6-ring “Liberty” Deskfax by Filofax – Guest post by Paul

Paul has been amazing with the guest posts he has written over the years. He writes the guest posts perfectly with notations where the photos go – and his photos are brilliant. 

I was waiting on tenterhooks for this particular post because I have never ever seen one of these binders before. And naturally the beauty of the post and the photos did not disappoint. Thank you Paul – so very much! Janet

Over to Paul:

I found this little beauty quite by accident on eBay. I have a number of saved searches, and was idly skimming through new listings when this caught my eye. It was a classic double-take moment and I sat and stared for at least 30 seconds! Needless to say I had to have it, and was lucky enough only to be bidding against two other people neither of whom seemed to realise what it was, based on their maximum bids. It wasn’t listed accurately, which probably explains the lack of interest…

May I present: the only example I have ever seen – even in pictures! – of the first-generation 6-ring version of the Filofax Deskfax.

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This one is a 2CLF7/8, in beautiful (and quite heavily patinated) tan calf leather. It arrived complete with inserts, but there is no diary – presumably the diary pages were discarded at some point as being out of date. A number of the inserts have the date 1984 on them, which contradicts information from Philofaxy which suggests that this model was made for a few years from 1986 onward.
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The label stamp inside the cover is still very clear, and states that the binder was made for Liberty, the famous department store near London’s Regent Street. The inside front cover is also home to a large secretarial pocket.
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The rings are absolutely superb. I’m not sure if the binder has been used much; there is some wear on it, quite a patina, and the rings have dented the inside of the cover in the usual way. But the rings are as tight and smooth as any I have ever come across, and the sweetest in operation I have used. They don’t so much snap open and closed as ‘snick’ open and closed. The only sign of age is that there is a tiny misalignment so that the bottom edge of each ring joint feels rough to the touch, but it doesn’t catch on the pages.
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The leather is pretty thick, and the spine is quite square. The construction reminds me, unsurprisingly, of a calf leather Winchester. The narrow closure has a pop-fastener which looks to me as if it had a covering at one time, but that has been lost – leaving, in this case, an exposed metal dome. There is a single, very small, pen loop inside the back cover, which is folded very flat – and is probably just about big enough for a narrow pencil or the clip of a real pen. There’s a second pocket inside the back cover but it’s very small – basically just a flap.
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The inserts:
a standard set of separator tabs, identical to ones I have in my Cavendish personal, but double the width;

a map of Great Britain, split up in a similar way to an A-Z onto half a dozen pages;
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some blank pale blue notepaper – superb quality paper! Filofax take note – can we have the new stuff made to this quality again please? It’s very thin and smooth, but takes fountain pen ink beautifully… as this writing sample with a fairly wet medium nib TWSBI 580AL and Pelikan Edelstein Amethyst ink will attest… no bleed, no feathering, writing almost invisible from the back side of the page. Not quite Tomoe River, but not dissimilar to the Kukoyo B5 paper I punch for the Mk2 Deskfax.
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some lined pale blue notepaper

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some gridded notepaper – similar to quadrille, but with a very fine grid
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some analysis paper – accounting ledger type pages
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addresses; these betray their age by having a space for a TELEX number!
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Size comparison Personal – Mk1 Deskfax – Mk2 Deskfax
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  • This is a personal Winchester 4CLF5/4 in burgundy leather;
  • the 2CLF7/8 Mark 1 Deskfax in tan calf leather;
  • and the DX1CLF7/8 Mark 2 Deskfax in red calf leather

and a comparison of page sizes:

personal – Mk1 Deskfax (double width personal) – Mk2 Deskfax (B5 page size, 9 rings); you can see that the Mk1 Deskfax page is very slightly wider than the Mk2 but about 2/3 the height. The personal page is a quite old (1983 vintage) isometric drawing page which I probably bought with my original Winchester all those years ago.
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And finally the back cover. This had a few marks on it, but some of them came off with a little persuasion. Other than that, I haven’t cleaned, treated or otherwise tampered with this piece of history – I’m not even sure if I’m likely to use it, as I may keep it as it is as a little time capsule from a simpler age!

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Categories: Filofaxes and other ring organisers, Guest Posts

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2 replies

  1. Such a marvelous find! I loved the write-up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great post, and despite having several different Deskfaxes, I have never even seen this. I’d love a 9 ring Deskfax of this quality. I too use Japanese paper in my Deskfax plus Dodo diaries. The best thing I ever bought was the punch, makes a Deskfax so much easier to use. I’d buy from Filofax if they didn’t use such rubbish paper.

    Liked by 1 person

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