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Seaforth Highlanders Officers levee dress sporran


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Many years ago in Inverness, I acquired this officer's levee dress sporran for the Seaforth Highlanders.  I was told that the sporran dated "from the 1880's".  The latest battle honor listed in the trophy on the cantle is "Kandahar 1880"  The next battle honor would be "Afghanistan 1878-1880".

My question is whether it dates before or after amalgamation of the two battalions (72 and 78th Highlanders) into the Seaforth Highlanders in 1881.  My family's history is with the 78th.  If it's from before, can you tell which battalion it is from?  

I've always thought that the six gold bullion tassels were particularly grand.  Is there any significance to the number six?  

When I pulled it out of storage for a holiday event, I discovered serious corrosion on the left side of the lower silver part of the cantle (See img 5464)  I've worked hard on it with Brasso and also with Met-All polish, but it's still not up to standard.  Any thoughts?  

I've added a couple of pictures to show the back.  You can see the pins fastening the insignia to the cantle base.  In theory, I could remove them, lift off the silver insignia and polish it separately, as well as having better access to polish the brass part, but with something this old, I'm reluctant to do that.  

Hugh

 

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15 minutes ago, Hugh said:

Many years ago in Inverness, I acquired this officer's levee dress sporran for the Seaforth Highlanders.  I was told that the sporran dated "from the 1880's".  The latest battle honor listed in the trophy on the cantle is "Kandahar 1880"  My question is whether it dates before or after amalgamation of the two battalions (72 and 78th Highlanders) into the Seaforth Highlanders in 1881.  My family's history is with the 78th.  If it's from before, can you tell which battalion it is from?  

I've always thought that the six gold bullion tassels were particularly grand.  Is there any significance to the number six?  

When I pulled it out of storage for a holiday event, I discovered serious corrosion on the left side of the lower silver part of the cantle (See img 5464)  I've worked hard on it with Brasso and also with Met-All polish, but it's still not up to standard.  Any thoughts?  

 

Hugh

 

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Edited by Hugh
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Your sporran is the post-1881 design.  Prior to 1881, the 78th had a full dress sporran of 8 tassels; see photo below.  As you may be aware, the 72nd wore trews; hence, no sporran involved  The manufacture date of your sporran could be anywhere from 1881 to about 1940.  If you are lucky, you may be able to date the sporran if the silver insignia is hallmarked.  The hallmark would be located on the left of the upright thistle that is on the stag's head's left (wearer's coordinate system).  Whatever the date, this appears to be a well made and preserved sporran.  Hope this helps.

 

1261890582_78thEnsignGilbertOGradyGibraltar1866-67.thumb.jpg.d318fca4dd5b3dd60ced09e9ebfc44bc.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Hello,

We too have an old sporran which, thanks to this forum, we have now identified as a Seaforth Highlander one from the badge.  However, ours is somewhat different, being some sort of silver rather than brass, and without the honours.  I can see no hallmark anywhere, sadly, but would be very interested to know more.  It is possible it was bought in an auction at Sotheby's in 1989, and we are looking to have it cleaned and the tassels "re-plumped" as the sporran-maker calls it.  Apart from a little hair loss, it seems to be in quite good condition.  We are waiting to hear from Grandpa what family connection there is with the Seaforths, if any.  

Any information gratefully received.

Jamie

 

 

 

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