Fifteen years ago Kay and I were invited to a Kentucky Derby Party – the host served each mint julep in metal cups I had never seen before. As my cup full of bourbon and ice began to sweat I began to notice the intricacy of the beading around the lip and the base that made this cup so interesting. I approached the host to learn more about these special cups and found that they were truly special.
The handmade Presidential Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cup in my hand was the most common determined by the initials “LBJ” on the underside. All, except a few, of the mint juleps severed that day were in one of these “cups”. I learned that this sterling silver mint julep cup was an inspired design from cups made in Kentucky in the early 1800s. Beginning with Harry Truman the bottom of each mint julep cup is an engraved American Eagle and the initials of the President of the United States at the time it was made – I had to have one!
After a few days I quickly learned the mint julep cup I had to have is sold by Wakefield–Scearce Galleries of Shelbyville, Kentucky and was part of the Mark J. Scearce Collection that includes three other variations. Another more crucial discovery was that these cups aren’t cheap – today they sell for $850! Later that week I decided to hunt on ebay for my cup – and to my good fortune, and on my very first ebay purchase I landed two “JFK” cups!
Enjoy your Kentucky Derby Party and I hope your good fortune is accompanied with a lovely mint julep served in one of these cups.