Parker Awanyu "Aztec"

Awanyu, Aztec symbol, was the water serpent, guardian of spring and rivers, preserver of life and symbol of good luck.

This model appeared in 1911. In catalogs and ads of the time we read; «Based on an Aztec design discovered by archaeologists. «Awanyu» means the giver of life and symbolizes good luck. The goldsmith who worked on this design has been successful beyond our expectations. Unique, beautiful, and mystical design. Known as both «Aztec» and by the name Awanyu, this fountain pen is exactly as promised: unique, beautiful, exotic, and rare.»

The design features an 18k gold filled surface. delicately hammered by hand with symbols and the head of an Aztec Indian depicted on the barrel and cap. The fountain pen was manufactured in sterling silver – model 59 – for $ 16.00. Model 60 in 18k gold. was $ 20.00. There are «half» versions -models 57 and 58-, with the caps in exposed hard rubber crowned by a band with Aztec motifs in silver and gold, respectively at the price of $ 10.00 and $ 12.00. Parker then engraved these model numbers inscribed in a circle at the base of the barrel.

No two Awanyu are alike; each overlay is the result of a unique artistic work. Although inspired on a basic design template, each of them is individually hand embossed and chiseled by a goldsmith artist. The smooth and open areas that remain between the motifs in low relief are carefully hammered-embossed adding a delicate texture.

We do not know how many Awanyu were sold in their day. Those that have appeared for sale in recent decades could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Parker Lucky Curve Awanyu Aztec two designs.

Geo S. Parker wrote how this design came to his catalog;

“Santa Fe New Mexico. Last winter the writer took a little trip thru the west. Among the stops made was at Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is certainly one of the cities worth visiting.  It is claimed that the city is the oldest in the United States. History shows that the city was originally inhabited oy a very civilized race of Indians several hundred years ago. The Spaniards who controlled the territory hearing of the City, and of its richness in gold and silver and jewelry marched upon the City and captured it. It has for hundreds of years been practically a Spanish city and is today.

The quaint little mules loaded with firewood being driven down from the forests in the mountain, and having still stranger looking drivers with their tall, pointed straw hats and turned up rims are everyday sights. Speak to one of the drivers in English, and he will stare at you with a startled look and say «No savy» and pass on.

Don’t think for a moment that this class constitutes the entire population. Nothing could be more erroneous. They are merely a part of a very interesting whole.

Fine stores and such courteous and polite attendants cannot but impress the stranger within its gates, makes one long to return for another visit. 0, yes, indeed, Parker Pens are sold there. 

There is in this wonderful old city the Archeological Institute of America that has the most wonderful collection of Indian and Aztec relics that the writer ever saw. As good fortune would have it the curator, Dr. Chapman proved to be an old-time friend of the writer, so the visit to the Institute was made especially enjoyable. 

In one of the rooms the writer saw a most peculiar design of the early Aztec designing. Upon inquiry found it was the «Emblem of Mistic Power,» «The preserver of life,” «The guardian of springs and streams.» Permission was secured to copy the design and since then the writer has had the silver smith reproduce it on a fountain holder as shown herewith. 

The Aztecs called it «Awanyu”, so we have called it the Awanyu too. It is made in both sterling silver and gold filled. A more strange or beautiful thing it is hard to imagine. With the many centuries behind its origin, and the fact that it is supposed to bring good luck and long life to its owner, made it an especially adapted design to use on a Parker Pen. 

Everyone who sees the pen with the strange, mythical characters on it becomes interested in it at once. It’s a wonderful pen to have in stock as an advertisement alone to interest possible buyers.” 

Parker Awanyu aztecs
Parker Awanyu Aztec simbols
A Parker Awanyu "Aztec" mod. #60. Auctioned by Bonhams´ house in December 2013 (image © Bonhams).