Published: April 11, 2007

Pipe dream

Credit and congratulations to Jim McGillivray and David Waterhouse for convincing Margaret Wilson to sell her late husband John Wilson’s MacDougall’s. These have been moldering under a bed at her home in Willowdale for nearly 30 years, but should be restored to pristine condition, and I hope ultimately get into the hands of a serious and appreciative piper.

I used to live about three blocks from Margaret Wilson, and I actually made a casual offer for the pipes maybe 15 years ago. At that time she was hoping that someone in her family would take up the instrument, so I didn’t push it with her. That would have been the ideal place for the pipes, since they have always been a Wilson bagpipe, what with his uncle, The Baldooser, originally buying them.

It did set me thinking about vintage pipes. My feeling was that the market is not nearly as hot for Henderson, MacDougall and Lawrie drones as it was a decade ago. It seemed to me that modern pipe-making techniques are so good that more pipers are gravitating towards McCallum, Naill, Kron, Strathmore or whatever. So I posted a poll on it, and it appears that a “dream instrument” is still a classic silver-and-ivory vintage set. My perception appears to be not-so-clear.

Add the extraordinary pedigree that the Wilson pipes carry, and I would not be surprised if these achieve $15k or more.

I’ll take two . . .

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