Just a few Syroco Clown Corkscrews

January 6, 2017

I’ve LOVED my Syroco Corkscrew collection for a long time.  So once you’ve collected the basic core pieces, you start to see different color and paint schemes, go-with items such as bottle openers, brushes, and molds…  Then you find a catalog with photos and advertising display signage…  Where does it stop?!

I don’t know, and I don’t care.  🙂

Last count that I can recall….I had about 11 painted clown corkscrews.  Not all different, but certainly 11 painted clowns does put me well into the “addicted to Syroco” category.

Here are 5 different variations that I’ve acquired over the years.  I can’t say for sure that they are all legit factory color schemes, as I don’t have a list, but they are older paint jobs that very well could have been done by the talented workers at the Syracuse Ornamental Company in Syracuse, NY.


Walker w/ Ornate Bronze Cast Handle by Gorham

December 9, 2014

Admittedly there have been a few over the years that have passed through my hands that I wish I had never traded or sold off.  Some were one-of-a-kind, some never seen before, some undervalued, and some simply had to go so I could acquire the next.  But looking back on what I have found thus far in my 10 years of collecting only fuels the passion to keep looking and finding new pieces and hopefully replacing the ones that have gotten away.

A few months back during the ICCA AGM I had the opportunity to buy a very interesting piece.  It was a Walker Corkscrew with an Ornate Bronze Cast handle.  It featured a Grape Leaf motif.  I think I owned it for about 48 hours before an offer was made that I couldn’t refuse.  Check it off as another regretted corkscrew sale…

Can you believe that I didn’t even have time to photograph it properly??

Funny story though…  At the ICCA Gala Dinner, a few special bottles from a local vintner were available for everyone’s pleasure, and John Morris requested the need for a corkscrew.  REALLY?  I raced up to my room and grabbed my very latest acquisition to show it off and allow it to become a part of history, and open a few bottles.  Here’s John Morris in action:


This was one that I wanted to replace.  And recently the corkscrew gods made that possible!

This Walker with Ornate Bronze Cast Handle turned up on our second favorite auction site recently.  The photos in the listing were not the best, so it was likely not on everyone’s radar, but ironically I could see it quite clearly.  I set an aggressive snipe bid and happen to win for about less than half!  Even better!  🙂

Gorham Bronze Cast Handle Corkscrew Gorham Bronze Cast Handle Corkscrew 2 Gorham Bronze Cast Handle Corkscrew 3

Clearly marked GORHAM CO.

I haven’t seen or heard of these Bronze Cast Handles before a few months ago.  Has anyone else got one in their collection?  I would be interested in buying a second or third if one was available.  If not, I would certainly welcome a photo.  Drop me a line at syrocokid@gmail.com

World Record Corkscrew Sale – 1839 Osborne Corkscrew

November 28, 2014

An amazing corkscrew just sold at an auction in the UK on November 26th.  It was an 1839 Osborne Corkscrew.  No, not by Ozzy, but by an English patentee Charles Osborne.

It’s a brilliant piece consisting of a 3 bow spring frame.  Eye catching as it is, there are two versions!  The first has a threaded shaft with claw & paw ratchet mechanism and the second has a rotating shank.  And can you believe that an example of each recently surfaced!!  For years it was thought the only example was photographed in Fletcher Wallis’ book on British Patents.

The variation with the ratchet mechanism sold at a UK Auction house for a Record Breaking sale of £40,000!!  Yes, that’s POUNDS!  Add on the auction house premium and tax and the buyer actually paid nearly £50,000!!!  Just over $78,000!!  (And no, this was not purchased by Fotodeal)

Another unique aspect to this exact piece is that it’s made from iron of the Old London Bridge!  J. Ovenston of London designed corkscrews out of the exact iron salvaged from the original London Bridge pilings!  Check out Don Bull’s article on London Bridge Corkscrews!  Amazing!!

P.S.  The ratchet mechanism did not work properly on this piece!  The claw & paw did not engage.  Maybe they just need a little WD-40 oil?

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Gavin Maddock who owns eracorkscrews.com drove to the auction house and took a video of  this corkscrew just before the auction.  Thanks Gav!


The second version of this corkscrew was just sold this past week on ebay.fr for a whopping $27,971 and you can check it out here!  There are no markings claiming it was made of iron from the London Bridge, but clearly an Osborne Bow Spring Frame corkscrew!

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Visiting Vinohaven, ME

September 23, 2014

A little catching up….

I recently ventured off to the East Coast to visit Josef & Sue on their little island of Vinalhaven, ME.  I’ve made annual trips to the island over the past few years and it’s always a holiday I look forward to!  Great Friends, excellent food, and of course corkscrews!  Since Josef has already told the story, I will let my photos to the writing today…


LOVE this restaurant in Portland, ME.!  DUCKFAT!!

