I recently acquired this fascinating corkscrew. It's a tusk with the name M. J. Heney carved into it. It also has a cigar cutter and a silver elephant head with ruby eyes. So who was M. J. Heney? A quick search yielded some results.
Michael James "Moose" Heney (October 24, 1864 – October 11, 1910) was a railroad contractor, best known for his work on the first two railroads built in Alaska, the White Pass and Yukon Route and the Copper River and Northwestern Railway. The son of Irish immigrants, Heney rose to the top of his profession before his death. His life inspired several books and at least one movie.
Michael James Heney was born on October 24, 1864, near Stonecliffe, Renfrew County, Ontario, Canada. He was the son of Thomas Eugene Heney and Mary Ann McCourt, Irish immigrants. His family farmed in the upper Ottawa Valley.
At age 14, Heney ran away from home to work on the newly announced Canadian Pacific Railway. He started as a water boy, then graduated to a track laying crew assistant and mule skinner. In 1883 he was included in a survey and location crew in the Selkirk Mountains, eventually becoming foreman. In 1887 he was hired to construct a rail line for the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad. In 1897 he was contracted to build a gold mining hydraulic line at Anchor Point, Alaska.
When the Klondike Gold Rush came, Heney was ready. He visited the Skagway area to survey potential routes to the interior. By chance, he met Erastus Hawkins representing the Pacific Contract Company, Limited, which was organized to build through the White Pass inside of the St. James hotels lobby. A deal was struck and Heney was hired, first as labor foreman and then as contractor. Built through mountainous wilderness, far from supplies, using labor that was returning from the gold fields, the 110.7 mile White Pass and Yukon Route was an outstanding achievement and gained Heney an international reputation.
Heney next turned his attention to the copper and coal deposits recently discovered on the Copper River (Alaska). He surveyed a route, bought land, named the city of Cordova, Alaska and started construction, while rival companies built on different lines.
The dramatic conflicts between the various crews included gunfire. The Guggenheims and J.P. Morgan, via the Alaska Syndicate, sought access to the copper ore deposits at Kennecott, Alaska. When an alternate route starting at the Katalla, Alaska, port was "wiped out in a winter storm", the syndicate acquired the Close Brothers-Heney interest." Heney was bought out for $250,000 and he retired for a second time.
After having many problems building the railway they appointed him contractor. The Copper River and Northwestern Railway was one of the most difficult construction projects ever undertaken. The line crossed in-between two glaciers, under primitive conditions, far from any supplies. The Million Dollar Bridge, which is between the two glaciers, was completed just hours before the spring ice would have destroyed it.
At the pinnacle of his career, Heney left Cordova to complete some business arrangements in Seattle and New York. On his way back north, his ship hit an uncharted rock and sank. Heney went under deck to rescue his horses, but the last boat left without him when he returned on deck. So he swam to a boat and held on to the stern while it was rowed ashore as there was no room on it. Shortly afterwards he developed pulmonary tuberculosis and died within a year. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Seattle.
Widely popular, Heney was known as "Big Mike" or "The Irish Prince of Alaska". A glacier, mountain and range of mountains in Alaska over-looking Cordova bears his name.
I also recently acquired this John Hasselbring Sterling Silver corkscrew with grape clusters and leaves on the sheath.
I've just completed several major updates to the website. Mainly, consolidating the "articles" down to blog posts where they can age appropriately considering how influx the collection is. Now to update the neglected blog section of the site. Before we get to 2021, I should mention that a 28th framed corkscrew display was completed and added to my office in late 2020.
Below you'll find the corkscrews that I've acquired so far in 2021 from Ebay and etc. Nothing too astounding, but also nothing to sneer at. A couple of nicely carved examples, some interesting bar mounted finds, and why nearly a dozen parrots? Why not?
As is usually the case, the rarer finds came from the April 2021 Collector Corkscrews Auction. You can see the spoils below. There are several best six contenders in the lot.
