What to make of the ICCA Auction..November 2013.

Posted: 11/25/2013

I have been watching the latest ICCA Auction with great interest, this sale was number 13, was it unlucky 13?? I am not sure the results will look positive for the organisers, personally I think interest in corkscrew collecting is gradually dying. 

Are the more mature collectors who over the last few years have been seen to disperse of their collections being replaced by new collectors who have  the same deep pockets and passion? I have seen a fraction of new collectors enter the market compared to collectors leaving the market. I could name 10 large collections at least that have been sold in recent years and it's my opinion that other collectors are struggling to absorb these collections let alone new pieces that appear on the open market.

Maybe the ICCA Auction organisers will release their latest sales figures, shedding some light on the state of the market!! Many fellow collectors that I speak to say "it's just a blip....things will pick up". I am not so sure, it's Monday morning and I am negative at the best of times!!!!

Some price observations.....

Ebay late 2013.....Heeley Empire sold - 1 bid £450!!

Ebay mid 2013....Loach & Clarke Patent - sold £630!!

ICCA Nov 2013.....Vines & Fruit Thomason sold £445!!

ICCA Nov 2013....4 Pillar Bronze Thomason....never sold £375

ICCA Nov 2013...Dray...never sold £160


Sure these are just a few examples I have plucked out of the air.

Do you know a collector who hasn't got an Empire, a Robert Jones narrow barrel, a Gothic Thomason, a Grapes and Vine Thomason, a Baker Patent? My point is, collectors seem to have most pieces they want!! Corkscrews once seen as rare are looking common. Soon there will be enough examples of the corkscrews above for us to all have 2 or 3 each!!!!!!

All the above corkscrews are great English pieces, not rare, not too common but the one thing they all have in common is the fact that they have dropped in value considerably over the last few years. The low end of the market is in an even worse state.....

Heeley A1's, Lund and Tangent levers can now be bought for £40 each, I see them at this sort of price regularly!!!

Where will it all end?? In tears??

Lets finish on a positive note ...

The rare pieces are still keeping their value, although pieces that used to seem rare no longer look as rare as they once did.  Maybe that's partly due to the thousands of pieces we see for sale on the ICCA Auctions, better quality in general than what we see on Ebay.  Personally I love the ICCA Auctions, soon it may be a great place for me to buy rather than sell.  Perhaps I can build the best collection in the UK while spending the least money!!!

At the moment I have a very small high end collection maybe now is a good time for me to buy all those mid range English pieces I have always wanted for less than half the price they were 5 years ago!!!

Off to speak to the Bank Manager!!!!!!

14 Comment(s)
justsidthekid - 02/06/2014

Been collecting for about 5 minutes, however continue to seek the rare pieces that seem elusive. I reckon it's the demise of the cork that will play a part in the younger generations resistance to corkscrew collecting; prices reflect the lack of ongoing interest.
Gavin maddock - 26/11/2013

I'm more than happy with the way things are heading. I don't even need to trawl the fairs anymore to by stock albeit that can be fun & sociable & I even bought a corkscrew on the icca auction and sold it on eBay for a small profit this year. Glad I only really deal in the low to mid range pieces, I would hate the thought of something being worth 5k one month and 1k the next. The market in my opinion in my range is good as it ever was, I'm receiving orders every other day (xmas i guess) and jjust this week sold out of a1 levers,. Note to self: (get on eBay and buy more)....
Graeme Nott - 26/11/2013

I've been collecting for 18 yrs. The market is now influenced by the net, it makes things seem common in reality they are as common or uncommon as they ever were. I remember when I started speaking to Betty at C. Sykes, I was after a Lund lever, an A1 etc she did not have any to offer, she said "a few years ago we had drawers of them but demand is such we just don't get enough anymore". I remember about 14 years ago offering Ilya a Lund he did not even want a look, he was only buying Milestones at the time others weren't worth his while. The market constantly changes and is unpredictable. It is inevitable I think that there will be more collectors in the future, one thing is for sure J. Heeley, R.Jones aren't making corkscrews anymore so stock is limited. I think new generations will remain interested in the past and objects from it, I live very close to the Bluebell Railway and the youngsters always outnumber the old.
Steven Webb - 26/11/2013

