Saint Petersburg, FL
Meyrs Neffe Wine Glasses
Photograph - Photography
These three wine glasses have been handed down in my family not quite for a hundred years. My grandmother as well as my oldest aunt, who was born in 1900, were both nurses. One of them cared for an elderly gentleman who, having no family, left his entire estate to his nurse. These three glasses are all that are left of this legacy, and the story that I was told of their origin was that they were part of a place setting at a dinner given for the Prince of Wales - when or where, I do not know. Each place had glasses for three different types of wine, and every glass at the dinner was uniquely hand painted. After the dinner, the guests were allowed to take home their place settings, and this is how my aunt's (or my grandmother's?) patient came to have them.
I have shown them to a couple of experts in the fields of glass or in estate evaluation. The one told me that his expertise was primarily in American glass and so he could not speak to these pieces; but he did say they definitely had some value and that, of the three, the smallest one was worth the most. The second gentleman allowed as how they were hand painted were probably done when glass painting was popular at the turn of the century by a lady of leisure, and that the glasses, though pretty, are "probably more decorative than valuable."
I have custody of them now and will probably pass them along to my granddaughter if there comes a time when she shows an apprecition of them. I have never drunk from them - though I feel I should, and enjoy them myself, but as a custodian of something I believe to have some historical value, I keep them enclosed in an etagere and bring them out only to be photographed for posterity.
There are markings etched into the center of the bottom of each piece, two have a three-digit number (one containing a number 7 with the mark across the middle of it, which is normally considered a European custom, and the other two have the initials "S.F."
The indication that the "original" is available for sale refers to the three glasses, which I might consider letting go to a connoisseur of such things who has some knowledge of their origin.
UPDATE: Subsequent internet browsing ran across a website from a London auction house featuring the smaller of the three glasses as a Meyrs Neffe Liquer glass of thistle form, c 1895-1905. I am still looking for more information about Meyrs Neffe.
January 19th, 2013
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