James Taylor Ellyson Cane Collection
That's James Taylor Ellyson, and he was the mayor of Richmond for three terms and the lieutenant governor for three terms in the 1800s. He was in the Civil War here in Richmond, and his family owned the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He did a lot for Richmond, and he also was involved with the Jamestown celebration in 1907, the 300-year anniversary.
Clearly, he was a special character. I assume these were his canes?
They were. A lot of people gave him canes and they knew that he collected canes, and some of these are inscribed to him, and dated. And I bought them through an estate sale about 20 years ago.
And give me an idea what you paid for all of this group?
Walking canes were much more common in this gentleman's time than they are today, certainly. You've got a nice little collection of canes, and this, by the way, which is not a cane. This is what they call a swagger stick. It was common to present canes to notable men. What I like about the cane collection mostly is this. This painting is unique. Clearly, he was known as a cane collector and had enough notoriety in that way that someone made this watercolor caricature of him. This original drawing is signed here, "Rostrup." That's a Scandinavian name. I don't know the artist. I did do a little bit of research to try and find him, but we couldn't. It's an original work for an illustration for a caricature, political caricature done in pen and watercolor on paper. Cane collecting is a big field these days, and some great canes can be worth well into the thousands of dollars. But I'm going to start by telling you, you don't have any great canes here. This is kind of a nice one made from a Japanese netsuke, but the others are fairly plain and of very modest value. This one's a bit of an exception. It is engraved, as you can see on the top. I'm not going to pull it out, but it's engraved to the gentleman as a presentation, and almost certainly it's made of gold, and that's where the value is today. If that's a gold cap-- and I would bet dollars to donuts that it is-- this cane alone could be worth over $1,500 and maybe over $2,500 if it's gold.
And by the way, all of the other canes together are perhaps worth $100 or $200 as a group. But this I think is the find that you made when you bought this group. It's very hard to put a value on this, but cane collectors love things related to canes that are not canes, and to me, that's the perfect thing. To have this caricature drawing with the gentleman's canes amplifies the whole collection in value. The drawing by itself could be worth $1,500 to $2,500.
If they were offered at auction, I think the entire group could bring $4,000 to $6,000.
That's exciting. Very nice.
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Summer Night Concerts
Relax with four amazing concerts from the Vienna Philharmonic and special guests.