It was probably made in the first half of the 19th century by either a British or an American sailor (similar canes with bird handles are associated with a number of East Coast American carvers).
Offered for sale at Bourne, Lincolnshire, firm Golding Young & Mawer (20% buyer’s premium) on August 12, it found a buyer via thesaleroom.com at £3600 (estimate £250-300). The auction house sold another bird-handled scrimshaw cane of a less sophisticated form for £1900 in 2018.
The walk of life
A collection of walking canes was offered by Charterhouse (25% buyer’s premium) in Sherborne on August 7.
The comfortable favourite was an ivory and jewelled memento mori cane carved with a head: one side showing a Victorian lady in her coiffeured finery, the other as a cadaver. In good condition with a white metal collar and ebony shaft, it sold to an online bidder at £3200 (estimate £1200-1800).