'Zeppelin' walking stick could steal a march on antiques auction

Walking sticks are a specialty area in collectibles; it's one of those areas that is followed keenly by those in the know and largely invisible to others. There are auction houses which specialise in selling antique walking sticks to those fascinated by the carefully crafted wood and metal.

However, there's a walking stick in Canterbury Auction's eclectic art and antiques sale which has a particular story to tell which extends the interest beyond the usual collectors.

It's not exceptional in appearance, being plain if clean-cut and sturdy. But there's more to it than meets the eye.

It's the turned alloy handle which holds a little bit of history, providing a link to one of the most spectacular incidents of the First World War in Britain - which took place in a field in the village of Theberton in Suffolk.

It was made from metal of a crashed Zeppelin, shot down following a night timebombing raid on London. Flames could be seen 50 miles away as a fire started on board spread to the gas canisters causing a vast fireball which killed most of the crew.

Zeppelin walking stick
The 'Zeppelin' walking stick

The tangled heap of twisted metal was all that was left the next day, but keen collectors snatched up metal and created everything from brooches, through goblets and egg cups to ashtrays, or in this case a walking stick handle.

Passed through the generations, the stick's handle is engraved "L 48 Brought down at Theberton 1917". The Kentish owner is now offering it for sale as one of the lots on February 14-15.

It's been listed at £100-150, but a four or even five figure sum for such a fascinating item must surely be expected.

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