Are German Beer Steins Worth anything?
Collecting German Beer Steins remains a popular pastime to this day ranging from museum curators to casual collectors who are looking for a German gift idea. There is still a vibrant community of stein collectors around the world, highlighting that the value of the German beer mugs has not become obsolete. Collectors find that collectible beer mugs hold their value and are willing to invest money in purchasing beer mugs to add to their beer stein collection.
Although the art of German-branded steins and beer dates back to the Middle Ages, Germans took their love for beer to taverns, festivals, and beer gardens and complemented this with steins and tankards. But it wasn't just German beer drinkers enjoying the famous German tradition of beer being poured into steins at an Oktoberfest party. Now, people the world over are well aware of steins and want in on the action.
What are German beer steins?
In essence, a beer stein is a large mug or tankard that holds beer. The origin of the German word "stein" has variations in meaning. It may be created from two words. "Stein gut," which means "stone goods," and "Stein Krug," meaning "stone mug."
What Material Are Beer Steins Made Of?
Authentic German-branded beer steins come in many shapes and sizes. Popular brands are Zoller and Born, King Werks, Hofbrauhaus, E.H.G., Thewalt, Essence of Europe Gifts, and Rastal, to mention just a few. Most of the steins made in Germany are fabricated using the following materials: earthenware, ceramics, silver, crystal, glass, porcelain, pewter, creamware, and wood. Most of the time, ornate handcrafted beer steins are made of stoneware ceramics. Steins are typically available in sizes of.25 liters,.5 liters,.75 liters, and 1 liter. Oktoberfest beer steins are commonly available in 0.5 L and 1 L sizes.
Assessing the Age of German Beer Steins
The value of a German beer stein often depends on its age. As might be expected, older steins have a higher value than newer beer mugs. To start with assessing the value of a beer stein, many collectible beer steins will have the date of the stein printed on the metal lid or stamped on the bottom of the ceramic beer mug. The varieties of antique German beer steins can often be assigned to different periods of history. A broad generalization of some time periods into which steins can be classified (but by no means exhaustive) are:
The rarest of steins date from the 16th to the middle of the 19th century.
Antique steins from the mid-19th to early-20th centuries are more common but still rare.
Jugendstil beer steins are from the Art Nouveau period of Germany, which lasted from 1900 to the 1920s.
Third Reich steins were created during World War 2.
Contemporary beer steins made after World War II come in a wide variety, ranging from collectible steins to souvenirs and German gift-themed steins.
Munich Oktoberfest beer steins are an annual collectible.
Styles of German Beer Steins
German steins are painted in a variety of styles and use different artistic mediums for artwork placement. The following is just a sampling of some of the styles that are popular among those who collect beer steins.
Patriotic scenes Folk tales are a popular motif carved into the body of a stein. Often this is accomplished by manually carving a scene into the stein body, which is then painted or accented using bold colors to highlight the carving.
There is a whole sub-culture of military stein collectors who collect steins that symbolize soldiers and army rank having successfully completed their patriotic duties. In the past, there was a tradition for the owner's last name and status to be engraved on the stein. In more recent times, when this tradition is followed, the soldier's full name and rank are painted onto the stein.
The manufacture of these customized items is a trend that started in the 1850s. These are customized and personalized steins created in the shapes of animals, humans, trees, etc.
Collecting Anheuser-Busch Budweiser steins has become a popular hobby in recent decades. Although colorful and fun to collect, these often do not fetch a high value and rather have more sentimental value to collectors.
Detailed and realistic carvings of humans, animals, and birds can be found on traditional steins made of ivory dating to a bygone era when ivory was used. Because of restrictions regarding the ivory trade, collecting such steins is no longer viable or recommended.
These are without a doubt one of the more unusual collectible beer steins.The Villeroy and Boch Co. of Mettlach manufactured this stoneware. They were designed between 1880 and 1910.
The durable and stylish stoneware can be found in various shapes and styles.
How to Know the Worth of a German Beer Stein
There are a number of characteristics defining the value of beer steins. These traits also serve to differentiate a truly collectible stein from one that simply serves the purpose of being a German gift or Oktoberfest beer stein. A variety of criteria are used to determine the value of a stein, including:
As previously noted, a good rule of thumb is that the older a stein is, the more valuable it tends to be. Steins made prior to World War I are a good starting point for determining age.
Because steins are an iconic collectible of Germany, steins made in Germany naturally command a higher price and are stamped as an authentic German Beer Stein.
Hand-painted steins are inherently more unique than a stein mass-produced with a decal fired on at a high temperature or a stock model beer stein body with a metal medallion glued onto the stein body. Hand-painted steins will have a slightly imperfect look, but this adds to the character and individuality of each stein.
Artwork Narrates a Story
Telling a story vis-à-vis hand-painted pictures on the German stein as an artistic medium can differentiate a stein's value from other comparable mugs. From the artwork rendered on the body of a stein, a story can be told. For example, German beer stein markings and artwork illustrate famous battles, Oktoberfest, and Biblical accounts. Many historical moments are also captured by means of this unique artistic medium.
Made of high-quality materials
Genuine German beer mugs are often expensive and bulky because they are made with costly materials such as silver, pewter, wood, glass, etc. A stein made of an expensive or rare material can give further context to why a stein might have a higher value.
What is the worth or value of an authentic Beer Stein?
As already noted, if you are asking "what is my German beer stein worth," an antique German beer stein has the potential to be valued at a higher cost than a contemporary German beer stein. A true collectible beer stein can cost anywhere from $50 to $5,000.On the flip side, if you are just looking to buy an original German beer stein to add to your collection, you should take into consideration the following variables:
The stein is free of any damage resulting in cracks, dents, or major blemishes.
Discolorations resulting from neglect or being exposed to the elements, such as sun or water damage, additionally, evidence of repair work is negative.
The pewter lid's hinge should be able to pivot and be in working condition.
It is preferred that the coloring of the original decorations be vibrant and reflect the original intended appearance.
Markings, markings, markings. This is one of the most critical elements for evaluating the value of a stein. Markings that note the date, manufacture, limited edition run, etc. are vital.
Steins have been used to drink beer for many centuries, yet they have also become a symbol of Germany and, as a result, are now collected by many around the world. Steins made of precious materials or that are qualified antiques can fetch a higher value. Prior to buying, differentiate genuine beer steins that are collectible by checking the quality, age, and manufacturer.
Buying a collectible beer stein can make for a unique German gift idea for someone special. If you are not in the position to spend a higher dollar value or devote the time to get a valuation for a German mug, not to be forgotten are the huge variety of beer gift ideas for men or gifts for Opa that can be found by shopping for a German gift beer stein. Either way, beer steins are a unique way to collect a piece of Germany! Get one and enjoy the best Oktoberfest beer in one of these!