Rare antique corkscrew picked for $39; sells for $5,000

In the recently concluded 9th auction sale of ICCAuctions, new world records for antique corkscrew prices were established. These high prices exceed any prices in the previous eight ICCAuctions sales and any public sales to date.

This unique 18th century Irish corkscrew called the “Read’s Coaxer” – the corkscrew’s first appearance in a public sale – sold for a record price of $35,555.

On day one, a possibly unique 18th century Irish corkscrew called the “Read’s Coaxer,” the corkscrew’s first appearance in a public sale – sold for a record price of $35,555. It is a vertical handle corkscrew mounted on brass; in the handle is an ivory plaque with inlaid crest. The brass button is marked “Read’s Coaxer, 4 Parliament St.” Thomas Read was a well-known cutler in Dublin circa 1790.

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That record lasted one day, because on day two, after spirited bidding, a very fine example of the Robert Jones 2 corkscrew – 1842 English registration – reached $36,780. The Jones 2 is not as rare as the Read’s Coaxer (perhaps 10 good examples are known) – but it is a marvelously designed piece. Marked “Robert Jones & Son, Birmingham” on the brass barrel, the two steel spikes on the barrel assist in removing the cork.

Most collectors enjoy the “thrill of the chase” while seeking out the rare and unusual and then finding a treasure at a bargain price. One of the sellers in this auction found a rare corkscrew in a Los Angeles thrift shop several months ago for just $39. He decided to auction the corkscrew known as the Philos Blake corkscrew. It was the first corkscrew patented in the U.S. with patent #27,665, dated Mar. 27, 1860, by the nephew of Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin. As one of the rarest of U.S. patented corkscrews, it realized a selling price of $5,000.

In total, the 9th auction of ICCAuctions LLC sold more than 550 lots, with prices ranging from $100 to $36,780; 108 corkscrew lots sold for more than $1,000.

ICCAuctions is a volunteer initiative of the corkscrew collecting community. Since starting its twice-yearly sales four years ago, more than 3,500 quality corkscrews have been sold with a minimum price of $100. The next online antique corkscrew auction is scheduled for November 2012.

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