With its saguaro cactus decoration and scenes of an idyllic adobe village, this unusual flask served as a form of advertising for the Mexican silver market in the 19th century.
After the Civil War, Alexander Robey Shepherd became one of the only governors the District of Columbia ever had. He enacted public-works projects that breathed new life into the war-weary city but that also incurred large deficits, forcing him out of office and eventually out of the country. Shepherd moved his family to Batopilas, Chihuahua, Mexico, where he purchased a silver mine. Soon wealthy beyond his dreams, Shepherd returned to D.C. and commissioned the Gorham Silver Company to create 15 sterling-silver flasks (using Batopilas silver) as promotional gifts for various Mexican and American officials.