There's lots to treasure in Harry Lauder's 'lost' chest

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HE was one of the most popular entertainers of his era, and was described by Sir Winston Churchill as 'Scotland's greatest ever ambassador'. Now, 50 of Sir Harry Lauder's signature possessions are to be sold in a prestigious auction in Edinburgh.

Portobello-born Sir Harry's belongings, including his treasured walking stick, travelling chest, a kilt, sporran and signed photographs, were discovered in a dusty attic, untouched for 17 years.

The items are being put under the hammer by Sir Harry's two great nephews, Harry and Colin Vallance, in the sale on 6 March at Shapes Edinburgh Auction.

Harry Vallance, 56, who lives four miles from Lauder Ha', Strathaven, where Sir Harry spent his last days, said they wanted to sell on the heirlooms to people who would appreciate them.

He said: "We had forgotten about all the memorabilia until we went into the attic and found the chest.

"The items were left to us by our aunt after being passed down in the family from his wife, Ann Vallance, but we felt they could be better enjoyed by big fans. We were going to pass them on to our daughters, but we think they can be better appreciated by private collectors or a museum.

"The cane is particularly special. It looks like a shepherd's crook and can be unscrewed and put into the chest. He took it with him on a lot of his adventures."

Senior Auctioneer Paul Howard, at Shapes, estimates that the items range in value from 50 to several thousands.

Colin Vallance, 50, who now lives in Connecticut, revealed that there could be another auction as he also has a number of precious heirlooms stored in an attic.

He said: "I am sure there are several items in the loft, including bag pipes, walking sticks and golf clubs given to my great uncle from Charlie Chaplin. We also have a silver tea set that we believe was given to our grandfather, who used to chauffeur and later managed Sir Harry, and our grandfather's diary. He used to write down all the journeys, problems, adventures Sir Harry had."

Mr Howard said: "This is a very exciting collection that will allow private individuals to acquire something unique that has never been in the market before."


COMEDIAN, singer and all-round entertainer Sir Harry Lauder, christened Henry Lauder, was born in Portobello on 4 August 1870.

A talented musician, he was once the highest-paid performer in the world, making the equivalent of 12,700 a night plus expenses. He was also the first British artist to sell over one million records. King Edward VII enjoyed his performances and he was a friend of Sir Winston Churchill.

Sir Harry was well-known for his performances in Highland regalia and singing songs with a Scottish theme, most of which he penned. His songs include Roamin' in the Gloamin, I Love a Lassie and Keep Right on to the End of the Road.