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  1. #1
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    Quality Sporrans for less money

    I often mention that I'm dismayed when people with little money to spend on their Highland Dress settle for low-quality Pakistani sporrans, when for the same price sporrans made in Scotland, or by L&M in Canada, of the highest quality, can be had for the same price.

    We have great people here on XMarks, and great shops, that offer quality sporrans and my intention is not to take away their business.

    My intention is to point out times when quality sporrans can be had at low prices, sometimes under $20, often under $50, often under $100. So people on a tight budget need not forgo quality.

    I see them all the time on Ebay. Yes Ebay has its faults, and it has its haters. Yes Ebay IMHO favours sellers to some extent. However a smart Ebay buyer can build a high-quality outfit for little money, and what is bad about that? (Well now somebody will probably tell me.) Personally, nearly all of my Highland kit has been acquired on Ebay, quality sporrans, jackets, hose, shoes, etc got for little money.

    Ebay buyers must beware! Check the seller's feedback, though feedback doesn't tell the whole story. I look at the item itself, and also get a "feel" about the seller.

    I'll focus on traditional Day Dress and Evening Dress sporrans as worn with traditional civilian Highland Dress.

    For today I'll start with a sporran ending soon, what has every appearance of being a quality Scottish-made sporran for around $10. Yes there's shipping, which varies upon where in the world the buyer lives.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Scottish-Lea...oAAOSwugtZ08m9

    I much prefer being able to see the reverse, which on Scottish-made sporrans usually features a distinctive oval gold-ink stamp which says Made In Scotland Real Leather. However even without seeing this, I'll wager this is a quality Scottish-made sporran. For one thing I can see quality workmanship, for another thing I don't recall seeing the Pakistani makers do this particular style.

    Here's a nice sporran probably from the 1930-1950 period. Yes the fur is a bit tatty on one side, but it's a nice vintage thing for around $30. The design and workmanship is different from the sporrans one normally sees today.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Leather-Anim...IAAOSw-0xYh7kA

    Here's a lovely sealskin Evening Dress sporran for around $60. Again I can't see the reverse, yet I strongly believe it's a genuine Scottish-made sporran and not Pakistani. (Note that sealskin cannot be imported into the USA.)

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/kilt-sporran...EAAOSwcQlZuatW

    MacGregor and MacDuff is a fine Highland Outfitter in Glasgow, and here they are selling an ex-hire sporran for under $50.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ex-Hire-Blac...PA2Q8qkXmTTb6w

    Here's something a bit higher priced, but still one-third of what it would cost new, an Evening Dress sporran made by L&M Highland Outfitters in Nova Scotia, who continue to make a range of traditional Scottish sporrans in the tradition of Nicoll Brothers Bankfoot, William Scott & Sons, and so forth.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Celtic-D...EAAOSwqz9ZxYM7

    And speaking of Nicoll Brothers Bankfoot, here's a beautiful Day sporran with fur front going for around $20. You won't find better quality. The sporran is in the USA which is a plus for US buyers.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nicoll-Bros-...UAAOSwGNtZ2wl6

    For Australian kiltwearers there's this lovely vintage sporran for little money.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Semi...gAAOSwGkZZdHaW

    Here's a sporran that has every appearance of a quality vintage Scottish-made item, though lacking the usual stamp on the reverse. Under $100.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Scottish-Vin...cAAOSwQkZZvbcc

    A quality Scottish-made Evening Dress sealskin sporran in great condition for under $100, less that a third of its price new. (Note that sealskin items are illegal to import into the USA.) A great item for those in the UK!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Scottish-Mad...cAAOSwVgtZw4AB

    Another seal Evening sporran for those in the UK, this one under $30.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Greenland-Se...YAAOSwEKNZyV8T

    A leather and sealskin sporran for a $33 Buy It Now, a UK seller. They don't show the reverse but this looks to me like a quality Scottish-made sporran.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/mens-kilt-sp...8AAOSwuD9Z1J~b
    Last edited by OC Richard; 13th October 17 at 04:42 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte


  2. #2
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    I agree! It takes some time and research to know what to look for, but a really great resource. I'll say about 90% of my kit is from eBay, 5% from folks getting rid of things on this forum, and the other 5% from retailers.
    "We are all connected...to each other, biologically; to the earth, chemically; to the universe, atomically...and that makes me smile." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  3. The Following User Says 'Aye' to Profane James For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
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    I really do appreciate your insight. The cost of everything that goes into traditional dress is prohibitive. I realize quality is worth investing in but could use a break because my desire outweighs my check book, lol.

    I need pretty much everything but I feel like it's an overwhelming cost and I just don't have any experience to know what is right or right for the price so posts like this are invaluable, thanks OC Richard

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  6. #4
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    duplicated my post somehow
    Last edited by Moses; 13th October 17 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Duplicate

  7. #5
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    I'll also echo the past advice of OCRichard in regard to eBay, make sure to be aware of the particular country/region that is being searched. I use the iOS app, which does allow for this setting ( My eBay > settings > country). The app will search the selected country first, then automatically filter by relevance afterwards. Not sure if the desktop version does this - may have to search out the specific country website address, for instance, www.ebay.co.uk, or www.ebay.ca
    "We are all connected...to each other, biologically; to the earth, chemically; to the universe, atomically...and that makes me smile." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

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  9. #6
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    Thanks for the links and advice. Iím a proud new owner of one of the sporrans highlighted above! Looking forward to showing it off; pictures to come when it arrives!

