That is some auction estimate… (updated)

There is a corkscrew ending in a few hours in a non-eBay auction with quite the auction estimate.

Somewhere between $25 – $99,999.


It can sell for as little as $25.00 or as much as $99,999.00?

Why not have a range of 25.00 to $100,000? I mean, if I am willing to spend ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine dollars on a corkscrew, an extra dollar to make it an even hundred thousand isn’t much of a stretch.

Not that I am spending ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine dollars on a corkscrew. Nor would I throw in an extra dollar to make an even 100K.

That said, the auctioneer is indeed correct, it will sell within that range. It is worth more than 25 bucks, after all.

But, I am guessing a few hundred will be the ending price.

In visiting the auctioneers 580 listings, and only one is a corkscrew, every item has the same estimate–and…

I will do the math for you.

On the low estimate, if everything sold for 25 dollars each, that would be $14,500–although there is a buyer’s commission of 24 %. If everything sold for $99,999.00, that would be $57,999,420.00…

On the low end, the commission would be $3,480.00. On the high end… that would be $13,919,860.80.

I am guessing they all won’t be on the high end of the auctioneer’s estimated range.

Stay tuned for the corkscrew and the sales price. I will update the blog after it ends!

UPDATE: The corkscrew sold for $600. A good price, but a bit below the $99,999.00 high estimate.

The Perfect Cork Extractor

From an 1890 issue of Iron Age

The Perfect Cork Extractor

Alford & Berkele Company, 77 Chambers street, New York are introducing a cork extractor, as illustrated herewith, and manufactured by E. Donally, Sixteenth street and Third avenue, New York. The body of the extractor is made of a flat strip of metal, the upper end of which is looped over a handle,

Fig. 1.–The Perfect Extractor

while at a short distance from its lower end are outward and upward extending claws ; another set of similar claws being arranged at a point higher up on the strip, Fig. 1.  The extractor is designed to pull corks from the inside of bottles, 

Fig. 2.–The Perfect Cork Extractor as Used.

jugs, demijohns, &c, as illustrated in Fig. 2.  It is stated the operator does not have to see the cork, nor hunt for it as the extractor does both without assistance.  The handle has one tapering end, to be used in forcing the cork down into the bottle, in case of full bottles or where the cork has lodged into the neck, after which the cork is withdrawn as described.

Of course, we know Alford & Berkele’s offering as the Tormey patent of 1890.

20 days later

20 days after I won an auction for a bottle opener lot…

And, after seven emails, two phone calls, and four text inquiries…

I received a phone call yesterday regarding the cost of shipping said lot.

And, as requested, I gave the shipper a credit card number, and as one would expect, they charged my card for the various fees associated with packing up the bottle openers and mailing them off.

I was given two options, USPS first class or UPS ground (apparently USPS Priority wasn’t an option).

I opted for USPS first class, as it was half the cost.

But, the Zeilin lot is finally on its way!!!

Currently, said Zeilin bottle opener lot is somewhere in Wisconsin, and it should be here on Monday.

Better photos upon its arrival.

I was the high bidder for a moment…

Over the past few weeks, there has been a remarkable Singleton corkscrew on an online auction site.

And, while it isn’t your folding version of the Singleton, it was signed, and Silver, and had some fantastic engraving to it reading “Drink and Drive Care Away.”

I placed a bid, and was the high bidder for a few days.

Yesterday, the auction went to live bidding, and my high bid was taken out in short order.

And, I watched, poised to bid.

And, then watched the auction climb price as a flurry of bids quickly surpassed my poised to bid bid.

The winning bid hit 2800 Euros (just $2,990 US).

And, while the bidder’s names were masked, I have no doubt it will turn in someone’s best 6 for this year.

A fantastic piece.

As an aside, the engraved message on the corkscrew, “Drink and Drive Care Away” is a line in an 18th century drinking song Old Chiron:

On the Hainisch Hunt…

As you all know, in the back of Fred O’Leary’s book on American corkscrews, there are a myriad of patent drawings that (literally) illustrate the inventiveness employed in the removal of a cork from a bottle. And, over the years, there have been a few newly discovered corkscrews and cork extractors that have been found that appear in this section of his book.

For those that are new here, when Fred put together his tome Corkscrews: 1000 Ways to Open a Bottle (published in 1996) he photographed the known examples of American patented and patent wannabe corkscrews, and he also included the patent drawings of all known corkscrew patent drawings in his indices; hence creating a corkscrew collecting reference for a corkscrew being in O’Leary, or from “the back of O’Leary,” which JM tends to refer to as BOO.

And, while there have been one or two patented corkscrews that have been discovered that DON’T appear in the front NOR the back of O’Leary, that is generally a result of the patent and patent description not actually including a reference to the use of the invention in the removal of a cork. The recent Blantz patent would be an example of this, where the patent is for a “Tool,” and in the patent description, no reference is given for its actual use, and only in literature from the time was it found that one of the uses was as a cork extractor.

But, I digress. As, I am wont to do.

While the patent drawings in the back of O’Leary seem to be getting smaller as I have gotten older, it is still a section of the book to which I often turn and thumb through, as I am intrigued by what hasn’t been discovered, but might be out there in the wild.

And, one of those corkscrews that I find most intriguing is the Victor Hainisch patent of 1913.

