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German Silver Imperial Equestrian Tankard

Circa 1875

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German silver equestrian tankard with imperial association.

  • Straight and paneled sides with low-relief frieze depicting galloping riders, racing through the countryside, trees and buildings in the background; branch borders.
  • Split-mounted s-scroll handle with thumb rest.
  • At bottom, applied branch and leaf border and open supports.
  • Cover hinged and bellied with imbricated leaf rim.
  • Top terminated with a cast finial in form of mounted jockey and engraved phrase citing Kaiser Wilhelm I, in an allusion to an officer’s race in Meresburg, a town in southwestern Germany: “Kaiser Wilhelm dem Sieger in dem Offizier-Rennen zu Meresburg am 2 Juni 1878.”
  • Appears to be unmarked.

The date inspires speculation because on June 2, 1878, Wilhelm was in Berlin, getting shot at for the second time in a month. On this occasion, Wilhelm was seriously wounded. A medal was issued commemorating the failed assassination attempt, and a similar sentiment possibly inspired the tankard’s inscription.

Kaiser Wilhelm I was the first to rule over a united Germany, which was achieved through foreign minister Otto von Bismarck’s policies. Wilhelm belonged to a long line of military expansionists. He was born in 1797, 11 years after the death of his great-great uncle Frederick the Great. His grandson was Wilhelm II, whose belligerence contributed to the outbreak of World War I.

Condition Report

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Very Good
Like New

Wear and light scratches with age and use.


Height: 13.75 inches / 34.92 cm
Width: 8.5 inches / 21.59 cm
Depth: 7 inches / 17.78 cm

Heavy weight: 63.4 troy ounces





Decorative Style

Traditional Style

Country of Origin


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