The Great Trade No. 2

I love celluloid figural corkscrews. I have a fairly extensive collection, but I am always on the hunt for more. Yesterday, Tipped Worm Johnny listed a pretty rare Williamson advertising corkscrew. It was quite expensive. I asked him if he would budge a little downward. He scoffed at me, but he came back with a new idea. How about a larger trade? See his options below. I get the Father Time figural and two of the celluloid figures.

I decided on the two in the center

What did he get? I gave up a very rare long slider….

Some might say, why? I have my reasons. And I still have a larger green slider. Everybody is happy!


The Completed Trade

This morning Tommy and I spent about 30 minutes on the phone. We went through “The Process” of finalizing the trade. Trading is an unusual and stressful way to get great corkscrews. Sometimes it is easy when one person collects one type and another person collects other types. The stress comes when they collect the same types. TC and I do both. But both of us are ultra competitive and want to get the better deal.

For example, I love the Barnes and have coveted it for years. But, I really wasn’t excited about gutting my Syroco collection. The big Aubock key was a no brainer because I had an exact duplicate of the early English bow. The Walker Peg was more difficult because I was breaking up a collection of 5 different examples on the small advertising bows, but I did it anyway.

We both knew the legs would be the really difficult trade….They are super rare . He could have sold them for big $$$$ so I had to come up big. He asked for a much more expensive Dutch Silver Horse. I laughed at him. He got a little testy and reminded me that he had driven me all over creation last week. I asked him if he had not had a good time, too. And I reminded him about the dinners at Andros Taverna and Rose Cafe that were my treat. It was a dance, a Tango of sorts…then we got down to business.

I relented and gave up my Rare Curley extended version and my Sterling Converse. I thought that was plenty, but Tommy wanted more! Finally, he asked if I would be willing to throw in a Sterling Haff roundlet. DEAL!!! It was a duplicate anyway. Check it out below….

So who won? We both would love to know …..just comment below with either Tommy or Robert.

To trade or not to trade

As a collector, it is important to constantly be on the hunt. I collect many things. All of them are either difficult to find or expensive, or both. My latest conundrum is over a group of small advertising bows. These are delightful little miniature pieces that more than likely were produced back in the early 20th century. So far, I have collected five different advertising examples. While on my recent trip, I spent three days with my friend Tommy searching high and low through southern Michigan, northern Indiana, and northern Illinois for antique corkscrews. We also visited Tommy’s house. That is when trade discussions got serious.

Tommy has three of these corkscrews. He wanted another in exchange for a Walker Peg and Worm with no advertising. We agreed that I would send him one of mine that he didn’t have. See the corkscrews I am supposed to get in trade below

As you can see there are some spectacular corkscrews. The big key is a Carl Aubock piece. I have several different sizes of these, but not the giant one. Then there is the aforementioned Walker Peg and Worm. Then, a super rare half pink and half flesh lady legs corkscrew. And lastly the illusive Barnes folding bow with ears. I have been looking for this corkscrew for 20 years. It has been on my radar since I set up an $85 bin for one back in the late 1990s and my great friend Josef got there before I did…But back to the story…..

The three above are the three corkscrews that I must choose from to trade to Tommy. Which do I let go of? I am trying to figure it out (I am breaking up a mini collection of five corkscrews to pick up the Walker with no advertising to make that a Collection of 4 examples). Also, one of the corkscrews, the Old Buckingham Whisky is a different example than TC’s. Mine says “John Horn” on the other side and his says “William Gardner”.

J. Darrow Wines, J.M. Fitzgerald, Drink Hub Punch, Old Buckingham Whiskey (John Horn version), Whelan & Co

Which one do I trade? …here are the Williamson Pegs I have currently

Thomas Dick, Bott Bros., and H.D. Berner

.Then, for the Aubock key I am trading an early English bow of which I have two….

I will send him one of the two in the center

Next, for the Barnes with ears I am giving TC a mint example of a Golden Knight with intact sticker. Hmmm, I made this deal in a moment of weakness.

And so the last, the legs…..I collect rare legs. I used to sell them all, but now I keep them. These are really cool, but the metal is a bit rough. TC and I are still going back and forth on this one….player to be named later.
More later…oh, by the way…..I would love to hear from you all who you think is getting the better deal.

My latest Obsession!

I have been remiss in posting on this blog and have instead been using Facebook and Instagram as public venues. Time to get back to the blog…..

