Vassalboro is looking for its oldest resident in an effort to present the Boston Post Cane, which hasn’t been in the hands of a deserving resident in years.

The canes were part of a 1909 Boston Post newspaper promotion sent to 431 towns in New England with instructions it be given to the oldest resident of the town. Vassalboro’s cane has been at the Vassalboro Historical Society since 2010. Before that it was missing for some time before turning up in Monterey, California.

An antiques dealer bought it in 1988 at a yard sale, intending to melt down the head for the value of the gold, but after reading the inscription, called the Vassalboro Town Office and offered to sell it back for $500 — the price he’d paid for it, according to the historical society.

Town resident Betty Taylor, who was a founding member of the historical society, bought the cane, had it shipped to Vassalboro and left it to the historical society when she died in 2010.

“Nobody seems to know how the cane got to California or who was the last Vassalboro resident to be presented with the cane,” the news release from the historical society said.

The society wants to find out who the town’s oldest resident is, who past holders of the cane are and also want to know how the cane got to California.

The historical society said it will present the town’s oldest resident with a certificate and a token showing that he or she is the symbolic owner of the Boston Post Cane, which is on display at the society’s museum in East Vassalboro. If the oldest resident can be located, the society hopes to present the cane during the Vassalboro Days celebration in September.

The cane is made from Gabon ebony which was shipped from the Congo in seven-foot lengths that were cut into cane lengths, seasoned and dried, then hand polished with French varnish and oil, the historical society said. The cane’s head is finished with 14-carat gold and is elaborately sculpted. The entire process of making each cane took about a full year, according to the release.

The antiques dealer in 1988 said the cane had been appraised at $1,200.

The historical society asks that anyone with any information about the cane call 923-3505 or email [email protected].

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