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Stunning sunset from the back deck!  The view seems to change by the minute!  Beautiful!

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I found the corkscrew case!!  Let the picking begin!  hehe


Hmmmm…  That was mine… That was mine… I think I sold that to him… I remember that trade… I have that one, that one, that one, wish I had that one.  Never saw that one.  Mental note on that one!  Want that one.  Want that one.  And that one.  AND THAT ONE.  Don’t leave with out that one!

Damn!  Shouldn’t have traded that one…


Absolutely AMAZING to see so many FRARY Corkscrews at once!  And they are all different!


After combing through the lower drawers and skimming through the junk box, I’ve made a pile!  Eeeeeeeeeeee!



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Charted boat to take us to the island of New Haven for dinner!  #highrollers

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After a lovely meal at Nibo, we all ventured beyond our comfort zones and ordered up the Black Pepper Ice Cream.  We all thought it was interesting and a successful dish.  Not our cup of tea, but had fun trying it!

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Added a few more to the pile…  🙂

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Brunch at Salt!  Their interpretation of the “Tommy Burger” – Short ribs stuffed burger on a brioche bun with fried egg.  Yummy!

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Josef – “Is Tommy hiding a corkscrew in his sock…?”

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More amazing views!  LOVE IT!


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Day trip to New Hampshire to visit Don Mischke!  LOTS of corkscrews and they are EVERYWHERE!!  Good times!


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The corkscrews have arrived!

August 30, 2014

To avoid customs issues at the Norther Boarder and to prevent TSA from confiscating potentially deadly weapons, I shipped all of my corkscrews last week instead hauling them myself.  Josef shipped them back to me just yesterday and I spent a bit of time unwrapping them last night. Boy oh boy do I have a LOT OF CORKSCREWS!

I shipped out 9 boxes, but I came back with 12?  A few boxes of books and literature form Howard Lutterman’s collection and of course I bought a few corkscrews too.

Here’s a few pictures of the goods!

Columbian Expo Davis Patent, French Serpants, Miniature Open Frame, Guda Percha Figural Black Lady Leg, very large French Multi-tool and an old Snifter.

Note the Clough wire corkscrew on the bottom, which happens to be marked with the original patent date!



Neat DRGM Brass Multi-tool roundlet, 2 owl double lever types, Woodman’s Patent, English Bow with Carriage Key, German Roundlet with opener, German Open Frame Mechanical.


Murphy Direct pull, English Henshall type, Heeley & Sons Roundlet w/ speed worm, 2 English Archemedian worms, Brass Old Snifter.



Fossilized Walrus Tusk!!

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There are a few keepers here, but some will find their way to eBay, and some to collectorcorkscrews.com, and MAYBE even a few on syrocokidcorkscrews.com/forsale page!

2014 ICCA AGM Day 2-4 and 2014 CCCC AGM New York City Days 1-3

August 27, 2014

Last week was a BLUR!  It was excellent to see everyone that attended the AGM’s this year.  If you didn’t attend, you certainly missed out!  Niagara Falls!  Corkscrews!  Great friends!  Tastings!  Dancing!  BRISKET!!!!

Pictures can say a 1000 words, but I will add a few of my own…  Enjoy!


After a 4 hour plane delay, short flight to Buffalo, NY. this was my welcoming…  VIP Driver service to smuggle me across the Northern Boarder.  Apparently misspelling my name worked out well when crossing.  tehe!


Waking up to a beautiful sunrise over Niagara Falls, and BOXES OF CORKSCREWS!

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Whirlpool Rapids, Niagara Falls, Canada, The Flower Clock, and cutest town ever!  Niagara by the Lake!

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Oh Canada! Eh? Musical Dinner Show

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Finally!  Some corkscrews from the ICCA Buy and Sell! 


And here’s the top earner at the Auction…  $11K for this baby!

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Views from a rotating restaurant that looks like the Space Needle!  Beautiful!

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Boat ride in Niagara Falls!

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Small gathering in Watkins Glen, NY.  Exceptional show & tell, and the BEST BEEF BRISKET EVER!!!!


Is that a corkscrew in your hand Josef?  Obviously up to no good….hehe

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BEAUTIFUL Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen, NY.  If you’re EVER in WG, you must stay at the Harbor Hotel!  TOP NOTCH in EVERY WAY!  Loved every minute!


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Open Rooftop reception in NYC for the CCCC!  Fantastic way to start things off!  🙂

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The CCCC Buy & Sell.  Fantastic XXL Henshall type….only $6500….

