Corkscrews Online
by Peter Borrett
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something that could be of interest to others.
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January 9th 2011
A new year Thomason

Just agreed to buy this very nice looking Thomason. A nice
start to the new year.

Seeing my massive, colossal, gigantic, titanic bids aren't
hitting the mark at auction I've decided to go
I'm not sure if the word gargantuan can be defined as the
largest of all, will have to wait & see.

Make the most of life & have a very happy 2011!
January 19th 2011
My Christmas
Present Arrives

What a cracker!

Can't find a reference for the
same example so maybe its a
one off. Looks museum quality
to me - lovely jubbly!

The little podgy cheeky Cherub
looks remarkably like Steven
Webb prior to his weight loss
campaign in 2010 & the two
Satyrs downing the Pinot Noir
are the spitting image of Jim
"The Henshall" Edgar & Tim
"Mines a large one" Underwood.

If you have a similar ormolu
frame corkscrew to keep this
one company, drop me a line,
cash waiting.
Antique & Vintage
Corkscrews Online

January 19th 2011
Blogging will be sporadic

I Blogged last year that I was going to compile a definitive corkscrew guide on Corkscrews Online by April 2011.
Time is flying by, so must crack on, therefore Blogging for the next couple of months will be hit & miss.

Still looking for contributors that would like to get stuck into this exciting project with full credit of course. Let me
know if you're interested. Also, UK collectors - I'd like to get as many different pieces as possible within the
guide, so my collection will no doubt leave many gaps in terms of photographs. Please drop me a line if you
would be happy for me to come visit & take some snaps of some of your corkscrews that I don't have.

January 19th 2011
I'm claiming the Worlds largest

Don Bull has decided he wants to sell his collection for
a cool $1.65 million & why not, afterall, he can buy
plenty of tasty burgers for $1.65 million. He just needs
to convince Donald Trump to buy the collection first.

I was interested when Don said he had the largest
collection in the World with only a modest claim of
"Over 9000 in the collection & several thousand
duplicates". Got me thinking, maybe, just maybe I had
more. Well, just came up for air after counting for four
solid days & can report the following:
10200 corkscrews plus 7458 duplicates. I didn't even realise myself just how many I'd accumulated.
That's 17658, hang on...snipe bid just won me my 56th Heeley A1 double lever, so that's 17659. I'm
also claiming the World largest collection of the following specific corkscrews:

Heeley A1 double levers - 56, 1933 Deco Terrier dogs - 72, Syroco Waiters - 22, Four finger pull
(iron) - 45, Wade Seals - 13, Vine roots - 152, Green handled direct pulls - 45, Pot weasel
corkscrews - 11, Stuffed Penguin corkscrews - 22, Aboriginal dried Kangaroo testicle corkscrews - 65

Of course, I'm joking, I have 14 Wade seals, one not shown, te, he. In truth, I probably have a couple
of thousand pieces which fill up a small room. My collection is around 500ish, the rest being doubles
available for sale. Don Bulls collecting habit reaches mind boggling levels. Based on 35 years of
collecting he averages 1 corkscrew, each & every day of that 35 years & a good part of that time is
pre the EBAY INTERNET REVOLUTION which makes it even more staggering.

I declare Don Bull the Daddy of all corkscrew obsessed collectors! Congratulations Don!
January 31st 2011
The Incredible Mathew Boulton

Mathew Boulton, the great Birmingham Industrialist is synonymous within
corkscrew circles for manufacturing the World's first patented corkscrew at
the Soho Manufactory in Birmingham, England.

It has always struck me that Mathew Boulton as well as being an incredible
entrepreneur was a truly decent gentleman, after all, he settled the half of
the patent fee which should of been settled by the Reverend Samuel
Henshall. In todays World that would be quite unlikely.

I recently researched a coin that I inherited from my Grandma. I remember
as a kid visiting my Grandma, affectionately called Grandie & regularly
looking through her tin full of old coins. It fascinated me that I was looking
at coins minted as early as the 17th century.

It transpires that one of the coins in Grandie's tin was actually a medal minted by Mathew Boulton. Following
Nelson's famous victory at Trafalgar in October, 1805 it was Boulton's idea to mint a medal to be given to all the
sailors & mariners who served in the battle. A note in Birmingham City Archives indicates that Boulton produced
17,264 medals for distribution to the veterans of Trafalgar. These medals were minted in bronze.
Boulton also minted Silver & gold examples for surviving officers & ladies at the court of George III.
All of this at
Boulton's personal expense
- how very decent!
Grandie's tin of coins & Boulton's Trafalgar Medal

Obverse: Uniformed bust of Lord Nelson with pigtail, marked HORATIO VISCOUNT NELSON . K . B . DUKE OF


The medal is marked around the edge - TO THE HEROES OF TRAFALGAR FROM M. BOULTON Mostly
indistinct on my example.

The Waterloo medal was the first medal to be awarded to all present at a battle by the British Government -
Waterloo in 1815. I wonder if the patriotism & generosity of Mathew Boulton minting & awarding everyone serving
at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 was the catalyst for the Waterloo medal? Could well be.

It appears that many of the sailors who received this medal were not overly impressed & threw their example
overboard while on their respective ships. Coin overboard!

How much is it worth? I'm not certain, but I saw a good example that sold for just under a grand, so maybe about
the same as an original Henshall corkscrew for a mint one could be about right.

Thanks Grandie!
February 2nd 2011
Rams head + more

I received an email a couple of days
back from a chap in South Africa asking
about the value of a Rams head can
opener with corkscrew. The piece
belongs to his boss & is part of a
collection of 300-500 corkscrews that he
picked up many, many years ago.

It's Frederick Sunderland's registration
no 294590 from 1875 as shown in Frank
& Barbara Ellis's book of registered
designs. Quite the rarity!
I thought I'd phone, after all it's only South Africa & maybe this chaps boss will sell me the
complete collection. Unfortunately, at this time nothing is for sale :(

If the picture is an indication as to the quality of the 300-500 pieces then he has a very nice
collection indeed. Maybe I'll ask again next week ;)

I've made the picture a thumbnail - which piece do you fancy?