I have a particular interest in one of a kind corkscrews and there is no shortage of them. For over half of my life I have watched hundreds of vintage corkscrews go up for auction every week and to this day I still see multiple pieces that I have never seen before on a regular basis. Perhaps this is what keeps corkscrew collectors going; the almost endless supply of unique corkscrews. There are also corkscrews that were produced in limited supply, either due to high prices or crazy mechanisms, which are nonetheless a must have of every serious corkscrew collector. Below you will find some of the particularly rare pieces in our collection.
This piece has been a part of our collection for many years. As you can see, the handle is carved into a full bodied lion figure which is very unique itself as most corkscrews that have been carved into figures are mainly just the head of an animal or person. It has a bulbous shank with a Henshall type button. Even with all of these unique characteristics, the really unique thing about this corkscrew is that the handle is made from rhino horn. Highly illegal today, but not when this unique piece was produced over 100 years ago. This is the only example of a corkscrew using rhino horn that I have ever seen let alone own.
Produced by the Williamson company in the US and carved by a master carver into a rabbit head. This corkscrew has glass eyes and a Sterling silver collar. The clean break on the ears seems to indicate that this is how it was originally carved rather than being broken.
Another caved stag horn corkscrew, this one with a signature Walker shank (produced in the US). Carved into a lion's head, this one also has a Sterling silver collar.
This corkscrew with the same distinctive shank made by Walker (USA) is made of boar's tusk with a Sterling silver end cap. The tusk is inlaid with a leaf design.
This is a particularly interesting corkscrew. It looks like a perfume corkscrew, but it has some notable differences. The overall length of the corkscrew is larger than any other perfume corkscrew I own or have seen. The helix is also much larger and sturdier than any perfume corkscrew I have seen. Also, in addition to having a Sterling silver body, this corkscrew has a Henshall type button to stop the cork.
This is one of the aforementioned corkscrews which are rare because of the crazy mechanism. This example, the Holborn Lever, must have been produced in small quantities or discontinued due to its unique mechanism of pivoting along a central bar. It was patented by Henry Arthur Goodall in England on June 4, 1885; patent number 6793.
These types of sets were common over 100 years ago. The one on the left is gilt in gold and has multiple utensils all of which have handles which fit inside each other except for the smallest piece which is a roundlet corkscrew. The set on the right features Sterling silver utensils and ivory handles. The fork has a corkscrew and is most often the utensil which has the corkscrew in sets like these.
This is technically not a corkscrew, at least in the sense of how this item would have been used. This is a gun tool that was produced in Sweden in the 1700s. The first "corkscrews" were actually gun tools. These tools had these helix's which performed two different functions. First, the normal corkscrew part would have been used to remove the spent gun powder cartridges. The second would be to remove bullets; unfortunately this part happens to be damaged, the piece in question is located on the bottom left of the sheath. This piece unscrews from the sheath and would have had a small double helix for removing bullets. This may be the oldest corkscrew in our collection.
This is a beautiful ivory handled corkscrew with a monogram of a family crest which features a griffin capturing a lesser bird. It also features a Henshall type button. There were many prominent families who would have commissioned these types of corkscrews back then (100+ years, England), unfortunately it is difficult to trace these family crests back to the original owners.
There are many vintage corkscrews which are made from "ivory", but this is somewhat of a misconception. The majority of corkscrews which were made 100+ years ago and certainly since then have been made from ox or cow bone or boars tusk. This corkscrew however is made from a large elephant tusk. While it is apparently impossible to take a picture of this corkscrew while showing how large it is. This corkscrew is wildly unwieldy.
Dating from somewhere around the 1700's this corkscrew was hand made by a blacksmith and features a foil cutter and an Archimedean worm. This may be the oldest corkscrew in our collection.
This figural indian corkscrew which was made by the Syroco company in New York was a wedding present to my grandparents who later gave it to my father. It is in absolutely perfect condition.
This carved stag horn corkscrew is very unusual as it is twice as large as similar carved corkscrews. Produced by the Williamson company in the US and carved by a master carver into a ram's head.
