ANTIQUES

Gold-topped antique cane had small role in ‘The Sting'


Published: Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.

Q: Enclosed are photos of a cane that was given to my father as a gift in 1974 by a World War II Marine buddy who, after the war, was employed by Universal Pictures in California and eventually became the person in charge of props and costumes at Universal. This cane was in the movie "The Sting," a 1973 movie starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. This cane was carried by actor Harold Gould, who portrayed the well-dressed character, Kid Twist, in the movie. The cane can be seen in the train scene before the poker game was played. It clearly shows Gould with the cane between his legs talking during the train ride. Would there be any collectors' interest in this item and, if so, could you give me an approximate value?

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Antique canes were made to house musical instruments, whiskey decanters, weapons, guns, scientific instruments and more. (Courtesy of John Sikorski)

H., Internet

A: Antique canes are a fascinating specific category of collecting. They were made to house musical instruments, whiskey decanters, weapons, guns, scientific instruments and more. The variety is almost endless.

The one you own with an ornate decorative head was popular during the late-Victorian era, circa 1890. The style was produced in large quantities, mostly with gold-plated heads and sometimes in 14- or 18-karat gold. Those that have 14- or 18-karat heads will be marked. I will assume your cane is not marked since you have not mentioned it. If the top is gold-filled, potential dollar value would be in the $75 to $150 range. If the head is 14- or 18-karat, the value will be much higher.

I imagine most of our readers will remember "The Sting." I have no doubt your story is true, and it is really cool that the cane appeared in the movie. But without written authenticated provenance, it is only a good story and adds no value to the cane.

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Q: I picked up this painting about eight years ago at a garage sale. It was not expensive, I cannot remember what I paid, I just liked the scene. It was hanging in my office at work, and only recently did I notice it was signed by the artist. I Googled her name, "Dee McCollum," but could only find an obituary from January 2012; I am not even sure she was the right Dee McCollum. Can you find any information about the artist and any idea as to its worth?

F.F., Ocala

A: The photographs of your impressionist painting are quite clear. I can see the artist's signature is "Dee McCollum," as you mention. I was not able to find any biographical information about the artist. I found a painting signed "Dee McCollum" that sold for $75 depicting a landscape of flowers and mountains in the background, but with no picture nor description of the painting. So relative to potential dollar value, the artist is not a plus. This leaves potential dollar value at the catch-as-catch-can level. I think the picture is lovely, and in the future, the situation may change.

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Q: I am trying to find out information about this piece of furniture.

C., Internet

A: You have an armoire, also called a wardrobe in the United States. It was manufactured in America, circa 1900. It appears to be made of oak. Pieces like this were typically sold through mail-order catalogs like Sears & Roebuck or Montgomery Wards. They can be taken apart by removing the top, then the door, followed by the side panels, all making a flat stack for shipping. Potential dollar value is less than $500.

John Sikorski is an Ocala antiques dealer. He hosts a call-in radio show, "Sikorski's Attic,'' on WUFT-FM (89.1 FM). It can be heard each Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. Send your questions to Sikorski's Attic, c/o The Gainesville Sun, 2700 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL 32608-2015; or email absantique@aol.com.

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