14 January 2010

Where to buy vintage Filofaxes?

I received an email from Philofaxy reader Alon, who has been collecting Filofaxes for more than 20 years, asking where he can buy vintage Filofaxes. I suggested ebay but beyond that I have no clue.

Does anyone know of a good source for buying vintage Filofaxes?


  1. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer to that one.

    But I'm curious: what makes a Filofax vintage or collectible? Does it have to be leather, made in England and personal size, for example? Or can something like a M2 or a Deskfax qualify as vintage Filofax?

  2. I would say ebay is your best bet. Set up a search with your particular words and it emails you with hits every day.

    If you are a real collector you can scour second hand shops and put up notices - once people know you they will contact you when nice things come up.

    You can also contact people on flickr for example, who are also collectors and ask them to contact you when a duplicate comes up.

    I am a collector of various things and I find these the best ways.

  3. I would also suggest Ebay as a good source, but read my post from last year:


    Don't get carried away, decide on your top price and stick to it... it's easy to get carried away.

    Don't panic if you miss out the first time, just keep watching for items and ask the sellers questions before bidding. They sometimes don't get the sizes correct.

    Remember readers of this blog will be more knowledgeable about Filofax than normal Ebay sellers. This can be to your advantage of course!

    Good luck.

  4. @joffreyca - My view on what constitutes "vintage" for Filofax would be anything dating before around 1991.

    Kevin Hall's excellent 2006 paper entitled "A Chronology of Filofax" (sadly unavailable now)noted that year as being a watershed, with the product being taken down-market. Much of the quality and "Englishness" was lost. This matches my own experience also.

    The personal size is favoured in the "vintage" stakes, because until about 1985 it was the only size produced. The next size added was called "Deskfax", but totally different to the later format that also came to bear the same name. There are early examples of the "Pocket" format that I would regard as vintage. These used a four ring system, rather than the current six.

  5. You have just reminded me... I actually have a copy of that Kevin Hall document, the version I found is dated 21 July 2006. I wrote to his last known email address over Christmas requesting permission to publish his paper. Sadly I've not heard back from him yet.

    I will look in to publishing the contents whilst giving the author full acknowledgement to avoid any copyright issues etc.

    It's very detailed as you say.


  6. Ebay is a good source. Also try craigslist for your city and other cities, too.

  7. Kevin has promised a revised version of the chronology one day, which I'm sure many of us would be fascinated to see.

  8. Hi GMax
    We have been trying to track down Kevin to get his permission to republish his document. The link to Webarchive no longer seems to work, although it did work over Christmas because I somehow managed to download a copy of the 2006 version of his file.

    It's an excellent source of historical information about the company.

    So if Kevin is reading this or they have an up to date email address for him we would love to hear from him and to be able to request his permission to publish his document on Philofaxy.

    We don't want to break his Copyright on the document by just publishing it without his permission.


  9. The web archive link is working as of just now.

  10. I think certain models, Winchester, Durham, Balmoral that formed the original 1980-5 basis for the growth of the company are Vintage or Classic, especially the 4CLF 7.8 given the range or materials and finishes. Others have Novelty appeal like the Travelfax and Duplex. To be honest eBay is the only source I've found and I've trawled the Net other than lucky finds in 2nd hand shops but people are very aware of the brands strength so finding a real steal is rare but, even on eBay still very possible.