JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Kimball M. Sterling Inc. is teaming up again with LiveAuctioneers.com for its 170-lot Fall Cane Auction, which will be presented in two sessions on Saturday, Sept. 26. The opening session will commence at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, with the second session following at 2 p.m.
Kimball Sterling has developed an international reputation of excellence with its antique cane auctions, which often feature rarities from seasoned private collections. An exciting array of canes is offered in the upcoming auction event, with consignments including a New York nautical collection, a lifetime collection from the American Midwest, canes from the estate of San Francisco artist Melvin L. Cummings, and many other fine examples from private collections from around the world. A sword cane, gun cane and even a President George Washington cane will be offered. The afternoon session will feature medium-line canes, handles, books, photos, and much more pertaining to the field of cane collecting.
“This auction contains some of the most sought-after museum pieces being offered to the world today, with realistic presale estimates,” said auction house owner Kimball Sterling.
One of the top treasures in the sale is a late-19th-century multicolor Gold Rush-style cane with a handle stamped in four colors of gold and featuring four panels carved with images of ships, cargo, musical instruments, beehives, tools, steam tractors and other objects. The handle is signed with the initials “H. S.” on a piece of sheet music. The shaft has a hexagonal 4-inch section covered in mother of pearl and embellished with inked designs. The balance of the hardwood shaft has mother of pearl wrapped around 70 percent of the shaft and has an ivory ferrule. “Very rarely do we see a cane with this type of gold and shaft work,” said Sterling. It carries a presale estimate of $12,000-$16,000.
Pre-dating the Victorian era by nearly a century, a rare and most extraordinary mid-18th-century ivory cane displays two erotic scenes executed in great detail. With its original hinge, silver collar, Malacca shaft and a 2¼-inch horn ferrule, it well deserves it auction estimate of $10,000-$12,000.
Both a Presidential and historical memento, the George Washington relic cane offered in the sale is dated “1856.” The cane has come to Kimball M. Sterling from an estate in California. It had been in the same family since 1946, and previous to that, was owned by a woman in Vermont named Myra Dwinell. The top of the silver cane, which was probably made by Lowell, is engraved with the following words: “Washington’s Hair 1793.” A concave inserted glass contains hair remnants. Engraved on the side of the handle next to a bronze depiction of the Liberty Bell is written “Piece of the Independence Bell and Wood from the State House.” The hickory-wood shaft presumably came from the Old State House in Philadelphia, and the miniature bell from parts of the original Liberty Bell. A remarkable antique, it is accompanied by a cherry case, the 1946 will that bequeathed the cane to the California owner, various photos of the family, and a 1977 Beverly Hills appraisal. The cane is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
An early 19th-century folk art cane was consigned from the estate of renowned artist Melvin E. Cummings. The boxwood cane features a fully carved one-piece shaft with a 6-inch spike, handmade iron ferrule, and high-relief carving of the name and phrase: “Charles Casal, buis est mon mon de ce baton.” Kimball Sterling noted, “There are probably over a hundred items from human beings, animals, seashells, portraits, cats, birds and symbols carved onto the cane. Included are humans in various costumes and also three nudes.” The cane could realize $4,000-$6,000 on auction day.
Dating to the mid-19th century, a French percussion gun and dagger cane incorporates a four-barrel black powder pistol that is unique in that it cocks when it is removed from the shaft. When the trigger is depressed, the cylinder slams backwards on a fixed firing recess and all barrels go off at once. Near the back of the cylinder are French maker’s marks. An exceptional example with Malacca shaft and ivory handle with silver mounts on a signed Paris Brevette silver collar, the cane carries a presale estimate of $5,000-$7,000.
For additional information on any lot in this sale, call Kimball M. Sterling at 423-928-1471 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE