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A man walked into Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland, California, with two canes he had been given years before when he helped clean a garage. He wanted to sell them, pay his bills and October rent, and have a few dollars left. The ebony cane with a gold quartz and gold top was put into the next sale, but was too late to be in the print ads and was seen only online. Estimate was under $2,000. But the "Internet Superhighway" got word out to cane collectors who knew the value of the rare 1871cane, one of 13 gold quartz canes known. They were made in San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. It was the very last item in the sale and the bidding was frenzied from the floor, Internet, and phones. Final price with buyer's premium: $49,725! The consigner was in tears of delight and amazement and had more than enough money to pay his bills. Sad part to the story is that he had more canes from the garage and gave or threw away some of them. One other cane sold at Clars for $500.



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