479 knives with corkscrews

The Collectorcorkcrews.com auction site has quite the knife auction going on right now.  479 knives from the Don Bull collection.

Be sure to check it out here!

Bid High and Bid Often!


a few arrivals, and looking ahead…

Over the last few days, there have been a few corkscrew arrivals in the post office box.  And, while I was quite pleased to have the Gold Knight and Olympic opener show up, much of our time these days are focused on our upcoming ICCA and CCCC meetings, and we are excited to host all of you.


Both the Gold Knight and the Olympic opener didn’t disappoint.   In fact, both are in better condition than expected.  The Opener with corkscrew will find its way into the collection, and the Knight will be put up as trade bait, as it is indeed a double, or if you are keeping track of previous knights, and octuple; as this is the eighth one that I have found.

As far as the meetings, we are putting finalized details on reservations, looking at side trips, and finalizing menus and wine lists.  We are looking forward to sharing our little part of the world with all of the attendees, and are really excited to host all of you at our home on the island.

$87.99 buy it now, or best offer

Everyone likes a deal.

And, there are times when sellers of antique corkscrews put a price on a corkscrew without knowing the real value of the corkscrew that they are selling.  And, there are other times when those putting antique corkscrews up for sale, do a bit of research, to find out what the current market value is.

The other day it was the former, rather than the latter.

I was in between writing beer and wine orders, and decided to take a glance at eBay.

And, what was the first listing that came up but a Syroco Knight with a buy it now with a best offer option.

The buy it now price was an unbelievable deal at $87.99; but it had a best offer option…

Best offer?

Should I???

I fought every fiber of my being to try to get it for less, and clicked the buy it now button.

Promptly paying, the deal was done.

It’s National Wine Day


May 25th, is National Wine Day!

Of course, at our house, every day is Wine Day…

What wine will you be uncorking?  And, what corkscrew will you be using?

Feel free to send in pictures of the wine you open today/tonight, and the corkscrew / cork puller used to remove the cork.  I will publish them here (email me at Josef@vintagecorkscrews.com )

Speaking of, we did manage to pick up an interesting corkscrew over the last couple of days.  While it’s a double, it is a pretty cool piece.  The Silver Knight Cork Puller, made by the O’Brien Mfg. Co., of Chicago


Since it is a double for us, if you are looking for a hard to find Silver Knight corkscrew, drop me a line, perhaps we can make a trade.

“…this new cork screw is likely to become an instrument of dishonesty…”

From the October 1878 issue of New Remedies


Among the minor novelties which the Paris Exhibition offers, is a new cork drawer that appears to deserve mention.  It consists of a hollow handle and two metallic strips; one of the latter is pushed down between the cork and the neck of the bottle on one side, the other on the opposite side.  The handle is then applied, as shown in the cut, and, owing to the smoothness with which the metallic strips slide on the glass, even the tightest cork may be extracted, without damage, from the bottle.

The chief use of this cork-drawer is to save the loss of a large quantity of corks in case a large number of bottles of wine, as it sometimes happens, is found to have deposited a sediment, and requires refilling.  The corks may be withdrawn uninjured and may be re-inserted afterwards.

On the other hand, this new cork-screw is likely to become an instrument of dishonesty with others, since it will enable them to refill wine-bottles repeatedly, and to re-insert the original branded corks, thus palming off inferior wines for better brands, after the original bottles have been emptied.

Tales from Brimfield

For the first time in forever, rain was not in the forecast at Brimfield.

This, was a pretty good start…

On Monday the lovely personal personal trainer flew into Boston, having just been at a TRX conference in Austin, and I drove down from Rockland to a house we rented about 15 minutes from Brimfield.Upon her arrival, wine was opened and we toasted, amongst other things, to our next Brimfield adventure.

On Tuesday, at about 5:00 I headed off to the show, and she would be joining me later. A few corkscrews were about, but many of them pricey; a Mumford, sterling roundlets, requisite stag handle with Sterling… I left those behind, but did pick up a couple along the way.  The best piece, and a best 6 candidate, that ended up in my hands was a Monfort Champagne tap.

A rare American piece that has haunted me for years. Several years ago, I was at Brimfield and found a Monfort. But unaware what I had found, and with the price being fairly high, passed on it.

I figured I would ask BT about it at the next field.  At the next field, I saw Barry and mentioned it to him.  He smiled, and said, “you should have snapped that up,” and pulled the very piece from his satchel.

This time, it ended up in my bag…

A few photos from day 1

Day two started with another early start, and it was in short order the the first purchase of the day was made. Not a corkscrew but a cool beer tap for a song.

Knowing that some of the breweriana guys would be at the show, I put it in my bag. Then, I turned a corner, and saw three Meissen cork stoppers in a case. I asked to see them, and after unscrewing their corks, two turned out to be corkscrews. A deal was struck!

With the Meissens and the Monfort, this was becoming a really good show! And, as it happened, I did show the beer tap to a beer guy, who in short order gave up a chunk of change for it!

Here are a few other photos from day two:

I will add here, that the power cone was off the charts pricey.  And, it was still available when I last checked.

On day three, the lovely took off early for Maine and to pick up Philos from doggy daycare.  I headed back for May’s, and would see what might turn up before my own drive back to Maine.

A zig zag, two German perpetuals, and not much else… until…

Until I was offered a few ladies legs for a very fair price. Very fair!

Three legs, two Meissens, one Monfort…. a good show indeed!

Here are a few other photos from day three:

I made it back to Rockland early this evening, and will take the boat to Vinalhaven in the morning.

A great Brimfield adventure!

The Tight Cork

For years, I have been on the hunt for this photograph case, that features a man giving it his best effort to remove a cork from a wine bottle, that is signed “THE TIGHT CORK.”

