Learn about Canes

Canes From around 1550 to 1930, canes were a dressing accessory without which a lady or gentleman, properly dressed, would never leave the house. However their use went out of fashion after this, leaving the market to collectors. For a collector, the main interest lies in the handle, which could be made of wood, bamboo, ebony, ivory, tusk, animal horn, or bone. Sometimes they were made out of porcelain, Bakelite, gold, silver, or glass; enameled or cloisonn├ęd; or sprinkled with precious gemstones. The height of good taste was a gold handle with minmal decoration, as silver handles were despised by the wealthier classes. However silver handled canes have survived in large numbers, and exhibit a wide variety of decorative treatment, from the comparatively plain, armorial or regimental style to the more flamboyant excesses of Art Nouveau. Carved handles can be found depicting grotesque animal or human forms, and are highly prized nowadays. Also keenly sought are multi-purpose canes, with a concealed spirit flask, tobacco pipe or even a tiny fire-arm for personal safety.
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A German Art Nouveau silver mounted Guiana Snakewood walking cane, circa 1900, the 800 silver handle depicting a recumbent mermaid supported by waves, the tapered shaft with silver ferrule, probably made in Schwabisch Germany, approximate weight of handle

Antique horn and silver handle walking stick stamped sterling silver

Vintage walking stick with sterling silver collar hallmarked London 1939

A rare West Australian silver mounted carved casuarina wood (Sheoak) walking stick, by Joseph Dunkerton, working Fremantle c.1910. Both silver collars signed 'J.W.D.' with silver marks. Length 85.5 cm

Two silver capped walking canes, one with engraved decoration, Continental silver marks, one stamped 'Sterling Silver'. Approx 86 cm & 91 cm long (2)

Sterling silver collared walking stick, 85 cm tall. Hallmarked

A silver mounted walking stick, previously belonging to Alfred Felton, dated 1903 the silver cap inscribed 'Alfred Felton, Esplanade, St.Kilda, 1903', 86 cm length

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