If you've got a rams head can opener or tin opener with corkscrew which has a kite mark
registration then I'm your man. I'd love to buy it from you. Drop me a line today
February 2nd 2011
Deep Pockets Required?

Just noticed an interesting corkscrew on ebay. It rang some bells so
I decided I'd get the books out. Turns out to be a registered design
by Walter Vaughan of Birmingham, number 15931 from 1884.

Frank & Barbara Ellis's book on registered designs show it as a
drawing but doubt it was ever made. It was! It looks like a small
spout is lost, as the drawing shows an angular design on one side
of the button which I presume is the spout. Just an open hole on the
ebay example.

I don't rate it for a fortune so I won't bid - I'll be an interested

It's £4.99, no bids as I type. I reckon it'll sell for £325 but have no
real idea, what do you think it'll make? Nearest guess gets a vine
root corkscrew or a green handled wooded corkscrew.

Send your guesses to
February 11th update

That cheeky chap Peter Carr's guess of £650 was closet to the £947 hammer price. Good guess Pete! He
did make it clear that he didn't want the prize should he win - how ungrateful! Thanks for all your guesses.

I do find this piece selling for £947 somewhat confusing.

Back in 2009, on November 6th, I Blogged "Rare but not desirable"
relating to a previously unrecorded Codd corkscrew from 1884 by
Thomas Jackson & Co that I was lucky to find at Kempton antique
market. It was fully marked with the registration number. I listed it on
the ICCA auctions with what I considered to be a low reserve of
£350. It didn't get close, ending unsold with bids up to £205. It's
sitting in my collection still today. I don't personal see why the
Vaughan corkscrew would fly away when the Thomas Jackson
corkscrew didn't.

The seller of the Vaughan corkscrew has been in touch & told me
that it was sold to a collector in Sweden. If your reading this "Mr
collector in Sweden" why not add the previously unrecorded and
extremely rare Thomas Jackson & Co Codd to your collection too at
a discounted price of £946 ;)

I think regardless of how long you collect anything, whether that be
porcelain, vestas, paintings or corkscrews you will never really know
what something is truly worth as ultimately it is purely down to what
one, or in auction scenarios, what two people are prepared to pay
on any given day. I suppose all I can add is if you believe something
is truly rare & it is of the type you specifically collect then you should
consider carefully a bolder price to give you an increased chance of
owning it.

To quote William the ebay Vaughan seller "For your information I paid £10 for this piece! :-)" The bargains
are still out there!
February 12th 2011
Fotodeal comes 2nd - wow!

I guess the day had to come. Yes, it's official Fotodeal joins the
rest of us mere mortals & now realises what it's like to be an ebay
underbidder. His bid for a standard set of legs, marked registered,
Germany which should sit somewhere in the $300 range was a
gobsmacking $1111.00! Unfortunately for him, someone rated
them higher & a bid of $1136.00 was the Monster winning number.
I'm feeling your pain Fotodeal.
February 24th 2011
Stoned Again!
I mean - another Stone's corkscrew

Back on October 18th 2010 I blogged about the ABCDE meeting at  
Underwood Wines in Warwick. A great time was had by all! During the
meet I picked up a very nice Stone's registered design corkscrew,
nicely marked with the registration lozenge. There are 2 types of this
registered design shown in Frank and Barbara's book on Corkscrew
registered designs both with 2 fixing points through the handle.

Last week a third type appeared on ebay which was snapped up
quickly by Stephen Paul and this is shown in the photos -----> This one
has the same shape to the metal frame and the wooden handle but
only has a single fastening to the handle. It is also marked EXCEL. If
anyone has seen another like it or has any further information on it
then I am sure Stephen would like to hear from you. As it is, we have
not been able to find a similar example in any of our reference material.

Send your reply, with the following in the header -
You spend far too
much time on ebay refreshing listings Colonel
to Stephen Paul c/o
February 24th 2011
2 out of 3 aint bad

A couple of weeks back three potential deals
came my way in a 24 hour period. Quite incredibly
all three really good pieces, a super Loach, a
good Wiers Double & a fancy Thomason by
Robert Jones in need of some TLC. All from
different people.

Now opportunities of buying good corkscrews like
these have come up for me in the past but getting
three opportunities in 24 hours can only be
described as totally bonkers!

I've subsequently agreed to buy the Loach & the
Wiers double, the owner of the Thomason is
currently considering my offer & will let me know if agreeable after
discussing the sale with his brother who has a half share in the piece.

I'm especially pleased about the Loach, a definite keeper. It's a beauty,
in near pristine condition. The worm is tipped, otherwise it's hard to fault.
Both the spikes are still fine & even have pieces of old cork attached.

It's good to know that these sort of pieces are still out there.

If you have an interesting corkscrew that you would like to sell, please
drop me a line. Cash waiting for good pieces.
February 24th 2011
Wish List

My name is Peter and
I'm a corkscrew nerd.

Just like an excited kid who writes to
Santa with a mega list of presents
some corkscrew chaps I know have
a similar list but of corkscrews they
want to add to their collections.

I've never before made such a list
but I have finally succumbed. This  
means I can finally claim corkscrew
nerd status - Yah! I'm officially a
corkscrew nerd!
As you'll see I shouted them out & Ruthie wrote them down. My wish list was for 100
pieces but after buying the Loach my list now stands at 99. I won't say what is on my list
other than what you can see but I'll let you know as & when I hopefully get any of them.

Are you a corkscrew nerd? Dead easy to become one - write your own list of corkscrews
most wanted & then add your name to this statement below, place your hand over your
heart & then read it out loud & proud.

My name is _______ and I'm a corkscrew nerd.
March 9th 2011

I decided a new website was the way forward for the definitive guide
on corkscrews. It's live & a couple of pages are done, specifically,
the Thomason & ladies legs pages but there is loads to do!