In the June 21, 1913 issue of Scientific American, the patent drawing is shown, with the description that reads:

CORK EXTRACTOR—V. HAINISCH, via Bellognardo 16 Trieste, Vienna, Austria. In removing corks from bottles with a screw like extractor, it often happens that no portion of the cork is removed when the extractor is drawn out, except that held between convolutions of the screw. The cork puller must then again be inserted, which is done with difficulty, and the cork afterward removed, often in sections. Sometimes the upper half


is removed by the corkscrew while the under remains in the neck. This is due to defect in the cork, and because the upper portion of the neck is often constructed so that the lower portion of the cork offers greater resistance than the upper, in removal. The inventor, as shown in the engraving, overcomes these difficulties by constructing the lower portion of the screw a greater diameter than the upper.

Hainsich was awarded patent #1,062,458 on May 20, 1913, and while part of his patent description mirrors the description in the Scientific American write up, there is an interesting paragraph within his patent description that explains that there are two versions of the cork extractor.

Hainisch explains, “The corkscrew 5a shown in Fig. 2, is substantially the same as the corkscrew 5, except that the convolutions or threads do not extend as high up on the shank, the enlarged convolution or portion 6a, corresponding to the convolution or portion 6 being similarly located. In either case, the larger broader convolutions take hold of the lower portion of the cork and exert a lifting action greater than the upper portion of the extractor, so that the entire cork s readily removed.”

So, there is the high shank version and a low shank version, in either case the helix is wider towards the point of the corkscrew, and tapers as it nears the handle. But, has anyone ever found this patent?

To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a documented example shown in any book on corkscrews. And, I would love to add this to the collection.

The Hainisch hunt will continue, and if you have a corkscrew with a reverse tapered worm or, “broader convolutions” that appear at the base of the worm, I would be interested in acquiring it.

Drop me a line.

Auction: Day Two

The lovely personal personal trainer and I headed down to Bath, Maine for an antiques show today. Not much in the way of corkscrews, but we are looking for some other stuff for the Rockland house, and we made a day of it: the Bath Antiques show, El Rayo Taqueria for lunch, a stop at Trader Joes and Whole Foods, and then a leisurely drive back up the coast to Rockland.

Of course, during all of this, the second day of the auction was ending, and we kept a close eye on the happenings. I did have have a couple of bids placed, and as often is the case, I was out bid.

Over the the last two days of the auction, the lot with the most bids (37 of them) was a 10-tool bow…

And, the lot that achieved the highest bid ($5782) was a Silver Dutch Rooster picnic corkscrew…

Lots of corkscrews changed hands!!!

As for the Bath Antiques show, there were a couple of corkscrews laying about, but nothing that I had to have. And, several of the usual suspects had headed to Stormville, NY for that show, so less dealers were present.

That said, Spring is here, and hope springs eternal.

You never know what might turn up next.

Stay tuned!

Well… that was exciting…

We were not the one o’clock ferry yesterday to the mainland, so when lots in yesterday’s auction began selling off, were traversing the Penobscot Bay.

Fortunately, I had my iPhone at the ready, and had bidding abilities on our voyage. And, I did bid.

And, I was outbid.

And, I bid again.

And, I was outbid.

No worries, the lots that I REALLY have my eyes on would be ending later in the day…

Of course, I had several lots that I put up for bids, that would be ending during our crossing, and at two lots kept on pushing back 5 minutes (on the auction, each time there is a bid, the lots are given an additional 5 minutes) as a couple of small bidding wars erupted on two of the pieces, with one lot ultimately heading to Tennessee and another lot heading to Bucharest.

As for my own bidding, I managed to pick up two different lots. And, interestingly enough, both contained versions corkscrews that I had previously owned, but at some point they were traded away.

One was a variation of the Nylin patent (and a Nylin patent)

The other was an embossed handled and bell Walker.

Both will be welcome additions to the collection.

This afternoon, there will a second day of corkscrew listings auctioned off, and while we will be heading down to an antique show in Bath, Maine in the mid morning, I will be sure to check in on the lots upon which I am bidding, and hope to add a few more to the collection.

Stay tuned…

Auction Day!

In just over 6 hours, the first round of the latest corkscrew auction listings will be closing.

Of course, that means the collective eyes of the corkscrew collecting world will be on the online auction with bidders bidding wildly for some fantastic twisted treasures.

You can link to the auction here:

I have a few up for bidding, and have my eyes on many!

Corkscrews that sneak through, highest bid, most bids, bidding wars that erupt; news of all of this following the auction.

For the time being however, if you haven’t visited the auction, by all means do.

There are some deals to be had on some fantastic corkscrews!

And, if you have already visited, visit again! And, be sure to bid high and bid often!

On another corkscrew note, the Murphy-like Kirin Beer corkscrew arrived the other day, and as suspected it isn’t marked MURPHY, but I am guessing it could have been made by Murphy.

That said, TC was hot for it, so it was thrown into a box with a souvenir Williamson Flash from Hawaii and shipped off to him a couple of days ago.

(rumor has it, there will Paypal funds sent in exchange)

News of the auction tomorrow.

And, once again, bid high and bid often.

Saying Goodbye to Philos

A couple of days ago, we had to say goodbye to Philos Blake.

He had been diagnosed with cancer a month or so ago, and while we had a tumor removed, it had metastasized to his organs. And, we knew that he would let us know when it was the right time.

Not that there is ever a right time.

We had promised each other, and him, that we wouldn’t let him suffer or feel continuous pain. And, we said goodbye on Friday.

For ten years, he was a wonderfully loving goofy shy bundle of love.

For both of us, it has been a rough couple of days, but we knew it was the right thing to do, and we know that he is forever with us in our hearts.