Tuesday, August 4, 2009
ANRI BOTTLE STOPPER
Q: I have a carved wooden bottle stopper marked "Anri." The man tips his hat and his head moves when the string is pulled. Can you tell me something about it?
A: Anri made hundreds of different kinds of carved wooden bottle stoppers. The company was founded by Anton Riffeser, who came from a long line of woodcarvers in the Tyrol region of Austria. In 1912 he started a workshop in St. Christina (part of Italy after World War I) and in 1926 started the House of ANRI. The name was formed by combining the first two letters of his first and last names. The company sold bottle stoppers and small figurines made in its workshop or made by local woodcarvers. Since each piece was handmade, no two pieces were exactly alike. Before 1952 much of the work was done by carvers who worked in their homes and sold their work to Anri, but after 1952 machines were used in the production. Thousands of items have been made, including bottle openers, corkscrews, bookends, desk accessories, nutcrackers, smoking accessories, and other items. The company is still run by a member of the Riffeser family. "Mechanical" bottle stoppers with moving parts like yours are popular with collectors. The stoppers were made in three styles, which collectors call the hat tipper, the drinking man, and the kissing couple. Value of your hat tipper, about $40.