In this installment on antique collectable canes we will take a more extensive look into system canes. Of all canes, the system cane is the most popular type for collectors because there are a ton of styles to choose from. The system canes, often referred to as weapon canes, were created to serve a dual purpose. These canes often hid their actual purpose within. System canes were often owned by the wealthiest women and men. They often owned more than one and they were used in the same manner that individuals use wallets and purses.
There are four types of systematic canes based on what purpose they served including:
Professional Canes: This style of cane was used mainly by tradesmen and business professionals to carry the tools and accessories of their trades.
City Canes: The city cane is most like the decorative cane in that it they were used as fashion accessories. They mainly were used to store the items of necessity such as watches, opera glasses, cameras and such.
Musical Canes: Canes that are classified as musical canes also served the purpose of an instrument like flutes and violins.
Outdoor Canes: The outdoor cane keeps hidden the items one would need on outdoor adventures such as fishing, lawn games, bird watching and more.
Weapon Canes: This is the most collectable of all systematic canes. These canes conceal weapons of all kinds such as swords, daggers, guns and particular tricky weapons that are outfitted with retractable spikes and razors.
There are so many unique styles of systematic canes for collectors to choose from including a number of popular styles for the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. When it comes to collecting system canes it is important to check to be sure the canes contents are in complete order. This type of antique cane, since highly prized by collectors, tends to be a bit more expensive. A collection of system canes is a much more valuable and exclusive compilation.
In my opinion system canes are the most compelling styles of canes to collect. Whether you desire functional, accessorial, utilitarian or simplistic collections antique systematic canes have much to offer. In our next installment into antique canes we will dive deeper into the actual anatomy of canes, different display ideas and basic how-to’s on building a one of a kind collection. Cane collectors are always looking for exclusive pieces that are matchless and uncommon in the world of collecting. A collection of system canes is sure to offer this.
There are three types of walking sticks and canes: decorative, folk art and system. As the name implies a decorative cane is an accessory used for fashion and their main purpose is purely aesthetic. Folk art canes were designed to be more about the carver then the individual who used them. They are most often created in all wood. System canes are often referred to as gadget canes. These are perhaps the most utilitarian of all canes. In the next few series we will discuss in detail each popular style of cane.
First we will discuss the decorative canes. Most of the decorative canes that are available to collectors today are from the second half of the nineteenth century into the nineteen twenties. They often have a basic shaft that has a decorative handle in which can be created from a number of materials including silver, ivory, gold, porcelain and other highly regarded materials.
Many antique cane collectors choose to begin their collections by purchasing vintage, silver handled canes that were common during this period of time. Collectors will want to ensure that the handle is sterling silver or priced accordingly if it is only a replica. The fancier the knob the more collectors should expect to pay. Often times, decorative canes with silver handles will be made even fancier with the addition of gold and can take on the shape of an animal, human figure or crook handle.
Cane artisans of this century created a number of decorative canes using ivory for the handle. Ivory is an incredibly scarce material and thus makes these canes highly collectable. Decorative ivory canes could most often be purchased by only the wealthiest individuals in society. When it comes to decorative cane handles the ivory material has literally had ever subject matter carved into it. From frogs to humans everything was carved into ivory cane handles. Human forms that are carved into decorative ivory cane handles are the most popular amongst collectors. Ivory is a very sensitive material and thus collectors should be careful to display them appropriately away from the direct sunlight and heat.
Gold is another popular decorative cane handle material. These are amongst the rarest and most expensive canes for collectors to get a hold of. Animal bone, antlers, wood, leather, glass and more have all been materials used to create decorative canes. Collectors should be careful when purchasing collectable canes as many of these materials, as they age, get cracks and chips and need repairs. Make sure the price that is paid for the collectable cane matches the canes condition. Of course a rare cane with exceptionally beautiful features may still be a popular option even with a few minor flaws.