Above: Collector and vendor François Touzin displaying American prohibition period hidden corkscrews
A single owner collection of corkscrews and wine memorabilia is going under the hammer on Tuesday 14 September and is expected to fetch over £20,000.
The vendor, François Touzin, started collecting in 1976 when he took his then girlfriend to a BYO restaurant. As the restaurant did not have a corkscrew he purchased one for £4 from the antiques shop next door and from then his interest in them was piqued.
Although his first corkscrew is not being sold, there’ll be several hundred in the auction with prices ranging from £50-600 spanning 150 years with diverse styles from simple to more complicated designs. The collection comprises corkscrews made around the world including UK, France, US, Germany, Sweden, Denmark & Italy and is a great representation of all types from mechanical, straight pull, pocket, figural, easers, cellarman, cap lifters as well as two and three finger pulls.
François spent his career working in Luxury Hotels and established much of his collection when travelling the world for work as well as pleasure. He says, “I am always intrigued and fascinated by the mechanisms of corkscrews and consider them objects of beauty. I am always in awe of the delicate craftsmanship, the amount of passion, work and attention to detail that goes into something made to open a bottle of wine, remove corks from a perfume bottle or even a medicine bottle.”
An established collector, François remembers where he bought each object in his collection and why. He always buys within his budget and collects on a “quality not quantity” basis. He credits his wife with a lot of patience and is fortunate to have had the space to keep them in the dining room of their London home.
The corkscrews will be sold in individual as well as groups; The Empire, an English 19TH Century double lever corkscrew, made by Heeley & Sons Birmingham is one of the top lots and is expected to fetch £500-550 and a two-column narrow rack and pinion corkscrew with bone handle and hanging ring is estimated at £370-450.
Other fine examples are an 18th Century English silver sheathed corkscrew marked 'SP' at the base of the sheath for Samuel Pemberton, Birmingham 1784, (£250-300) and an American 1930s stained SyrocoWood table corkscrew with cap lifter “The Monk” which will be sold for £200-250.
Comical corkscrews that are bound to bring a smile to any dining table include a pair of carved corozo nuts with caricature heads and hair whose designs are the inverse of each other and are expected to fetch £200-250; a German late 19th Century novelty folding 'Lady's Legs' pocket corkscrew (estimate £180-200); a 1920s English celluloid figural corkscrew in the shape of a 'fat huntsman' carries an estimate of £60-80; whilst two Italian figural corkscrews of a barman and waiter carrying three pints are estimated at estimate £70-90 for the pair.
Group lots include seven Scandinavian 20th Century direct pull figural corkscrews (estimate £100-£120), five roundlets (estimate £80-100) and four French 20th Century all steel mechanical corkscrews estimated at £70-90.
For more information/images and to arrange an interview with François or our Expert Thomas Forrester, please contact Suzanne Trisk email@example.com
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