Hi Gary

On having a sort out of some of my late fathers belongings I came across this rather unusual item. I believe it is a sword stick, I have attached some photos for verification. It does appear to have some age to it but there is nothing I can see to verify any age-no makers marks etc. The scabbard or cane is not in the best condition as you can see from the photos.When sheathed the cane is approx 87cm long. I have done a little internet research and have found a grey area in the sale of sword sticks, I am not sure if I can legally sell the item privately or to a registered dealer. Any information you could let me have would be gratefully received. I am not intending to keep the item and would not like to just throw the item away if it does has some value and I am legally able to sell it.

Best regards,

Andy Robinson 

Dear Andy,

Thank you for your email.

The law on weapons is continuously changing, but at the present time you can only sell your swordstick if you can prove it is at least 100 years old and therefore classed as antique. We would need to see your swordstick to try to establish its age. If it complies with the law, we can enter it into one of our specialist militaria auctions to raise the best price for you.

Hi Gary 

Are you able to tell me what this object might be used for and anything about the ship that’s carved on it.

Thank you 

Caran Ryan 

Dear Caran,

Thank you for your email. Your item is a Scrimshaw, which is the name given to scrollwork, engravings and carvings done in bone or ivory.  They were originally carved by whalers made from the bones or teeth of whales or the tusks of walruses. The making of scrimshaw began on whaling ships in the mid 1700’s and survived until the ban on commercial whaling. Although original scrimshaw works can be very valuable, there are many reproductions around with copies of the engravings. I have seen this ship carving many times before and, subject to viewing, I am sure that yours is a reproduction. You can pick them up for under £40.

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