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Appraisal Values & Pricing Factors for STEINS & MUGS

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REINHOLD-MERKELBACH GERMAN STONEWARE BEER STEIN, in reliefBeer Steins or Mugs are usually associated with Germany's October Fest or similar venues and are very collectible. Unfortunately, the majority of beer steins found nowadays in the antiques market are newer specimens, mostly souvenirs or mementos. A vast number of recent examples are made in China and at times only decorated or finished in Germany, only so that they can affix the "Germany" label on the final product and make them more marketable. These are often whimsical or pretty, but basically are regarded as reproductions and have limited value for most collectors.

Nevertheless, genuinely older German beer steins are often properly marked by a well-documented maker and are recognizable as authentic by the correct attribution as to their origin and age. Porcelain & Stoneware or Pewter are by far the most common materials used to make beer steins or mugs. Porcelain steins are usually salt-glazed or otherwise layered with a glaze that renders them water-proof. To identify makers' marks on Porcelain or Pottery steins, please see our Ceramics marks guide. To research marks & hallmarks on Pewter or Silver, please visit our Silver & Pewter marks database

Other materials such as Glass, Silver or even Wood, are used to make steins & mugs, which are actually called Krugs in German. However, the most characteristic element is their basically cylindrical shape and having a handle. A hinged lid is another typical component. Liquid capacities obviously vary, but the most common size is 1 liter.

Simple or smooth surfaced steins & mugs are quite ordinary, although most pewter or glass are by necessity such and very rarely have any extra embellishments. However, those made of porcelain or stoneware, feature ornate surfaces, mostly with relief imagery depicting everything from a local scene to a humorous story. Few are very detailed and their beauty rests on the overall composition as chunky implements to drink, yet reasonably attractive for display after the fun. Coloring schemes are fairly limited to natural pastel hues with cobalt blue highlights & shadows.

Steins & mugs are not necessarily pieces of art in the strict sense of the term and their collectability is an acquired taste, which however is shared by many. Older or vintage examples are the most desirable and fetch the highest prices at auction. Because originally most were made for utilitarian purposes, not all antique steins are properly marked, and even those that are marked can be deceiving using forged logos. Therefore, caution is of essence to avoid paying for reproductions. Steins made around 1960s and afterwards, have relatively less value than older pieces since they were usually mass-produced to accommodate the growing appetite for souvenir mugs at various ever-popular festivals & BBQ venues. These later examples also tend to be a bit more decorative and are great as display pieces, but are not worth much, other than for sentimental reasons.

Below are some examples of Steins & Mugs of all types and ages from our Pricing Guides database.

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  • 19th C Mettlach Stoneware & Pewter Stein,
    "St. Florian": Europe, Germany, Mettlach Villery & Bosch, Catalog No. #1786. Design attributed to Otto Hupp. Dated 1891. A fabulous Mettlach beer stein made from glazed stoneware ... [more like this]
  • German Beer Stein - Mettlach: **Originally
    Listed At $400**. . Europe, Germany, Mettlach, Villeroy & Boch, Mettlach # 1997. Signed by M. Hein. A wonderful antique beer stein, commemorating the George Ehret Brewery ... [more like this]
  • 2 Antique German Mettlach Pewter & Stoneware
    Steins: Europe, Germany, Mettlach, Catalog No. 2097 "In Praise of Song" - designed by Otto Hupp dated 1901 AND Catalog No. 2373 "St. Augustine, Florida" ca. 1890. The first ... [more like this]
  • Four Fine German Steins three signed Mettlach,
    the fourth marked "Gesetzl Geschutzt." Tallest 9.5 in. 1/2 liter Mettlach stein with small rim flake; 1/2 liter lidded Mettlach stein with hairline to lid. ... [more like this]
  • Four Fine German Steins: three signed Mettlach,
    the fourth marked "Gesetzl Geschutzt. " Tallest 9. 5 in. Condition 1/2 liter Mettlach stein with small rim flake; 1/2 liter lidded Mettlach stein with hairline to lid. ... [more like this]
    Large 2-liter pitcher-shaped stein with polychrome Dutch scene of fishermen and maid with windmill and boats in background. The Mettlach mark barely decipherable, but crisp ... [more like this]
  • Mettlach 5-Liter Beer Stein. Description
    Dated 1897. Incised on bottom with the Mettlach stamp and 1161. Five liter stein with a pewter top and eagle thumb rest. Shows two beautiful women in feathered hats. No chips, ... [more like this]
  • Regimental Mettlach Stein German. A half
    liter regimental Mettlach stein with painted scene depicting soldiers in battle under JNF.-REGT Freiherr hiller von Gaertringen (4.Posen.) Nr.59 inscription with impressed ... [more like this]
  • Lot of 2 German Steins. Description Includes
    one Mettlach half liter stein with correct incised lid with star on top, dated 1866 to 1891, 1997 with incised Mettlach castle on bottom, marked Kopfen U. Malz, Gott Erhalt’s. ... [more like this]
  • Lot of 2: Mettlach Half-Liter Steins. Description
    Includes one Villeroy and Boch stamped stein depicting a man and woman drinking with pewter lid and a Mettlach stamped stein with 1231 Geschutzt depicting a man holding a ... [more like this]
  • Mettlach quarter liter beer stein with ceramic
    lid and pewter fittings, sides with scrollwork and marked "Auf, Freunde, stokton", marked under base "Mettlach VB Gegen Nachbildung Geschutzt 1740". MEASUREMENTS: 6" on 3-3/4" ... [more like this]
  • Mettlach 3-Liter Stein. Description Mettlach
    stamp incised on bottom with 2194. Handles in the shape of an alligator, top insert is a turtle . Has a wedge wood style decor. No damage repairs or cracks. Condition (Excellent). ... [more like this]
  • German Mettlach Half-Liter Stein. Description
    Mettlach and 2213 incised on bottom depicting an elf holding a drink and a crowing rooster with sun coming up on the top lid. Condition (Excellent). Size 8 - 1/4" T. ... [more like this]
  • Florian Mettlach Half Liter No. 1786 Stein.
    Description Incised "Mettlach" on bottom. No damage. Condition (Excellent). Size 8 - 1/4" T. ... [more like this]
    Heinrich Schlitt signed PUG (print under glaze) scenes of inebriated gentlemen. Impressed 1909 with typical underglaze markings. 1/2 Liter pewter lid. 8 7/8'' h. x 5 1/2'' ... [more like this]
  • METTLACH STEIN 2640: .5 liter etched stein
    with scene of cavalier in a beer hall. Cupid thumb press. Measures 9'' high to top of thumb press. No chips or cracks. ... [more like this]
  • Mettlach Stein, etched, #1725, lovers, man
    holding a stein, signed Warth, brass cover, 1/2 liter. ... [more like this]
  • Mettlach 3-Liter Stein. Description Signed
    by Heinrich Schlitt 2270. Depicts a soldier holding a gun and a lady holding a stein with another soldier and has a pewter lid. Condition (Excellent). Size 18" T. ... [more like this]
    Liter stein, hinged lid with turtle motif, body with African outdoor scene and German verses, alligator handle. Impressed marks on base. 17 1/2'' h. x 8''. ... [more like this]
  • Mettlach Stein, etched, #3279, 1/2 liter,
    boy with sword, sausage & chicken, walking away from a farm girl, signed Hohlwein, scarce, inlaid lid, base chip repair. ... [more like this]

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