• Wm. Sinclair & Son, full ivory, circa 1960

    This full ivory set by the Edinburgh firm of William Sinclair and Son was purchased new by the previous owner around 1960.

    William Sinclair started business in 1931 and still operates today. They have gained a well-earned reputation as the best and most consistent modern pipemaker. The Sinclair sound is full — not quite as full as Henderson — but very rich and bright. I played a Sinclair set throughout the 1980s and won most of my major prizes in Scotland with them.

    This set was stripped and refinished, including the chanter. There were no cracks or replacement pieces. The ivory ferrule on the chanter stock has a crack that has been filled. Though quite visible, it is stable and will not cause problems. If you look at the photo of the very typical Sinclair ivory drone caps, you’ll see that someone has lightly etched a serial number into each. While visible up close, these do not detract from the overall appearance of ivory.

    The set comes with its original Sinclair chanter. Unlike Hardie chanters of the same vintage, which age badly, the majority of good Sinclair chanters made from the 1950s to today still play very well with modern reeds, though at a flatter pitch than today’s chanters.

    The lines, mount shapes, ivory and tone are all exemplary on this set:  lots of character here from one of the greatest modern pipemakers in their prime!