I tend to go off on tangents as a collector. For the last several months I have been buying carved bone figural pieces. I used to buy them and keep them for a while and then flip them, then I started really liking them…. I got an awesome one over the weekend. It’s an old Walker Patent with a Sterling end cap, but what makes it special is the carving of the monkey holding the bottle of sparkling wine with his hands and the cork with his tail. I paid more for this guy than I usually do, but i think it was worth it.


I have been on a bit of a role in regards to these guys. I have even given them a drawer to themselves in the Map Case. Most of these corkscrews date back from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The artists are very creative. Here are a few others for you to enjoy….


This is an intricately carved horn of a monkey sitting in a tree. He is missing one glass eye, but otherwise in great condition. He is gigantic.



Here are two carved bone corkscrews . The one on the right, the elephant was a birthday present from my wife about 20 year’s ago. It is missing the back sterling end cap and has a chip on the other ear, but I will never get rid of it.

The dog was a recent purchase that slipped through the cracks in an auction because they never identified it as a corkscrew. I found it by chance. Got a great deal on it. It’s in perfect condition.


The corkscrew on the right is beautiful. It has a Cougar’s head. The corkscrew on the left is a carving of a monk drinking a mug. Too cool.

Here is a closer view…


Next, I have a really historical piece. It is not carved. It has a copper end cap that is engraved with the following:


“The Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York was founded by Washington Irving and others, as an organization to commemorate the history and heritage of New York, and to promote good fellowship among the members. The first meeting was a dinner held on February 14, 1835 at Washington Hall, a popular dining and meeting locale in the 1830s, at the southeast corner of the intersection of Broadway and Reade Street. At that meeting 31 gentlemen signed the constitution of the Society. On February 28, the first members were elected, a total of 275.”

It is the piece on the left. I found this corkscrew at an estate sale in Tucson. I also happen to have been able to identify the  Family the piece came from.




The piece on the right is another simple horn corkscrew with a great sterling cap and tail.

Next below… a slight departure:


The two pieces above are both interesting. The double headed Elephant is not of natural material. It looks like a bakelite or early plastic. It’s very cool. I had to have it. The deer on the right is extremely well carved and in perfect condition.


Now, Alligators and Crocodiles have been favorites of the early carvers for a long time. I believe both of these come from Florida.  The piece on the left is carved on a horn and is pretty common. The piece on the right is carved from   orangewood supposedly by the local Indians.



These next two are just gorgeous . The piece on the left is simple, but elegant. It has a wonderful decorative shank and beautiful Sterling End Caps. I bought it on Etsy for 20.00. It was so dirty and tarnished that it was hard to see how lovely it would become. The piece on the right is magnificent. The decorative sterling overlay has a few flaws, but overall it is in great condition. It could be my favorite piece. 



Next, there are two pieces that are obviously American. The piece on the left has a beautiful Mahogany handle with what look like silver end caps. Unfortunately, no markings at all. The piece on the right has a Robert Murphy type button, but alas, is also unsigned. It does have a hallmark for Simon Bros. in Philadelphia.



To round out the collection, here are two simple pieces that I like quite a bit….


Many of these corkscrews have hallmarks on the sterling end caps so it is easier to date and identify them. I hope everyone enjoyed the pictures. These corkscrews take me back to a simpler time. 

I love Roundlets

I love roundlets . Little pocket corkscrews come in many different designs. The roundlet is just one style. I have Sterling examples, old nickel roundlets,  wooden ones, and old plastic(Celluloid) and hard rubber ones. Last week I was able to procure an early Celluloid multi-color with a Sterling plate.

It is one of the smaller examples. It is a rare example as I have only seen similar with Sterling ends in the Peters & Guilian Pocket Corkscrew book

I have a bunch of these corkscrews, but only one with Sterling


As you can see, there are many different materials used. The black ones are actually Goodyear Rubber from the early 1860s.

A few days before I got the small Celluloid and Sterling example, I was able to secure a gorgeous Sterling example. It is repousse in design. It is signed STERLING-B ++

8c9d3582-cf20-4724-bb45-3277b05edac2So all in all, roundlets are some of my favorite types of pocket pieces. If you have one you want to send my way, don’t be shy.

Marked Picnic Corkscrew Example Of Coney’s Registration 1871 No 258,449 is added to the collection

First of all. Happy New Year Everyone! Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about the first corkscrew buy of 2017.