Check it out! Will be building as & when I have time.
March 9th 2011

Last Tuesday I was up with the larks & headed off to
the Ardingly antique fair looking for an early ticket.
Unfortunately, despite winking at people in various
vans, cars & lorries & waving notes in a flamboyant
manner I couldn't find one. I'll put my stockings & lippy
on next time then, lol.  

I came up with a contingency plan to get myself
amongst the stalls early which worked!
However, despite getting in 2 hours before the doors opened I found just an "A Typical" bag of
tat. Another collector did very nicely finding a Baker patent.

Later, I went off for a late breakfast & shared woe stories with a couple of corkscrew chaps,
including the lucky Baker patent owner. Surely if you find a Baker patent at an antique fair it
should automatically disallow you from joining in with woe stories, shouldn't it?

Yesterday, good fortune came my way at a secret London antique fair (OK, Kempton) where I
found a desirable French concertina - cheap, cheap, cheap! Hiding in the lavs all night paid off!
March 9th 2011
A BIN - Wahooooooooooo!

Ebay time lately has been limited, other
than a quick look every other day or so to
set some snipes. So, the chance of a BIN
has been pretty unlikely.

However, a week or so ago, I noticed this
mixed lot sitting on ebay at £4.00, with no
bids & with nearly two days gone.

A deal was quickly agreed!
March 13th 2011

Today the corkscrew crazed collectors of Great Britain gathered in the
picturesque Countryside of Oxfordshire at the home of hosts John &
Carole for the Spring meeting of the ABCDE.

They live in a beautiful listed cottage which is light & airy, boasting a super
modern extension, very sympathetically built in keeping with the existing
architecture. Oh & lovely landscaped gardens, sweeping lawns & a
fabulous pond, full of ornamental fish.

Hang on a sec.....This is a corkscrew Blog!

Yes, as you'd expect the Cottage was taken over by corkscrews! John had
been busy displaying the best part of his collection on various tables. One
table was crammed with American corkscrews - various Old Snifters,
Parrots, Cloughs & Walkers were being watched by a hovering Hootch Owl
(nice touch John). Another table opposite was covered with "Things with
Springs", where on close examination some rare & very desirable pieces
were displayed alongside many German workhorse examples. A small
area on the same table was assigned to Silver pockets, a Nutmeg grater,
a Museum quality French 18th century pocket - tongues were seen hitting
the floor.

Next hallway, a large glass cabinet was packed with some
stunning pieces,
English, including a Cotterill, Sunderland, a variety of super
Thomasons' & a great Lund's Queens +++. Then right turn into the office
where more cabinets were full of great pieces.

Sadly my camera let me down with more blurry photos than good ones :(
As you would expect a number of deals were being struck & many good pieces were being passed around. I
bought a couple of super early steel picnics & pondered other possible purchases. Steven Webb bought a very
early & rare English 4 poster, Richard Stevenson bought a Champagne tap that I'd never seen the like off
before. Norman was seen beaming from ear to ear whilst holding an French Express, the one that looks a bit
like an Excelsior. Roy bought a bag of good brass figural corkscrews - the bargain of the day!

Bernard Masson was showing off his collection which was catalogued in his trusty ring binder. Bernard sure has
some great pieces. He has decided to sell the vast majority of his collection which will go under the hammer at
Woolley & Wallis the auctioneers in Salisbury, United Kingdom on 5th July 2011. Watch the
Woolley & Wallis
website for more details nearer the time.

Francois brought along his recent best six which included a very nice Dray, marked Page & a super Henshall
with a very unusual twisted shank with petal button. The other four were equally lovely.

Soon it was time for some lunch, thanks Carole, thanks ladies! Tasty Chilli, Cornish Pasties (all the way from
Cornwall that morning), Jacket spuds, salad & more, followed by yummy puds galore! Lovely jubley!!! Washed
down with a good choice of wine, beer, soft drinks or coffee. Can I visit again next week? It really is appreciated,
thank you all very much!

After lunch the collectors continued to trade, pass pieces from hand-to-hand & talk about various deals & the
ones that got away. Alas, one room was out-of-bounds & was pronounced "A corkscrew free zone", hhhmmm,
I'm not sure if that's allowed, I'll have to check the ABCDE constitution.
Beer, wine, slobber
& rusty things
Free Zone

Glamour, Tea in china
cups, Gucci handbags,
Diamond rings &
Michael Bubl

How very
One good story shared was by John. He & Carole were on holiday in Marrakesh & while exploring a bustling
market, he discovered a trader selling a bucket full of old corkscrews. Mainly the Perille flynut type but one
particular piece caught his eye, it had a hinged handle, very unusual, but it appeared broken. The seller wanted
around £30, so being unsure & thinking that it was broken John passed. Once back in the UK John saw
the same
in a Christies catalogue which turned out to be Boue's French patent from 1888. The one he saw was
not broken & it was worth a few £thousand. OMG! John & Carole were soon back in the sky on route to
Marrakesh. Back at the market, they struggled to find the trader, walking up & down the various isles
was proving
. Maybe he wasn't there? When it appeared all hope had gone, Carole nudged John in the ribs having
spotted the chap & yes, the corkscrew was still there!!! They flew back the same day with the corkscrew in the
hold. Yeah! What a story - beat that?

It was a great meeting. Thanks to our hosts John & Carole for their wonderful hospitality.
23rd March 2011
Estimate 120 - 160 GBP

Everyone loves a sleeper at
auction. Especially when the
sleeper has a plural, being
Today I headed off to the outskirts of Winchester, around a 20 mile drive to bid on a box of corkscrews being
auctioned by Andrew Smith & sons. I'd already viewed the day before, taking time to inspect everything
carefully, allocating a cost to every piece, culminating in one heck of a hefty bid.

