A Victorian corkscrew made with ancient iron from the old London Bridge has become the most expensive in the world after selling for £40,000 – 100 times its guide price.
The rare item – which doesn’t even WORK – was made from metal in the foundations which was inscribed as being 656 years old.
It was commissioned with other souvenirs after the landmark was demolished in 1831 and was expected to fetch between £400 and £600.
Auctioneer James Grinter of Reeman Dansie in Colchester, Essex said: “I actually think this is a world record for the sale of a corkscrew.
“The next most expensive one I have found is around £20,000.
“Apparently there is only one other in existence and the owner doesn’t want to sell it so we had a lot of interest from private collectors.
“When the bidding started to go over £20,000 I had a beaming grin on my face. We are all delighted and never expected it to fetch this much.
“In the past we have sold items constructed using parts of the old London Bridge but they have never sold for this much.”
The 20cm corkscrew does not work and was made using metal strips that helped to hold the bridge posts together.
It was bought by an anonymous “European collector” who plans to put it on display in a dedicated corkscrew museum.
It is engraved with the words: “Made from the Iron Shoe that was taken from a pillar. That was 656 Years in the Foundation of Old London Bridge.”
The previous owners were family members of the old bridge’s developer and were “delighted” with the sale.
The corkscrew was not the only lot to smash its guide price at the auction on Wednesday.
An Egyptian sarcophagus some 3,500 years old fetched £13,500 – more than twice its estimate – after being found during a house clear-out in Essex.
It was sold to fund the care of the owner who has Alzheimer’s.