How to Value Beer Steins

A beer stein is either a traditional beer mug made out of stoneware or, specifically, an ornamental beer mug. Although it's possible to buy beer steins in every souvenir shop in the world for low prices, such as $20, a collectable beer stein can have a value that exceeds $100,000. If you have a beer stein that you want to know the value of, then Value My Stuff is the answer.

Ceramics & Porcelain

Brief Definition and History of Beer Steins

A beer stein or Bierstein (meaning "beer stone" in English) is a traditional ornamental beer mug usually sold as souvenirs. The term has come to be used to refer to any beer container or tankard with a hinged lid and handle. It is important to note that some in the collecting field see a difference between a bier stein and a tankard, primarily seeing the tankard to be those made out of silver and pewter.

The development of the lid is thought to have developed around the time of the Black Plague as an attempt to prevent flies and fleas from getting into the beer! The material steins are made out of varies, and they can be constructed from stoneware, faience, porcelain, ivory, silver, wood, glass, and pewter.

Follow these easy steps to value beer steins.

Different Types of Beer Steins

Initially, beer steins were thrown on a potter's wheel in small workshops, and it wasn't until the 19th and 20th centuries that large-scale manufacturing really began to take shape in Germany. The most highly sought-after manufacturers include Mettlach, Royal Vienna, and Capo-di-Monte. While there are countless types of beer steins, below are the most popular and well-known.

Carved Steins
Easily one of the most popular types of steins for collectors. They often feature folk tales or patriotic German scenes. Those that are hand-carved can be quite valuable and typically feature bold colours and a crisp white interior.

Ivory Steins
These are often highly detailed, featuring realistic human and animal carvings; this type of stein is considered one of the more valuable to collectors. Despite this, a collector should know that there are international restrictions and legalities when selling and purchasing ivory, and this should be considered before buying anything ivory.

Regimental Steins
These are authentic German steins that contain the name and ranks of soldiers. Newer regimental steins include the first name, last name, and rank of the soldier, whereas older ones only have the last name and rank.

Believed to be some of the earliest types produced, these are hand-blown pieces that come in a variety of colours, such as red, green, cobalt, and brown. They also often have etched scenes on the body of the stein.

Where to Buy Beer Steins

We recommend always buying from a well-versed dealer, as there are many fakes on the market. There are many interesting collectable beer steins on online platforms such as Ebay and Catawiki. On the other hand, if you're on vacation, there are often beer steins available in souvenir shops. However, they may not be very collectable today as they are probably still in production. If you are unsure of the value of a beer stein you are interested in purchasing or want to make sure it looks legitimate, our experts are here to help. Press here for more information.

Beer steins from a gift shop in Meersburg, Germany. (Public Domain)

Beer steins from a gift shop in Meersburg, Germany. (Public Domain)

What to Look Out for When Collecting Beer Steins

Check the Base of the Beer Stein
Since 1887 there has been a law for items such as beer steins to state whether they are made in Germany or abroad. Therefore it's important to look for a "Made in Germany", "Gemacht in Deutschland," or "Germany" mark.

Check the Lid of the Beer Stein
Is the lid complementary to the design of the painting or scene depicted on the stein itself? Unless it is very old, this should also have a thumb lift on it. If antique, the inside of the lid should be lighter in colour than the outside, as it is closed most of the time and protected away from the elements.

Look at the Painting on the Beer Stein
Remember, if a piece is truly hand-painted, there may be a small amount of paint missing or overlapping over the outlines. Looking for this can help make sure it is not a machine-made mass-produced piece.

Look for Makers' Marks
Many of the best-known and most sought-after manufacturers have easily recognisable maker's marks. There are lots of databases that will help you identify a maker's mark.

The Most Valuable Beer Steins

Although the vast majority of all expensive beer steins still remain under $5,000, here are three exceptions to high-end beer steins.

1) The 17th-Century American Tankard

Sold for $140,000, making it the world's most expensive beer stein. Made in the 17th century, silver-based in American style.

The 17th-Century American Tankard (VIP Art Fair)

The 17th-Century American Tankard (VIP Art Fair)

2) The 1715 Meissen Stein

Sold for $26,000, this porcelain stein was made in Germany in the 18th century and is hand-painted in various colours with a beautiful goldcrest.

The 1715 Meissen Stein (VIP Art Fair)

The 1715 Meissen Stein (VIP Art Fair)

3) The 1900 German Regimental Stein

Sold for $7,000, the colourful Regimental beer stein from 1900 is German-made and features a beautiful body and lid.

The 1900 German Regimental Stein (VIP Art Fair)

The 1900 German Regimental Stein (VIP Art Fair)

Beer Steins Collectors

Beer stein collectors are individuals who collect various types of beer steins. Some collectors focus on specific types, such as those from a particular country or era. Others collect beer steins with specific themes, such as those with humorous designs. What connects the majority of all beer steins collectors is that they often display their collections in their homes.

How To Determine The Value of Beer Steins

As stated in this article, there are some essential factors that you need to look at when buying and evaluating beer steins. However, the best way to get an accurate value for beer steins is to seek expert guidance. That's something we at Value My Stuff are more than happy to help out with. Follow these simple steps to value beer steins today.

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