This is a German rack and pinion corkscrew produced by Louis Kummer. Notice that there are serrated teeth above the helix which assist in removing the cork.
This is a carved boar's tusk corkscrew, this one with a signature Walker shank (produced in the US). Carved into a dog's head, this one also has a Sterling silver collar.
This is another carved boar's tusk corkscrew with a signature Walker shank (produced in the US). Carved into a dog's head.
This is a solid silver handled Henshall type corkscrew marked GF Hipkins & Son on the shank. The handle is marked with an 1887 Portuguese hallmark for Leitao. The shank was produced in England and the original handle may have been bone to begin with, but at some point in the late 1880's a new silver handle was made for this corkscrew.
Carved deer head corkscrew with glass eyes and Sterling silver. Produced by the Williamson company in the US.
Below you will find some of the more unusual pieces in our collection.
This is by far the most unusual and also one of the rarest corkscrews in our collection. This is a 19th century prosthetic arm made from steel and leather which includes a corkscrew, fork, hook, & wooden hand with a spring loaded thumb.
A 19th Century Belgian percussion knife pistol, the 10.5cm octagonal steel barrel with Liege proof mark, mother of pearl scales with diapered decoration, a folding knife blade, hook and a corkscrew which forms the trigger.
At first glance you may be wondering how this item is a corkscrew until you notice the small wire ring atop the cork. While the small wire corkscrew which came with this item isn't unique, the medicine bottle itself is very interesting. When you read the ingredients you will see that this medicine is made of alcohol, chloroform, and opium. Years ago screw caps hadn't been invented and everything from medicine bottles to beer used corks.
This small item marked U-NEEK is aptly named as it is, in my opinion, the most unique non-worm cork extractor. To use, place the item atop a wine bottle and insert the 3 pins into the cork, then twist the item until the cork is removed from the bottle.
Those who are not corkscrew collectors probably wouldn't recognize this item as a corkscrew. While this item would usually be referred to as a cork puller or non-worm cork extractor, its purpose is the same; to remove the cork from a wine bottle. This is the T shaped variant of Eugene Adrien Mestre's French Patent No. 99986 granted October 14, 1874. To remove a cork, slide the curved end down the side of the cork then twist to grip the bottom of the cork while still in the bottle.
This is a Sterling silver roundlet corkscrew in the shape of a cigar. With no markings, this corkscrew is somewhat of a mystery. May have been custom made by a jeweler or silversmith and given as a gift to the cigar aficionado who also enjoys wine.
I've always had a particular interest in bar screws. These pieces are large, heavy and capable of opening several bottles of wine a minute. There are multiple moving parts and unique mechanisms in most of these corkscrews.
This is one of the most common American bar mounted corkscrews. In fact, it is still being produced today with very few changes from the original versions. The one one the left has black paint which today leaves a unique patina not often found on these corkscrews. The one on the right is somewhat harder to find due to the name plaque. These plaques often advertise the distributor of the corkscrew and sometimes include advertisements for brands of alcohol.
This art deco version of the Champion corkscrew is extremely rare. There are very few times when the makers of the Champion corkscrews changed the design of the body, but for a brief period they made a few different versions of this art deco design. This piece is in perfect condition.
This corkscrew marked The Yankee No.1 was manufactured by the Arcade Manufacturing Co., patented by R. Gilchrist, June 25, 1907; patent #857,992.
This corkscrew marked Yankee No.7 was also manufactured by the Arcade Manufacturing Co. and has some obvious differences from the version above.
This is a very unusual bar screw produced in Argentina marked MEFA, MARCO REGISTRADA, INDUSTRIA ARGENTINA. This is the only example of this piece that I have seen. The piece seems to be modeled after the Champion corkscrew, but has some obvious differences including the handle and rough/industrial body.
This is a Rotary Eclipse bar screw. Made in England and patented by F. Marwood on March 26, 1885. Truly one of the most elegant bar screws ever produced. This massive corkscrew also has a very unique mechanism.