The place was pretty much packed when I arrived. The Flog It chaps were in Town, maybe attracting more
interest than usual, what with the various owners off all the antiques plus the BBC entourage. Make-up for

I stood near the back off the room & got talking to a dealer while watching the lots get closer to the magic
number 927. I hadn't seen another familiar corkscrew face which surprised me given what was in the box, but
with 10 lots to go Steven Webb walked in, shit! I now definitely knew the box was going to sell for 4k +. I
thought better of going to have a chat with Webby, there was no point complicating our respective bids, what
will be will be. I said bye to the dealer & headed outside to catch some sun (beautiful day) & lie low. Soon I was
back in the room as lot 927 was called. The typical hesitancy from the auctioneer as he studied his
commission bids to announce we'll start at £1200. I put up my paddle & kept it up. The commission bid was
swept aside quickly, well straight away & in no time I was going head-to-head with Webby before he backed
down & a mystery Internet bidder took me on & brushed me aside. Under bidder again then :(
So much for a sleeper at auction. I have no regrets, I gave the lot a
right good go but it wasn't to be.

Check out the two pictures above with a magnifying glass & work
out your bid.

I handed in my paddle & headed outside for some sun rays &
waited for Webby to appear. He soon did, as did Fletcher Wallis.
We compared notes. Wally soon headed back inside to bid on
some Scientific lots while I headed off for some lunch & a
consolation beer with Webby.
Webb & Wally fighting over who bids on
lot 1020 a lovely fluffy teddy bear.
Aaaaaahhhh how sweet!
Never mind Webby, have a Brie baguette
& drown your sorrows in Cider.
Wally's hoping to become an expert on Flog
It, pictured here with programme
researcher Sarah.
After an enjoyable lunch, I dropped Webby back at the auction house where we bumped into Wally once again.
He told us that the BBC "Flog It" producer was keen for him to join the team of experts & as a formality asked
him to complete an application form. Wally passed it over. I was surprised to learn that Wally is 43 years old,
has been an antique dealer for 42 years & considers his success is down to his boyish good looks, sharp dress
sense & happy go lucky nature. Wally lists his hobbies as "Fast cars & fast women" in any order. When
answering "I should be the new Flog It expert because?" question, Wally responds "I'll bring dynamism to a
currently rubbish programme". Can't wait to see you on TV Wal!
March 22nd 2011
Woof, ggggrrrr, woof!


I hit newly listed ebay US last night to
find a very cool hand carved growling
dog with Walker bell staring at me
listed as a buy it now. Quite the
character, with a snarl that would make
anyone cross the road to avoid him.
His fancy sterling collar had an equally
fancy sterling lock attached. The collar
initialled NMF which stands for "Nasty
Mother F*ck@r".

The dilemma. I love these American
pieces but the buy it now price was a
whopping $395. I made an offer,
someone else had too, but while
waiting for a response I pondered...
would I be gutted if someone else took
the buy it now - yes. Would I keep the
piece as apposed to move it on - yes.
Finally, if I did sell it, would I get my
money back - yes. I did the decent
thing & hit the BIN button & swiftly sent
the $395 + S+H on its way.

The seller posted low resolution
pictures but says in the listing that it is
in excellent condition. I'll look forward to
this particular parcel arriving.
3rd April 2011

I checked out our favourite Internet auction site last night & noticed a
Heeley Empire listed. One hour gone, no bids, starting at £49.99.
"Hhhhmmmm, maybe I'll email the seller & see if they want a quick & easy
buy it now deal". I scrolled down to find the "ask a question" link.
Unfortunately, on the way to said link I found that four other buyers had
already asked, see below. Good going in an hour chaps but what's with all
the anonymity?

Q:  Would you consider a buy it now sale? In which case what for? Thanks 02-Apr-11
A:   Hi, we are amazed that just in the short time this item has been listed, we have
received four buy it now offers, obviously there is a great interest and so we will let the
auction run to the end. Thanks any way and good luck.

Q:  How bout a buy now for £200 while I have the money in Paypal? 02-Apr-11
A:   Hi, we are amazed that just in the short time this item has been listed, we have
received four buy it now offers, obviously there is a great interest and so we will let the
auction run to the end. Thanks any way and good luck.

Q:  Hello would you consider a buy it now for £300? Kind Regards 02-Apr-11
A:   Hi, we are amazed that just in the short time this item has been listed, we have
received four buy it now offers, obviously there is a great interest and so we will let the
auction run to the end. Thanks any way and good luck.

Q:  Hi are you interested in a buy it now offer.....i am away on holiday next week so
wont be about for the auction end.I can pay you £400 if you want to do a deal Cheers.
A:   Hi, we are amazed that just in the short time this item has been listed, we have
received four buy it now offers, obviously there is a great interest and so we will let the
auction run to the end. Thanks any way and good luck.

As this seller has an add the question policy I thought I'd still ask but be a
little creative, here's my question.

Q:  Hi, My family name is Empire so this would make a nice present for great grandad who celebrates his 102nd birthday next week.
He says wine keeps him young. Due to the timescale, plus the fact I'll be climbing mount kilimanjaro next week with no internet
connection, would you accept a buy now of £500 + a signed photo of me & the gang on the summit? It'll mean I get it in time. Please
let me know asap, thanks James Empire 02-Apr-11
A:   Thanks,but we will run the auction until the end. Wish your great grandad a very happy birthday, aand good luck with the climb!

Vine root for the most creative question added to a listing by the end of May.
4th April 2011
John Joseph Mechi

With the ICCA corkscrew auctions fast approaching (starts Friday
8th) I've been looking through various boxes trying to work out what
to list. One of the pieces I thought I'd sell is a four poster marked on
the bottle collar "Mechi, 4 Leadenhall St, London". A nice example
with a smooth mechanism, good handle & very crisply marked.

John Mechi's father, Giacomo, a citizen of Bologna, Italy, was
employed in business in France but took refuge in England during
the "Reign of Terror" and found employment in the household of
George III at Kensington Palace. He married Elizabeth Beyer of
Poland Street, London and John was their third son.

After completing his schooling in France, at the age of 16 he
became a clerk in the City, working in a mercantile house in the
Newfoundland Trade.

Aged 26 he had saved sufficient to set up on his own account as a
retail cutler at 130 Leadenhall Street. In 1830 he moved to larger
premises in 4 Leadenhall Street.
Over the next ten years his business supplying scientific instruments, pencils and quill cutting penknives
prospered as did his ability to "set and ground razors with more than ordinary skill". But the item which made
his name known across the country was his patent 'Mechi's magic razor strop'.

