1888 Silver Whiskey Flask
It was a gift to me some 30-plus years ago from a descendant of this Mr. Moore.
Well, you see Mr. Moore's name right here: it's William G. Moore, 1888. There's a long story behind this flask. It was one of a group of well-known pieces. This fellow here is Alex R. Shepherd-- you see his signature under his portrait. That's not William Moore, the ancestor of your friend, that's the donor of the flask. He gave the flask to Mr. Moore in 1888. Alex Shepherd was the governor of Washington, D.C., under U.S. Grant, and he was a very, very controversial, colorful figure. He was a plumbing contractor who was very close with the government officials, but by 1880, he had become so colorful, so notorious that he was basically drummed out of Washington and went to Mexico. And in 1880, he decided that he would throw over politics and get into the silver business. So if you look on the other side of this flask, you will see this fantastic engraving of a silver mine in a place called Chihuahua in Mexico in the high Sierra Madre mountains. It's just beautiful. Alex Shepherd went down there, made a fortune, and when he had enough money, he returned to the United States and had these flasks made at Gorham, and Gorham is a manufacturer in Providence, Rhode Island. And he gave them out to a lot of people who were in a position to help him regain his power and strength in the States. He actually gave a matching example to General Sheridan of Civil War fame, so I'm very interested in the ancestor of your friend who may have been in a position like that to help Governor Shepherd regain his stature in America. You see on the top of the flask, it's engraved with the name of the mine, which is Batopilas. The marks on it have a date letter for 1888, they have a factory number in a rectangle, which means "special order," and in fact we know the silver which went into this flask was supplied by Alex Shepherd himself. They're very, very collectible, and I think any silver collector would pay a good $10,000 for this flask.
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