The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper

Sunday, March 4, 2007

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Dead Serious

What a way to go! The latest thing in coffins are giant coffins in the form of everyday objects. A chap in England named Colin Liddell ordered a giant cork with corkscrew. Others have ordered a handbell, a narrow boat, and a kite.

The coffins are produced by Vic Fearn Company, Nottingham, England. The price of going out in such a coffin - 4 to 5,000 pounds. They also have produced a guitar coffin as well as an egg, a bell, a skateboard and a dumpster.

David Crampton, Director of the Firm says "A lot of people buy coffins (as) pieces of furniture: coffee tables, hi-fi cabinets, bedroom furniture, blankets, gallery benches. The idea is you have a seat in your home and you say to your friends 'do you tempt fate, would you like to sit on a coffin?'."

David himself wants a coffin that is a dance shoe "because as well as being a coffin maker I'm a ballroom dance teacher," he reveals.

Editor's note: Thanks to reader David Rock for bringing the Daily Mail article to our attention.

A Royal Screw

This corkscrew was offered on eBay by a seller from Belarus. The description was "Rare Badge Emblem Royal Club Corkscrew Very gorgeous corkscrew. It looks old but it's in a great condition. The Royal Club emblem is very clear and without defects. Mechanism is working good but may be it needs to be oiling. " It sold on January 28, 2007 for $2250.00.

The buyer was reader Dick Clark who writes "This is just a head's up that I have been working with Paypal and e-bay in the hopes of generating action against the seller on e-bay who has been selling imitation corkscrews from Belarus. They took me on an alleged Royal Club and they took one of my fellow corkscrew collectors on another cs.

The Seller was identified on Paypal as Julia (withheld*) but the name I communicated with was Robert (withheld*). He tried to get me to wire the funds to an account in Australia which seemed odd since he was supposedly in Belarus so I used Paypal.

They are very careful in their descriptions but in my case they clearly advertised their corkscrew to be the 'C. Hull Royal Club' which it is not. Interestingly, the seller may actually be located in Australia according to information I have received. May not be successful, but it is worth it to try.

When I received the 'Hull Royal Club', I immediately noticed that it didn't work because it caught at several points when the lever is used. It was rough not smooth like the others I had seen. In other words, the design is off. Second, upon closer inspection the 'nut' on the connection for the lever is new, not old."

Rich added this footnote to the Editor "You can quote me and use my story in the hopes it will help others. Also, most of my fellow corkscrew collectors would probably relish the headline Dumb Lawyer Duped in Denver!"

*The Weekly Screw does not disclose last names or eBay IDs of questionable sellers.

Don't Make Any Rash Purchases

The seller mentioned in the above article also offered a "Old Rasch's Mechanical Corkscrew Very Rare The item is without condition problem. The handle is mounted so as to both permit the penetration and removal of the cork." It sold for $242.50 on January 28, 2007. Given this low price, most savvy collectors obviously questioned the validity of this corkscrew.

Walk Away - Rapidly

The above named seller also offered this corkscrew for sale closing on January 28. The description was "Ultra Rapide Rare Mechanical Corkscrew Great working condition. Two markings."

The corkscrew sold for $886.12.

The seller's auctions were a "private auctions" and, therefore, the winning bidders are not disclosed.

Buyer Beware Follow-up

The corkscrew on the left was shown in the February 4 issue with a "Buyer Beware". The seller was the seller mentioned above.

The "corkscrew" sold for $855.99.

The corkscrew on the right was shown in the February 18 issue with a "Buyer Beware". The seller listed the corkscrew location as Belarus.

The "corkscrew" closed on February 19 at $88.61. A genuine Read's Coaxer would have sold in the thousands.

Hopefully buyers are becoming increasingly aware of the sellers who are trying to take advantage of the market for rare corkscrews by producing copies.

Window Dressing

The "corkscrew" on the left was offered with this description: "Vintage rare bronze corkscrew the convertible patent corkscrew. A very collectable vintage item very difficult to get. Main dimensions 8 " x 2 "x 1", Worm 2" In good condition, no chips, cracks or repairs. This original and unique piece comes from an Estate in Buenos Aires.

This question / comment was sent to the seller: "Can you explain how it works? It appears to made made from hardware shown in John Cartland's various patents for door and window closures."

The response was: "I have got this corkscrew from a collector that has sold part of his collection. As this was the most rare corkscrew I have seen, I listed it first. I have researched on the Internet but I didn't find anything about it. It is marked Cartlands but I don't imagine how it can be used as a door or window closing."

Cartland was issued seven British patents between 1908 and 1916 for window and door hardware. The photo of the hardware on the right was submitted by reader Wayne Meadows with this comment: "Attached is the real Cartlands, before modification. It was used on a transom, thus the cord to open and close the window. The convertible part is that the bracket could be swapped such that you could install it on the left or right hand side of the window."

The "Cartlands Corkscrew" auction closed February 24 at $247.50. There were 14 "bids" with only two bidders competing. The winning bidder placing the last seven bids. There was no response to attempts to contact the winning bidder.

The "French" Colombo

Aldo Colombo's 1984 U. S. Design Patent Corkscrew was offered at eBay live auction with the seller using this description "French steel corkscrew c.1920 Modeled as a sommalier [sic] in reverse, marked sommalier [sic] to base. H: 8 in." The sale estimate was $200-$300 (plus buyer's premium).

After several emails informing the seller of the patent date and the country of origin as Italy, the auction title was changed to c.1980 and "French" was dropped. Still in the description was c.1920 and now "French style U S made". But was the floor auction catalog amended?

The auction closed on March 2 with a sale price of $600! The winner was a floor bidder at the live auction. And the bidder had to pay a 22% buyer's premium. Total for this corkscrew: $732.00.

Note: A Sommelier corkscrew was listed a few days earlier with a February 27 close date. The starting bid was $12.00. No bids were placed.

New Corkscrews

A number of corkscrews frequently offered on an auction website are new. They are reproductions of collectible corkscrews. Generally the descriptions do not state that they are old and in some of the descriptions the word replica is used. The prices fetched when sold are reasonable but the biggest fear collectors might have is that they will turn up later for resale as "old" or "antique". We are not passing judgment on these corkscrews rather we are simply attempting to raise collector awareness of new corkscrews. Here are a few recent offerings with the lisitng description. This group turns up frequently and apparently has been produced in quantity:

"beautiful valuable corkscrew old design wood"

"beautiful valuable corkscrew old design"

"beautiful valuable replica corkscrew"

"Champagne Soda tire-bouchon corkscrew Fontaine"

"beautiful valuable corkscrew"

"beautiful valuable replica corkscrew"

"beautiful pocket valuable corkscrew"

"nobly metal pocket corkscrew"

Anna Nicole Corkscrew

Dear Editor:

Boy did I get ripped off !! I wish I'd read your article on Buying Tips. I just bought this unique rare one-of-a-kind vintage Anna Nicole corkscrew in a private auction. The seller said he bought it at an estate sale in the Bahamas. The seller would not answer any of my emails and failed to send me any more photographs. I sent my cash payment to a P.O. Box in Nigeria. Do you think there's any chance of me getting my money back ??

Please advise.

Disgruntled in Boston

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©2007 Don Bull, Editor


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