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Sales Report - November 2014
The November sale saw an abundance of quality corkscrews sold to a broad range of collectors but on several measures there has been a marked slowing in the market.
440 lots sold out of 965 listings. The 46% completion rate is lower than the 56% average since we launched in 2008, reflecting a slowing market. The “2nd chance” sale option produced few sales and will not be used in future sales. Low completion seems to reflect sellers holding out for the peak prices of recent years which are often no longer obtainable for the more common pieces.
There has been some discussion of the slowing market. We believe it simply reflects supply and demand. A number of prominent collections have hit the market together in recent years while buying from several wine and corkscrew museum buyers has slowed as their collections have developed. In particular Ion Chirescu is still a very active buyer but has now assembled a monumental collection in Bucharest (which CCCC members look forward to seeing in August).
The selling from major collections seems to be easing. While there is no shortage of listings or sellers (78 sellers participated in November,13 first timers), there were less major pieces for sale. While demand is hard to forecast, we had a good spread of 107 buyers in November (8 first timers) which augers well for future sales.
The Sale included some excellent pieces several of which had not appeared in our past sales or elsewhere.
The Decker (#15801) ticked a lot of boxes. This was one one of only two known examples of this German mechanical granted an American patent in 1876 (a year before German Patent Office was established). The $12,500 price realized seemed very reasonable for such rarity and clear provenance. But it doesn’t have great visual appeal and perhaps it fell between the cracks: US patent collectors preferring US pieces and German collectors liking a German patent or registration. At these rarified levels it can be tricky to anticipate market appeal.
A lovely Perille single lever (#15701), also new to our sales, sold for a very impressive $17,500. Like other Perille levers it looks great.
Another piece new to our sales was a Belgian direct pressure corkscrew (#15676). The mechanism was the same as Hull’s Presto and it could be Charles Dicker’s 1893 French patent. It reached $5,800 after healthy bidding.
There was a good range of familiar but very highly sought after pieces which attracted keen competition and generally healthy prices. With these pieces, where buyers know “there will be another one”, prices can vary widely with fairly minor differences in condition.
Some fine examples of the English classics sold for healthy prices: A Thomason variant (#15627) for $1880, a Royal Club without rollers (#16099) for $2,400 and a good Newton’s ratchet (#15292) for $2,500. Four original Henshall Solo patent’s were on offer and the two better ones reached $2,700 (#15289) and $2,600 (#16216). The unusually high number of Soho Henshalls on offer did not seem to depress prices.
Similarly, good examples of some classic American figurals were well bid and sold well: a Syroco Golden Knight (#15754) for $2,700, a Hootch Owl double lever (#15759) for $2,500 , a painted Syroco clown (#16114) for $1,300 and the novelty Crosby pup (#15770) for $907.
These are all pieces with a helpful history of past sales on our site. This is a great resource to allow both buyers and potential sellers to assess how prices vary with condition and how prices have moved over time.
Our sales have attracted an increasing number of fine silver pieces, mainly Dutch and some English pocket corkscrews from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The older Dutch sheathed figural pieces are always in demand. In this sale there was a lion (#16254) for $3000, a fish (#16255) for $2200, a man with 2 horses (#15673) for $2600 and an early (1742) non-figural sheath (#15680) for $3,100. While this is a specialized area, anyone interested in participating would get a good feel by reading Peters and Giulian’s Pocket Corkscrew book (pp 44-52 is dedicated to Dutch silver) in conjunction with the growing history of past sales on our site.
While the Dutch pieces were prominent, the silver highlight of this sale may have been an elegantly simple Georgian silver bow (#15646) hallmarked for London 1784 which sold for over $4000 to a determined American buyer (who outlasted “fotodeal”). There was also a lovely marked Samuel Pemberton pocket (#16118) which reached $1300.
Another feature of this sale was number of good quality wine antiques listed. These items are most welcome and clearly the corkscrew collecting fraternity are a good market for these items. The highlights was an ornate Christofle wine carriage (#16051) and a cradle (#15795) which sold for around $1350 each. Several Georgian silver wine funnels sold for $680 each (#15824 and #15843) and another decanting cradle (#15938) also sold for about $700.
In a flat market, quite a few pieces sold for prices below the levels reached in the more buoyant 2010-2012 period. The pieces which have fallen most tended to be the more common items which most interested collectors will already own.
A few which stood out were a French patented framed Progres (#15963) for $120, a decorative Columbus (#15671) for $440, a Voight Jdeal German DRGM (#15294) for $200, two German prongs, Muchler and Maro (#15450) for $125 and Thomas Strait’s US patent (#15236) for $375. The Strait has fallen sharply in recent sales even allowing for condition variations. Perhaps they are more common than once thought?
A rare US single lever (#16105) seemed to be great buying for $3100 though there are no direct price benchmarks. It appears on p167 of Peter’s Mechanicals. Presumably the lack of a patent or known maker held back US collectors.
OTHER INTERESTING LOTS
Here are a few lots which particularly appealed and highlight the diversity of the sale: A lovely Hercules decorated with 2 children (#15607) attracted considerable interest and sold for $1040. A great display piece.
A “naughty” German registration (#15428) may not appeal to some but it is a seriously collectible piece from Walter Bosse, the famous Austrian designer. This is a later but original Bosse piece registered in Germany in 1970. It was well bid and reached a healthy $980. Another great display piece if you are allowed….
A very cool d ouble helix pocket (#16123), a “modern” piece with a 1956 Swiss patent, sold for $250.
Something for everone!