We spent New Year’s Eve up in Cottonwood, Az. (Sedona area, but much more our style – neat little town with lots of antique stores, restaurants, and local winery tasting rooms). We were visiting friends and ended up drinking tons of Champagne…..Margaine and Aubry Rose, Marc Hebrart and Chartogne- Taillet MVs, Gaston Chiquet Special Club 2008, and a ton more. Thank heavens for B12!!!!

We were able to hit a few of the stores. Almost nothing there until I saw a rare Flash. So i picked that up as a present for you know who. Maybe that was good karma because on New Year’s Day, just as we were about to leave to head home, I get a text with pictures from a friend in Phoenix. His friend found this unusual corkscrew and am I interested…Sure am!

Now I have other Coney Picnics, but not with the registration mark. Also, this one has the decorative brass sheath. Obviously had to have it.




Here are the other Coney picnic corkscrews already in the collection. If you are searching the books for this one, try searching Sunderland, the proprietor of Coney & Co. as well.



A Rare R. Murphy added to the collection

Last week I was able to secure a very rare R. Murphy Boston corkscrew for the collection. I have only seen this variation twice to my knowledge. Both times, they appeared on my friend Josef’s website. So needless to say, I was very excited when this guy popped up on Ebay with an attractive Buy It Now.

So what is this rare piece? Take a look….murphypage19

Yup, A T Handle with a foil cutter serrated knife….


I like the Murphy corkscrews. The company dates back to 1850, but didn’t start making corkscrews till the 1870s. They moved several times, so the signatures changed. The pieces are usually pretty clearly marked either on the shaft for most T handles, on the bottom of the bell for the 1901 parent, or on the frame for the all metal open frames.Josef has done some wonderful research on the company. Just go to and look under Corkscrew Research. See the rest of my collection below…





As you can see, I have extras for trade or sale. Let me know. Also if you happen to have a Murphy or any other old corkscrew for sale, I am always interested

Latest Grabs!

These guys are a few of my latest additions. The Celluloid golf figural is big! He came from an uunsolicited Ebay bin while I was sitting playing scrabble with my old friend Gary last weekend. It pays to multi-task. I have a whole bunch of these early 20th century figural pieces. If I remember correctly, Celluloid was invented back in 1869 in both upstate New York and almost simultaneously Germany.

The second unsolicited EBay Bin was last night at 10:50 Mountain time. I was just getting ready to turn out the lights and figured I would check EBay one more time. These Syroco combos turn up too often to be made up. But why would they combine a n Old Codger body with a Bull Dog head?




img_0965Been in Manhattan the last few days. Great food and wine.  Went to a new restaurant called Italienne and to the Musket Room. Italienne is a southern French inspired Northern Italian restaurant that is getting a good amount of attention and the Musket Room is a New Zealand inspired restaurant with one Michelin star. Both were excellent. The funny part was that at both restaurants it felt like I was back in Tucson. The wine and restaurant world is so small. Just small degrees of separation.

I also went went to the Whitney yesterday. What an awesome experience! Great American Art! My favorites….Marsden Hartley had a painting that really moved me and Gerald Murphy had a corkscrew in one!

Not it to be forgotten were my two trips to the Manhattan Art and Antique Center. I passed on the 1200.00 Meissen head corkscrew and the 1500.00 gold funnel corkscrew, but I found a great 18th century fish figural that is missing its sheath and has a very loose worm. I actually left it there overnight to think about it. I was convinced by TC’s picture he sent of a William Johnston piece. I didn’t have my books, but you can always count on a Corkscrewteer to come through .

Now one off to a weekend in the country at my friend Gary’s house outside Flemington, N.J.  Killer art, killer wine, and more killer food as Natasha, Gary’s Culinary Institute trained fiancé cooks us dinner tonight with some great champagne, Gruner, and Burgundy .

But first, a trip this morning to LAmbertville for more corkscrew hunting. Wish me luck!

Great find! A Syroco Full Body Indian Corkscrew

Last week I was lucky enough to find an obscure auction for a coveted Syroco Full Body Indian Corkscrew. I got him for a pretty good deal and he is a second, so I am open to offers. He is made of composite, not solid wood. He came from upstate New york and was probably made in the 1950s. A great find considering how rare.


So the auction was a soft close, which means every time there is a bid it gets extended for another few minutes. We were on our way to some friends’ house for dinner. We Ubered in anticipation of imbibing in excess. Lucky we did as the auction kept going and just finished as we pulled into their driveway.