"My first stop was with the manufacturer of PrismaColors. I had invested in several additions to my old set. They offered to replace my bad ones. I wasn't looking for A replacement. I was looking for their idea of what technique I could use to better my outcome. Two or three letters between us happened before I ran across a web site used by artists who dabble mainly in colored pencil drawing. They outlined what had happened in that industry, and more particularly to PrismaColor, and the problem was clear....the manufacturer was sticking to their story that nothing about their pencils had changed, only the place of manufacturing had changed. Anyone who has used and loved PrismaColors before the site of manufacturing changed knows what to look for when buying new, which is why OLD PrismaColors now get high prices when they are sold on Ebay."
A couple of years ago I bought a new PrismaColor set to replace my old beloved stubby pencils. I couldn't understand why my results were so unlike my previous work and I could not get the pencils to blend well. I too contacted PrismaColor several times regarding the dramatic change in the quality of their pencils manufactured outside the US. They did the same thing, offering to replace bad pencils, but refusing to even consider the possibility that anything about their manufacturing process had changed. I tried repeatedly to explain I did not want them to replace me new pencils with new pencils, but they acted like I was some poor misguided crazy who couldn't understand that nothing had changed other than the manufacture site. I finally gave up because they were not going to acknowledge any comprehension of the problem I was describing. I too stalk the old Stanford/PrismaColor auctions and have expanded out to also using Dewert water color pencils to try to get the results similar to the old Prismacolors.
Thanks for letting me know I wasn't imagining the problem!