An 1841 Mechi catalogue list an incredible array of wares, including:Table Knives & Forks, Meat and Poultry
Carvers, Round of Beef Slicers, Ham Slicers, Children's Knives & Forks, Steels & Knife Sharpeners, Table
Spoons, Dessert spoons, Table Forks, Dessert ditto, Fish Knives, Soup Ladies Snuffers, Snuffer Trays, Table
Candlesticks, Gravy Spoons, Sauce Ladles, Salt Spoons, Mustard Spoons, Skewers, Vegetable Knives,
Corkscrews, Decanter Labels, Table Mats, Bottle Corks, Cruet Stands, Pickle Frames, Soy Frames, Dish
Covers, Knife Rests, Chamber Candlesticks, Shade ditto, Branch ditto, Nutcracks, Asparagus Tongs, Wine
Coolers, Wine Strainers, Champagne Knives, Champagne Nippers, Marrow Spoons, Cheese Scoops, Cases
of Silver and Plated Fruit & Dessert Knives &....the list goes on.
After an intensive study of English farming writers he resolved to
practice and publicise improvements in agriculture. In 1841 he
bought a 130 acre farm at Tiptree in Essex at a cost of £3,250. In
the following five years he spent £13,500 creating a model farm
which was to attract several hundreds of visitors each year to
demonstrations of new machinery, methods & farming ideas. In
1852 it was the subject of a six page report in Charles Dicken's
weekly journal Household Works; the following year it featured in
the London Illustrated News, which described it as "Mr Mechi's
annual lecture and annual feast"; in 1854 it was reported in The
Times. By 1856 he was entertaining some 600 people at his
annual gathering. He was 60 years ahead of time predicting that
fields would be ploughed by machinery.

His commercial business prospered and with the purchase of
another cutlery business in 1855 he expanded into extensive
premises in 112 Regent Street. He advertised widely, stating that
his stock included the "the finest specimens of British
manufactures" in a wide range of items including dressing cases
and bagatelles as well as "other articles of utility or luxury suitable
for presentation"with a "separate department for papier mache
manufactures." His business success continued at a pace but bad
luck & harder times were to follow.
Four poster corkscrew signed Mechi, 4 Leadenhall St, London dates somewhere between 1830-1855

I'll probably keep this four poster corkscrew for the time being, but I've got 60 corkscrews lined up to list on the
ICCA auctions. You'll find my auctions
here from Friday, 8th April 2011.

If you have a corkscrew signed MECHI, drop me a line, I'd be pleased to buy it from you
The failure of the Unity Joint Stock Bank in 1866, of which he was a governor, an unfortunate connection with
the Unity Fire and General Life Assurance Office & many bad seasons at Tiptree farm caused him huge
financial losses & sadly, his affairs were put in liquidation on 14th Dec 1880 just 2 weeks before he died of
diabetes at Tiptree Hall on 26th Dec 1880. He was buried in Tiptree Church on 1st Jan 1881.
5th April 2011
A Knight's collection

A week or so back I got chatting to a stallholder at a small
local antique fair. I asked her if she had any corkscrews
tucked away to put out. She said no but went on to say that
her Father passed away last year, that he had a small
collection that she was now ready to sell. EUREKA! She told
me that he had worked for 50 years in the wine trade &
picked up his corkscrews over that time & was often given a
corkscrew as a gift. Apparently he was knighted in Spain in
recognition of the volume of wine & beer he brought into the
UK. Wow! DOUBLE EUREKA!  She mentioned that he also
had collections of many different collectibles & that she had
already had his coin collection valued at over £12,000.
TRIPLE EUREKA! If the coins are worth 12k, what are the
corkscrews worth!? Anyway, she promised to send me a few
pictures asap.

The pictures, around 12, showing each piece clearly arrived
within a day or two. I flicked from picture to picture working
out what to offer. Included was a Heeley A1, large brass
Preston mechanical, various champagne taps, a rather nice
Victorian tooth puller & plenty of good ebay fodder - direct
pulls, bows, finger pulls & roundlets. There was an
interesting picnic type corkscrew with a finger loop handle
that appeared to be made from steel. Having checked &
double checked the pictures I totted up my numbers,
rounded up the figure & emailed back my offer. Next day the
deal was done, the money paid & the corkscrews boxed up
& on the way.
They arrived today, tightly squeezed into a box about 12" square. Was fun pulling out piece by piece. The
tooth extractor is better than I thought, I'll probably keep it. Everything else was as expected with the
exception of the little sheath corkscrew with a loop handle. It turned out to be a very fine silver corkscrew,
boasting a reeded sheath, bulbous shank detail, perfectly round loop. The threads are squeaky & engage
perfectly. The worm is short but hey, who cares? There's a script J mark on the base. Thinking it was
probably English I looked through various British makers silver marks without a match, no luck with Irish
makers either. I now think that it probably is Dutch & the mark is a Dutch import form around 1850 or so.

Ferd Peter's & Bert Giulian's Pocket corkscrew book shows a similar example on page 51. Described with
an indistinct mark & with Empire sheath. My example is a little smaller (9.5cm) than the book example which
is 10.5cm.

It's nice to get a pleasant surprise & a good keeper for the collection.
8th April 2011
John Watts Pattern & Cost book

An interesting lot is coming up at auction in Sheffield on 15th April 2011. Lot 275 at
The Sheffield Auction Company is for John Watt's pattern & cost book. How cool!

Here's the auctioneers description:
A Late Victorian and Edwardian Period Pattern and Cost Book for John Watts, Sheffield,
Manufacturers of Penknives, Cutlery, Leisure Tools etc - over six hundred and eighty pages of
designs, with itemised parts prices, each item numbered and indexed to the rear. Items include a
champagne bottle opener for Charles Heidsieck, Virango Patent Lever Corkscrew, Seebohn And
Dieckstahl smoker`s knife. Items illustrated with pencil sketches or cut-out adverts pasted down.
Later annotations and tipped in receipts. In a morocco bound ledger titled "Cutlery Cost Book No
1"; Together with Two Certificates of Registration of Design, for a combined pocket knife and
tobacco picker and presser, and a knife sharpener.

