|26th November 2014
It's A New World Record!
Last week a very interesting corkscrew appeared on Ebay France. I have to admit I didn't see it at first as my
current ebay searching is pretty much limited to the UK & US, but thanks to the chatty Internet forums I was made
The corkscrew in question was a very rare example of Charles Osbourne's British patent, number 8139 which was
awarded on 1st January 1839. Effectively the patent is based on Osbourne's application of the coiled springs.
The ebay example was exact to the original patent drawing. Reference, Wallis, British Corkscrew Patents From
1795, page 21 & 22.
|Most interestingly this corkscrew was stamped around the button
"Soho Patent, By Her Majesties Royal Patent". Some letters being
indistinct. Pretty conclusive proof that this piece was manufactured
at Mathew Boulton, Soho Manufactory in Birmingham. Previously
Worryingly the French seller had a zero rating & Internet rumours
were also spreading that he wouldn't accept a secure Paypal
payment & worse still, that he would not register the parcel.
Sounded like it could be some form of weird scam. However, when I
contacted him he said Paypal was fine & he would send the
corkscrew in the most secure way available.
I presume the seller was inundated with questions & later in the
week he added some additional clear images to the listing.
No doubt he was delighted when in the last hour the listing was bid
up to €6000 & he probably was close to passing out when the final
seconds ticked away to reveal a winning bid of an amazing
€22,410 = $27,800 = £17,742.
This transaction has subsequently been completed & mutual good
Have you heard of the term "Just like London Buses?"
|Quite unbelievably, on the night the Osbourne sold on ebay I received a phone call from a fellow collector who
told me that another Osbourne had just come up on an Internet search engine to be sold at auction in Colchester,
Essex in a weeks time. Wowzer! Quite incredible!!!!!
The corkscrew at auction is the second known example of an Osbourne patent made from the remains of the old
London bridge, which was dismantled in 1831. The springs inscribed accordingly. This version has a double
action & a ratchet, making it a bit sexier than the ebay example. However, the auction house reported the ratchet
mechanism didn't work.
|So, today was auction day. I didn't go - a couple of friends did. I
nearly fell of my chair when I heard from one of them that the
corkscrew sold for a quite incredible, quite phenomenal, quite
unbelievable £40,000 + auctioneers commission @ 20%, a total of
£50,000 = $78,390 = €63,155
Honk your horn out loud for a New World Record!!!!!!
Apparently the room took it up to £27,000.00 & beyond that two
phone bidders slugged it out before one dropped out at
So why is there such a difference in price between the two
examples? A reputable auction house, a more interesting design &
the London Bridge connection I presume. Add two collectors that
have pockets deeper than Atlantis & a must have attitude & you
get a quite incredible result.
So if you have a weird corkscrew with springs, made from scrap
iron from some old London bridge & want to make a corkscrew
collector very happy, please drop me a line. :p