Silver Erotic Stanhope Dress Cane-Ca. 1890-L-shaped silver handle with a hammered surface and obscured hallmarks on the integral and raised ring collar, shaved laurel shaft and a white metal ferrule. So-far, so-good, however, what makes this cane singular is that it is fitted with an erotic Stanhope in a peep hole on the top of the shaft. The micro lens shows two nude girls riding on, what seems to be, a bull and endows it with the crossover appeal of associating with more than one collecting field to augment its desirability. The expert opinions are unanimous on the French origin and suggest that the cane was probably commissioned by an eccentric Gentleman from the Belle Époque for his own pleasure. The tasteful and inconspicuous look allowed him to wear his cane at all occasions, and, in the appropriate time, make sensation and become the topic of the gathering. -H. 3 ¾” x 2 ¼”, O.L. 36”-$1,200-$1,600-The Stanhope, named after English scientist Lord Stanhope (1753-1816), was an optical novelty that was concealed in nineteenth century jewelry, ornaments and occasionally canes. It consisted of a slim glass rod, less than one-eighth of an inch in diameter, which had one end rounded to form a lens and a tiny round collodion positive photograph cemented to the other end. A small hole was drilled in the jewelry, the Stanhope inserted, and a magnified view of the photograph could then be seen by looking through the lens. Actually the stanhope is the beginning of micro-photography or the microfilm of today. In 1867 a French patent was obtained by Antoine Rochard for objects fitted with Stanhope’s. -For a cane with Stanhope’s see C. Dike, Cane Curiosa, Chapter 10, Photography, page 114, 10/24 and Francis H. Monek’s book, Canes Through The Ages, page 262.