German Hikers


Avid hikers would adorn their treasured staffs with small trinkets or medallions depicting “the conquered” territory, its features, or inhabitants. The collecting of hiking staff medallions (or stocknagels) is a long-standing European tradition that began in the Alps region of Europe back in the 1800’s. The badges, called stocknagels, attached to the canes, which is a right of passage to depict the many mountain visits a long time ago.  Walking sticks and canes from Germany, Austria, and Italy date from 1900-1945.

Every mountain they climbed, every place they visited by foot, the people used to buy a badge or stocknagel from the environment and the villagers attached the badge on the cane with a small hammer and two small nails. It was a very serious matter, and a great honor. Every badge offers a decorative symbol, from German Forests, the Black Forest, Schwarzwald, the Alps, Tyrole, Bayern, Italy. And brings you a piece of history!


13 Responses to “German Hikers”

  1. Hi Laurelt
    I have been clearing out my parents house and have found a stick (with metal german badges and a pennant of a red lion on a white background) cant read most of the badges but some have a stags head on them, it was alongside some WW2 artifacts, any ideas, what part of Germany it came from etc.

  2. I came across your blog while surfing. I have a ton of stocknagels, all nailed to various types of walking sticks and canes. Recently I began to wonder how old these stocknagels are, and what methods could be used to date these badges. In fact, I’m writing a book on how to determine the age of a stocknagel. For some reason I’m fascinated by these pieces of art. Thanks for your blog.

    • Have you been able to gather any info for your book. I think one almost needs a German contact. The web sit for stocknanels in Singapore as been taken down for non payment. Would like to find a book other than “ Hiking With Hitler “. Thanks. Jeff

  3. I too have a cane, obviously from Germany, which I purchased in a small town curio shop in northern Michigan. The stocknagels are old and most hard too read. Like you I am curious as to their age and history. I wish you well with your book and would hope to purchase a copy some day while I can still see. Keep me in mind.

  4. Hi,

    I have a lot of canes with these stocknagel. Most of them German. I like to collect more of them. Or, if interested, like to trade them. Eelco, The Netherlands

  5. I would like someone to identify the badges. I too have some of these badges but don’t know anything about them.

  6. I have three very old walking sticks that I found in Amsterdam about 15 years ago. They have inspired me to start my own collection of medallions. They aren’t always easy to find. Sure hope they don’t stop making them.

  7. I spent a couple of years in Germany and would like to find a source to purchase stocknagels to represent the cities I lived in. Is there a place I can look to find them?

  8. I have a cane that has July 4th 1923 and jimmie written on it. Can anyone help me figure out what it’s worth I can send pics

  9. I have one my dad brought back in the 70’s. It depicts all the Nurburgring race cities i believe and tonight i found and acquired another stick at auction. these are great!

  10. Used to collect them in the 70s when traveling through Europe. Went back with my kids this year and it was a lot less prevalent. I bought several in the cities with visited, but could not find them in several others. Is there a store or online shop where we could purchase new ones? I wanted to give my kids each a walking stick with all of the places we visited. Any help would be appreciated.

  11. I have one. I was always told my grandfather brought it back with him from WWII. Curiosity led me here. How did he obtain it and what do they represent?there are 15. The 1stbone says Arenberg and its a reindeer. They are quite interesting. Id love to know more.

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