A collection of Northumbrian pipes and other musical instruments owned by a renowned North East pipe maker and player sold at auction for an impressive sum this March.


Colin Ross was a world-famous pipe maker from Monkseaton who made more than 300 sets of pipes in his lifetime.

He was part of one of the most influential groups of the Folk Revival, The High-Level Ranters, which was formed in 1964. Colin was probably the most well-known Northumbrian Pipes maker of the 20th century.

Northumbrian pipes differ from the more famous Scottish bagpipes, as they are quieter and offer a more complex sound of almost two chromatic octaves. Colin's enthusiasm for the instrument spurred a revival of traditional music from North East England, that is still thriving today.

Newcastle auction house Anderson and Garland sold 20 sets of Ross' Northumbrian pipes as well as numerous Scottish and Border small pipes, pastoral pipes, pipe chants, drones, and bellows in the Musical Instruments auction on 3rd March 2020.

Initial estimates for the collection were around £11,000, but the auction proved really popular and the final hammer price was significantly higher, at more than £36,000.

The auction also included a fine local private collection of rare saxophones from Sunderland, which sold for in excess of £47,000.

Highlights from the Musical Instruments Auction

Lot 214-Set of Northumbrian small pipes.

A set of Northumbrian small pipes, in concert D tuning, by Colin Ross, with eleven, keyed silvered and black wood chanter, horn ends, three G drones, in black wood with silver mounts, chanter dated 2009, with a set of new wood bellows, by Tom Swiney, some silver parts hallmarked.
Sold for £1,600


Lot 225-Set of Northumbrian small pipes.

A set of Northumbrian small pipes, by Colin Ross, in the key of G, fourteen key chanters, black wood with simulated ivory and brass mounts, fitted with four drones, crimson velvet-covered bag, together with a set of bellows, by Tom Swiney.
Sold for £1,600



Lot 208-Set of pastoral pipes.

A set of pastoral pipes, by Colin Ross, in the key of A or G, in dark wood with nickel mounts and keys, simulated ivory mounts, two drones, black leather bag, no bellows, in foam-lined aluminum case.

Sold for £1,500.

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