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What is it about Germans and their stationery? Whether you are highlighting a receipt or signing a state decree, it’s likely the writing implement clasped between your thumb and finger has “Made in Germany” embossed on its side.

German brands such as Montblanc, Faber-Castell, Schneider, Staedtler and Schwan-Stabilo make pens and pencils that are at home everywhere from a ceo’s breast pocket to a student’s pencil case. Combined, these masters of lead and ink exported €602m of writing instruments in 2011; that was up 2.1 per cent from the previous…

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