Its been years, and I mean several years, since I've found a decent corkscrew in an antique store. So many years that I've pretty much written off the possibility of finding any type of great corkscrew, but I'm happy to say that my streak of bad luck with antique finds has finally come to an end.
We recently took a little trip to nearby Abilene, TX. A fairly small town with a handful of antique stores. It became clear that there hadn't been a fellow corkscrew collector in town for some time because not only did I find some great corkscrews, but also some really great prices. My first find of the trip was a beautiful painted Syroco clown which I found within 2 minutes of walking into the store. The painted version of the clown is my favorite of all of the full-bodied Syroco corkscrews. How could I resist purchasing another one? and at only $50 it was a steal considering that I sold one of these clowns several years ago for $1,400. Although the market for Syroco corkscrews isn't as strong as it once was. At the next antique store I found a Napier bar shaker for a reasonable $15 and then a pewter gnome miner at another antique store for $8. If my fellow collectors are reading this, just know that there are still great finds out there. They may not be common, but it is nice when you finally find one.
Corkscrews weren't the only finds of the trip. I also bought an orange "Blendo" pitcher and drink set for the vacation home (not pictured) as well as these two girls at a feed store. Meet Olive Tapenade and Kalamata. These two chickens are Olive Eggers which will lay dark green eggs in a few months once they're mature enough. They are a welcome addition to my flock of chickens.
I haven't purchased many corkscrews lately, no whole collections or or huge lots at auction, but what I lack in quantity, I hopefully make up for in quality. The 3 corkscrews below were all Ebay finds. First is a rather large tusk corkscrew with Sterling end cap followed by a nice little Sterling roundlet that I won with a decent Buy-it-now, and finally a large carved German figure with internal music box.
We just christened our new vacation home with our 29th and 30th corkscrew displays. Today the collection includes over 1,600 corkscrews as well as champagne taps and related wine antiques spread across four properties.
A couple new additions to the collection both of which came tarnished, but at great prices. The gold one on the right was bought with a $20 buy-it-now. The seller had it listed as possibly gold filled, but couldn't find a marking. I know that this design is common on the gold and silver versions and I'm pretty sure I've never seen one in brass; besides at $20 how could you go wrong? I quickly jumped on it after briefly examining the pictures. It arrived a few days later and sure enough there's a marking on the edge. Very small, but I could barely make out 14K. The silver golf bag was heavily tarnished and had lots of sticker residue from an old sale sticker. But a little acetone and polish made it look almost new again.
There's an interesting corkscrew that has come up for auction several times over the past year and a half. The corkscrew itself is a bone handled Henshall with a faceted shank and button, which in itself makes this an interesting and somewhat rare corkscrew, but the real oddity is the inscription. It's carved "Sir William Johnstown Indian Agent for Geo III N.Y. 1763 A.D." I bid on it the first two times it came up for auction, but it sold for way more than I was willing to pay. It first came up for auction in May 2021 in Maine, then again in November 2021 after the first sale presumably fell through. Then, a couple days ago it sold for $1,650 at an auction house in Florida. At these prices, the buyers are most likely not corkscrew collectors, but history buffs. The glaring red flag to me and my fellow corkscrew collectors is that the corkscrew is dated 1763 which is over 100 years before this corkscrew would have been produced. Who was Sir William Johnson and why would someone create what is most likely a fake corkscrew? A quick search resulted in a rather large Wikipedia page on the man:
"Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet of New York (c. 1715 – 11 July 1774), was a British Army officer and colonial administrator from Ireland. As a young man, Johnson moved to the Province of New York to manage an estate purchased by his uncle, Royal Navy officer Peter Warren, which was located in territory of the Mohawk, one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois League, or Haudenosaunee. Johnson learned the Mohawk language and Iroquois customs, and was appointed the British agent to the Iroquois. Because of his success, he was appointed in 1756 as British Superintendent of Indian Affairs for all the northern colonies. Throughout his career as a British official among the Iroquois, Johnson combined personal business with official diplomacy, acquiring tens of thousands of acres of Native land and becoming very wealthy.
Johnson commanded Iroquois and colonial militia forces against the French and their allies during the French and Indian War, the North American theater of the Seven Years' War (1754–1763) in Europe. His role in the British victory at the Battle of Lake George in 1755 earned him a baronetcy of New York. His capture of Fort Niagara from the French in 1759 brought him additional renown. Serving as the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern district from 1756 until his death in 1774, Johnson worked to keep American Indians attached to the British interest. Johnson's counterpart for the southern colonies was John Stuart."
Feel free to comment on this mysterious corkscrew.
I'm currently working on two new corkscrew displays which will be our 29th and 30th framed corkscrew displays. These two will probably be completed this week and will be the first and probably only corkscrews displayed at my newly acquired vacation home. I'll post some updates with pictures of the finalized displays soon.
This huge lot of 62 vintage corkscrews that I won at auction just arrived. Lots of quality pieces, however nothing particularly rare, but after examining everything I did notice one unusual corkscrew. The corkscrew in question is a wood handled T corkscrew with serrated button and dusting brush. It has a name stamped into the handle. The text is fairly hard to read, but it appears to say STACY. Could it have been customized for the owner? The name Stacy doesn't seem like a common name during the time when this corkscrew would have been produced. Sure enough a quick search turned up that the name Stacy became popular in the US beginning in the early 1950s and reached the height of popularity in the early 1970s before plateauing. If anyone has a similarly marked corkscrew in their collection then let me know.
Its come to my attention that there are people who actually follow this blog, so here's the update for the first half of 2022. A nice lot of corkscrews with some serious Best Six contenders including a Thomason corkscrew with a very unusual silver presentation plaque and an extremely finely machined archimedean worm, a folding knife and spoon set with case belonging to Major Douglas McEnery of the 16th Canadian Light Horse division; decorated with some of his beloved horses. The Baker patent (middle right; double lever) is pretty rare and is one of the best buys I've had in a long time at only $30. The zig-zag type modern corkscrew (middle right) was acquired recently from former Dallas Cowboys player Troy Aikman's home town of Henryetta, Oklahoma for a mere $2 from a "hoarder" thrift store; unfortunately this was the only corkscrew find from visiting numerous antique stores throughout Oklahoma. The two corkscrews on the top right corner were my only finds from the last ICCA auction; one is a one off Sterling corkscrew marked Hotel Victoria, England on the top with Henshall type button and brush, the other is a carved stag horn corkscrew in the shape of a dog with Sterling silver collar and chain. Stay tuned, more corkscrews on the way...
A few more corkscrews which arrived before year end. I'm still waiting on one more shipment that's been taking a while, but I'll have my best six for the year finalized soon.
Newest acquisitions include a Sterling roundlet with fish and anchor decoration, Lemp bullet corkscrew, massive Walker store display corkscrew, unusual "art" corkscrew, and a Haff patent corkscrew.
I'm constantly adding new corkscrews to my collection. Any new finds as well as articles which may be of interest to corkscrew collectors will be posted here.
CorkscrewCollectors.com © 2022