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New York City is absolutely Beautiful!  LOVE the High Line Park!!

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Hmmm…1903 Fancy Walker with a Fossilized Walrus Tusk handle and Sterling Silver end cap?  YES PLEASE!  Nice little score in the Chelsea Flea Market.

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2014 CCCC NYC AGM Galla Dinner on a Yacht cruising the Hudson River around Manhattan!  Fantastic views all around! 

I did pick up a few other corkscrews, but apparently I was too busy having fun to take photos during the trip…  I’ll report more when the corkscrews arrive in the mail!



August 19, 2014

Yesterday was the first day of the ICCA AGM in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. For most it was a long travel day, brief registration, and a corkscrew viewing of some of the local collectors favorite pieces. Unfortunately for me, I ended up spending most of my evening traveling due to extensive airplane maintenance delays….errr!

But the day was not a total loss as I was able to acquire one corkscrew via email! It’s a Carved Walker Corkscrew with Sterling Silver end cap!

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Stay tuned for daily updates as this will be a week for the record books!

1911 Vaney “Gasoline Pump” Corkscrew

August 8, 2014

A few weeks ago an interesting lever type mechanical corkscrew was listed on buynow.collectorcorkscrews.com with a very reasonable BUY NOW price.  I faintly recognized it as a “gasoline pump” type of corkscrew and knew that it was pretty rare.  The BIN price was not just a few dollars, or even a few hundred dollars, it was SEVERAL hundred above my comfort zone…but I couldn’t pass it up!


It’s a 1911 Swiss Patented Corkscrew by Jules Vaney.  An interesting combination of a barrel type mechanical corkscrew activated by a single lever action.  There is a internal button that slides up the barrel, but needs to be locked in the lower position for cork removal from the helix.  Mind boggling and very cool!

Featured Article in “Antique Corkscrew World”

August 6, 2014

The ICCA and CCCC will be holding their annual general meetings in just a couple weeks.  I’m very excited to meet up with my fellow corkscrew collector friends from around the world.  It will certainly be a week to remember.  The ICCA AGM will start out in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and end in Watkins Glen, NY.  And immediately after we will all travel to New York City for the CCCC AGM.

These meetings are epic arenas for corkscrew buyers and sellers alike.  There will be an open session Buy and Sell and a Live Corkscrew Auction at each meeting.  It’s an amazing opportunity for collectors to see, touch, examine, and acquire some of the most desirable corkscrews that never reach the open market.  As much as I do collect corkscrews for myself, I also sell corkscrews.  And word has gotten out….


I’ve already shipped out 5 boxes full of corkscrews for the 2 meetings and I’m still sorting out additional items to bring.  With the additional press, I’ve called on a few other collectors whom I know will not be attending the meetings and arranged some last minute deals to rush order a few dozen more corkscrews.  Fingers crossed Royal Post will deliver the corkscrews in time for the meetings!

With such a large anticipation of sales, I’ve taken liberty to order up additional supplies to ensure ease of sales.  Extra pricing tags, extra stickers and even acquired a Sticker Pricing Gun!  Take note that this year I will also have the PayPal Here credit card swipe jack.  🙂


Here’s a sneak preview of corkscrews to be offered at the meetings…  Hope to see you there!


The twisted wire….

August 4, 2014

Corkscrews have been made from almost anything you can think of!  And nearly every shape too.  One style that has always impressed me is the twisted wire corkscrew.  Yes, I know that all corkscrews are twisted wire, but I’m talking about the entire piece…handle, shaft, finger loops, extra helix, shafts, button…


American Patentee William Rockwell Clough is clearly the pioneer in wire corkscrew design.  He patented the first all wire medicine corkscrew in 1875.  His intention, ultimately successful, was to produce a suitable and affordable corkscrew to be included along with every potion, medicine, or any other small bottle that was sealed with a cork.  Brilliant!  One can only imagine how many millions of these single wire finger loop corkscrews are out there….!

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Beyond the cheapest finger loop, Clough went on to patent a few other styles of corkscrews that included a Medicine dial, flat band folding types, and even patented an advertising type, but we only have the patent drawing because an example has yet to be discovered…

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Early on, the production process for making these corkscrews involved a few different steps.  Cutting, twisting, shaping, twisting, cutting, filing..  That is until Clough started to design his own machines.  They could crank out a corkscrew nearly every second!  To really boost things, Clough started to sell his corkscrews AND the machines to make them in Europe.  I believe that most of the unique and more uncommon variations of twisted wire corkscrews came from Europe.  Here are a few uncommon examples:

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If you happen to have any of these above, I’d be quite interested in buying them!  Drop me a line at syrocokid@gmail.com

To be continued….