DYERSVILLE, Iowa — Among the more eclectic components of George Cayro’s extensive collection — cultivated over nearly five decades — are more than 500 canes.
Those and other pieces are on display or for sale at Cayro’s new Vintage Treasures and Museum in Dyersville. He said it’s a way to show off historical artifacts and artwork he has been collecting for 47 years.
“I want to share this with people,” Cayro said. “I’ve been collecting this stuff for such a long time. I’ve always wanted other people to be able to see it.”
The shop opened at 234 First Ave. SE last week. Firm operating hours haven’t been set.
Cayro’s wife, Mary, said Vintage Treasures will operate both as a museum and a retail store. While some items of his collection will be listed as for sale, others will exclusively be on display.
“We’ve always liked the aspect of bartering at flea markets,” Mary Cayro said. “This is a museum, but we’d also like it to be a nice retail store.”
George Cayro’s collection is made up of various items he has collected from flea markets and auctions, ranging from old Japanese and Chinese antiques to artwork made in the tri-state area.
His prize collection is his 500-plus canes. He developed a fondness for canes growing up in Cusco, Peru, where he was responsible for watching over his grandfather’s cane during church.
Today, Cayro’s cane collection is made up of walking sticks of various sizes and designs, some of which date back to the early 1800s.
One cane’s handle is made from the foot of a deer, while another is a carved head of Santa Claus. He also has a set of canes bearing the faces of every U.S. president — including Donald Trump.
“I’ve got just about every kind of cane there is,” Cayro said. “I guess you could say it’s what I specialize in.”
The Dyersville Area Historical Society has worked with Cayro to display some of the organization’s items, including a set of mechanical elves that have been in window displays in Dyersville since the 1970s.
Dyersville Area Historical Society member Judy Weber said she is glad to see Cayro opening his collection to the public.
“I think that it’s wonderful that people will get to see it,” Weber said. “He’s an eccentric collector. It’s one of those things that is always unique to see.”
A resident of the Dubuque area for most of his life, Cayro sees the museum as a way to give back to the communities he always has appreciated.
“Everyone here is so nice and proper,” Cayro said. “I just want to be able to share with them this amazing thing that I have.”