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!


JFO Wrap Up

April 16, 2013

So Saturday was the official last day of the JFO Convention.  There is a more traditional “show” held in a convention hall that is open to the public, a Bottle Opener Display contest, and a Best Bottle Opener contest.  I cannot say that me and Josef truly qualified for most of this as corkscrew collectors, but we were happy to attend, sell a few things and buy up some “Fire Sale” deals!


Me and Josef even worked out a trade!  A rather simple process for some, but for us sometimes longer than UN Peace Negotiations.  Here is a photo of your trade:


And once TWJ caught wind of the trades, he popped over to get a piece of the action!  I’m glad it worked out for all parties!


After the show me and Josef spent the afternoon cruising around Nashville to all of the local antique malls.  Josef did happen upon an old Ivory tusk Walker.  Lucky!  We also stopped by Antique Archaeology.  This is supposed to be a second retail location for the American Pickers, but in reality is quite the gift shop for the TV show fans.

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It was a great Convention this year!  Very glad to be able to visit all of my JFO friends, Josef, and see John and Martha.  I’ll wrap it up with photos of my haul for the week!  Good Stuff!

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YES!  This was all acquired this past week!!

JFO Day 2 & 3

April 12, 2013

Day 2 was quite short at the actual JFO Convention.  We (me and Josef) had arrangements made to go and visit another corkscrew collectors home and collection and spend the night!  The day started out with a 3 hour drive to Decatur, TN.  🙂  Yes!  We traveled to John and Martha Morris’ home!!  I’ve never been there, but for those that don’t know, John has a strong obsession for American Patent Corkscrews.  His collection is just a bit above AMAZING.

We spent the afternoon, exchanging corkscrew stories, viewing the collection, and held a little show and tell.  Truth be told, no matter who’s collection you are viewing, you are sure to find a piece that you’ve never seen before.  Well, John had more than a few pieces I’ve never seen before!  The evening continued with a fabulous dinner by Martha.  A perfect host that deserves a toast!

“Cheers Martha!  Thanks for a fabulous dinner!”

The following morning we enjoyed a John Morris specialty breakfast.  French Toast and Bacon!  Yummy!  We all ate our fill and then retreated back to the corkscrew room.  Josef and I both had a couple pieces that were trade worthy and John had plenty of stuff on our Want Lists.  Let the trading begin!

I had an extra Syroco Tramp with me, and as luck would have it, John didn’t have one in his Syroco Collection.  Seeing that trade negoations between me and Josef can take hours to days to months, I wanted my first trade with John to be less painful.  Within a few minutes we agreed on trade pieces and the deal was done.  Yippee!!  I got a Hoegger wall mount, 5 flashes, a German Sailboat, and a German Mouse.


A special Thank You to John and Martha Morris for putting us up for the night!  We both really enjoyed the company, hospitality, and corkscrews!!  Hope to do it again sometime!!

Shortly thereafter, Josef and I were back on the road.  We stopped a few antique malls, but no luck.  Fingers crossed that we can scour up a few more corkscrews back at the Convention!

More soon!

JFO – Day 1

April 11, 2013

We are in Nashville, Tennessee this week for the Jusr-For-Openers Annual Convention! Me and Josef that is. Although most of these chaps collect only beer advertising openers, they do bring along some corkscrews. You can bet your Best 6 that there will be at least 1 or 2 great finds that will surely make the trip worth it.

Well after just one day, I’m quite happy so far! I was able to pick up a 1926 Rogers Patent! AKA the “Camel” corkscrew! This will definitely be a front runner for my Best 6!!


But there were a few others that were acquired on Day 1. A Strait, a Mumford, a Curly, and a few others…


The Internet is slower than dial up right now. So, more later!

Bring on Day 2!!

Legs Baby LEGS!!

March 27, 2013

So recently on the TV show American Pickers they were talking about risque collectibles.  I believe it was a naked lady cast iron boot jack, but then they mentioned a Ladies Legs corkscrew!  Whoop!  Whoop!  🙂

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Photo curtsey of JL

This has sparked lost memories for some folks.  “Oh, I’ve got one of those..”

