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….

Syrocokid vs Wineleopard…

July 29, 2014

Earlier this week I came across a very desirable Cast Iron Walker Corkscrew & Bell on eBay.  It has some fancy ornate decoration to both the handle and bell.

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Last time I had the chance to buy one of these was at the CCCC AGM in Michigan.  Obviously that deal never came to fruition and I haven’t found one yet.  I wasn’t about to miss out on this one!

Given that the listing had only been up for a few minutes, I decided to inquire if that seller would add a Buy It Now.  Anything is possible and with Peter’s Annual BIN Competition starting up this week, I figured it’d be good practice.  🙂

The seller responded quickly and was open to taking offers.  This is the tricky part…  Offer to low, the seller passes.  Offer too high, and the seller thinks to hold out.  I made my best guess as to what would make the seller happy.  3x opening bid.

The response was not exactly what I was expecting….  I already have an offer of $150.  Hmmmm….who could the other Binner be..?

The boys across the pond are sleeping, and Josef doesn’t BIN past 7pm….  WINELEOPARD!!

I immediately engaged RL via email and told him to “Back off!”  I didn’t think it’d scare him off, but I knew it had to be him.  Sure enough, “I was there before you were…  You back off”.

After a few brief exchanges I knew neither of us were standing down.  It was fair game and I was going up against the 2013 BIN Champ.  I began refreshing…  A few minutes later…  “This listing has ended”…  RAT!

Congratulations RL.  You may have beat me out on this one, but come Friday, August 1st, IT’S ON AND YOU’RE GOING DOWN THIS YEAR!


Allegan Antique Show

July 28, 2014

This past weekend I was lucky enough to score 3 days off in a row, so I decided to hit the road antiquing!  After a quick Google search, I discovered that there was an Antique Show in Allegan, Michigan.

Hmmm…  Barry Taylor’s neck of the woods….  Enemy territory (Barry’s my friend not an enemy, just building excitement)

YUP!  I’m going!  (went actually)

This was my first time going to the Allegan Antique Show, and it was great!  Loads of dealers and I did happen across a few corkscrews.

Almost immediately I came across a pair of Wood Patents.  One with the corkscrew and one without.  And of course both without the sliding opener piece.  It was reassuring that I would indeed at least find something worth buying at the show.  🙂


As I’m scouring through the next building I suddenly hear a familiar voice…

“So that’s why I’m not finding any corkscrews!”


Always fun to see a fellow collector out hunting antique corkscrews!  We exchanged a few stories and both decided to keep hunting as we’ll have more time to chat in 3 weeks at the ICCA and CCCC AGM.


Besides running into Barry, there were a few more highlights of the Allegan Antique Show to mention…  I did manage to find a couple corkscrews worth buying.  First up is a Fancy Handle Haff Patent!  Note the bulbous handle and metal end caps.  Barry mentioned that he saw this piece along with others in a booth, but decided to pass on it…

The other corkscrew that I bought was a Murphy Bell with Spike!  Nicely marked on the shaft R.Murphy Boston, but also marked on the bell…  YES!  On the under side of the bell it reads:  R. MURPHY HARVARD, MASS. PAT APRIL 23, 1901!!  Super rare find and hidden amongst a pile of Williamsons…!  Score!


Peter has been into the straight razors, and I saw this one for $5.  Couldn’t pass that up!  And the leg penknife is unusual?  You mostly see the shoe version of these.  I don’t recall seeing the full leg before?  Either way the price was right.  Happy Day!

JFO Wrap up + A visit to the Corkscrew Museum!

April 15, 2014

Saturday was the last day for the JFO Convention in Chapel Hill.  There was a buy & sell for the public to attend in the morning and then we took off to do some last minute antiquing.  I can honestly say there is no more corkscrews to be had in North Carolina!  It was a great week and I was able to pick up TONS of stuff!  Some to keep and plenty to sell.  Here is all the stuff acquired while at the JFO.  Check it out:

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Now Sunday was a special bonus.  We headed up to Smith Mountain Lake in Virgina to see Don Bull’s Corkscrew Museum!  It’s absolutely amazing to see!!!  Here are a few photos:

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One could spend the entire day there and still not see everything, although we tried our best.

After so many years of collecting corkscrews, you’re bound to have a few to sell.  Let’s just say he had more than a few boxes for us to pick through…


Within minutes I started tearing through the boxes to fill my own box.  There were some pretty good pieces to be had and bargain prices to boot.  After going through the bulk of it, Bull invited us to pick through a back room filled with more corkscrews!  This area was filled with a collection that he’s selling off for another collector.  Just amazing how much STUFF there was!  Here are the photos of what I picked up:

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Yes, this was absolutely awesome to have the opportunity to buy a lot of good corkscrews, but my favorite piece is that little ice pick known as the Paradise Patent.  This piece wasn’t found in the boxes, but in one of Bull’s drawers.  Josef scored the same piece the other day.  Bull was quite firm in saying “NO!” to many pieces we picked up, but when he asked “What would you offer?” I knew I had a chance!  I threw out a reasonable offer and the deal was done.  SCORE!

Thank you Don & Bonnie for having us over!  Beautiful home, view, and collection!

It was an epic week of corkscrewing!  I was able to visit with many collectors, view a few collections, and buy some great items!  Here are my very favorites of the week!

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Can’t wait to attend next years JFO!!

Day 3 – JFO report

April 12, 2014

So far so good.  Going into Friday I could probably take home nothing else and still call this the BEST JFO Convention ever, but the corkscrew gods were not done giving yet.   🙂

Friday’s agenda consisted of antiquing and a Show & Tell at John Sanley’s home.  Now TWJ is really a Beer Opener collector, but lucky for us the beer companies also utilized corkscrews for advertising as well.  TWJ has got a fantastic and extensive collection.  If I could describe it in one word it would be SHINY!

As for the beer corkscrews he had, the bar mounts with advertising badges were quite nice.  But in one partictular case he had corkscrew that I was unaware he had…  It was an unusual Henshall type button corkscrew.  It did have some advertising for a brewery, but who cares?!  This piece was cool!  AND it was the very same type that I lost out to Fotodeal on back in January.  I pulled TYJ aside to make an offer he couldn’t refuse.  Hands shook, cash exchanged hands, and the corkscrew was now mine.  SCORE!

Beer Henshall

After the showing, me and Josef headed out to a few antique malls.  They’ve loads of antique malls down here in NC, with some quality stuff too, but unfortunately not a whole lot of corkscrews.  Good thing we’ve got our iPhone’s with us to check eBay!

A very uncommon folding bow type was ending today and Josef was keeping a timer for me so I could place a last minute bid.  With only minutes to go and the price at $79.00, I placed an aggressive bid.  High bidder at $90.99.  It wasn’t time to celebrate yet, as I had a hunch that there would probably be a sniper bid coming in at the last second from a likely suspect buyer, and I was right.  The price more than doubled and came within $3.50 of my cap!  Again the corkscrew gods were smiling down on me.  🙂


We finished out the night back in the common room.  Exchanging laughs, a few good stories, and showing off  the latest acquisitions.  Me and TWJ made a few last minute deals before calling it a night.  Definetly my version of GOOD FRIDAY!