Welcome to Cane Quest.com, a website created for antique cane and walking stick enthusiasts.
Everybody collects something at some time. Childhood hobbies are often an outlet for creativity, with youthful interests shifting and becoming more refined with time. Through our hobbies and collections we discover a bit more about ourselves, our interests and inspirations, and our place in the world.
I’ve been a collector for as long as I can remember. As a child, my dolls were left unloved as I was far too busy looking for rocks and fossils in the fields around nearby.
As a college student in the early 1970’s, I began collecting old bottles and railroad date nails, inexpensive treasures easily found at flea markets or walking along abandoned railroad tracks, a perfect pastime for one with limited means. During that time I learned the joy of arrowhead hunting walking cornfields in Southern Illinois.
Over the years I have collected demitasse cups, Victorian Majolica (I love the jewel colors of the translucent lead glazes and the organic shapes of the pottery) and other shorter lived interests.
I began collecting bisque and china head dolls before the birth of our first son; out from storage came Tiny Tears and Ginny.
Motherhood and a full-time work schedule shelved my collecting impulses until 1998, when I was given a book, “Canes Through The Ages” by Francis Monek, and discovered the world of canes. I have been a cane collector every since.
At some point we collectors experience an epiphany, an “ah ha” moment where we realize we are motivated by a deeper calling, an internal drive to collect a particular object or objects; “I collect, therefore I am.”
Other reasons why we collect: nostalgia and a connection to history, social interaction with other collectors, appreciation of beautiful objects, knowledge and learning, relaxation–and it’s FUN. Most of all, we are inspired by the “thrill of the chase!”
In 2009, I moved to Colorado. Shortly thereafter I began studying the history of western expansion and the Great movement west. The Oregon Trail was laid by fur trappers and traders in the early 19th century, with the first migrant wagon train organized in Independence, Missouri in about 1836. Wagon trails were cleared increasingly further west and by 1842-1843, the number of emigrants skyrocketed. How many of your ancestors were part of these amazingly resilient groups of pioneers?
Gold was discovered in early 1848 in the Sacramento Valley which sparked the California Gold Rush, turning California into a truly global frontier. More than 300,000 gold seekers flooded California by 1850. As I researched this fascinating period and its intersection with my new home state, I discovered that on 1/5/1859 during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, a prospector discovered placer gold at the present site of Idaho Springs, the first substantial gold discovery in Colorado, only 60 miles from my home!
A couple years ago I was digging through a box I had long packed away and uncovered two Civil War bullets. Neither my husband nor I could remember where they came from, but their discovery reminded me that years before I had bought my son a book on the Civil War, and although he had only a passing interest, I was fascinated. I filed this budding interest away for a later time. Discovering two Minie Balls rekindled my interest. As a cane collector, I have enjoyed expanding my hunt to include Civil War connected canes.
Over the years, canes and walking sticks, rods and staves, have been the subject matter of articles, some of which I include in this website for your reading enjoyment.
Why antique canes and walking sticks?
Perhaps it’s because of the implied intimacy; a walking stick is held by the hand, lovingly caressed by its owner. Or, because there is such a large variety from which to choose. Of course there’s the hunt and discovery. And the many unanswered questions such as where does the stick come from? Who was the owner? What clues can I find to help me determine age or place of origin? Is the stick historically significant? A friend of mine, also an antique cane collector, commented that that’s part of the fun of collecting people’s old dreams, accomplishments, and acknowledgements from loved ones. Antique canes and walking sticks are remnants from the past, small mysteries begging discovery.
I am passionate about my antique cane and walking stick collection. It brings me great joy. And although I did not start collecting antique cane and walking sticks as an investment, it has certainly become that.
I am no expert. I have learned many things from books, attending auctions, watching on-line cane auctions, speaking with other antique cane and walking stick collectors, and mostly by trial and error.
Why a web site? I am proud of the antique cane and walking stick collection I have amassed over the past several years. Although I have learned many things about collecting, I have much to learn. I look forward to hearing from other collectors as we share our collecting experiences.
Please…educate me! I am always learning interesting things about collecting in general and about sticks in specific. I especially desire to pass on information to new collectors, offering support as they pursue their passion for cane and walking stick collecting. For example, did you know that a collector of walking sticks or a person with a great interest or expertise in the study of walking sticks is termed a rabologist?
How does one start? Just begin!