Well, I received a phone call the other day regarding a pair of Mini Ladies Legs.  “Of course I’d be interested, but for the right price…”  A deal was agreed upon and the legs were shipped out to Chicagoland.  Yippee!  Check’em out!


They are about 1 7/8″.  About an inch smaller that the more commonly found larger ones and way more desirable amongst serious collectors!  I’ll be keeping these in the collection for now, but one never knows what will come up for trade.  🙂

Stay tuned as there could be another set of legs heading to Chi-town soon.  Negotiations are in the works.  And they are ALL STEEL!  :)))

If anyone else out there has a pair of Ladies Legs corkscrew and would like to know more about the history and value and maybe make a deal, drop me a line at syrocokid@gmail.com

Time to catch up a little…

March 20, 2013

Ok, it’s been a little while since I last posted.  Well, maybe more than a little while…  As you all know very well, the older you get, the faster time flies.  Add in the already fast paced life of Chicago, and you’ve got yourself a vortex!


Work has been good.  I just started working the 3rd shift overnights.  This will certainly take some adjusting, as on my first week I have found myself doing 28 hour stints so I can try to keep somewhat normal hours.  Hardly normal though…


In addition to the daily job, I’ve partnered with a childhood friend in an eBay venture.  Digital camera anyone?


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For years I’ve been spending spare time between work and corkscrewing trying to find a niche on eBay.  Sourcing a product that is in demand, easy to ship, good margins, minimal storage, low risk, etc…  Not exactly easy, but I’m working on it. These cameras are not exactly the ultimate answer, but landing a wholesale connection that always has fresh inventory to pick from is exciting!  Fingers crossed that we can turn this into a full time gig!


The above has really taken a toll on my corkscrewing.  The current watch list is at like 10 items and I’ve resorted to searching by “Ending Soonest”.  Ugh!  But certainly a good thing for you all!  Hope you’re snapping up some good deals while you can!


Even though I’m up to my ears in digital cameras, working at all hours of the night, and keeping the Monster Energy drink company in the black I have made a few corkscrew deals in recent months.  Check it out!


Thomason Fruit & Vines x 2

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This little baby was picked up via email.  The guy must have been digging deep into the Google archives to stumble upon my website!  I think my site rating is in the 7 digit range now…  Ugh!  Anyways, I’ve never owned one of these, so I was super excited to get it.  Then a few weeks later I got a BIN for a fine modern reproduction piece.  It’s not that crappy L’Spirit repro piece, but a very finely machined vintage piece.  Definite possibility that it could be related to the famous Vulcan Thomason reproduction piece of the 1970’s.


150+ & MORE!


I actually got a weekend off and decided to take a road trip down south to do some corkscrew hunting on my own.  Although I always have wishes to come across a $5.00 Syroco Golden Knight, I usually find myself ecstatic when I find a Haff Patent for under $10.  Sad huh?  Well with no luck in the local antique shops, I came to the realization that I was near a Bottle Collector friend.  I decided to drop him a line and hopefully meet for lunch with hopes to view his collection.  Little did I know….


Me and the old chap made arrangements to have lunch the following day where he proceeded to take me around his local stomping grounds.  It was a nice afternoon that ended up in his home admiring a 40+ year collection of openers and corkscrews.  Lucky for me, he’s more of a beer guy than wine guy.  J


Now he’s never really sold anything.  A few miscellaneous doubles here and there, so I knew I probably wasn’t exactly going to max out my PayPal limits.  As I repeatedly inquired about buying this and making offers for that, I was shot down every time with “Uh, I’m not really ready to sell yet.”  Breaking the ice was nearing impossible.


