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Antique and Collectible Walking Canes

Updated on September 28, 2014

Practical and Beautiful Walking Canes

Throughout history, walking sticks and canes have been used as status symbols, as walking aids, and even as weapons. Walking canes, at their most basic, can be simple wooden sticks or they can be personalised with folk art carvings and simple ornamentation. At their most sophisticated, they can be works of art, with ornate bone or ivory carvings, gemstone and diamond inlays, or Art Nouveau designs. Some canes disguise swords, alcohol flasks, or secret compartments. Whatever their origin, antique walking sticks and canes have become very collectible.

If you are just beginning to collect canes, you will need to make some decisions. Do you, for example, care about the age of your canes? Are you looking for sophisticated hand carved canes? Are you interested in collecting antique walking sticks? Modern reproductions will, of course, be easier to obtain and significantly cheaper. You will find a lot more "faux" scrimshaw available than real scrimshaw - though most of us couldn't afford to buy real scrimshaw items.

When buying online, check descriptions and guarantees carefully. If something is described as "faux", you know it is false. Is it "Victorian" or "Victorian style"? Is the cane "antique" or "antique design"? The usual definition of "antique" is an object at least 100 years old. Collectables may become the antiques of the future and usually less than 100 years old.

The photo, from Amazon, shows a silver handled walking cane. More details below.

Vertical Art: The Enduring Beauty of Antique Canes and Walking Sticks

What is a walking stick? At the most basic, it can be a device to provide support to someone with a mobility problem. But, this exceptional book will show the beauty of canes that are true objects of art. A collection of 377 antique canes and walking sticks, belonging to an un-named Californian collector, combined with the photographic talents of Umberto Barone gives us a spectacular 400 page volume packed with dazzling images.

Vertical Art: The Enduring Beauty of Antique Canes and Walking Sticks
Vertical Art: The Enduring Beauty of Antique Canes and Walking Sticks

400 page photo essay capturing the beauty of an amazing collection of antiques canes and walking sticks.

 

There is a distinction to be drawn between true collectors and accumulators. Collectors are discriminating; accumulators act at random.

— Russell Lynes (1910–1991)

Stunning Sterling Silver and Crystal Knob Walking Stick

This elegant walking stick is very collectible; a masterpiece that will become an antique in time. Made in Italy, with a solid beechwood shaft, it has a sterling silver handle encrusted with sparkling Swarovski crystals. Perfect for formal event and feeling good.

Sterling Silver Swarovski Crystal Encrusted Elongated Knob Walking Stick with Black Beechwood Shaft
Sterling Silver Swarovski Crystal Encrusted Elongated Knob Walking Stick with Black Beechwood Shaft

Made with R925 Silver - which means it is plated with 92.5% pure sterling silver.

 

Noun: A collectible object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its considerable age.

Adjective: (of a collectible object) Having a high value because of considerable age.

Verb: Make (something) resemble an antique by artificial means.

— Google Definitions

Swarovski Crystal Walking Cane with Black Shaft and handle

By Classic Canes, this stylish and contemporary evening cane was made in Italy. The end face of the handle features is set with Swarovski crystals.

Vine Design Sterling Silver Knob Handled Walking Stick - with Black Beechwood Shaft

This is a beautiful, Italian made cane, with a slightly distressed look to give the appearance of an antique. The cane has a classic black lacquered Beechwood shaft, and is suitable for both men and women.

Sterling Silver Vine Covered Elongated Knob Walking Stick with Black Beechwood Shaft
Sterling Silver Vine Covered Elongated Knob Walking Stick with Black Beechwood Shaft

Handle made with R925 Silver - R standing for Rivestito, the Italian for covered. 925 means 92.5% pure silver

 

Provenance

a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality

Google definition

Vintage and Antique Walking Canes - Over $500

Rare and unique walking sticks, both antiques and collectibles, could easily be over $500 in price. This high price reflects the rarity and desirability of some incredible pieces.

Obviously, if you are considering paying this kind of price for an antique cane you need to know the provenance (history) of the cane.

Avoid buying "on impulse". Ask yourself some questions before you decide whether or not to buy:

  • who has previously owed this cane?
  • what materials is it made of?
  • what is the quality of the carving/decoration?
  • is it in good condition?

Collectible Canes

Here is a nice selection of the kinds of collectible canes that are easy to find and not too expensive to purchase. The Victorian Style cane with the faceted glass knob handle is very smart.

Victorian Era Glass Knob 37 Inch Wooden Walking Stick
Victorian Era Glass Knob 37 Inch Wooden Walking Stick

Elegant faceted glass knob-handled cane, with a brass collar. The cane measures approx. 36" long

 
Unisex Bald Eagle Head Cane Walnut Shaft  -Affordable Gift! Item #HAR-9108707
Unisex Bald Eagle Head Cane Walnut Shaft -Affordable Gift! Item #HAR-9108707

Bald Eagle handle in simulated antique scrimshaw on a walnut stained shaft

 

Vintage and Antique Walking Canes

In the price range of $100 to $500, you will find some elegant and extraordinary walking sticks and canes. This is actually a good price range for the committed collector of antique walking sticks and canes who is looking for something special.

Hand Carved Wood Dragon Walking Stick Cane Art American Pride Symbol
Hand Carved Wood Dragon Walking Stick Cane Art American Pride Symbol

Hand crafted 40 inches in height, a unique gift idea for a collector of canes.

 
Walking Cane - Simulated antique scrimshaw Bulldog head handle-made of polymer resin. Handle is set on 1" diameter hardwood shaft which tapers to 3/4". The shaft is 36" long with rubber tip. The shaft is available in walnut or black.
Walking Cane - Simulated antique scrimshaw Bulldog head handle-made of polymer resin. Handle is set on 1" diameter hardwood shaft which tapers to 3/4". The shaft is 36" long with rubber tip. The shaft is available in walnut or black.

With its handsome bull dog head handle, 36 inch hardwood shaft, and elegant taper, this walking cane has a weight limit 250 lbs, making it a useful walking aid. The bull dog head looks like scrimshaw, but is actually a tough polymer resin.

 

A Little Less Expensive

If you want to keep your expenditure below a $100, it will be more difficult to find a high quality antique or vintage cane. You will, however, easily find some fascinating walking canes on eBay and in markets.

I'd love to read your views on this topic - Thanks!

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    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 3 years ago

      I hope your grandma finds one that she likes :)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      I am introducing these to my grandma! Thanks for the suggestions!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      I came here to drool over your walking sticks. I love walking sticks. My favorite here is the Antique Silver Eagle Cane Victorian Walking Stick.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      What a very lovely selection you have gathered here - thank you!

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 4 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Just like bow ties...walking canes are cool too :)

    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 4 years ago

      @BLouw: There so much choice in walking canes - I hope you find the perfect cane for you!

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 4 years ago from France

      I'd thought (if I thought at all about walking canes) that they were a thing of the past. You've inspired me! when I get old - and that is ever closer - I'm going to get a fabulously eccentric walking cane (and wear purple!)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      That Swarovski Crystal walking cane is very elegant and unusual.

    • profile image

      gene-0 lm 4 years ago

      Very nice lens thank you.