fakes, failure to disclose damage, repairs, and made-up corkscrews…

Over the last 15 years of collecting corkscrews, I have had a lot of corkscrews placed before me. I have bought in person from dealers who have represented their corkscrews to be right and correct, and I have bought online corkscrews that have been represented as rare and genuine. And, I would like to preface this by saying I believe that most sellers/dealers are offering up what they believe to be genuine/untouched/unrepaired corkscrews.

That said, it also has been my experience where I was offered a beautiful Thomason that upon receipt had its previously broken helix (which was previously not broken) now reattached with super-glue. After contacting the seller, they explained that it was a ‘display piece.’

I still don’t know what that meant, but they refused to refund the asking price and take the piece back.

There have been Syrocos with the wrong worm/bell.

There have been unusual handles attached to a mechanism that would have never had that particular handle.

There have been corkscrews offered up for auction that have previously been repaired, show up broken, or had issues that were never disclosed.

In California, at one shop, I found some beautiful turned bone handles attached to Wiliamson and Walker bells, but these turned handles were clearly new–these too get offered on eBay on occasion.

There have been some odd pieces–with too good to be true prices–at Brimfield, where something about them is “just not right,” as BT would say.

And, of course there are the wacky designs that seem to appear weekly–if not more often than that–that find their origins in Argentina.

But, how do we educate ourselves as collectors as to what is right, and what is definitely NOT right?

There are many books out there on corkscrews, and countless hours have been spent in researching and composing these tomes that provide pictures, histories, origins, etc. And, we can devour all of these, and try to be increasingly knowledgable. Still, those that are ‘fixing’ corkscrews, or making them from all kinds of odd materials, also have access to these same books.

Several years ago, there was a series of Royal Clubs that were being sold by a seller in Hungary. While a couple of people bought, it was within short order that word got around the corkscrew collecting community. Based on this shared information, when a club came up, we looked at it closely, we questioned whether it might be doctored up. With a lack of willing buyers, we haven’t seen Royal Club fakes for some time.

It seems as the best thing we can do to combat this is to share the information that we have.

Take for instance Wayne Meadows’ Hagenauerfakes site/pdf. He provides images of the Hagnenauers and Rohacs that appear in catalogs, and compares a genuine versus a reproduction hinge. This information can be invaluable when examining an Austrian figural corkscrew.

That said, there are indeed times when the seller/dealer is indeed completely unaware that a piece is made up, or broken, or a fake, or “not right.” And, for that reason, instead of addressing a specific person selling, perhaps our best option that we can do as a community is simply continue to educate each other on how to identify those that are right, from those that are clearly wrong.

Unfortunately whichever avenue we take to help educate each other, there will always be one or two (or several) disputable dealers out there that choose to try and deceive. And, as with many antiques realms, caveat emptor needs to be the mantra of the day.

For those of you that read this blog, and are relatively new to collecting corkscrews, you can arm yourself with some fabulous books and read up on everything corkscrew, but I would also suggest aligning yourself with some longtime collectors who can help offer a little guidance when needed.

When a corkscrew–that appears to be a rare or unusual–comes on the scene, there are times when our excitement overtakes our sense, and often we leap before we look.

I suggest looking first (and then looking second), considering whether or not the piece is valid, whether the dealer is reputable, and then making an informed decision. And, if you are convinced the the piece is “just not right,” contact the dealer. If they are selling the piece, perhaps they know the history of the piece. Or, perhaps they don’t know… Based on this information, we can feel confident, feel less than confident, and make a choice as whether to buy…

There have been several corkscrews that have made it on the scene, where a few collectors have questioned the legitimacy of the piece, only to have an old patent drawing confirm that the corkscrew is genuine and NOT a shop project gone awry or a corkscrew created to deceive the unsuspecting collector.

Above, I do suggest the mantra of Caveat Emptor or Buyer Beware. That said, I don’t think we should be truly wary, but instead we should be truly informed. And, making informed educated purchases will help us to avoid making mistakes in purchasing those too good to be true corkscrews.

Scientia sit potentia (knowledge is power)

An option might be, collectively, to start building a database that points out the differences between real and fake; between repaired and right, and between newly constructed and genuine. If you would like to contribute to this project, on what to look for, what to watch out for, and how to help authenticate, I will gladly build a website around this idea. I will also pay for the registration of the website, maintain it and host it.

It is a shame that dealers (and would-be dealers) have taken to misrepresenting the items that they are selling. Still, I believe that as a community, by sharing knowledge, observations, research, and histories, we can work to educate ourselves. And, of course, each other.

a little wd-40…

The lovely personal personal trainer and I got back to the island late yesterday afternoon from our Vermont adventure. And, while the only corkscrew acquired on the trip was the Singleton bow, that is not a bad corkscrew to acquire : )

Here it is pictured to my signed Singleton…

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Waiting for us at the post office box when we got back, was the interesting folding corkscrew that was mentioned the other day. And, after removing it from the packaging, and looking at it closely, it is definitely not a Jopson.