The auctioneer's estimate is £150-200.

Fancy a bid? You can reach the auction house directly at:
15/4 update - It sold for a hammer price of £600!
8th April 2011
ICCA Auctions open & closed for
submitting listings in less than a day

A record for sure. The ICCA auctions Spring sale opened
today, 8th, April for submission of listings. I loaded 60
auctions but had 10 refused due to the overwhelming
demand. Fair enough. The last sale was quick to fill too, but
not quite as quick as this.

I've had a provisional scout through the listings. Some great
stuff as usual. A good number of doubles though, but I don't
really know what they can do about it.

How about the Bull collection? One way or another we're
going to see the highest bid ever seen on one specific
corkscrew auction, has to be, right? It remains to be seen
whether any bid will get close to Don's reserve, whatever
that might be. Maybe Fotodeal will throw a million or so
Don's way.
My ICCA auctions
Good luck if you bid
Don Bull's Collection
If you bid. Got any
spare change Guv?
April 19th 2011

Oh so hot at Ardingly!

The alarm was set for 5:45 am, trouble was, it
wasn't set, I didn't flick the alarm button from off to
on the night before, what an idiot, doh! Amazingly
my body clock woke me up at 6:10 despite the fact I
don't normally wake up before 8:00. Maybe an
omen? I quickly got my stuff together, filled a flask,
grabbed a Mars bar & headed on my way to

On route I was pondering if I'd get into the fair early  
being 25 minutes behind my well planned schedule.
As it transpired, I arrived at 7:50 & yes it was
proving tricky to get an early ticket. Half an hour
passed before a lady van driver pulled over & took
me to the promised land. Well, got me in the fair.
Thanks mystery lady!

I had a 40 minute head start before the doors
opened to the public, head down looking for helixes.
I didn't even see a corkscrew for 20 minutes but
then I noticed a substantial Victorian direct pull with
cork grips, bit too tight on price, so I passed. Next
stall a Solon mechanical which for a fiver was too
cheap to pass. It then all went very quiet. Before I
knew it my head start had elapsed, it was 9:00 am &
the doors had opened. I was already deciding it
wasn't going to be a good days hunting but took
comfort from the beautiful weather, it was hot, hot,
hot, even at 9:00 am, in April, in the UK. Short
sleeves in April is good going for us Brits. I
continued my search & headed to some casual
pitches on a large field beyond the tented isle. At
the third casual pitch I spotted something that I
knew would be mine, in truth when I saw it I was in a
state of shock. My heart was racing, I became a
sweat machine with hands so clammy that when I
picked it up it nearly slipped through my grip. There
was no price tag. I asked, I didn't haggle & I bought.

I found a few other pieces too, as shown. What a
cracking day! More like this please.

Maybe I'll see you at Ardingly on Tuesday 19th July?
23rd April 2011
Seconds out - ICCA Round one

Unfortunately I was out tonight, well, not unfortunately, I had a great time with friends in the
village, but unfortunate in terms of missing watching around half of the first round of ICCA
listings end.

I did however witness a heck of a punch up between a well known German corkscrew
collector & Fotodeal for an interesting German corkscrew with pivoting arms. Fotodeal's
crippling left upper cut blow, a hefty $11,451 was too powerful for the German collector
who now can afford a good cruise around the Caribbean & a years supply of good German
sausage & sauerkraut instead.

I also watched as the bank role that is Fotodeal went head-to-head in a heavy weight clash
with John Morris, a prominent US collector for the rarer version of Burgess & Fenton. I
have a better example in my collection & nearly phoned John Morris, despite the fact I've
never met the guy to offer up mine, as the bidding became hostile to say the least. Maybe I
just under value these pieces, as I noticed Ferd Peters was bidding too! John's winning bid
was a mega £4534, woweeeeeee! I wonder, is he really happy? Or, is it a case of just
trying to get the better of an adversary???? Answers on a postcard please.

While all this was happening I forgot to bid on the Jones tap, the only thing that rocked my
boat this time round. I see it went for a fair price to a lovely chap so all good.

When I got home in the wee hours I checked my auction results - I am pleased :) Sold
about 1/3rd of what I had up for grabs at good prices & others are close enough for me to
list in the second chance auction. I do find corkscrew collectors to be a bit, well, bonkers!
My Le Desire concertina in uncleaned original condition failed to sale & one with a very
good professional repair did & for more than my reserve. I must remember to get my
corkscrews professionally repaired even if perfect to add some value, lol.

As for the Don Bull collection - lets get ready to rumble!!!!! It's official, it's worth $222,222.
Fotodeal ending up as the high bidder but RESERVE NOT MET.

24/4 update. Don emailed to put me straight, re the above paragraph. Don says "I don't
think this is a true assessment. I am inclined to believe there was no one out there with
enough cash to go the distance.

Take a look at all 600+ photos and evaluate it. I think you will come up with a much higher

I suppose trying to sell such a huge collection in one auction was always going to be tricky.
What with the finance required plus the shipping predicament amongst other
considerations. However, $222,222 is one hell of a bid - be proud Don.

Join with me, one & all & raise a glass to Don Bull in tribute to the largest single bid on a
corkscrew auction ever. Congratulations!
9th May 2011
Seconds out - ICCA Round two, three & four

Well we all knew it was an unfair fight. The Romanian giant that is Fotodeal came, saw &
conquered. He certainly takes on board sayings such as "Don't lose it for a bid".

Some highlights include the beautiful calender picnic from the Frank Ellis collection that
sold for over £5k, a Loach patent at £2.7k, an unusual Lion bar screw selling for £3.6k, a
Frary Corkscrew signed J.GUNDLACH SAN FRANCISCO at $2.1k, an all metal waiters
alligator which sold for $2.6k, a Koeller replaceable worm corkscrew at £1.85K. Of course
all these were sold to Fotodeal.

