X Marks the Scot - An on-line community of kilt wearers.

   X Marks Partners - (Go to the Partners Dedicated Forums )
USA Kilts website Freedom Kilts website Scotweb websiten Burnetts and Struth website Celtic Croft website
Xmarks advertising information Celtic Corner website Xmarks advertising information Houston Kiltmakers Xmarks advertising information

User Tag List

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 33
  1. #1
    Join Date
    18th March 20
    Location
    Prague, CZ - SC, USA
    Posts
    24
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    What makes a quality sporran?

    Good evening kilt aficionados,

    As mentioned elsewhere I am putting together my first adult kilt kit and I have the kilt ordered (16 oz, 8-yd Henderson from USA Kilts), so the next logical step in my mind is sporran. I am preparing for my wedding in august, and it seems that PC jackets etc should probably be rented first time around as I likely wont have many occasions to wear a PC at first, however I haven't seen any rental sporrans I want to have pictures of for the next 50 years. As a result I am very responsibly using my time in quarantine to scour ebay for suitable sporrans.

    My working criteria:
    Genuine leather, suitable for my wedding but also church or other semi-formal to business-casual events, darker colors, no chintzy tourist designs, preferably made in Scotland (because why not).


    This is where my questions begin:

    1. What is a good size for a dress sporran? I am a fairly slim 6' individual. Half of the ebay listings I have seen don't list sizes, and where sizes are listed they vary wildly. Is there a standard range?

    2. Cantle material, I probably can't afford silver but ebay is full of plastic looking pewter(?) that looks like a 6-year-old carved the mold (no clean lines or crisp designs). Is chrome safe (not gonna chip or peel)? Any reasonably priced places to find brass?

    3. Is a leather flap, ornamented or otherwise, acceptable for formal wear, or must it be a metal cantle?

    4. If you had to have one sporran to start with, what would it be? Better yet, if you have a picture of your most situational-ly flexible sporran that would be wonderful.

    5. What should I avoid or lookout for when buying a sporran? Common beginner mistakes?

    I'm basically trying to establish some evaluation criteria so that when I find something good on ebay I can make a somewhat informed decision.
    Stylistically, I've looked at 100's of pictures on here, and I'm pretty sure I know what I don't like, but there are many designs I would be glad to wear. Its more a case of being confident I'm not making stupid mistakes when I buy. In an ideal world I'd get married in a horsehair, but my fiancee nixed that one real quick. The MOD brass cantles I've seen soo many pictures of on here look amazing, especially with some goat hair, but I doubt I could find one in my price range.
    If any of you happen to want to point me to a personal for sale thread, I'd say I'm looking for a combo of price, flexibility, and elegance.

    I know a lot of this is opinion, and I welcome that diversity of thought. If I have missed any duplicate thread, I apologize.
    Also, hats off to OC Richard for the 'Quality Sporans for less money thread', that has been quite helpful in helping me determine genuine articles and get a feel for whats on the market.

    Thank you for your input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    26th December 18
    Location
    Nova Scotia
    Posts
    187
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Congratulations on the upcoming wedding! FWIW, I got married in similar attire to what it seems you are considering:

    GG_2.jpg

    This was 15 years ago and I mostly followed the advice of the rental shop. Cream hose, Prince Charlie (with waistcoat and belt) and formal sporran. I believe the ceremony was at 4 running into the evening reception and at the time, it seemed everyone was getting married in formal wear so that's what we did.

    However, if I had to do it all over, I'd aim for a nice daywear tweed; more along the lines of this lovat green tweed jacket and waistcoat:

    IMG_20190128_1802196~2.jpg

    Of course, if your bride wants black tie, go that way but if not, IME, a nice tweed and appropriate daywear sporran will provide a much more versatile option in the future.

    ETA - sorry, meant to address your actual question. If you've already read OC Richard's wonderful thread, you probably already know many things to look for. If you're shipping to US, you want to avoid seal skin. Beyond that, made in Scotland will typically lead you to a good sporran as will anything by L&M Highland Outfitters. Also, if I were you, I'd avoid any of the in-between sporrans in favour of either daywear or formal wear depending on which path you choose. As has often been stated here, they are neither fish nor fowl.

    Best of luck in your search!

    Shane
    Last edited by gsmacleod; 20th March 20 at 03:51 PM.

  3. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to gsmacleod For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Join Date
    7th February 11
    Location
    London, Canada
    Posts
    8,545
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A lot of questions here; some of them are pretty easy to answer and some of them are purely a matter of taste. So...

    1. The first thing you need to know is that a plain black sporran is acceptable anywhere, anytime and if anyone questions you on it, just give them 'the look'. It's none of their darned business.

