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  1. #1
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    Sporrans 1920s/1930s

    As people here know I've been collecting vintage Highland Dress catalogues for a while now.

    I'm just now taking decent photos of the sporrans in these, and here they are!

    I would like for these to be chronological but knowing just when these were published is usually difficult to ascertain.

    So here are the sporrans shown in a Fraser Ross catalogue of unknown date. The hairstyles suggest the 1920s. (Fraser Ross inhabited their 60 Ingram St Glasgow address at least from 1909.) In the illustrations of men's Highland Evening Dress both the old-style long hair sporrans and the new small pocketlike sporrans are shown. Day Dress is not illustrated, but this page is obviously intended to show Day sporrans. Note only brown leather sporrans are shown. The two-tassel sporrans are Youth's sporrans.



    There's no page of the new-style pocket-shaped sealskin Evening sporrans, only this page of hair sporrans:





    This Lawrie catalogue can be inferred to be from around 1931. They only have one illustration of sporrans. 056 is horse hair, 060 is goat hair, 057 sealskin, 058 "leather", 059 "white buckskin". The long hair sporrans are available with either engraved mounts or "chased raised design" mounts (most likely cast German Silver). The Evening sporran with a Clan crest badge is interesting, as Clan crest things weren't very popular at that time (Clan crest kilt pins were rare for example).



    This Anderson catalogue dates from 1936 or shortly thereafter. Here are their Evening Sporrans, all sealskin.

    Number 1 "antique brass top" while the rest have silver tops as one would expect.



    And their Day Sporrans. Number 11 is "otter with tooled pigskin" and 12 "otter". Numbers 13, 15, 16, and 17 are pigskin, numbers 14 and 18 buckskin, 19 "leather", and 20 "calfskin". Number 16 is called "hunting" and number 20 is called "Rob Roy".



    Here's the only catalogue I have that has a date! Rowans LTD Glasgow.

    Inside the front cover there's a sticker saying "This catalogue was printed in 1938- with the result that prices quoted therein are considerably less and those prevailing to-day. Apart altogether from increased costs of material and labour, purchase tax has to be taken into consideration."

    Here are "Men's Sporrans for Evening and Full Dress Wear", all sealskin except Number 44 "Ocelot" and all have sterling silver or silverplate tops.



    Interesting the straps on Number 46. (In the Paisley catalogue they're stated to be seal.)



    Here are "Men's Sporrans for Day Wear". Number 51 "Rob Roy", 52 Fox, 53 Otter, 54, 55, and 56 all Pigskin. Note once again that only brown sporrans are worn for Day.



    To round up the 1930s is this Paisleys LTD Glasgow catalogue from 1939. I have the same catalogue from 1936 but it only illustrates boy's sporrans. Actually the catalogues themselves have no date, each has a separate price list booklet which fits into a pocket on the back over. This one says "revised September 1939" and there's a sticker saying "Prices Advanced 20%" indicating a period of rapid inflation.

    This photo is captioned "Men's Sporrans for Evening and Everyday Wear".

    Numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9 sealskin with silverplated tops, Number 5 with "Seal Strands", Number 4 Hogskin, Number 6 "leather", Number 8 Otter.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 24th May 19 at 03:37 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  3. #2
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    Jump forward to the 1950s, post-1953 ("Her Majesty"), an Andersons catalogue.

    Very interesting how the elaborate "open work top" in "solid Silver" from the 1936 catalogue is still being sold.



    With the Day sporrans pigskin is still the most common, and still they're only offered in brown.



    And the most recent catalogue I have that might be considered "vintage", an R W Forsyth LTD catalogue from the late 1950s to early 1960s.

    Their Evening Dress sporrans, seal with silver tops, except the one in white Buckskin.



    Their "Day Wear" sporrans, still only in brown. The sort-of Hunting sporran centre top is interesting. The flaps on the leather sporrans have interesting old-fashioned shapes right out of the 1930s.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 24th May 19 at 03:42 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  5. #3
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    I was fortunate to acquire a No.17 earlier this year. Lovely antique Day Sporran.

    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    As people here know I've been collecting vintage Highland Dress catalogues for a while now.

    I'm just now taking decent photos of the sporrans in these, and here they are!

    And their Day Sporrans. Number 11 is "otter with tooled pigskin" and 12 "otter". Numbers 13, 15, 16, and 17 are pigskin, numbers 14 and 18 buckskin, 19 "leather", and 20 "calfskin". Number 16 is called "hunting" and number 20 is called "Rob Roy".


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  7. #4
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    That answers that question

    Earlier this week I was wondering whether pigskin/hogskin had the durability of cow leather. Judging by the condition of your sporran, I guess it does.

    Very informative.
    Trying to look good on a budget.

  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    I was fortunate to acquire a No.17 earlier this year. Lovely antique Day Sporran.
    Wonderful!

    I have another early Day sporran coming. It has an old style to it, right out of the 1930s. We shall see when it arrives.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl R View Post
    Earlier this week I was wondering whether pigskin/hogskin had the durability of cow leather. Judging by the condition of your sporran, I guess it does.

    Very informative.
    Yes that was the standard material for Day sporrans. Then many/most makers switched to cowhide though this was often dyed and textured to resemble pigskin.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Wonderful!

    I have another early Day sporran coming. It has an old style to it, right out of the 1930s. We shall see when it arrives.
    Nice original chain-strap with it too.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #8
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    Very nice!! I've been on the lookout for one like that for years, but no luck.

    As to what these catalogue sporrans look like in the flesh, here's a sporran similar to Number 11 and Number 13 in the Anderson c1936 catalogue (the tassels might have been replaced)



    This appears to be an older version, showing more elaborate craftsmanship and detailing, and lacking the fur





    Notice that a couple of the leather sporrans in Anderson 1936 have laced leather on the flap. I don't have an exact match but this vintage sporran shows what this looks like:



    One thing seen in the Forsyth leather sporrans is creating dimension on the flap with bulges. Here's the sporran illustrated top right on the Forsyth c1960 Day sporran page which shows this:



    Here's a sporran not unlike the one shown in the centre of that same page showing a large bulge in the middle of the flap:



    Here's the sporran seen in the Anderson c1955 and Forsyth c1960 catalogues above: this example was made by Forsyth.



    Here is Number 14 from the Anderson c1955 catalogue (which I recently picked up on Ebay)



    Here is a vintage sporran stamped ROWANS Ltd GLASGOW & BIRMINGHAM. The style more resembles sporrans seen in the Forsyth catalogue than the Rowans catalogue above.



    and the stamp on the back

    Last edited by OC Richard; 25th May 19 at 04:31 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  14. #9
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    I have, and will continue to enjoy your great posts on vintage sporrans. Don't stop anytime soon.

    Frank
    Drink to the fame of it -- The Tartan!
    Murdoch Maclean

  15. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Very nice!! I've been on the lookout for one like that for years, but no luck.

    I was wondering if I could ask a favour: could I use your photo to illustrate vintage Hunting sporrans?
    If it would help, I could shoot a higher res one?

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