I purchased my first, and perhaps favorite stick in December 1998. It is a simple, honest stick as the pictures demonstrate. It is made of a dense knobby wood, and is quite heavy. It is 34” in length, with a brass ferrule. It appears to be very old. At the top, there is a silver (unmarked) roundel inscribed, “Horatio Coffin.” The cane appears quite old. I searched for quite some time for any information on Horatio Coffin, but was unsuccessful.
In January 2003, a fellow stick collector uncovered possible provenance in searching a genealogy data base. He discovered that a Horatio Coffin was born on June 6, 1838 in Savage Harbour, Prince Edward Island, and died about 1925.
How to account for a stick that may have belonged to a man living on Prince Edward Island (if in fact he remained on Prince Edward Island) ending up in the Midwest? Sticks are small and therefore portable, which accounts for the odd places many are found. The age of the stick appears to be consistent with a gentleman living during that period of time. Do I have any real provenance that can be documented? I don’t. But I have enjoyed the search, and it is the search that is exciting. Who was Horatio Coffin? What did he do during his life? What were his dreams and aspirations? Of course questions like these most always remain unanswered. But from time to time, discoveries are made regarding provenance, which makes the search all the more worthwhile.