Nineteenth century malacca stick – £5000 at Charterhouse.

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Topping the Devon vendor’s collection of examples from the late 17th to the early 20th centuries offered in Sherborne was a 19th century malacca stick with ivory handle carved with Mary Magdalene and disciples at Christ’s removal from the Cross.

Estimated at £2000-2500, the 3ft 1in (94cm) long stick sold at £5000.

Ecclesiastical in that it was carved with a nun and monk, but unsuitable for a family stick stand let alone a visit to church, was a stick with snakewood shaft and carved ivory handle which was catalogued as erotic.

This was putting it mildly, but the saucy depiction had its appeal and the 2ft 11in (89cm) stick pitched at £800-1000 made £2400.


Mr Punch walking stick – £4000 at Charterhouse.

The ever-popular Mr Punch popped up more than once led by the late 18th/ early 19th century folk art example shown here. With polychrome hat and sulphur eyes, he went on the lower estimate at £4000.

Variety of materials

The sticks offered at the 900-lot January 7-8 sale came in a variety of woods with handles of ivory, plated silver and hardwoods carved with a full menagerie of beasts, birds and human figures.

They attracted bids from the US, China and Belgium as well as the UK but, apart from the very first lot (a £120 ivory dog-handled cane), on which he was the underbidder, all went over the phone to the one determined UK enthusiast.