Presenting: the great Spanish pencil haul of 2019

I am back from this year’s overseas adventure! After a little digging around, Spain turned out to be a great place to pick up some pencils. Somehow I managed to get all of these out of the EU and into the USA without some customs agent thinking that I must be some sort of pencil mule running a black market office supply scheme…

It was actually really interesting, because I had an idea of specific pencil makes or models that I expected to find. For the most part, I didn’t. However, I did find a bunch that I didn’t even know existed.

As you can see, the Staedtler Norris is well-represented. I did keep my eyes peeled for that specific pencil, and found it. In a way, it seems to be the Ticonderoga of Spain (and perhaps the rest of Europe) in that it is pretty ubiquitous and most shops seem to have a little display of them at the checkout stand. I did not find some brands I was thinking I would, such as Viarco, Caran d’Ache, etc. However, I did find pencils from many well-known European makers such as Lyra, including specific models I’d never heard of. I also found a few that are specific to Spain. Many are Chinese exports targeted for the Spanish market, but some — like the Alpino Junior which (spoiler alert) I am growing pretty find of — are made in Spain. There are also some that I still haven’t figured out what they are or where they come from.

So, needless to say, there’s lots of fresh fodder for reviews and it should be fun to work my way through them.

5 thoughts on “Presenting: the great Spanish pencil haul of 2019

  1. robertbburnham November 18, 2019 / 6:23 pm

    I’ve bought fountain pens in Barcelona (but not pencils) — Inoxcrom, a Spanish brand — and enjoyed the offerings in the stationery department at El Corte Inglés’ Plaça de Catalunya store. Also enjoyed browsing in the stationery shops in the Barri Gòtic (our hotel was at the top of Las Ramblas).

    This was more than 20 years ago, so I have no idea of the current pen and pencil scene there.

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  2. David J. Santos November 18, 2019 / 9:55 pm

    Jesse, I’m David, an engineer following your blog from Madrid. As far as I can see in the photo, your Spanish pencil hunting was great. Particularly, your Johann Sindel pencils. These were made in Spain by a pencil company named Hispania. The factory was at Ferrol, just in the NW of Spain, from 1933 to 1986. They made great pencils, with good cedar (“cedro” in Spanish) and very nice graphite. The Pencilvania blog run a good post on them not long ago: http://pencilvaniablog.blogspot.com/2012/12/herr-johann-sindel-un-aleman-muy.html

    I still use them regularly.

    Always looking forward to reading your pencil reviews from the extreme North!

    Best regards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jesse November 18, 2019 / 10:41 pm

      David — thank you so much for this comment. I had no idea about the Sindel pencils. They looked interesting, old, and the shop only had three of them left. I thought I had best buy them first and ask questions later, since I might not get another chance in this lifetime to buy them. Your background information and very much appreciated.

      Also, I just want to say that it’s always a pleasure to hear from a fellow engineer and that I had an amazing time in your country (no offence to any of my friends in Catalunya…). My partner and I could see ourselves living there one day, even.

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    • Jesse November 18, 2019 / 10:43 pm

      P.S. if you are familiar with any of the other pencils I have picked up, feel free to share your information or opinions. The yellow “antes” (? I can’t make out what the logo says) 6810 in particular has me curious.

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      • David J. Santos November 18, 2019 / 11:18 pm

        No idea about the 6810. I cannot see the logo clearly. The Staedtler NORIS 2B (orange cap) is one of my preferred cheap pencils (you can buy them here for as low as 35 cents of an Euro). I also love the Koh-I-Noor B and HB (Austrian).

        By the way, I’m a heavy user, not a collector. In the selection of my pencils I try to adapt to the paper at hand. I mean, I do not select the paper to the pencil, I select the pencil to the paper. My top pencils, the ones I use when I have to think graphically or mathematically, are the Staedtler Mars-Lumograph B and the Tombow Mono 100 B.

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