    But of course, you'll want something dressy for your wedding. Most people have only one day sporran and one dress sporran. Of course the Great Rabble hear on XMarks are aficionados, so they will often have more. Me? I'm a real sporran collector and I'm not done for a long time to go.

    2. The size of the sporran is generally pretty standard. Pick one where you like the looks of the thing. If you get a hair sporran, the length of the hair will vary with the style. Mine is actually relatively short, but I have my own reasons for liking it.

    3. Formal wear sporrans are generally defined by the metal cantle. Period. Others may disagree, but I'm sticking to that.

    4. Back to my first comment: If I could only buy one, it would be one that I have: a plainish black leather sporran. Here's the link to mine: https://www.mcrostie.co.uk/product/h..._colours=black

    5. Quality long before 'fanciness'. Always. Always. ALWAYS!

    Yes, I'd love goathair. Some day. (Sigh!)

    Hope all that helps!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

  5. The Following 4 Users say 'Aye' to Father Bill For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Join Date
    10th December 06
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    13,989
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It all depends on the formality of the event. My Dad had one brown daywear sporran that he gave to me. I was looking on eBay and found this:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Band-Disp...EAAOSwtfhYryCG

    The best advice I could give would be to buy the best you can afford. For brands to look for I would say L&M Sporrans from Nova Scotia are top of the line, as are Nicoll Brothers. If you can find one of those you are doing well.

  7. The Following 4 Users say 'Aye' to McMurdo For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Join Date
    5th August 18
    Location
    Broome County NY
    Posts
    111
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You can try Atlanta kilts https://www.atlantakilts.com/catalog/sporrans you can either rent or buy and they're pretty reasonably priced. I myself have never dealt with them - but they're worth a look.

  9. #6
    Join Date
    19th October 09
    Location
    South Queensferry, Scotland
    Posts
    612
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Quality and practicality

    As others have said, two sporrans are really all you need: a leather one for day wear when in tweeds and a formal one in fur with a silver cantle. Actually, a full mask sporran would do for any occasion, so you only really need one. However, a full mask is not to everyone’s taste.

    If you are the groom at a wedding, a formal sporran should be fine, even if you are in tweeds.

    In my opinion, you need to consider quality and practicality. For the dress sporran, I would go for silver plate rather than chrome or pewter. Some cheap chrome does flake off and never looks quite as good as silver.

    Decent used sporrans with silver-plated cantles can still be found in Scotland but most have seal-fur covered bags. If it is legal to import these into your country, then this is probably your best option. They are available for around £60 to £70 plus postage for a good one, and the sky is the limit for solid silver and unique design!

    From the 1950s most of these have opening cantles (a flap at the back, closed with a sam-brown stud or popper gives access to the whole sporran bag). From the late 19th Century through to the 1940s most formal sporrans just had a wee coin purse that was accessed from the back of the sporran and are a bit impractical as a bag for carrying things like mobile phones, car keys, etc.

    One very practical exception is the Bonnie Prince Charlie sporran with its flap on the front with a silver plate (often a crowned thistle) and six tassels in three rows. However, again, most of these are in seal fur that cannot be legally imported into many countries even though the sporran was made before the ban.

    For a traditional used leather day-wear sporran, try a well-known online auction site where they can be picked up for £10 to £30 plus postage.
    It's coming yet for a' that,
    That Man to Man, the world o'er,
    Shall brothers be for a' that. - RB

  10. The Following User Says 'Aye' to MacRobert's Reply For This Useful Post:


  11. #7
    Join Date
    6th November 08
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    507
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    May I suggest you follow OCRichards Quality sporrans thread, with some effort you may be able to obtain a sporran or two at a reasonable price. There is a brown day sporran he has identified that is presently listed for a very decent price.
    Being male is a matter of birth,
    Being a man is a matter of maturity,
    Being a gentleman is a matter of choice!

  12. #8
    Join Date
    18th October 09
    Location
    Orange County California
    Posts
    8,423
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by DougH View Post
    1. What is a good size for a dress sporran?
    At the beginning of the 20th century sporran design underwent a near-complete overhaul, and the new sporrans were small and more or less pocket-shaped. There were two categories

    1) Day Dress: brown leather, shaped like a military jacket pocket complete with pocket-flap and closure, with three braided leather tassels. These often had sealskin fronts. Also a type with an 18th-century style purse-like opening brass top was made, but not as popular as the all-leather ones. Another unique style was the so-called Hunting Sporran (bottom right in the photo of Day Dress sporrans below).

    2) Evening Dress: same size and shape but the front and gusset covered with sealskin, with an engraved silver cantle, and three sealskin tassels suspended on silver chains.

    Both styles were the same size, the old one I have in front of me is typical, being 7.5 inches tall and 6.75 inches wide at the widest point. Smaller sizes were made for youths and children.

