WHAT ELSE Corkscrews

By: Steven Libbey

Wisconsin corkscrews, from whimsical to utilitarian, antique to vintage, are loved as a ‘go with’ by Wisconsin antique bottle collectors. At the national level a record price was set on eBay when an Abraham Russel corkscrew sold in 2000 for $13,550. While we may not have any quite so valuable, we do have some interesting corkscrews from Milwaukee.

A critical year for corkscrew collectors nationally is 1891. The McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 required the date on all imported goods. In 1914, the imprint of the words "Made in" became required. There are exceptions. England required "Made in" on their imports in 1887. Still, some degree of origin or age can be determined by what is on or not on the screw in regard to made in.

The good thing about collecting corkscrews is some neat old corkscrews can be found in the $5 to $25 range, at flea markets and antique shops. Like anything else there are treasures out there to be found in corkscrew collecting. Many of the national rarities are figural with animals, people, advertising, logos, and promotional corkscrews with wine, liquor and beer company names and icons.

You ask why did beer brewers like Schlitz and Pabst have corkscrews? Don’t forget, before Louis Painter invented the Crown Cap beer was sealed in bottles by a cork.

When looking for something cool to ‘go with’ your collection or to answer the question ‘what else’ do you have, why not give corkscrews a turn?

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