    Just wanted to add a quick story about buying quality for less. A couple of months ago a found a good looking brown leather sporran in excellent condition for sale on eBay. With shipping and import charges the cost was about $200, still less than new but more than I was willing to pay. But, because I really liked the look of it I kept my eyes open for another one like it.

    Sure enough after some diligent checking online (what a great way to spend the morning coffee break) I found another one just like the first, but much, much more my price range. The reasons for the lower price was (I assume) 1) the seller wasnít an experienced highland clothing seller, and 2) the condition of the leather was reported as being pretty bad. There were a few pictures and I could tell that the leather was dried up, but not ripped or broken anywhere. Because I knew the quality of the leather was once good (I saw it in the first sporran) I was willing to risk that some TLC in the form of leather conditioner was going to bring back the life to the sporran.

    So I bough it for a song, and after buying some good leather conditioner it turns out my risk was worth it! I now have a beautiful, rich, well patinaed brown leather day sporran.

    Moral of this story is that with time, patience, a keen eye and a bit of work there are some real deals to be had!

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  11. #7
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    That's a great story. Yes I'd much rather get a top-quality vintage thing, even if it requires some TLC.

    And thanks for the kind words.

    Today I'm seeing a lovely Day sporran by Janet Eagleton, Scotland, for $20 (current bid). Shipping to the USA would be another $20.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Professional...gAAOSwKFBZqCnX

    Here's the stamp on the back of the Janet Eagleton sporran. Note the distinctive thistle-shaped tab for the strap.



    Here's a new-looking leather sporran by L&M Highland Outfitters for under $100 with free shipping in the USA.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/L-M-Highland...sAAOSwB-1YqNJu

    Here is the reverse of the sporran above showing the distinctive L&M stamp (their stamp has changed from time to time over the years)



    Here are TWO vintage leather Scottish-made sporrans for under $7.

    One has a seal front and is missing 2 of the three tassels. For me that's no big deal- tassels can be had. BTW this sort of sporran was commonly made with leather tassels too. The other is a youth-sized sporran. These items would be great for UK buyers due to the shipping and the sealskin.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-x-Traditio...UAAOSwYBZZ4Q-f

    BTW I made reference to an oval gold-ink stamp commonly seen on vintage Scottish-made sporrans.

    Here it is (from the auction directly above)



    There are other stamps as well of course. I just got this quality sporran a couple weeks ago for $20. Here is the reverse showing a stamp I'd not seen before, I don't know the maker. (Note how common it is, with Scottish-made sporrans, to have the tab for the strap have a pointed bottom.)



    This sort of thing is why it's so important for Ebay sellers to post a clear photo of the back/rear/reverse of the sporran. I'm often asking Ebay sellers to include such photos.

    (Likewise Ebay sellers of bagpipes will post several photos all taken from the same angle, none showing the tops of the drones, which is often critical for identification of the maker.)
    Last edited by OC Richard; 15th October 17 at 05:22 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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  13. #8
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    If only...eBay pipes were as easy to distinguish
    "We are all connected...to each other, biologically; to the earth, chemically; to the universe, atomically...and that makes me smile." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  14. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Profane James For This Useful Post:


  15. #9
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    Thank you OC Richard ! I picked up the L&M from your original post.

    I wasn't crazy about the mirror chrome finish as I prefer the antique finish which matches my own patina of experience ! I let it sit for a day and said, 'What the heck , if it doesn't suit I will still be able to recoup my money from it.' I may yet pick up one of the MacGregor Mac Duff with the antiqued finish after I make sure the seal skin will make it across the Canadian border.

    Cheers and thanks again for this very helpful post!

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  17. #10
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    Today for under $40 a leather and sealskin sporran by Margaret Morrison of Scotland:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Scottish-Ma...4AAOSwTEBZ5drz

    Here's her stamp



    More sealskin sporran bargains for non-USA buyers. For some unknown reason seals are protected endangered creatures in the USA but not elsewhere.

    Around $80, a beautiful Scottish-made evening sporran with silver-plated cantle in new condition (the cantle is a "canon" cantle, one very popular for at least the last half-century)

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Scottish-Ma...0AAOSwUYNZ5ddn

    There's no stamp on the leather in back, but the cantle has the distinctive stamp seen for many years on the silver-plated versions of a few of the traditional "canon" cantles:



    Here's a different example of the "canon" EW1 cantle, silver-plated, high quality, the bosses are separate pieces; this bears the Made In Scotland stamp on the edge



    Same seller, same price, another quality sealskin evening sporran in great condition. This cantle is a more recent design.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Scottish-Ma...cAAOSwVgtZw4AB

    This sporran has a "Greenland Seal" sticker on the back, and a large stamp I've not seen before, "Hand Crafted In Scotland Genuine Leather"

    Last edited by OC Richard; 18th October 17 at 04:33 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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