Ken....I agree with your comments, I too feel that the further down the collecting road you go the less exciting the experience becomes. Oh for the "good old days" to return!!!
Steven Webb - 26/11/2013

Fotodeal is an interesting character, we can all see he has single handedly created the present market, well almost. The argument that "well there are other bidders" and "it takes two to tango" does not stack up in my mind. Often when he buys, he bids himself up hoping the item hits reserve and on many other occasions listings start very high, he bids, he wins, creating a false market. We are all greatful to him as sellers but when he fills his boots he will be gone. Then comes the real CRASH!! Remember people collect the things that interest them often influenced by their younger years. How many people are interested in steam trains today or British motor bikes, you may answer "many" but will the answer be many in twenty years time?? Will the younger generation understand or be interested in steam trains or British motor bikes in the future.....will the same apply to corkscrew collecting????????????
Geoff Kenward - 26/11/2013

Hmm..... It's the case whenever collections become large enough that values and percentages begin to be considered. Prior to that point the fervour of collecting and acquisition meant that the price you paid was what it was worth to you. After that point the price was looked at through different eyes. In a way that is the awful pity of collecting; the rosy specs eventually turn into a bankers or scrooge like speculation and the joy, is it still there? Not in the same way I contest. I recall Wally saying he would buy back all those he had sold. Yup I still love em but would prefer the lolly now.
Steven Webb - 26/11/2013

I can remember not too many years ago, I have only been collecting for twelve years, selling lund levers for £180....to a Portabello dealer. Find me one London dealer who would give me £50 for an example today!! I get your point Peter but if there are three new examples of Heeley's A1 lever coming onto Ebay each week, only one market place, are there also three collectors to buy them each week?? If not then surely prices will fall further. I see it the same as any business, it's all down to supply and demand and for the low/mid price items £50-£1000, the supply far outweighs the demand!! I don't see things changing in the short to mid term unless hundreds of new collectors enter the market, of course all this is just my opinion. We need a new market to open up, maybe China or India, then I will be proved wrong.....
Peter Borrett - 26/11/2013

You make some good points Webby. The bottom/mid market has definitely slumped in recent years, no surprise really, with the constant availability on the www. A major antique fair in the UK might not yield 1 Heeley A1, yet 3 a week surface on ebay. No wonder that Heeley A1's have reduced in value by 30% over a five year period. This applying to many other corkscrews too. I remain optimistic for the future & like Graeme believe that many new collectors will be joining us, now & in the future. The ICCA auctions, te he, are a victim of their own success. They had the foresight to establish a new dynamic online marketplace, a wonderful place to buy & sell. Looks like this last sale didn't create as much auction fever as normal, noting Fotodeals more cautious bidding. However, it appears that a high percentage of items have sold, with some selling way beyond the typical market value. Yes, a few slipped through below the normal level, but that is just the nature of auctions.
Steven Webb - 26/11/2013

Hello again Mr Rare I see you are still too worried to use your real name...I bet you are a close relative of Ron Smith!! Maybe you could add something constructive to this blog?? I do encourage interaction but was hoping comments would be more interesting to readers.
Graeme Nott - 25/11/2013

I think prices have been lower recently particularly with low and mid range pieces and a few rarer items that have appeared in multiples. But it has happened before I have seen many great corkscrews passed at the old Christies auctions and looking back I wish I had bought them now!!! In a world where wine drinking is on the increase, I am sure new collectors will surface and probably are as we speak. Calm down Mr Rare I think it is ICCA (International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts) auction the title ICCAuction gives it a nice tidy logo instead of ICCAAuction which does not look as good don't you think!! Doh! I think same applies to corkscrews as any antique buy the best you can for as little as you can (a buyers market then!) and remember we all love corkscrews!!

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