen until the early 1980s in favor of rollerball and ballpoint pens. There are very few fountain pens available which were not manufactured before 1982.
The value of Cross's older ink pens varies as widely as its contemporary line of pens; seeing as we're not necessarily the authority on old pens, you might instead check out Collectors Weekly or other vintage sellers market.
How do you date an old cross pen?
Dating a Cross pen can be a bit of an adventure; the simplest way to do it is is to check the user manual and see if the year of manufacture is printed somewhere within it. These are often kept under the satin lining in the pen box.
On the actual pen, however, you can check the top of the pen cap, right above the clip, and there maybe be some markers like a manufacturer number which can give some indication.
The same can be said of the pen nib if it's a fountain pen, but as we said, if you find a fountain pen, it's likely not from between 1930s and 1970s.
Another way to get a good grasp on the date is to find a book on vintage pens and compare your pen to ones you may find within.
Clearly, Cross pens are far from being the Aurora Diamante, but no one is pretending otherwise—especially not Cross. The brand presents an affordable entry into the world of luxury pens. But how much Cross pens are worth really depends on the kind of buyer you are; that's why you should check out our guide to choosing a luxury gift pen. The purists simply do not have the final word on Cross.
Now it's your turn: What's your opinion on Cross company pens? Which pen do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!
Daniel is the President and CEO of Dayspring Pens. He lives in Virginia with his wife and their four children. Learn more about Daniel's bio.