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A French 18th century corkscrew was hammered down for £12,000, against a £1500-2000 estimate.

The corkscrew has a three-sided seal – known as a betrothal seal. It depicts crests of the male and female line in a marriage, including a crown and conjoined oval shield with rampant lion, and phoenix bird above three crescents and stars. The third side is blank. The barrel decoration features gilt-pierced design with a wide flat ribbon-like helix screw of 4.5in (11.5cm).

A rare 17th century French piron folding helix sold for £12,400 against a £3000-5000 estimate.

These French items were among 46 corkscrews offered on July 21 in the first slice of a collection assembled over 40 years.

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.