    Day Dress and Evening Dress sporrans in a 1938 catalogue; some of these styles are still in production





    Quote Originally Posted by DougH View Post
    2. Cantle material
    Throughout the Victorian period and up through the 1940s the standard metal for Highland ornaments including cantles was solid German Silver, which contains no silver. Oftentimes the German Silver was left plain, other times it might be silver-plated.

    Then I think around the 1960s they began making cantles out of chrome-plated brass, I've had numerous old sporrans like that, where the chrome comes off you can see the brass underneath.

    I very much prefer the older look of German Silver.

    Here, the same crossbelt hardware style (#109) on the left modern chrome-plated on the right c1930 solid German Silver. The latter, when polished up, looks remarkably like silver.



    Quote Originally Posted by DougH View Post
    3. Is a leather flap, ornamented or otherwise, acceptable for formal wear, or must it be a metal cantle?
    I think all the Evening Dress styles introduced in the early 20th century had semicircular silver cantles. Of course there would be no exposed leather on an Evening sporran.

    However by 1930 or so (I would have to check) there appeared the so-called Prince Charlie sporran, which was more or less a Day Dress sporran covered in sealskin, and with a decorative silver face-plate added to the front of the flap (see centre top, in the photo of Evening sporrans above).

    Quote Originally Posted by DougH View Post
    4. If you had to have one sporran to start with, what would it be?
    Personally, as a piper, if I had one sporran it would be a classic grey sealskin Evening sporran with a silverplate cantle. Perfect for formal wear, and yes a bit overdressed for Day, but then again we pipers have long done that.

    Like this



    By the way this cantle style was in continuous production from the 1920s up until at least the 1980s if not still today. It's silverplate, very high quality, with the three bosses being separate pieces bolted on. These cantles have Made In Scotland stamped on one side. They're also made in chrome plate, lacking the stamp.



    Quote Originally Posted by DougH View Post
    5. What should I avoid or lookout for when buying a sporran? Common beginner mistakes?
    The most common beginner mistake IMHO is to pay good money for a cheap-looking and cheaply made sporran from Sialkot, Pakistan.

    When for the same money you can get a beautiful sporran of the very highest quality, Scottish made. Yes you have to keep an eye open, and you have to know what to look for, but as we speak there's a dozen beautiful sealskin Evening sporrans, all Scottish-made, on Ebay, for between $50 and $130.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 22nd March 20 at 05:05 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  13. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to OC Richard For This Useful Post:


  14. #9
    Join Date
    27th October 19
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    98
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    UT KiltsBlack Leather Coyote Sporran

    This may be just the thing or a terrible choice depending on the crowd and your tastes/sensibilities. Since this is a semiformal sporran, it is appropriate for both day and formal (IMO). When I was ordering a Rob Roy Sporran from UT kilts, I noticed that the Black Leather Coyote Sporran https://www.utkilts.com/black-leather-coyote-sporran/) was on sale for $15. I googled coyote fur and it actually has very good characteristics though the idea of coyote fur my not appeal to everyone. I figured for $15, what did I have to lose and now it is my favorite sporran. It looks great on me and is big enough to hold my wallet, cellphone and a few extras. Not the best choice for a PETA meeting, but great where people are accepting of fur. As far as morals go, coyotes are considered pest, so I seriously doubt any coyotes were specifically killed for their coat, and IMO, killing an animal and waisting the products of that kill is the greater sin.

    It also comes in a formal style with a cantle, a semiformal with a flap and an all coyote one with a coyote fir flap. Lots of pictures and pictures of customers wearing then on utkilts.com. The one I bought looks great on me and my dog did not object. Now it is regular price of $30. Still a good deal IMO.

    I know UT Kilts gets a lot of flack, but I think the quality is very comparable and good in the $80 and under price range.

    Dave

  15. #10
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
    Location
    Crieff, Perthshire
    Posts
    3,856
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by MacRobert's Reply View Post
    One very practical exception is the Bonnie Prince Charlie sporran with its flap on the front with a silver plate (often a crowned thistle) and six tassels in three rows.
    I've never been a fan of the so-called Bonnie Prince Charlie sporran. The original, which I've seen close up, looks to be 19th century rather than mid-18th and I wonder about the attribution.
    sporran.jpg

    Andersons used to sell versions of this in the 1930s (4 and 5 below) and at least two members of the Royal Family wore it.
    Wm. Anderson Sporrans.jpg

    Prince Arthur of Connaught, Braemar Gatherng 1932 wearing a Bonnie Prince Charlie sporran.
    Prince Arthur of Connaught, Braemar Gatherng 1932.jpg

    Some of the modern versions are less attractive. It shows that one gets what one pays for.
    mmprince.jpeg

  16. The Following User Says 'Aye' to figheadair For This Useful Post:


Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

» Log in

User Name:

Password:

Not a member yet?
Register Now!
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.0