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And, it is definitely not a broken Noyes patent…

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What it is, is stuck! Stuck in the open position, and a little w-dog-40 might address this issue.

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And, it will need to be cleaned. In looking it over, there aren’t any markings that I can see. Still, I will clean it up, and perhaps there will be other clues as to maker/manufacturer.

Definitely an interesting little corkscrew!

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A few corkscrews yesterday, and one purchase

The lovely personal personal trainer and I spent the day meandering the backroads of Vermont yesterday, and hit a few antique stores, and an indoor flea market. The indoor flea market had exactly one corkscrew amongst the tables of items, a Nifty with advertising. It remains amongst the dealer’s wares.

We visited a few familiar haunts, where in the past corkscrews had been discovered, and hit a few malls and stores that were new to us. There were indeed a few corkscrews, but really nothing to get excited about. Still with the Singleton bow from Saturday, I am pretty pleased.

As we departed the flea market however, and started heading towards the Prohibition Pig for lunch, I received an email from a dealer friend in Connecticut.

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Over the past week or so, we have been negotiating for a corkscrew, and while we had agreed to a price. There had been no confirmation or paypal exchanged. And, the confirmation email had just come through.

When we got back to the place we are staying at in Stowe, I sent funds, and the Children in Frame figural/mechanical corkscrew will soon be heading to the island.

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Thanks for the deal Diana! And, when you find other corkscrews, send pictures!

Today, we will be heading for another meandering/antiquing/lunching adventure, maybe something else will turn up!

Stay tuned!

If you only get to stop once, make it a good one…

The lovely personal personal trainer and I headed off island yesterday, and after running a few errands, started heading towards Stowe, VT.

With daylight fleeting, and many miles to traverse, we buzzed the blue highways through Maine. Taking a route we had never traveled before, we rounded a corner and saw an antique store that looked promising. Now, we had passed many antique stores along the way, and I made note to take this route the next time at a more leisurely pace.

After parking in front of the store, and taking Philos for a short walk, we headed over to the shop.

We were greeted warmly by the owner, and while I was looking at a small case he came over. I had noticed a small folding bow, and a small listerine clough. He unlocked the case, and as I was looking that much closer, I noticed another helix under the first bow.

After picking up the first bow, and the piece of paper underneath it, there it was. A 18th century folding bow!

I picked it up, to which the dealer responded, “oh, you like the older one.”

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“That will be ten dollars.”

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This was definitely a good stop!

The lovely and I made our way around the rest of the store, occasionally interrupted by the aforementioned dealer suggesting we look over here, or over there. There were a couple of other corkscrews, but this was the gem.

We paid our ten dollars, hopped back in the xterra, and continued on to Stowe.

Hmmm…

Yesterday, I was sent a picture of some corkscrews, and thought one looked interesting. After a little negotiation, a deal was struck, and the corkscrew, far right in the picture below is enroute.

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At first, I thought it might be a jopson that had lost its locking mechanism. But, in comparing it with the Clough that is next to it, it seems too small.

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And, then I thought. Maybe it is a Noyes patent that has also lost a part/piece. But, the shape isn’t exactly right and the hinge is different.

Is it simply an elongated folding bow?

The corkscrew will arrive in a few days, and perhaps the truth will reveal itself. But, until then, what do you all think?

A little more press…

I went to the post office today, and an envelope containing the latest issue of Flea Market Style was there waiting for me.

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Several months ago, I was contacted by their editor, and after a brief conversation agreed to mail some corkscrews off for a photoshoot, and on page 24 and 25 there they are. Good photography, and a nice little write up!

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First Decanter Magazine and now Flea Market Style… Who will be featuring corkscrews and corkscrew collecting next???

Back to normalcy…

I spoke with Tommy yesterday, and he has seemed to recover from the battles of the collectorcorkscrews.com auction. We even made a deal for a pair of corkscrews, and they will be leaving the island and heading towards Chicago in short order.

As for me, I have already started to research a bit more on Anton Trunk–not that I am going to create an Anton Trunk corkscrew page (well, maybe)–but acquiring the Trunk definitely has fueled the fire to find out more about the connection between Trunk and Frary. As information is unearthed, I will provide updates.

On the JFO hunt, I managed to pick up a Williamson Bottle this morning with an advertisement for Stroh’s. I will toss this in TWJ’s pile, and wait for April for the Just for Openers meeting to swing some sort of trade.

stroh's bottle

Off for more coffee!