Below I've described six types of sticks you might see in your flea market travels, though types of sticks are never ending, I am pretty confident that there are still some one-off gadget canes yet to be discovered.
Silver & Gold Sticks are always fashionable and a must-have in any good collection. Remember most of the gold handle canes you find are gold-filled, and not any high karat of gold.
Folk Art Sticks are simple country types usually with simple carved figures, heads, snakes and other animals, the shafts and handle many times are made from one piece of wood. ()
Gadget Sticks are so fun…from telescope and horse measuring sticks, to scales and timepieces, and don't forget the hidden liquor flask and musical instrument sticks! I've owned sticks with fold-out maps, and a stick that transforms into a stool. The stick in the photo below has a hidden cigarette lighter! ()
Political & Presentation Sticks might be presidential presentation pieces or sticks given from a dad to his son on Christmas. Presentation sticks are historical time capsules with names, dates and events worth researching. I once owned a stick made from the salvaged wood of the U.S.S. Constitution aka "Old Ironsides." In the 1830s these sticks were made to finance a rebuild of the historic warship. ()
Advertising Sticks were often given out as premiums. There were gadget canes, which might fold out as chairs with a company's logo, and even sticks that could hold a cigar (and with a cigar company's logo).
Weapon Sticks were standard for some travelers. Hidden inside these sticks you might find swords, daggers or even rifles.
Truly they are not just sticks, but canvases for an artist's design. I enjoy all the sticks I find, each with its own character, each telling its own story. I am both a collector and dealer when it comes to sticks. I've seen the simplest hand-carved stick selling for $10, and the most lavishly jewel-handled cane running thousands of dollars...and after all these years I still get excited by both. Be sure to peer into the darkest depths of flea market booths to spot those interesting handles sticking up over the table edges!