“How bout your doubles?  Where’s your junk corkscrews?”  This was my last hope.  I finally had the opportunity to buy some stuff!  Folding bows, a few Cloughs, a Snifter, and others.  Not exactly bargain buys, but some ok eBay items were acquired and the money got flowing.  Here’s a photo of the first lot:


I saw a few Williamson Flash types around the collection, so I had to ask if he had any others and oh boy did he ever!  He pulled out a box that was very similar to my collection of flashes.  Knowing that it would take me almost 3 years to pick these up on eBay, I decided to make him an offer that he couldn’t refuse.  And he didn’t.  SCORE!!  154!!


To put it mildly, this opened the flood gates.  I was able to revisit several previously unavailable pieces.  We both had a fantastic day.  Lots of money and lots of corkscrews!  What more could a collector want?!


Openers, molds, and clowns!  Oh my!


I am still addicted and collecting Syroco like crazy!  As you can see above, there was a Syroco Laughing Man bottle opener (probably a employee personal project) that’s made of the original aluminum mold used by Syroco to produced the Laughing Man figurine. Another cool find as of late I got a Syroco Bartender bottle opener in the original box!  Super cool and super hard to find any of these pieces in the original box!  Also, I recently picked up a Syroco Waiter towel rack mold on eBay.  Dispite the after market paint job, still a great buy at $102.00!  And last but certainly not least, I’ve managed to snap up 3 of the 4 Painted Syroco Clowns that have surfaced on eBay this year!  I’m not sure, but I think that brings my total Syroco Clown count to 8?

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Ooooo….!   Stag Roundlet…!


In every collection, you are sure to find something that you don’t have in yours.  And every once in a while you come across items that are only seen in books.  I’ve always liked roundlet pieces and have a few good ones.  Gold and Silver variations of the Fairchild patents.  The Haff roundlet.  Goodyear variants.  Even got the Lund Spherical Joint roundlet.  All good pieces and glad to have them, but the one I’ve always wanted was the Stag Roundlet in Bull’s book.  Little Sterling Silver ends.  Ringing a bell yet?  Not everyone has that one in their collection.  And from what I’m told, there are only a couple known examples, this being one of them!


A fellow collector who owned this piece liked it, but being that it’s worm was more than twisted in traditional form, he was not particularly attached.  After about 6 weeks of emails and offers a deal was made.  It’s not always the best idea to get into pieces that need to be repaired or fixed, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to acquire this one!  A keeper for sure!  Hopefully I can get this worm back into shape…

This is just a bit of the goods lately.  More to be posted soon!

Epic Birthday Weekend!

March 10, 2013

Friday was my Birthday, so Thank You to all who sent out wishes!  Given my SUPER BUSY schedule these days, I really wasn’t sure what to do or who had time for a small gathering, but I did know I had a 4-day weekend.  🙂  The real decision was whether or not to drive 11 hours to NY for an antique show that would probably turn up a couple $1 Cloughs and a Flash.  Despite working all night (yes, I’m doing overnights at my new job), I decided to make the best of the long weekend and go for it!  Glad I did!!!

The show was in Syracuse, NY.  The home of Syroco!  The entire trip I was dreaming of finding Clown clocks, Syroco advertising plaques, a few Indian molds, and a case of Golden Knights BNIB…  Keep dreaming Tommy!  None of these wishes came true, but…  I did happen upon this little guy for $10!!

Syroco Scotty Dog

If I drove home right now, I’d be FANTASTIC!  Mission accomplished!  Home Run!  Score!

But the day was just starting!  I’d finished combing the show by 1pm, so I decided to start blazing through the local antique malls and shops.  I was able to pick up a few more goodies like 2 Cloughs, a Napier key, Williamson bottle roundlet, and a simple Murphy.

But then I saw it…

A peculiar kitchen gadget opener with a corkscrew.  “Do-it-all” and multi-tool type kitchen gadgets have been produced in almost every way possible and in HIGH numbers too.  I rarely take notice to these gadgets, but I knew this was a beauty!  And given the $8 price tag, I wasn’t going to hesitate a second longer!

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It’s a 1907 Rees Patent corkscrew!  This is a progressed design of the original patent, given the handle and opener.  It’s quite rich with patina, so any markings are not yet visible.  I will have to look a bit harder when I get home late tonight.