Interestingly Fotodeal decided not to bid on a couple of star American pieces, the Philos
Blake & Pitt, & not surprisingly neither reached their respective reserves.

Other buyers secured some nice pieces, but in all honesty it was the Fotodeal show. I'm
sure some big rollers who are used to getting their own way are getting very frustrated by
his relentless mega bids.

When, sale two & three finished, the last hurrah was one week later with a second chance
auction for buyers & sellers alike. To confirm my super corkscrew nerd status I've just
flicked through the second chance listings to find that our Romanian friend won 20
auctions that value a total of £17,000/$27,000. I wonder what he spent in total?? I'm
guessing at over $100,000 & don't forget he bid the Bull collection up to $222,000!

From a personal point of view I was once again delighted with my results. A boxed rare
Heeley tap which has been sat on my website for about six months sold for £100 more than
the website price, ditto for a Willet's carriage key. I got a flier on a small Hipkins direct pull,
all this thanks to Fotodeal. Sold plenty of other pieces too for around the going rate,
sometimes more.

I bought one piece to sell on, a German double sprung framed corkscrew by Carl Ulrich &
bought a Hootch Owl for my collection.

Question is, what does the future hold for the corkscrew market when Fotodeal has what
he wants? From all accounts he's a millionaire developer who is buying to fill a museum
with corkscrews, irons & trivets & once a piece is ticked off the list, he doesn't buy a
double. Therefore, his buying won't last forever, & seeing as he's setting a lightning fast
pace it could all be over before we know it.
There's no doubt that many of the
recent ICCA auction results don't
reflect true market prices, but
instead reflect a driven collector that
clearly has way too much money to
spend & who in turn is being bid up
by similar affluent collectors. Big
rollers will always fight over good
pieces but I think right now we can
all get caught up in a unique market
place which is definitely giving us a
false reflection.

Big rollers will come & go, in recent
times we've seen Cohen, Plaster,
Paris & others, but Fotodeal, aka
ION CHIRESCU is truly remarkable.
You're playing with the big boys now!
May 15th 2011

Pretty Hopeless

With a few good finds at fairs recently
the diary has been rearranged where
possible to try to get to more. Newark in
June is in the diary, as it is for Gavin &

I met up with the guys at the Kempton
Park fair on tuesday after we finished
hunting. We decided we'd go off again
for one hour & each spend a fiver on a
random non corkscrew purchase. The
plan to list our items on ebay, with a five
day listing, starting at 99p & put all our
profits towards the coffee & cake Newark

One hour later we came back, although
Webby didn't appear & when he did he
came back with nothing - we sent him
back out there again with 5 minutes to
spend his fiver. He returned with two
horrible looking kitchen graters. Gavin
bought a Corgi London taxi & I bought a
hip flask.

I can report that our five day listings
finished tonight. I sold my hip flask for
99p, neither Gav or Webby got a bid.

Yes - pretty hopeless!

Antique dealers wherever you are - you
don't need to worry about us three.
May 15th 2011
I Buy Corkscrews

So, I gave my daughter an
embarrassing Dad picture when
we went to Thorpe Park last
Friday. That's easy for me.

Got me thinking that maybe I
should turn my Theme park
poncho into my all new antique
fair outfit, so I'm instantly
recognised as the corkscrew guy.

Dealers would say something like
"Look, there goes the nerdy
corkscrew guy. I wonder if this
corkscrew marked Shrapnel will
be of interest? Oi! corkscrew guy,
come look at this".

What do you reckon?
June 1st 2011

Despite the lack of Blogging I bought a vast number
of corkscrews during May, including some very nice
ones :)

One deal that didn't finalise in May looks like being
completed sometime in June. A Cyber handshake
has taken place & collection is imminent for a truly
beautiful French tire-bouchon a cage in Ivory.

Over the last few weeks a long series of emails has
gone backwards & forwards to get to this stage. They
do say good things come to those that wait.

If you have a corkscrew cage for sale I'd love to buy
it from you.  
June 1st 2011
Coming soon to a cinema near
you, I mean Ebay - Holroyde -
Another variant

I made an offer recently for an interesting variant
of Holroyde cork splitter corkscrew, in the form of
a metal T with the makers initials on the handle.

There is no reference anywhere to this piece.

I was hopeful that my offer, which I thought was
generous would be accepted, but alas it wasn't,
even after upping the anti with the offer of an
extra £100 on top. Some people will always take
the gamble of auction regardless of what is
offered which is fair enough.

I've chatted on the phone to the son that's selling
for his gambling Mum. It will be listed on our
favourite auction site within a couple of weeks.

My guess - It will generate plenty of interest & then
Fotodeal will buy it.

What's your guess?
May 28th 2011
Private beach

Ruth, Hols & I just got back from a great week in
Swanage, Dorset. I was a good chap & avoided
corkscrew hunting & the time consuming Internet
& concentrated on family time.

The weather was a bit hit & miss but we managed
a couple of days at Sandbanks beach, which in
the height of Summer would be crowded. We
pretty much had the beach to ourselves.

Check out my monster crab!
June 1st 2011
Ladies legs corkscrews

Several parcels arrived today. I love parcels! In three
separate boxes were three different variants of ladies
legs corkscrews. A good set of flesh legs, better still,
a nickel plated example & even better, a tri-colour set
with odd stockings on one side. Woweeeeee!

If you have a ladies legs corkscrew with striped
stockings, flesh with stockings or maybe a nickel
plated or brass example, please drop me a line, I'd be
delighted to buy them from you.  
June 20th 2011
A Sunday Corkscrew Fix

I don't normally find myself bidding for corkscrews at
auction on a Sunday, but I was yesterday when a
Lund Queens patent was up for grabs at Wilkinson's
auctioneers in Doncaster, Yorkshire.

I'd worked out my best bid & my best bid was just
about good enough to win it. So a nice piece will be
heading to Calleva within the next few days.