Having seen one example, and then two (one black and one reddish-brown) in the World Class Corkscrews book; with one example gracing the cover of the book, when one presented itself recently at auction, I knew I would be in the running.

The problem, of course, is that not only would corkscrew collectors be going after this, those that collect Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, and the cases that were designed to house these early photos would also be bidding.

The auction ended last night, and with half a minute to go, I decided to place a bid.

31 seconds later…


The Tight Cork is heading to the island…



bidding wars, a chinnock, and an alligator

The past few days have been corkscrew filled, with the collectorcorkscrews.com auction having lots of corkscrews changing hands, and quite a few bidding wars between the usual (and sometimes not so usual) suspects.

Ladies legs with unusual stripes garnered much attention.  But, there were lots of bidding wars, large and small, for various pieces.   On many, Ion often won out, but a few others got to bellow a triumphant yelp of antique corkscrew glee, as each auction lot ended.

I missed out on a couple of lots, but not for a lack of trying.  The one I wanted most was the Hull MFG. compass piece that is headed to Romania.  This is the second example that I have seen. The other is in the Morris’ collection.

The only thing I did manage to pick up was a 1895 Brown patent frame.  It is in lovely condition, and will fit well into the collection.


That said, while many  were focused on the collectorcorkscrews auction winding down, another auction was ending on a non-ebay auction site, and I managed to pick up a carved alligator for a song–not that I actually sang.


In between the Saturday auction listings and the Sunday auction listings, the lovely personal personal trainer and I ran the Portland 10 miler–as one would guess–in Portland, Maine.  And, this afternoon headed off to attend to industry wine and beer tastings; a nice follow-up to a sunny 10 miler.


And, in between all of that, I decided to hop on eBay for a moment, and an interesting lot turned up.  Actually, it was a pretty lousy lot, with 30 corkscrews and openers, but a couple of the thirty are worth the price of admission.

It looks like a Chinnock there in the middle to the left


When the lot arrives in the coming days, I will report back with markings and such.

A corkscrew filled weekend, followed by a bit of wine.  A good few days.

Rees Vest Fulcrum Corkscrew

As mentioned the other day, there are two known versions of the Rees patent.  The long handled one, that will soon be arriving on the island, and the Rees Vest Fulcrum Corkscrew.


I don’t have this piece, but if anyone does have a Rees Vest Fulcrum Corkscrew, I would happily make an offer–trade or buy.

In 1907, Rees was definitely making an effort to get his corkscrew to market.

In both newspapers and magazines from that timeframe, the following ad appears:


There were other advertisements that were a bit more concise, but added the tagline, “It’s in the Fulcrum.”

Rees’s Pieces

In 2015, I blogged about a Rees patent corkscrew, having found an 1908 article that pictured the piece.

The 1908 Pittsburgh Daily Post article explained:

Everyone will undoubtedly welcome the successful effort of a Philadelphia inventor to improve the old-fashioned corkscrew which has been in use for ages and still retains its regular form. Attempts to pull a cork with the ordinary cork-


screw in many cases ends disastrously to the person making the attempt, especially when the cork fits tightly in the neck of the bottle and refuses to be removed until the bottle has been placed between the knee and the corkscrew tugged at for several minutes. Then it invariably comes out with a sudden jerk, throwing contents in all directions. Notice how simply and easily even the most tightly wedged cork can be withdrawn with the corkpuller shown in the accompanying illustration. After the corkscrew proper has been inserted in the cork, the upright arm forming a wedge is placed on the neck of the bottle. Using the handle as a lever, the most obstinate cork can be readily extracted without endangering the clothes of the operator. When not in use the corkscrew and wedge can be folded within the outer end of the handle, which is hollowed out to form a housing.

Clearly this is the Rees patent.  And, despite its ability to remove, “the most obstinate cork…,” the Rees, and there are two versions of it, simply doesn’t turn up.

Tommy lucked out in a road trip several years ago, and found a Rees for the smoking price of 8 dollars–this one making his best 6 for that year.


And, of course, there was one that turned up on the collectorcorkscrews.com auction.

Again, given the scarcity, it brought a substantial number–quite a bit more than Tommy’s steal.


Okay, so where are you going with this Josef?

Well, a couple of days ago, several auction lots appeared on a non-eBay auction site.  And, there were multiple lots that contained corkscrews.  There were nice things in each, but largely common stuff.

In one lot, there was a power cone.  And, I kept an eye on that one.


After seeing that lot, I continued to peruse the other listings in the auction.

And, then something caught my eye.


At the base of the box… Is that?


It is a Rees patent


I did place a couple of bids on the Power Cone lot.  Given I was outbid immediately, I figured someone wanted it more than I, and I should just let it go.

Still, I decided to hold off bidding on the Rees lot until the closing minutes, hoping that it would slip through.

On the online bidding, it did.

I was the high bidder, but all of the auction lots were next to be taken to a live auction; one that was not being broadcast online.  No jumping into the fray, I just had to hope for the best, and also hope that Barry wasn’t nearby, as  the auction house was only a couple hours away from him in Florida.

The auction ended Saturday, but no email came through to confirm that I was the winner.   So, I sent the auctioneer an email, and received a response later that afternoon.

Confirmations of winning bids will be sent on Monday…


Ever hopeful, as of 11:45 I still hadn’t received a confirmation.  And, I was pretty sure this one got away.

Until, I got a message from the lovely saying that there ware a voicemail from an auctioneer.  I checked voicemail.


Yes! I did win the lot with the Rees!!!

This surely will make the best 6 of the year.  Better pictures of the Rees after it arrives and is cleaned up a bit.