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Julie's Tacky Treasures

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The Popener

This just in: There is now a Pope Francis popener!

The Original Popener
The Original Popener
Gift of Splendor Breckbill
Purchased at the Vatican
February 2004

As soon as I heard of the existence of this bottle opener adorned with the picture of Pope John Paul II, I wanted one. It is the perfect blend of a figure of eminence with a mundane item of everyday utility. Even its name reflects this dichotomy: the Popener. It has the same sort of oxymoronic charm possessed by the Chairman Mao cigarette lighter, but it's even better than that because of the way cool name.

For years, I could not find a popener anywhere, not even on eBay. In 2003, I discovered that a friend was headed to Rome, and asked her to keep an eye out for one in the souvenir shops. When she returned, she casually handed me the treasured item, and said, "there was a barrel full of them in a shop just outside the Vatican." The reverse side of the popener shows St. Peter's Square, which is part of the Vatican complex.

After Pope John Paul II died in 2005, more popeners showed up on the market. He's still the favorite among Pope memorabilia collectors. There's now a Pope Benedict XVI popener, but you will find that there's an image of Pope John Paul II on the opposite side. And, surprisingly, Popes from the distant past are showing up on popeners as well as Popes that aren't even Popes at all.

The Julie Mangin Popener Collection

You can view the full collection below. If you'd like to read more about my adventures collecting popeners, follow this link to my blog post Popener: The Vatican Bottle Opener.


Pope Francis Popener
Pope Francis Popener
Purchased on eBay
December 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Popener
Pope Benedict XVI Popener
(with John Paul II on the reverse)
Purchased on eBay
January 2010


Pope John Paul II popener refrigerator magnet
Pope John Paul II popener refrigerator magnet,
acquired via eBay, May 2012

Pope John Paul II popener refrigerator magnet
Pope John Paul II popener refrigerator magnet,
in place with my other religious fridge magnets
(note the souvenir cloth bag that the popener came in)



Pope Julius II popener, acquired via eBay in 2011
Pope Julius II popener,
acquired via eBay in 2011

Check out the Wikipedia article on Julius II (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Julius_II).  Apparently, he was known as both “The Fearsome Pope” and “The Warrior Pope.”  This was one bad-ass Pope, and the popener shows it.  It’s made of genuine stainless steel, not cheap pot metal like the first one.

Carly Pope popener
Carly Pope popener
acquired via eBay June 2012

Technically, she's not a Pope, but it is her last name, and she came up in my eBay search
for "pope bottle opener." Carly Pope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carly_Pope) has starred in movies such as Itty Bitty Titty Committee and Young People F**king. If you think she's not saintly enough to be a Pope, then you don't know enough about Catholic Church history.

The Original Popener, just before it was broken opening a bottle of Pete's Wicked Ale
The Original Popener, just before
it was broken opening
a bottle of Pete's Wicked Ale
February 2004

Copyright © 2000-2010, Julie Mangin. All Rights Reserved. December 23, 2013