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.
Inscription: engraved on body: [coat of arms and crest of Shelley] engraved on cover: [3-masted ship] engraved on handle: H B (probably later) lightly scratched on underside: 39 = 1
Marking: marked on body to left of handle and on cover near thumbpiece: B / GO (in trefoil)
Captain Giles Shelley, New York, until died 1710; Alphonso T. Clearwater, Kingston, New York, until died 1933