I acquired these two interesting corkscrews recently. The one on the left came from Ebay while the one on the right came from a very obscure source, from which I've only purchased one other corkscrew in a 10+ year period. The one on the left looks to be from England while the right corkscrew is unmistakably American. The left example has a beautiful bulbus diamond cut shank and serrated button.
I initially thought that the right example was a rare example of an R. Murphy Boston corkscrew due to the shape and size of the button. After doing a little research I realised that the only similar example I could find was a boars tusk handled corkscrew sold by Robert Leopardi. His version was hallmarked for Simon Bros whereas mine is simply marked Sterling. When looking at examples of R. Murphy Boston corkscrews, they rarely use materials such as stag horn, never use Sterling, and are almost always marked on the shank. This corkscrew breaks all of those rules, as does Leopardi's version. If anyone has any more information on this mystery corkscrew then feel free to chime in.
Lots of exciting new finds in transit. Check back soon.
We had a wonderful time in Portland, Maine at this years CCCC meeting. If you're not familiar with the Canadian Corkscrew Collectors Club, or CCCC for short, it's the largest corkscrew collecting club. It's quick and easy to join and membership is inexpensive.
We spent 2 days in Portland buying, selling, and trading corkscrews. I purchased the set with the ivory handled utensils inscribed with the name CAPTAIN AW JENKINS from Don Bull in a previous auction, and was lucky enough to snag a similar set inscribed with vines and flowers. If anyone has any information on Captain Jenkins then please send me an email. Several of the other corkscrews below were purchased at the live auction.
Once the meeting was over, we headed to Vinalhaven, Maine to see the L'Africain collection and eat lobster. After lunch, I digged through Josef's junk box and found some gems which were promptly purchased. It's a good thing I brought an empty bag to get all these corkscrews back home to Dallas.
My regular readers may be wondering why I haven't posted lately. I've been doing some traveling recently. Some expected like my trip to the CCCC meeting in Portland, Maine, as well as some unexpected travel. I ended up going on an impromptu week long vacation to Seattle with less than 24 hours notice; not a bad problem to have. I will post about my time at the CCCC meeting as well as the new additions to the collections shortly, but first, here are the corkscrews that I acquired before the Maine trip.
This was a nice little Ebay find which polished up nicely. In fact, it was so distressed that it was a perfect example for my Restoring Corkscrews page. This corkscrew is what I believe to be a carved stag handle in the shape of a Japanese Samurai with a Walker shank and Sterling silver end caps.
Pre-prohibition advertising corkscrew for The Keep Bros Brewing Company.
I purchased this beautiful walrus tusk corkscrew at auction. It's unclear if the handle is original or if it was added at some point, but either way makes for a nice piece. Also has a Sterling end cap with a unicorn.
I got a good price on this nice little ebay lot consisting of 2 figural elephant corkscrews.
I found this brass Italian coffee grinder corkscrew on a non Ebay site and quickly completed the transaction. These coffee grinder corkscrews (named for their long arm which is similar to manual coffee grinders) are most often Italian with a few French versions produced by Perille.
I purchased the ladies' legs corkscrew below on Ebay recently. Although the ladies' leg corkscrews aren't particularly rare, they are very diverse and multiple examples have emerged which show the depth and rarity of these corkscrews. There is even an entire book on these corkscrews which was published last year titled CanCan Ladies' Legs Corkscrews; a must have for any corkscrew collector.
If you read my previous blog post about great deals then let this post serve as a reminder that those deals are few and far between. I found the corkscrew below on a non Ebay auction site and probably paid more than I should have to win it since it turned into a bidding war. This corkscrew is an English pocket corkscrew that is gilt in gold. These corkscrews are fairly common, except for the gilt in gold part. I struggled to find a similar example of a gold corkscrew like this, but I would presume that this came from some sort of set and would have been used for opening perfume bottles. Unfortunately the tip of the helix is missing, but the gold plating is in excellent condition. I bid on this item because it was exceptionally rare and even with the damage to the helix, I am happy to have acquired it.
It's been a while since I've found any really great ebay deals, but the past few weeks have left me with some decently priced rarities. Don't get me wrong, none of these are $50 Buy-It-Nows for a Syroco golden knight (valued around $2,500), but good values nonetheless. The first and most valuable is this Woodman's Patent mechanical corkscrew. It's marked on both sides of the handle with the patent and patent date. This mechanism sticks out among the 1000s of various methods to remove a cork from a bottle in that it has an unusually loose helix. As it turns out, the loop at the top of the corkscrew is locked into the hook on the handle so that the helix can be inserted into the cork; the rest is fairly straightforward. I was lucky enough to be the first person to see this listing with a reasonable Buy-It-Now price and quickly jumped on it. the most recent examples that have sold on ICCA auctions sold a little over a year ago for $1,200 & $950.
The next Ebay find is this Sterling silver roundlet corkscrew. It was very tarnished and I'm not even sure if the seller knew that it was Sterling, but I made an offer which was quickly accepted. After a lot of polishing, this is the result.
I was lucky enough to be the only bidder on this early American figural Shriners bar set. The U.S. created many great figural corkscrews in the early 1900's, this being one of them. It has a touch of Art Deco styling and is in excellent condition. I have owned 3 of these sets and they are fairly rare. I was around the age of 10 when we purchased our first example in an antique store for around the same price I paid for this example. At the time the antique store find was one of the best deals we had found in an antique store (around $40), and a few years later when I started dealing in vintage corkscrews (age 13-15) these sold pretty consistently for $250-300.
I've posted before about fossilized tusk corkscrews. I was fortunate enough to pick up this great tusk corkscrew produced by Walker in the early 1900's. I have another example of one of these corkscrews which graces our conference room at work. Considering how rare this material is and how few examples I've seen over the years, it's a great deal that I was able to snag this Ebay item for under $30. It's not perfect though, there are some cracks which follow the fossilized marrow portions of the tusk, but regardless this is a really cool piece which is hundreds of years old.
Some new arrivals from a collector/dealer friend in Europe. It all started with the purchase of the German mechanical corkscrew on the left with unusual advertising on both sides of the frame. Having dealt with this collector on some major purchases in the past, I was asked if I would be interested in some other corkscrews before shipping the first. I was sent a picture with a handful of other corkscrews including the Hull Presto corkscrew (center) and the Singleton patent bow (right). I quickly accepted the offer and received this lovely group of corkscrews. All 3 are very nice, rare and collectible in their own respect, but the Hull Presto corkscrew outshines the competition. I have wanted one of these corkscrews for over 10 years, and now I'm the owner of a beautiful example of this intriguing corkscrew. Don't forget to make the smaller purchases; you never know when they can lead to the bigger finds.
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'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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