It sold for a hammer price of £12,000, against a £1500-2000 estimate at Henry Aldridge & Son. The corkscrew has a three-sided seal – known as a betrothal seal - depicting the male and female crests - a crown and conjoined oval shield with rampant lion and phoenix bird above three crescents and stars with the third side blank. The barrel is decorated with gilt-pierced design with a wide flat ribbon-like helix screw of 4.5in (11.5cm).
40 years of collecting
The object was one of 46 corkscrews that were offered on July 21 in the first tranche of a collection of around 450 assembled over 40 years.
Henry Aldridge & Son’s auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said only six were left unsold and the total hammer price was £75,000. The remaining 400 will be offered at future auctions.
The corkscrews attracted bidders from Australia, the UK, the US and Romania on the phone and online.
Aldridge said the vendor had bought a large part of the collection in the “peak” time of collecting in the 1990s but had made a profit on most items.
Other highlights at the sale included a rare 17th century French piron folding helix which sold for £12,400 against a £3000-5000 estimate.
A 19th century corkscrew pistol knife, c.1870 in a fitted leather case with red silk interior stamped Tinnenbrock, sold for £5200 against a £5000-8000 estimate.
Separately, in Salisbury, at Woolley & Wallis’s July 4 sale a rare 18th century primitive treen oak lever action figural nutcracker, in the form of a man with a flat face and a moustache, sold at £6000 against an estimate of £500-800.