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Tankard owned by Abraham De Peyster (1657–1728)

Object Name: Tankard
Date: ca. 1700
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Medium: Silver
Dimensions: Overall: 8 1/4 × 6 7/8 × 4 7/8 in., 28 oz (troy) 2.6 dwt (21 × 17.5 × 12.4 cm, 875 g)
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: Wrought silver tankard; circular body with straight sides tapered from applied, molded, baseband with a meander wire midway; an applied band of stamped leaves above the meanderwire; applied, molded, flared lip; stepped flat cover, with a serrated and engraved flange at front; corkscrew thumbpiece and molded hinge-plate with meander wire and shaped, engraved drop with an applied, cast lion couchant below; scroll handle with cast, and engraved cherub's mask on a flat shield-shaped terminal; "A * P" engraved on the handle in block letters; center side engraved with the De Peyster family crest, a shield with a tree of the field between two sheep, shield between to spread eagles on laurel branches with raised heads, shield surmounted by a cubit, armored arm holding a sword; engraved below the crest, "WM. A. De Peyster" in gothic script; maker's marks stamped below rim, on each side of the handle and on the lid.
Credit Line: Bequest of Catharine Augusta De Peyster
Object Number: 1911.39
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Marks: Maker's mark stamped in relief twice under lip molding on either side of handle. Similar maker's mark outline stamped three times on lid top; engraved on body: arms of De Peyster family and name "Wm. A. De Peyster"; engraved on handle: "A * P"

Gallery Label:

This tankard, the earliest in the Historical Society's collection, displays typical features of colonial New York tankards. The broad, sturdy vessel has a flat top, crenellated flange, and cocoon thumbpiece. Its baseband is embellished with meander wire and cut-card work, decorative details derived from continental silver and probably first introduced by Dutch and Huguenot makers. The engraved initials "A * P" on the tankard's handle presumably refer to its original owner, New York City merchant Abraham De Peyster (1657-1728).


Abraham De Peyster (1657-1728), who married Catharina De Peyster (1665-before 1734); to their son Abraham De Peyster, Jr. (1696-1767), who married Margaretta Van Cortlandt (1694-1769); to their son James A. De Peyster (1726-1799), who married Sarah Reade (1724-1802); to their son Colonel Abraham De Peyster (1753-1799), who married Catharine Augusta Livingston (1759-1839); to their son William Axtell De Peyster (1793-1856), who married Mary Beekman (1800-1885); to their daughter, Catharine Augusta De Peyster (1835-1911), the donor.


"Elias Pelletreau, Long Island Silversmith and His Sources of Design," Brooklyn Museum, NY, 1959.

"Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York," New-York Historical Society, May 4–September 23, 2012; Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, FL, January 28–April 20, 2014.