This bar screw marked Acme was manufactured in England by Gaskell & Chambers, Ltd. English patent 11,104, W. Vaughan, August 15, 1887. This corkscrew is really unique due to the hammer head like shape where the mechanism is stored.
This bar screw marked Favorite was patented by Charles Morgan of Freeport, Illinois on March 14, 1899 and was assigned to The Arcade Company who manufactured this and other bar screws. This particular example is very rare due to the unusual single lever bottle clamp instead of the double handled type found on most other bar screws. Another very unique feature of this corkscrew is that it seems to be copper plated (although tarnished, you can see parts where the tarnish has been worn away showing the copper color beneath). This copper plating is highly unusual and I have yet to see any other examples of other bar screws produced by Arcade which have the same variation.
This corkscrew marked Cyklop was a DRGM registered design number 926,839 of September 30, 1925 and was produced by the German firm of Gerhard Frings & Co. This is one of my favorite bar screws; it features an open design allowing you to see the mechanism which is normally internal on bar screws. The other side has a built in foil cutter.
This bar screw marked Original Safety was produced in England and features a beautiful design. There are a few variations of this corkscrew including the one below.
This variation of the Original Safety bar screw has a few differences. First of all, they dropped the Original marking, but the main and most notable difference is that this version uses a clamp instead of screws to affix it to your bar.
This bar screw marked Handy was designed by inventor H. Tscherning in May 19, 1903 and made by Arcade Manufacturing Co. American patent 728,519; marked HANDY MAR 14, 1889. Very cool and fairly rare, this piece is in nearly perfect condition.
Most households have at least one corkscrew if not more to perform the basic function that they were created for. Celebrities and historical figures were no different. Occasionally a corkscrew owned by a historical figure will show up at auction. You can read about former US President Ronald Reagan's corkscrew Here. These pieces go beyond the object itself; they tell the story of their former owners. I have been lucky enough to acquire a number of these historical pieces over the years. Below you will find some of the current pieces in our collection.
Philip Charles Habib - American Career Diploma
The following biographical notes were given to me when this corkscrew came into my possession: Philip Habib (1920-1992) was a career diplomat, whose accomplishments spanned 40 years. After serving in WWII he was the US Ambassador to South Korea, Assistant Secretary of State, Under-Secretary of State, US Special Envoy to the Paris Peace Talks and the Camp David Peace Accords, as well as many other diplomatic missions. He single-handedly brokered the peace between Israel and Lebanon during the 1982 conflict, for which President Reagan awarded Habib the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor that can be given to a US citizen. He was also given the Legion d'Honneur by France and a host of other honors from all over the world. After retiring from the State Department, he taught at Stanford University, and in 2006, the US Post Office issued a stamp in his honor. Warren Zevon wrote a song about him called "The Envoy" from his album of the same name. The US State Department has a room named after him and the Korean Ambassador's residence is called "Habib House". In their obituary, the New York Times called him "the outstanding professional diplomat of his generation". This corkscrew is important to his history because he was a devoted gourmet and oenophile (wine connoisseur). Ambassador Habib was a member of La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, the most exclusive and famous wine appreciation society in the world and was presented the sommelier's cup.
This is a very special corkscrew from the estate of the late Honorable Ambassador Philip Habib who died in 1992. It is a marked "picnic" type corkscrew made by Kirk Pewter, probably in the 1970's, engraved with the monogram PCH. The marking reads: KIRK PEWTER 228. The condition is very good. It comes in a fitted case with the Kirk logo on the inside of the cover.
Lyndon B. Johnson - 36th US President
As you can probably tell, this item is much more than a corkscrew. The primary function of this item is as a walking stick, however you never know when you will be in need of a corkscrew. The handle is marked gold rolled silver and features a somewhat unique set of initials. Could this cane have belonged to a former US president? Probably just a coincidence, but it makes for a good story.
In complete contrast to the owners of the former corkscrews, this next group of corkscrews all came from the same collection of war memorabilia and belonged to some of the most despicable figures of modern times.
Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was a German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP), Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and Führer ("Leader") of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. As dictator, Hitler initiated World War II in Europe with the invasion of Poland in September 1939, and was central to the Holocaust.
Hitler was born in Austria—then part of Austria-Hungary—and was raised near Linz. He moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his service in the German Army in World War I. In 1919, he joined the German Workers' Party (DAP), the precursor of the NSDAP, and was appointed leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted to seize power in a failed coup in Munich and was imprisoned. While in jail he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"). Released in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, anti-semitism and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. He frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as being part of a Jewish conspiracy.
By 1933, the Nazi Party was the largest elected party in the German Reichstag and led to Hitler's appointment as Chancellor on 30 January 1933. Following fresh elections won by his coalition, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into Nazi Germany, a one-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism. He aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain and France. His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the abrogation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I and the annexation of territories that were home to millions of ethnic Germans which gave him significant popular support.
Hitler sought Lebensraum ("living space") for the German people in Eastern Europe and his aggressive foreign policy is considered to be the primary cause of the outbreak of World War II in Europe. He directed large-scale rearmament and on 1 September 1939 invaded Poland, resulting in British and French declarations of war on Germany. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941, German forces and the European Axis powers occupied most of Europe and North Africa. In December 1941, he formally declared war on the United States, bringing them directly into the conflict. Failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the United States into the war forced Germany onto the defensive and it suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, he married his long-time lover Eva Braun. Less than two days later on 30 April 1945, the two killed themselves to avoid capture by the Soviet Red Army and their corpses were burned.
Under Hitler's leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed Untermenschen (sub-humans) or socially undesirable. Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 29 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European theatre of World War II. The number of civilians killed during the Second World War was unprecedented in warfare and the casualties constituted the deadliest conflict in human history.
The following 3 corkscrews are believed to have belonged to Adolf Hitler. The first is a stag horn handled corkscrew made with German silver. One of the end caps is engraved "AH" for Adolf Hitler, the other with a swastika.
This boars tusk corkscrew is also made with German silver and bears the inscription "AH" for Adolf Hitler. In addition to the German silver marks, it is marked "BERLIN".
The 3rd corkscrew is also made of stag horn and silver and inscribed "AH" for Adolf Hitler.
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich - High ranking Nazi Official
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich (7 March 1904 – 4 June 1942) was a high-ranking German Nazi official during World War II, and a main architect of the Holocaust. He was an SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei (Senior Group Leader and General of Police) as well as chief of the Reich Main Security Office (including the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD). He was also Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor (Deputy/Acting Reich-Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia. Heydrich served as president of the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC; later known as Interpol) and chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, which formalized plans for the Final Solution to the Jewish Question—the deportation and genocide of all Jews in German-occupied Europe.
Many historians regard him as the darkest figure within the Nazi elite; Adolf Hitler described him as "the man with the iron heart". He was the founding head of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), an intelligence organization charged with seeking out and neutralizing resistance to the Nazi Party via arrests, deportations, and murders. He helped organize Kristallnacht, a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938. The attacks, carried out by SA stormtroopers and civilians, presaged the Holocaust. Upon his arrival in Prague, Heydrich sought to eliminate opposition to the Nazi occupation by suppressing Czech culture and deporting and executing members of the Czech resistance. He was directly responsible for the Einsatzgruppen, the special task forces which travelled in the wake of the German armies and murdered over two million people, including 1.3 million Jews, by mass shooting and gassing.
He was critically wounded in an ambush in Prague on 27 May 1942 by a British Special Operations Executive-trained team of Czech and Slovak soldiers who had been sent by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile to kill him in Operation Anthropoid. He died from his injuries a week later. Nazi intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the villages of Lidice and Ležáky. Both villages were razed; all men and boys over the age of 16 were shot, and all but a handful of the village's women and children were deported and killed in Nazi concentration camps.
The corkscrew itself is a large boars tusk corkscrew with a Sterling silver end cap engraved "RH" for Reinhard Heydrich.
