Silver & Glass Presentation Decanter Set, ca. 1874
It's been in my husband's family since it was awarded to his great-grandfather in 1874.
On the bottom is "W" and "H", which is Wood and Hughes, and that's an American silver company located in New York City. Also on the bottom is "900 over 1,000." Sterling silver is 925 over 1,000 for American silver.
So this would be a coin silver content in all of the silver pieces on here. The bottles are continental. Hard to say exactly, but probably Bohemian. If you've noticed, the most wonderful thing about the silver holder are the masks. In each one of the corners you have masks over here, masks here, all the way around the piece. It's highly decorated. Now, the fun part of this decanter set... and I have to bring my notes out and read this because I don't want to tip it upside down to read it. It says, "Special premium from the Kentucky Railroad for the best herd of cattle owned by one person." And it was awarded by the Bourbon County Agricultural Society, September 1874. And I understand that the man that had the best herd of cattle was Edwin Bedford.
Can you tell me who he was?
He was my husband's great-grandfather. He was a cattleman all of his life. He sold a magnificent bull to a gentleman for a huge sum of money. I think at that time it was $35,000. The gentleman kept the bull for five years and brought it back and said it wasn't any good. Well, in the cattle business, you always return the animal immediately. They were typical men, they were real hardheads. And there was a huge lawsuit that went on for many, many years. Broke both of them.
Oh, well, he ended up with this, didn't he? I would put a value on this, because it is so unusual, and then to have that nice history to it, I would say $5,000 to $7,000 for retail value.
I'm surprised. Thank you very much.
Well, thank you very much for bringing it.
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