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Dusting Off: The Checkbook


As connoisseurs of history, we sometimes find styles, trends and turns of phrase from the past that we wouldn’t mind bringing back to the present, Doc Brown-style. This time around, we’re dusting off the checkbook.

At some point in the past, when a gentleman wanted to pay for something expensive—perhaps a racehorse, or a small Pacific island—the first thing he’d reach for was his checkbook. It would be spotless, glove-soft leather, suggesting the limitless wealth contained within. A few scribbles, indicating the promise that the tiny piece of paper represented, and the deed would be done.

We’ll just come out and say it: The credit card is no substitute.

It’s about keeping on top of your finances in the most immediate, tactile way possible. Each check gets a few marks in your ledger and a newly updated account balance. No overdraft, no account statements, just a regular diet of addition and subtraction, connecting you to the ebb and flow of your monies.

And yet, if you're in the market for a handsome, mildly anachronistic checkbook cover, you won’t find much out there. There’s no shortage of great leather goods outfitters—BillyKirk, Kenton Sorenson, Makr, and Il Bisonte for starters—but none of them has gotten around to protecting checks. The checkbook covers you will find are from classic luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, and they tend to be for women. The men’s checkbook is on its last legs, and it’s a shame.

Your best option is probably this one, but it’s firmly in the trad camp. There’s room out there for something a little more rugged, if anyone decides they still care about paying with paper.