Going to hit the road and a few more malls today!  Fingers crossed this streak continues!


January 8, 2013

As we begin the New Year, I’ve come up with a few goals regarding corkscrews….  Blog, Hunt, Blog, Buy, Blog, Sell, Blog, Trade, Blog, and Blog.  We’ll see if I can keep up this year!  🙂

Well, between searches the other day I was contacted by a collector.  We obviously found common ground in our screwy passion.  Photos began to be exchanged and quickly escalated into “Is that for sale?” and “Can you send me a close up of this and that…”  Ah, the pleasure of viewing another one’s collection is always a joy!  You never know what they might have!  Something that has eluded you for years?  Or maybe a new patent discovery?!

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In one of the emails this piece popped up as the collector’s “Scariest Corkscrew”.  Ha!  Definitely scary looking, but also, very desirable…  Even though it is missing the wooden peg.


For those that don’t know, it’s a 1918 British Patent No 128450 by William Glen Ward.  Here is a photo of a complete piece:

WIlliam Ward Patent Corkscrew

The collector is not ready to sell yet.  Keyword being YET.  🙂

Best 6 of 2012

January 2, 2013

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1.  An American rack and pinion type.  The frame and handles are made of cast aluminum., while the shaft is steel.  Marked “Trova MFG Co St. Louis Mo Pat Pend”.  Currently working on further research of Trova MFG Co.


2.  1926 Robert McLean Patent.  These “combination tool” pieces have been found in Sterling Silver and Gold.  Sadly mine is neither, but this one still turns heads because in addition to the standard corkscrew, opener, and key are two additional implements!  A second key blank and a nail file!  (see O’Leary 1996, p.140 and http://www.bullworks.net/virtual/newstuff/mclean.htm)


3.  “E-Z Cork Puller Pat Pending”.  Obviously of the same maker as my #1.  Cast aluminum frame, steel shaft, but side handle is also steel.  Currently working on further research of Trova MFG Co.


4.  1884 American Patent Joshua Barnes folding bow.  Marked on the bow “PAT. MAY. 27.84”.  Interesting design incorporates the folding back of the bow ends to form hooks to be utilized as wire breakers or milk cap openers.   (see O’Leary 1996, p.67)



5.  An excellent example of a German celluloid Alligator.  Marked on the neckstand “Germany” and “PAT. APPL. FOR”.  I had one of these a few years ago that was traded away.  I’m very glad to have acquired this nice example for my permanent collection.


6.  Green Celluloid Scales folding pocket corkscrew.  The handles appear to be made of a Aluminum or Pewter type metal.  The Scales are attached with a single rivet.  Also note worthy is that the metal just might have some very light decorative texture.  Similar to that of the Satar Legs.  They are fully marked “D.R.G.M 14886” and “Germany”.  (see Peter’s Pocket 2006, p.165)

A last minuite entry!!

December 31, 2012

I know the Best 6 for 2012 are due, but it ain’t over till the ball drops in NYC!

A few weeks ago an odd looking folding bow corkscrew was listed on our favorite auction site.  A flurry of emails sparked regarding this rarity being listed as it doesn’t surface often.  It’s an 1884 Barnes folding bow corkscrew!  Well, the listing ended well short of the set term.  But a follow up listing, with out photo, and with a BIN was listed by the same seller.  Hmmm….  Although I wasn’t the lucky buyer of the BIN, but I am lucky to end up with a very hard to find corkscrew!

It is an amazing bow.  The wire helix is an extension of the same wire shank.  This wire is hardened around the pin, which rotates.  Now the wire shank is also formed with separation, so as to allow the shank to lock onto the stems of the bow handle.   And the round worm helix is cyphered on the first turn so as to allow it to cut into the cork and create ease for the rest of the helix to follow.  Ingenious.!  Barnes folding Bow corkscrew IMG_0102

And those little hooks….?  Apparently an additional opener for milk bottles!