This marks the 25th framed corkscrew display that we have completed. The new display has finally been debuted and will be a permanent fixture of the conference room of our new office. This also marks the first time that we have done a modern floating frame for one of our corkscrew boards. While I have normally abstained from affixing our rarest corkscrews to the boards, for this one I went all out and used some of our rarest examples. This display includes examples made from elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn, walrus tusk, hand carved stag horn, 1000 year old fossilized tusk, and 100+ year old rare mechanical examples among others.
We currently have 24 different displays of corkscrews on the walls of our house. You would think that by now our walls would be full; they are. But fortunately for us, we bought a commercial building to move our offices to and the walls there could use some corkscrews. The new display that I am working on which will go in our conference room will be the largest to date and feature some very rare and unusual examples. Stay tuned for updates. The new board is scheduled to be completed later this week and lets not forget about all those other empty walls.
I was fortunate enough to win several lots at a live auction and ended up purchasing several more lots after the sale which ended up being one of my largest purchases of the year. As you can see, it was quite a nice haul with several of the rarer pieces in the middle. The rarest, which can be quickly spotted by the seasoned collector, being a rack and pinion corkscrew with bottle grips and a rosewood handle. It is Thomas Lund’s British Patent No. 7,761 of August 3, 1838. Marked LUND’S PATENT LONDON RACK on shaft below handle. Marked on the sides of the frame LUND MAKER CORNHILL & FLEET ST. LONDON. The grips are marked LUND PATENTEE & MAKER LONDON. Other notable pieces include an unusual Thomason type with a crown badge & bladed helix, 2 reproduction carved bone corkscrews with are nonetheless fairly collectible, a rare U-Neek cork remover & a carved ivory handled corkscrew with Sterling silver inserts.
Also included in the shipment were several champagne taps and champagne pliers and wire cutters.
Found this beautiful fossilized tusk corkscrew on Ebay recently. The tusk itself is very dense and heavy. These types of corkscrews are usually accompanied with a Sterling silver end cap, however the maker opted to showcase the natural beauty of the petrified core of the tusk as well as the natural grain.
I just finished adding a new section to the website which features corkscrews owned by historical figures. The page can be found Here and includes corkscrews such as this stag horn corkscrew which was owned by Adolf Hitler.
I have been buying several corkscrews lately which ultimately leads to the unintended "bycatch" as I like to call it. You can read more about the interesting non-corkscrew finds I have come across Here.
Just picked up this unusual bloodletting fleam with 7 tools including a corkscrew. All of the tools fit perfectly and it seems to be original, but why would anyone want a corkscrew to accompany such gruesome tools?
I just got this nice little smoker's tool corkscrew. It has mother of pearl scales and is used for opening cigar boxes among other things.
I already had one of these with ebony scales. The ebony version is much larger. Both are marked D.R.G.M. on the hammer which means that it is a German patent. The mother of pearl version is marked No 42057 whereas the ebony version is not.
This blog will be filled with the many acquisitions and posts that will be of interest to fellow corkscrew collectors, but for my inaugural blog post I decided to post about what could end up being a previously undiscovered corkscrew. I frequent over a dozen different websites using an even larger number of searches in order to acquire vintage corkscrews. After perusing one of the regular websites, I found a live auction which at first glance had what looked to be a very basic Thomason corkscrew. Certainly not worth the usual $100 shipping costs from the UK. In addition to the corkscrew, there is plenty of "corkscrew bycatch" which I like to call it; you can read about that Here.
Upon closer examination, this Thomason had a glaring difference from all others; a protruding disc below the handle which looks to have writing. Excitement ensues. I have been collecting for more than half my life, but have never seen anything like this. Could this be the long lost prototype created by James Heeley before being sued by Edward Thomason for patent infringement? Of course he would use his stature and wealth to keep any word of this supposed prototype out of the papers. I immediately check the past sales on ICCA auctions; nothing. Next, I look through all of the corkscrew books I own. If there's more than one example of this corkscrew then surely there will be one in the book World-Class Corkscrews; there wasn't, but pick up a copy of the book if you haven't, you won't regret it until you quickly realise that it's impossible to collect every corkscrew. There are about 4 more days until the auction starts so I do my due diligence and contact the auctioneer to send some additional pictures. Days go by and nothing, not even a response. WHY? JUST ONE PICTURE WOULD DO?!?! So, I place a bid not knowing exactly what this corkscrew even was, but it was too intriguing not to take a chance on it. I wake up to find that...I've won!!! and with a fairly low bid. What happened? Had no other collectors seen the listing? Were none of them willing to take a chance on this mystery corkscrew? THANK YOU AUCTIONEER FOR NOT POSTING ADDITIONAL PICTURES!!! Surely I wouldn't have won this at such a reasonable price if everyone could see the writing on the corkscrew.
Around 2 weeks later, it arrived! Without further adieu, I present you with pictures of the mystery corkscrew.
Turns out that the disc was in fact marked. It reads "THOMASONS PATENT NE PLUS ULTRA". After further research, I have reached the conclusion that the interior spine and button seems to have belonged to a Thomason 4 pillar and/or Compound patent. The other parts seem to belong to a basic Thomason corkscrew, however as my dreams of this becoming the find of the century fade I would invite any input from fellow collectors.
As you can see, this corkscrew isn't in the best condition. And while I'm fairly certain this is a Frankenstein corkscrew; built from two different Thomason corkscrews, it's not uncommon to encounter undiscovered corkscrews. In fact, I just purchased another corkscrew that I could find no record of yesterday. You will see that blog post as soon as it arrives. While this corkscrew didn't turn out to be the great find of the century, questions remain. This type of amalgamation, while possible to a seasoned collector with several "parts" corkscrews may be possible, this didn't seem to come from a collector. This was the only lot that included a corkscrew, yet it included parts from two different Thomason corkscrews, one of which is fairly rare. How would the original owner come in contact with the two corkscrews and why would he have tried to combine the two at one point?
Questions remain and they may never be solved, but there continue to be examples and variations of corkscrews that were previously undiscovered.
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