Maker: Gerrit Onckelbag (baptized 1670–1732)

Date: 1700–1710

Geography: Made in New York, New York, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Silver

Dimensions: Overall: 7 1/2 x 9 1/8 in. (19.1 x 23.2 cm); 38 oz. 17 dwt. (1208.2 g)
Lip: Diam. 5 3/16 in. (13.2 cm)
Base: Diam. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm)

Classification: Silver

Credit Line: Bequest of Alphonso T. Clearwater, 1933

Accession Number: 33.120.517


In 1698, Giles Shelley (1664–1710), a New York City merchant and sea captain, sailed in command of the ship Nassau for Madagascar, a favorite haunt of Captain Kidd and his pirates. Shelley returned to New York with a vast amount of treasure but, suspected of complicity with Kidd, he was arrested on a charge of piracy. He was later released and lived for many years, a wealthy and respected merchant. This tankard was probably presented to Shelley by the merchants who financed his enterprise. The handsomely engraved coat of arms is that of the Shelley family, and the scene on the cover depicts a thirty-two-gun ship, possibly the Nassau.