Hermann Wilhelm Goring - Nazi Political & Military Leader
Hermann Wilhelm Göring (12 January 1893 – 15 October 1946) was a German political and military leader as well as one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party (NSDAP) that ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945. A veteran World War I fighter pilot ace, he was a recipient of the Pour le Mérite. He was the last commander of Jagdgeschwader 1, the fighter wing once led by Manfred von Richthofen.
An early member of the Nazi Party, Göring was among those wounded in Adolf Hitler's failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. While receiving treatment for his injuries, he developed an addiction to morphine which persisted until the end of his life. After Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Göring was named as Minister Without Portfolio in the new government. One of his first acts as a cabinet minister was to oversee the creation of the Gestapo, which he ceded to Heinrich Himmler in 1934. Following the establishment of the Nazi state, Göring amassed power and political capital to become the second most powerful man in Germany. In 1935, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force), a position he held until the final days of the regime. Upon being named Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan in 1936, Göring was entrusted with the task of mobilizing all sectors of the economy for war, an assignment which brought numerous government agencies under his control and helped him become one of the wealthiest men in the country. After the Fall of France in 1940, he was bestowed the specially created rank of Reichsmarschall, which gave him seniority over all officers in Germany's armed forces.
By 1941, Göring was at the peak of his power and influence, and Hitler designated him as his successor and deputy in all his offices. As the Second World War progressed, Göring's standing with Hitler and with the German public declined after the Luftwaffe proved incapable of preventing the Allied bombing of German cities and resupplying surrounded German forces in Stalingrad. Around that time, Göring increasingly withdrew from the military and political scene to devote his attention to collecting property and artwork, much of which was taken from Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Informed on 22 April 1945 that Hitler intended to commit suicide, Göring sent a telegram to Hitler requesting permission to assume control of the Reich. Considering it an act of treason, Hitler removed Göring from all his positions, expelled him from the party, and ordered his arrest.
After the war, Göring was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but committed suicide by ingesting cyanide the night before the sentence was to be carried out.
This small boars tusk corkscrew is made with German silver and is engraved with the Goring family crest.
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler - High ranking Nazi Official
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Germany. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler briefly appointed him a military commander and later Commander of the Replacement (Home) Army and General Plenipotentiary for the administration of the entire Third Reich (Generalbevollmächtigter für die Verwaltung). Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and one of the people most directly responsible for the Holocaust.
As a member of a reserve battalion during World War I, Himmler did not see active service. He studied agronomy in college, and joined the Nazi Party in 1923 and the SS in 1925. In 1929, he was appointed Reichsführer-SS by Hitler. Over the next 16 years, he developed the SS from a mere 290-man battalion into a million-strong paramilitary group, and, following Hitler's orders, set up and controlled the Nazi concentration camps. He was known to have good organizational skills and for selecting highly competent subordinates, such as Reinhard Heydrich in 1931. From 1943 onwards, he was both Chief of German Police and Minister of the Interior, overseeing all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo (Secret State Police). Himmler had a lifelong interest in occultism, interpreting Germanic neopagan and Völkisch beliefs to promote the racial policy of Nazi Germany, and incorporating esoteric symbolism and rituals into the SS.
On Hitler's behalf, Himmler formed the Einsatzgruppen and built extermination camps. As facilitator and overseer of the concentration camps, Himmler directed the killing of some six million Jews, between 200,000 and 500,000 Romani people, and other victims; the total number of civilians killed by the regime is estimated at eleven to fourteen million people. Most of them were Polish and Soviet citizens.
Late in World War II, Hitler charged Himmler with the command of the Army Group Upper Rhine and the Army Group Vistula; he failed to achieve his assigned objectives and Hitler replaced him in these posts. Realizing that the war was lost, he attempted to open peace talks with the western Allies without Hitler's knowledge shortly before the war ended. Hearing of this, Hitler dismissed him from all his posts in April 1945 and ordered his arrest. Himmler attempted to go into hiding, but was detained and then arrested by British forces once his identity became known. While in British custody, he committed suicide on 23 May 1945.