Another nice piece is up for grabs tomorrow, but
buyer beware!!!! I had a chat with the auctioneer
earlier today & not only does this fancy 3 1/2 windows
Thomason variant disappointingly have only half a
handle, the half a handle that's there spins around &
does not move the mechanism which clearly has worn
away at some point. What a shame!!! Would of been
a great piece in A1 shape.

Hey, I called it right with the Holroyde, plenty of
interest with moneybags Fotodeal winning the piece
for the price of a nice holiday in the sun. We could
use some sun in the UK, the weather has been
rubbish lately.

Got something corkscrew related to share with
Drop me a line & I'll Blog it for you.  
Corkscrew Valuation &
Buying Service

Send pictures of your corkscrew or corkscrews to receive a
current valuation with the compliments of Corkscrews Online.

Value my corkscrew
*June 20th Update*
Corkscrews Online corkscrews for sale
24th June 2011
Video up on

How to replace a dusting brush.

Disappointingly, I've had little time
lately to work on the new site.
Hopefully I'll find some time over the
next few months & get busy once

Don't forget, if you want to get stuck
into the project with me you would be
most welcome. You'll get full credit &
your own email address that
comes directly to you, via your
personal Yahoo mail box.

Drop me a line if you want to get

Bernard Masson corkscrew collection

Date: 5th July 2011

Where: Woolley & Wallis auctioneers in
Salisbury @ 10:30 a.m.

Viewing Times
Friday 1st July 10.00am - 4.30pm
Saturday 2nd July 10.00am - 1.00pm
Monday 4th July 10.00am - 4.30pm
Tuesday 5th July 8.30am - 10.15a

Woolley & Wallis catalogue
Corkscrews start at lot 467
(Probably after 2:00 p.m. - check with the auctioneers)

Hope to see you there!
28th June 2011
Hampton lever corkscrew on my patch

Great I thought, a Hampton lever corkscrew at my
nearest auction house, a formality win.

Wrong! Close but no cigar

Wanted, a Hampton lever corkscrew. Have you
got a Hampton lever with a corkscrew? Avoid the
ridiculous auctioneers commission & accept a pile
of cash in your hand from me. Drop me a line
28th June 2011
Oh my! The software works.

I've been conscious of the ebay buy it now masters for
some time now. Stand up & take a bow:

JOSEF "The Binner" L'Africain
Robert "The Wineleopard" Leopardi
Stephen Paul - AKA - The Colonel

These guys know what hardcore ebay refreshing is about
& deserve their deals for hours of diligent work. I've not
been able to compete with these masters of the refresh,
that is, until now...

18 months ago I took a concept to a software company,
the concept being an ebay buy it now revised sniper.
They were confident that software could be produced,
so I decided to give the green light to the development. Following the early Beta disappointments, I'm now in
possession of
EBINNER version 1.2 which is working effectively & I can announce that EBINNER has secured me
my first revised buy it now. My computer was off & I was asleep. I am overjoyed!! A stunning carved Elephant -
very cool!

Here's how EBINNER software works
1. Find an ebay item without a bid
2. Load the item number with your maximum buy it now price into
3. Don't ask the seller for a buy it now, others will, te he. You can if you want though.
EBINNER keeps you signed into your ebay account 24/7 & auto refreshes your EBIN snipes every 10 seconds
5. Any item in your
EBINNER that suddenly has a revised buy it now added which is below your maximum buy it
now price is sniped for you.

Win, win, win!!!! As easy as that!

The total process takes no more than 20 seconds guaranteed & can be as quick as 11 seconds. Even Josef will
struggle to compete, lol.

For maximum results, check ebay newly listed auctions 3 or 4 times a day & add auctions that take your fancy
into your
EBINNER software, then sit back & watch as your inbox receives "YOU'VE WON THIS EBAY ITEM"

If a bid is placed on any of your EBIN snipes then a buy it now is not possible.
EBINNER then takes on the role of
your ebay snipe software & will snipe for the same amount as your maximun buy it now price in the final 6
seconds of the auction. Obviously you can cancel at any time.

As you'd expect, this software is highly specialised & has been incredibly expensive to develop. I've decided to
market the software with dongle protection & with ebay category protection. Only 4 additional copies of
will be coded to enable BIN purchases using ebay category: Breweriana, corkscrews. Software sold with a 5 year

  • Be one of only five Worldwide corkscrew collectors using the amazing EBINNER software.
  • Put your feet up, watch the footee, BBQ with friends, get pissed down the pub & get back to see what
    you've won!
  • Have the other corkscrew collectors cursing your definite advantage.
  • Amaze them at the next meet when you pull out a 12 pillar Thomason when all they can pull out is a pot
    metal turtle.

The ebay Buy It Now wizard that wins you auctions

£1750 (five year licence)

Don't delay, buy today, contact
30th June 2011

Thank you all so much for the phenomenal interest in EBINNER software. I can report that there is now only one
remaining licence for ebay category: Breweriana, corkscrews. If you want it, you'll have to be quick!

Here are the four licenced EBINNER users for ebay category Breweriana, corkscrews
1. Peter Borrett - ebay user name corkscrew_uk
2. Gavin Maddock - ebay user name gav1uk
3. Don Bull - ebay user name corkpuller
4. Tommy Campnell - ebay user name syrocokid
5. ?

Gavin Maddock was as quick as a flash to secure his copy of
EBINNER & has already reported a win, he writes
"Pete, I just picked up my first win, 19 seconds after a buy it now was added, I was asleep too, what's more, I
didn't even ask for it, lol. Ebinner is amazing!!!!"

Don Bull knows a good thing when he sees it. Don was prepared to buy all five licences to send the competition
packing. A great plan Don! This would of meant I didn't get to use my own software so Don has reluctantly settled
for one copy.

Tommy Campnell & I worked a software/corkscrew trade. TC gets the revolutionary
EBINNER software, I get a
great Thomason variant +, thanks Tommy!

The ebay Buy It Now wizard that wins you auctions

£1750 (five year licence)
Only one licence remains!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't delay, buy today, contact