Sales Report - November 2013

In November we again saw a great range of quality corkscrews spread among an increasing number of buyers. The number of registered participants has increased pleasingly since the May sale. We now have 925 registered of whom 116 were successful bidders.

The sale attracted 965 listings from 80 sellers of which 585 attracted bids and 520 were sold (54% of listings). These numbers are broadly in line with recent sales. The number of listings is now capped as the administrators have restricted the length of the sale. While we would like to see higher completion rates the administrators are reluctant to impose a charge on unsuccessful sellers.


Burgess 1875 (#12861)

11 pieces sold for more than our arbitrary "major" guideline price of $5,000. Seven were mechanical (5 English, 1 French and 1 Swedish) and 4 were decorative (2 Dutch, 2 French). No major German or American pieces appeared in November.

One highlight was a very rare English lever patented in 1875 by John Burgess (of Burgess & Fenton fame) (lot # 12861). Burgess set out to improve the Lund type 2 piece single lever by connecting the worm to the lever frame (in the French/Belgian manner) and by making the collar holding the neck of the bottle flexible. The flexible collar was to prevent the bottle neck from breaking-apparently a problem with the fixed collar on the Lund type lever. Judging by the rarity of the Burgess "improved" lever it seems that the extra complications were unnecessary and perhaps the link connecting the worm to the lever was prone to breakage.

The Burgess lever attracted very keen bidding ending at $20.000. For the first time in ICCAuctions, fotodeal missed out when bidding on a major piece. The bidding fortunes were reversed on the even rarer Thomason with ratchet sold by Fletcher Wallis (lot # 13755). Even though this piece lacked its badge, it still reached $15,000.

Other major mechanicals included a rare single pillar Royal Club for $5420 (#13282), an English Garlic patent with cork splitter and crank handle for $12,500 (#13595) and a rare Swedish direct pressure patent for $8350 (#13137).

The November sale featured a great collection of lovely 18th century English and Dutch silver pieces offered by an English silver specialist. They attracted spirited bidding, particularly from the Netherlands, and the two pieces which passed the $5000 mark were Dutch sheathed figurals: a dog for $5688 (#13400) and a goat which reached $8875 (#13406). A sea creature fell just short of $5000 (#13455).

Dutch Dog Figural (#13400)

Dutch Goat Figural (#13406)

Dutch Sea Creature (#13455)

The sale also featured two decorative French bows, one a rare iron folding bow which sold for $10,500 (#12916), the other a fixed bow for $6775 (#12826). Both were examples of fine French 18th century metal craftsmanship using chasing (hammering inwards) and gilding techniques.


Hard to find pieces, particularly English patents and registrations, keep emerging from the Frank Ellis collection which has been the biggest source of successful listings throughout the 6 years of ICCAuctions. Examples in this sale included a very rare Codd opener patented eyebrow for $3079 (#12775), a Vaughan patent Codd opener for $1134 (#12776), another registered Codd opener with caplifter for $372 (#12815) and a registered 3 finger pull with caplifter for $526 (#12780).

A feature of the sale was the number of times fotodeal passed when confronted by determined collectors pursuing special categories. Check the simple-looking German 1932 patented waiter’s friend from the Frank Ellis collection for $1610 (#12794). The handle conceals a rack and pinion mechanism. See also a Dutch silver pocket piece for $1300 (#12898), 4 peg and worms for $600 (#12833), the English straight pull with concealed spike for $722 (#13004), a Danish pewter figural for $430 (#13141), a Chinese figural for $499 (#13673), the non-worm extractor for $520 (#13444) and, best of all, the crazy big Clough for $634 (#13366) where Syrocokid outlasted bidding from both the Romanian and Spanish museums!

Other rare bits of wire which attracted keen competition included a very interesting mechanical frame for $340 (#13547) and a 2 finger Clough with double helix which reached $396 (#13361).

Giant Clough (#13366)

Mechanical Frame (#13547)


ICCAuctions now offers all visitors a data base of over 5000 successful listings which helps both buyers and sellers to assess value. But value still often remains hard to assess because of variations in condition.

A small sample: A nice unmarked German registered duckbill for $113 (#13024) was cheap and the very fine marked version for $275 (#12874) was good buying, perhaps reflecting a decline in value for this distinctive piece.

A Burgess & Fenton single lever (#13018) only reached $1737 but condition and markings could partly explain that. A US Curley self-puller (#13046) was not perfect but still great buying at only $100. A lovely looking Harvest Thomason (#13550) which the seller disclosed may have been resharpened, only reached $722, much lower than other Harvests in the same sale.

The sale featured 3 examples of the greatly prized Cotterill. While 2 apparently correct versions failed to sell for much higher prices, a damaged version (#13584) was well contested and reached $2920. Hard to assess this one.

Condition was not an issue for a lovely unmarked Dray with replaceable worm (#13547) which was surely good buying for $650.

The next ICCAuctions sale will be in February. The February "mini-sale" will focus on pieces from 3 or 4 collectors who have high completion rates in the major May and November sales.


BUY NOW is open for fixed price sales continuously throughout the year.

Some of the pieces which didn’t sell on the November sale have been relisted on BUY NOW at lower prices. The best buys don’t stay for long! Check past BUY NOW sales here.

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