Pencils from Panama

In April I was able to visit Panama, the very interesting and beautiful country that bridges the Americas.

I looked for a specialty papeleria, but didn’t find one. If you have a recommendation, please let me know! That goes for coffee shops as well. While I expected an array of imported pencils to be available, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

My first stop was the department store Steven’s, which I was told would be the back to school shopping destination for many Panamanian parents.

So what did I find? To my surprise the Mongol brand was prominent, with both a made in China round PaperMate Mongol 482 and a made in Vietnam triangular PaperMate Mongol Tri on offer. The boxes have markings indicating the pencil shape.

Also available were mixed grade sets of the made in Brazil Faber-Castell Castell 9000 Regent and the origin unspecified Stabilo Othello 282.

I also picked up two accessories, the made in Brazil Faber-Castell FC Max eraser, and a made in China Faber-Castell Gum Stick.

The next stop was the chain store Office Depot.

The store did not disappoint, starting with multiple double ended pencils – the Dixon Bicolor (Mexico) and Office Depot red and blue and red and black pencils (China). I don’t think I’ve previously seen house brand double ended pencils.

Pelikan is another brand that I wouldn’t find in Canada – I look forward to trying the Lápiz de grafito and Lápiz triangular (Thailand) as well as the Silverstar (Vietnam).

The sources of the pencils – Brazil, China, France, Thailand, Vietnam – were more diversified than I expected. I’m also thinking that a big box store is not a terrible place for a first survey of an unfamiliar place.

4 Replies to “Pencils from Panama”

  1. I think that when my kids were much younger we should’ve shopped for school supplies in Panama. : )

    It’s nice to see that the Mongol ferrule is still a thing of beauty (and thus a joy forever).

  2. Michael, those would have been very educational trips! :)

    I was very surprised to see the Mongol resurface!

  3. These are exciting finds! Thank you for showing them. The diversity is impressive! And it’s great to see red and graphite pencils too – are they popular there?

  4. Gunther, they are indeed an impressive assortment. The story of the red and graphite pencil isn’t known to me, but it was exciting to see them.

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