The corkscrew is a boars tusk corkscrew with a German silver end cap engraved with "HH" for Heinrich Himmler as well as the SS logo and "SILBER" which is German for silver.
Regimental Company/Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler - Officer's Club Corkscrew
This is a very rare corkscrew with historical significance. The corkscrew itself is somewhat rare and is Jacque Perille's French Patent 160,949 of August 12, 1884 for a swivel-over collar corkscrew. Marked on side of the frame DEPOSE JP PARIS. The other side of the frame would normally be blank, but this one is inscribed. The inscription reads "St. kp. / L. SS. A.H.” (Adolf Hitler). I consulted with a museum as well as an expert on artifacts such as these. The consensus is that the inscription stands for Regimental Company/Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. This corkscrew may have been in the company’s officer's club.
The Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) was founded in September 1933 as Adolf Hitler's personal Bodyguard formation. It was given the title Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (LAH) in November, 1933. On 13 April 1934, by order of Himmler, the regiment became known as the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH). In 1939 the LSSAH became a separate unit of the Waffen-SS aside the SS-TV and the SS-VT.
The LSSAH independently participated in combat during the Invasion of Poland (1939). Elements of the LSSAH later joined the SS-VT prior to Operation Barbarossa in 1941 and by the end of World War II they had been increased in size from a Regiment to a Panzer Division.
I don't think that there's anyway to deny that 2020 has been a pretty screwed up year. The first 2 months, I acquired very little in the way of corkscrews. Then, around March, the pandemic started or at least the severity of it became overwhelmingly evident. Fortunately, it ended up being a pretty productive year for collecting. Below you will find several pictures of the corkscrews that I've acquired this year.
My parent's first wine cellar had been out of commission since September of 2019, but we've finally got it up and running again. This cellar was completed in 2007 and while it turned out nice, it was more a a DIY cellar and as such was never insulated properly. To remedy the situation, we ripped the drywall off of the back of the cellar in the garage, added some extra studs, and sprayed everything with closed cell foam. We also replaced the uninsulated door with a custom insulated iron exterior door. You can see in the picture below the silver insulation that we originally used in conjunction with traditional pink fiberglass insulation, but the real culprit was the highest point of the cellar which was basically being exposed to hot air in the attic. The hot air mixing with the cold air in the cellar produced condensation which leaked mainly from the light fixture in the ceiling. I'm happy to report that the cellar has now been running for a few days with no issues.
In other news, my wine cellar still sits uncompleted while the wine piles up in my living room. Hopefully I will be able to make some progress on it this weekend.
Progress has however happened on several projects at my house. The bar shelves are installed and the lower cabinets and drink fridge are almost ready for the granite countertop.
I've even started the massive exterior landscaping and outdoor living project. It should take at least 2 months, but I have a feeling that it will drag on longer than that.
My corkscrew search consists of monitoring over a dozen websites ranging from the auction giant Ebay to the more obscure auction websites which will remain nameless. Scrolling through thousands of items can get monotonous, but as I'm searching, I scroll past an item that clearly isn't a corkscrew then I pause, scroll back and decide to take a closer look. After all, the search that I'm doing is simply for the term "corkscrew" and while the term "cork screw" can result in multiple results which don't equal a corkscrew, but rather a lot which consists of an old bottle with a cork and a drawer of screws and other miscellaneous items, this one must contain an actual corkscrew. Sure enough it did. Normally when someone sells a "lot" or group of items, the first picture gives you the overall picture of what you're bidding on. Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately for me), this seller didn't include a group picture, but instead made the main picture a closeup of a boomerang. I was the only bidder, so what did I win?
In addition to the "corkscrew bycatch" as I like to call it, the corkscrew in the lot happened to be a somewhat rare carved alligator corkscrew. I could tell from the pictures that the Sterling end cap was partially missing and that the helix looked short, but for about $25 total it's not a bad deal and now I own a boomerang. Check back soon, more great corkscrews are in transit.
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.
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