Late 19th-Century Orion Mike Cribbins Cane

Value (2011) | $6,000 Insurance
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GUEST:
This came from Detroit, Michigan, in 1967. My father was going to school up there, and while we were up there, there was an aunt on his father's side of the family, had some heirlooms that she wanted to pass on to him. And this walking stick was one of the things that we got from her.

APPRAISER:
Now, did you do any research about any of the names or anything on it?

GUEST:
I finally did just a few weeks ago. The gentleman who carved this, his name is Napoleon B. Taylor, and he enlisted in the 22nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry in March of 1865 and was deployed to Chattanooga on April 7, and I guess he was in the war for about two days before they surrendered.

APPRAISER:
There was a guy in Orion, Michigan, at Lake Orion named Mike Cribbins. He was born in 1837, and he died in 1917. And he made these canes, and there's other examples out there.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
They almost always have a reference to Civil War. People don't know if he made them on order, but a lot of them show up with this kind of imagery on them.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
The lady's hand they see a lot and as he went along, he would carve other things in there, like reference to a Civil War regiment, Odd Fellow symbols, Masonic symbols. The thing that really hit us was the face, over there closer to your side. The cool thing about this kind of stuff is it's very whimsical. And he made these out of diamond willow, and these shapes, like this, are naturally occurring, and so he carves around that when he makes the piece. And the other thing that everybody always likes about his work is when it's carved open like that, and he usually made the ferrules down at the end out of lead, or some kind of white metal. There's really no way to know exactly when he made these, but I saw several references to the fact that he carved until 1902, but he carved for 30 or 40 years before that, so my thought would be this is probably in the 1870s, 1880s, late 19th century. It's got the things we look for. It hollers at you from across the room. You don't have to walk up very close to see that face or see that hand.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And that's a big thing about stuff like this. If you have to get right next to it, then it sort of takes away a little bit of the sizzle.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And this has got a lot of sizzle. (laughs) I think you should put an insurance value on it of $6,000.

GUEST:
Wow. (chuckles) That's great. I used it one time when I hurt my knee about 35 years ago, but I guess I won't do that again.

APPRAISER:
No, I wouldn't. (laughs)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Ken Farmer & Associates
Charlottesville, VA
Appraised value (2011)
$6,000 Insurance
Event
El Paso, TX (June 18, 2011)
Period
19th Century
Material
Wood

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