I just acquired this beautiful and rare silver perfume corkscrew from a live auction in the Netherlands. If you've ever dealt with a foreign auction house then you know that the hammer price is always far from the actual price. It usually doesn't make sense to bid on items at foreign auction houses once you factor in the buyers premium (usually around 20% or so), as well arranging shipping (usually around $100), and the conversion costs. It all adds up, but this one was worth it. Very rare design with the swan and nearly perfect condition; well worth the nearly 2 month wait.
I've always been a fan of stag and tusk corkscrews. These show up in a number of different shank designs and configurations. Each one is unique as stag horn is a naturally occuring product. Often sporting 1, 2, or even 3 Sterling silver end caps which are often engraved with the owner's initials. One of these is also engraved with the date 1901.
I won this on Ebay a while back by making an offer which was quickly accepted. It was in bad shape, but had potential. This boars tusk corkscrew has a lovely decoration carved into the front. It is also marked STEEL on the shank. The pictures below are after cleaning, waxing, polishing the silver, replacing one of the Sterling pins, adding a little glue to get rid of the slight jiggle in the shank, and using acetate to remove any excess glue. Even after all of this cleaning and restoration, this piece still has one glaring defect; it's missing the Sterling end cap. One of these days I may be able to find a transplant, but it's still a nice little corkscrew and a welcome addition to the collection.
I purchased these 3 Thomason corkscrews from a live auction in England and after several months, they finally arrived. Although the rarest and most valuable is the variant in the middle, the one with the large wood handle on the left is fairly uncommon as well; marked Johnson Sheffield.
I've owned four cars in my life, the first three of which were Cadillacs. At the same time, I've owned this interesting Cadillac emblem corkscrew. It's sat in my glove box over the years in case I were to find a young woman in need of assistance, although they usually prefer something more practical like jumper cables. The corkscrew itself appears to be made from an actual headpiece. The helix is glued into the emblem and is very firmly affixed. The emblem appears to be from a 1990's era Cadillac and has a slight curve on the base of the emblem where this could have been turned had it been affixed to a Cadillac. The wooden sheath also has some qualities which make it seem homemade. I have never seen a similar example.
I recently purchased a new car which is not a Cadillac, so I will be selling this corkscrew on Ebay. You can view the listing here. Happy bidding.
My parents and I recently spent around two and a half weeks on vacation in Romania. We had a wonderful time visiting museums, eating at the finest restaurants and of course drinking wine. But for the purposes of this blog, I will try to keep the content focused on corkscrews. We chose to visit Romania mainly to visit the Museum of Romanian Records; the largest corkscrew collection and museum in the world. The museum is currently only open to visitors by appointment, but is planning to open to the public later this year. Fortunately, it was easy for us to procure a reservation to view the collection before being opened to the public since we had rare corkscrews in hand to deliver. At the time of our visit, the museum was being renovated to include the newer collections which include vintage cameras and Romanian stamps. I know I said that I would try to keep this post to corkscrews, but I should note that we started our guided tour with the antique iron collection. I have no interest in ever purchasing an antique iron unless it is in a lot with a rare corkscrew, but the sheer magnitude of the collection of irons is awe inspiring which really makes it easy to appreciate the diversity of an item which I knew little about prior to visiting the museum.
In the picture above, you can see some of the rarest examples in the collection.
Perfume corkscrews abound in their endless variations. You can even see some corkscrews which use to belong to me in this picture as well as several of the proceeding pictures.
As I said, the collection of vintage corkscrews has the Guinness Book of World records for being the largest in the world and the few pictures above don't do it justice. You will have to visit for yourself and I promise that you won't regret it.
Normally I try to acquire some corkscrews while I'm on vacation and this was no exception. I went to antique stores and flea markets to no avail; there were few if any corkscrews to be found in Romania. Despite the abundance of corkscrews that can be found in the museum, it was like trying to find water in the Sahara Desert. Despite the lack of corkscrews, I was able to (via the internet) acquire a multitude of corkscrews while I was in Romania.
The packages above were waiting when we arrived back in Dallas; not all corkscrews, but the majority of them were. As you can tell, Ebay remains an excellent source of vintage corkscrews; the rest of my sources I will try to keep a secret.
Not a bad haul for two and a half weeks. Many common pieces, but several worth noting include the set of ladies legs in the center, pieces including a boars tusk with Sterling end cap, a bone handled with Henshall type button, a stained version of the Syrocco butler, a Sterling boot (missing the corkscrew, but fairly common to replace), two cutlery sets with folding forks and corkscrews, as well as a number of folding bows and others. Probably the most notable find is the Sterling roundlet located just left of the center.
This Sterling roundlet is fairly basic except for the addition of a folding latch whose only purpose is to cover the hole meant for the corkscrew. I've seen several hundred variations of Sterling roundlets, but never with anything like this.
My bags are packed and I'm off to Romania. The highlight of the trip is sure to be the corkscrew museum at The Museum of Romania Records which contains the world's largest collection of corkscrews consisting of around 38,000 and I'll be adding a few more to the collection including these 2 rarities. The one on the left is a rare Dickson patent corkscrew with a ratcheting system built into the handle; a rarity on its own, but this one is the only known example with a wire helix. The one on the right is a rare single lever corkscrew parked Pelican Patent; also the only one known to exist.
Stay tuned for more updates.
Some recent acquisitions from Ebay including this beautiful figural Sterling bird talon as well a a nice nickel barrel Thomason type corkscrew.
Another ebay find, looking better after some minor cleaning and restoration work. The handle is ivory and features a family crest consisting of a knight atop the phrase "Sans Grainte". While it seems to be unmistakable that it says Grainte rather than Crainte, it would appear that the latter makes more sense as it is French for "Without Fear".
I've always been a fan of the bar mounted corkscrew. They have the ability to open multiple wine bottles using a single motion and even though many of them feature the same mechanism, there is a large variety of vintage bar mounted corkscrews. This one just arrived today and is titled the Daisy, produced by the Arcade Manufacturing Company of Freeport Illinois and patented January 15, 1895. Stay tuned, more bar mounted corkscrews are on the way.
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