The Golden Bear is Palomino's "school grade" standard pencil. Made of cedar, it's a step up from the Prospector, and I definitely got that impression from my experience with it. Review below:
Wow - this lead is really dark! Compared to the Prospector, the Golden Bear's lead is smoother, denser, and darker. Definitely a great first impression.
Fit/Finish: When I sharpened it up, the pencil's wood splintered a little bit, leading to the "split" you can see below. The core itself is well-centered, though, so I didn't have any worse sharpening woes. As with the Prospector, this one has a sharply cornered hexagonal barrel. The ferrule and foil stamping are applied well, and the pencil gives an impression of high quality all-around. I especially enjoy the orange-and-blue design, as a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign :)
Performance: Smooth and dark. Point retention does not, however, suffer as a result. The graphite does smear a bit, though, but no more than the much lighter-writing Prospector. I like writing with the Golden Bear. How about erasing?
All right, looks like I'll need to carry around that Staedtler then!
Overall: This pencil is most certainly in a different lead class than the Prospector, but the wood splintering and eraser performance bring down an otherwise stellar example of American pencil making. They're available for $2.95/dozen.
hi-res images here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjZVp5kF