Ah! The memories of a great bottle of champagne, and as a memento of the pleasantry, every bottle opened and savored leaves a collectable memento: the metal capsule that covers the cork. Champagne Caps usually feature bright colors, strong design, and the maker’s brand identity. They are not easily thrown away, accumulating in a drawer along with corkscrews, foil cutters, corks, or other wine paraphernalia.
Thus is born a collection out of the enjoyment of champagne that leads to the imbiber to becoming a ‘placomusophile’, a French term for “collector of champagne caps.”
Champagne caps have been in use for over 150 years and there are a recorded 10,000 Champagne brands. Many brands have several capsule designs in current use and old houses may have produced hundreds over time. The first champagne caps date back to 1844. Serious champagne cap collectors (collectionneurs de capsules de champagne) and casual collectors from the intermittent toasts they’ve enjoyed, require champagne cap albums or collecting cases. Produced with special pages specific to collecting champagne caps, iHobb.com offers the placomusophile champagne cap albums produced by SAFE and Leuchtturm (Lighthouse), both of Germany.
Also recommended is the standard reference book for Champagne capsule collectors, “Repertoire des Placques de Muselets du Champagne,” by Claude Lambert (generally and simply called “Lambert”). It includes over 5,000 capsule photos and lists tens of thousands of different capsules, but is only available in France, written in the French language. The book gives prices you might expect to pay for capsules were you to buy them in a specialty shop in France. Most champagne caps have list values of 1 or 2 Euros, but old, rare examples can fetch up to several hundred Euros.