Sir Harry's Sporran

by Steven L. Akins
(Jasper, Alabama, United States)

Sir Harry Lauder in his kilt and sporran with his wife Ann Vallance, Circa 1900.

Sir Harry Lauder in his kilt and sporran with his wife Ann Vallance, Circa 1900.

For more than 50 years the wee man who Winston Churchill referred to as Scotland's greatest ever ambassador, entertained the world with his music, songs and comedy routine.


Born in Portobello, Edinburgh, on 4 August 1870, Sir Harry Lauder went on to become the highest paid entertainer of his day, and was the first British performer to sell more than a million records.

When he died at the age of 79 on 26 February 1950, his estate passed to relatives who were forced to sell Lauder Hall and its contents in May 1966, in order to pay off death duties on the property.

Among the personal effects to be auctioned off was Sir Harry?s silver-mounted leather sporran, which he often wore along with his Lauder tartan kilt.

The sporran, which was made by the Inverness silversmiths Ferguson & MacBean in 1890, was later purchased by Canadian Senator Archie Johnstone, who bought it from an antiques dealer in Ayr, to add to his collection of Harry Lauder memorabilia in the mid-1970s.

In August 2002, the sporran was obtained by Bonham's auction house in Edinburgh, from Sen. Johnstone, and sold for an outstanding £1,200, some £700 less in today's currency than Sir Harry would make in one night for a stage performance during the height of his career.

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