Fine German Silver Parcel Gilt Coin Tankard

Object Number: #108

City’s hallmark: a crown over a cross for Königsberg (Prussia, mark used since 1684) (s. Czihak No. 404, p. 67)
Maker’s mark: BH in shield (s. Czihak No 404, p. 67)
Date letter: “V” for 1708 (s. Czihak, Die Edelschmiedekunst früherer Zeiten in Preussen, p. 46/47)

Height: 19 cm (7,48 in.); weight: 930 gr.

Detailed Information

The foot is bright, profiled and emphasises its most decorated feature, the vaulted form, which is decorated with acanthus leaves and flowers.
The body of this silver parcel gilt coin tankard is set with 24 coins in 3 rows. The coins date from the period 1615-1621 and they exhibit a portrait of the Polish King Sigismund III. Further coins on the lid and in the bottom depict the portrait of Prince Leopold and date from 1666 whilst another French coin dates from 1653.
Amongst the inserted coins, there are wonderfully chiseled flowers in relief. The lid of the tankard is similarly decorated as the foot. There is a cast, ear-shaped handle applied on one side, which is a wonderfully typical for such an objects ‘V’ formed thumb rest. The tankard is gilt inside.

Tankards were initially used for liturgical uses and they were later integrated into profane uses, in particular they were used as vessels for beer, and as beer was usually drunk warm, tankards have always a lid.

Drinking vessels like this, decorated with coins of earlier periods, gained a certain decroative fashion popularity in Prussia during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They were very often destined to be personal objects.

Maker: the identity of the maker with the initials “BH” remains until now unrevealed. There are however several objects of him documented (s. Czihak).