08 May 2023

Guest post series - 'Filohax' No.5 - Paul

Thanks again to Paul for this fifth instalment of his wonderful guest post series. 

You can find all of the 'Filofhax' posts here

Filohax: A Pigskin story 

It's that swine Robert's fault I succumbed to the charms of my new Winchester Pigskin… 

My favourite Filofaxes all have that 'well used' look, and after I posted a question months ago asking which FF patinas the most, Robert's 'Pigskin' answer prompted me to do some searches, which introduced me to his own battered and heavily patina-ed Winchester. I filed the photos away in my 'dream Filofaxes' folder and forgot about them…until I noticed this one for sale on eBay. 

I'm not one to hog the limelight, but what happened next deserves a wider audience, especially one that appreciates rare Filofax finds. I started scrolling through the eBay photos of the Personal sized Pigskin, and assumed that like Robert's it was a ⅞ ringer, and although I had a dim awareness of a large ring variant from an old post showing a 1980's sales catalogue with a tiny ref to 'also available in 5/4', it didn't even enter my mind to assume this one might be a big ringer. I did wonder if the angles of the shots were making the rings look a bit weirdly large, and then I literally did a movie type double take when I came to the close up photo of the Filofax logo


and descriptor and saw '4PLF 5/4'... Luckily for me it was a 'Buy now' item and like streaky lightning I bagged what I have to say was an absolute bargain! From the photos it appeared to have crackling leather on the inner spine and ink staining on the rear of the pen loop,


but I thought, "Hey, I'd pay this much just to hold one…" I always like to know of a binder's provenance where possible, and via eBay's 'contact the vendor' message service was able to find out that it was being sold by a widow who said that her late husband used it in the 'early 1980s' before they first met. He came from the Dundee area but when they met he was living in Reading, so she assumed he had purchased it in Dundee. Having now taken delivery I can confirm that it is the real deal. And way better than it appeared in the photographs! Having only ever owned a small selection of Filofaxes, all in calf leather and all black, the Pigskin feels and looks very light in comparison, and without sounding a bore, it's a beaut. 


When it comes to renovating vintage items I can be a bit ham-fisted, so don't plan to interfere too much with it - I actually prefer the lived in look, the scuffed shoulders, the cracks and frayed edges, even the ink mark on the back of the pen loop I think give it a unique character. It has already replaced my original ⅞ Winchester at work

with the big rings Pigskin, as the ⅞ has been creakingly full for a while now, and this will allow me room to fatten up a fair bit! Here is a comparison between one of my ⅞ Winchesters and the Pigskin 5/4. 

As it's very early days I'm yet to suss out the pros and cons, but do already feel that my current set up using the black Dymo tabs looks even more fetching against the faded tan than they did against the black calf leather.


I would love to know what you think. Some may say I should lock a rarity like this away, but one of life's daily pleasures for me is the regular use and handling of my Filofaxes, and this is the best yet. It's going to become very portly very quickly, and in homage to my own childhood nickname I'm going to call it 'Porky'!


  1. I think I shall use this post as a drinking game. I have to take a shot for every piggish pun. Stellar work, by the way.

    I think you've got yourself a beauty. I also believe in *using* Filofaxes, not fannying about and turning them into one-off artworks. (No offense to those who do. The true beauty of a Filofax is that it is all things to all people.) So scuffs, and pen marks, and what have you, are fine with me. Unless it's a Lockwood. That's a different story.

    About a year and a half ago, I stumbled on to early '80s Buckingham, which I adore and probably overpaid for. So I have a soft spot for the seriously vintage stuff that's still out there floating around. I love the backstory on your find. Enjoy!

    1. Re puns - Anita added the italics to the puns - but she missed one...any ideas? 😉 It's also my first non black FF so I'm more conscious of getting pen marks on it! Re vintage Filofax survivors - it all depends on the seller not knowing anything about FF - mine was the widow and hadn't done her research 😉

    2. Hmm .. "fatten up"? Sadly, my seller had definitely done her research. ;)