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Determining the year a beer stein was produced is a difficult task that must take into a variety of information about the stein's shape, decorations, materials and markings.


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The earliest antique German beer steins date to the fourteenth century, a time when earthenware was being improved, Germany was making new and improved brews, and Europe was ravaged with the bubonic plague. Replica and aged beer steins are still manufactured today, so you need to understand the history of these vessels Dating beer steins learn German beer stein values.

Beer steins evolved as a result of the laws passed in several German principalities stating that covers had to be on all beverage and food containers. The laws, and others related to sanitary conditions, were in reaction to the fear that a recurrence of the bubonic plague, also called the Black Death, would be caused by several invasions of flies throughout Central Europe in the mid to late fifteenth century.

German stein values

Up until that time, most common folk drank beer from mugs made of porous earthenware or wood. The well-to-do and upper class drank from glass, pewter or silver vessels, called beakers or tankards. The first steins were simply mugs with a hinged lid that had an attached thumb lift. As progress continued in the refinement of earthenware, a new material developed called stoneware.

Chip and crack resistant, the new non-porous material was a perfect choice for holding beer. Relatively expensive, the stoneware lidded drinking vessels soon became the subjects of Renaissance artists that added des to make them even more appealing.

What is german beer stein

Early German beer steins from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries often had:. By the mid-seventeenth century, German beer and stoneware beer steins were in high demand. The elite members of the German society wanted elaborately decorated steins made of silver, pewter or glass which were made in Bavaria, Koblenz and Koln. However, there was also great attention paid to the beautiful porcelain Ming mugs of China.

Although at the time European potters did not know how to produce porcelain, German potters produced a substitute for porcelain, called faience. Beer steins made of faiencea type of earthenware that uses tin oxide to create a white porcelain looking glaze, quickly became popular in Germany.

The German faience steins were:. Many German beer stein makers continued making faience steins throughout Dating beer steins eighteenth century. At the same time, European porcelain had been perfected and the costly German porcelain beer steins were in demand by Germany's wealthiest families. Besides porcelain, several other materials were used in the making of beer steins during this time period. Like the porcelain steins, beer steins made of the following materials were also very costly:.

The German beer steins produced from the mid nineteenth to early twentieth century saw a resurgence in the popularity of stoneware steins decorated with Renaissance des and motifs. These steins were:. This era is also the beginning of molded German beer steins.

The first molded steins were made in the region of Westerwald by Reinhold Hanke. Once molds were used and beer steins were being mass produced, the beautiful highly detailed carved relief work of the early steins was no longer unique.

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It appears on hundreds, if not thousands, of molded steins. Knowing everything you can about your stein and the current Dating beer steins for them with collectors can mean the difference of thousands of dollars. To determine whether your stein is a valuable antique or just a cool collectible, you need to look for clues about how old the stein iswhere it was made, and how it was made.

The best way to find the value of your stein is to seek a professional appraisal from a stein expert.

Age of the german beer stein

To start, you'll want to be fairly certain your beer stein is an authentic German antique, not a mass-produced promotional piece. Dating beer steins the period when your stein was made is important because older pieces will typically be more valuable. Beer steins were made to be used, so finding faded colors, minor chips, and other small imperfections is expected with antiques.

But the condition of your stein will affect its value. If your piece has many or all of these conditions, it will be more valuable.

Dating beer steins

Stein makers often mark their work with easily identifiable maker's marks. You can search online databases such as Stein Marks to identify yours. Well-known manufacturer pieces can be more valuable. The following are some makers of German beer steins.

From books to websites, you can find plenty of resources from experts and avid collectors to help you identify a piece or Dating beer steins your own collection. Although you will not find antique German beer steins made of early stoneware or faience in local antique stores or online auctionsthere are many beautiful beer steins made in centuries past available to collectors.

History of German Beer Steins Beer steins evolved as a result of the laws passed in several German principalities stating that covers had to be on all beverage and food containers. Mugs With Hinged Lids The first steins were simply mugs with a hinged lid that had an attached thumb lift. Early German beer steins from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries often had: Carved or applied decorations and decorative detailing Carved or applied scenes including figurative, historical and Biblical Carved or applied shields A clear salt glaze A chocolate salt glaze A cobalt oxide blue glaze A manganese oxide purple glaze.

The Introduction of Faience By the mid-seventeenth century, German beer and stoneware beer steins were in Dating beer steins demand.

Stein production timeline

The German faience steins were: Less expensive than the Chinese porcelain pieces Adorned with beautiful decorative des and motifs in late Renaissance and early Baroque styles rather Dating beer steins Chinese des Beautifully glazed since the German blue glaze was purer than the Chinese blue glaze, giving the steins stunning coloring and crisp lines. Porcelain Antique German Beer Steins Many German beer stein makers continued making faience steins throughout the eighteenth century. Like the porcelain steins, beer steins made of the following materials were also very costly: Enameled glass Engraved glass Silver Ivory.

Steins of the Mid Nineteenth to Early Twentieth Century The German beer steins produced from the mid nineteenth to early twentieth century saw a resurgence in the popularity of stoneware steins decorated with Renaissance des and motifs. These steins were: Made using clay from the Koln area, which has a distinctive white color Decorated in the Renaissance style, often having Dating beer steins decorations Colored using a gray salt glaze Topped with lids of inlaid porcelain This era is also the beginning of molded German beer steins.

It had been passed down through generations of a single family. How to Tell if Your German Beer Stein Is Valuable To determine whether your stein is a valuable antique or just a cool Dating beer steins, you need to look for clues about how old the stein iswhere it was made, and how it was made. Tips for Authenticating Your German Beer Stein To start, you'll want to be fairly certain your beer stein is an authentic German antique, not a mass-produced promotional piece.

If the inside of the pewter lid is lighter than the outside, that indicates authenticity. Hand-painted steins will have minor imperfections and feel raised. These are more valuable. Hand-carved des indicate authenticity, and those with a German patriotic scheme can be more valuable.

Scenes on the stein should tell a story.

Popular brands

A de of Biblical nature or a historical event can be more valuable. The de on the lid should correspond with the de on the stein Dating beer steins show that the entire piece is intact. Tips for Dating Your German Beer Stein Finding the period when your stein was made is important because older pieces will typically be Dating beer steins valuable. Look for markings that indicate it was made in Germany. This was a requirement of exports after Phrases like "Gemacht in Deutschland" or "Made in Germany" are common. Beer stein handles didn't get bumps on them until the s, so the lack of a bump can help date your piece.

A on the stein that starts with "17," "18" or "19 is not necessarily a manufacture date. If the is behind the handle or imprinted in the base, it's probably just a form or mold. Pewter lids made before WWII used a three or four part mold, while more recent pewter lids are made in a single mold.

History of german beer steins

A stein marked as made in Western Germany indicates it was made between and Stein Condition Impacts Value Beer steins were made to be used, so finding faded colors, minor chips, and other small imperfections is expected with antiques. All original pieces are intact Very few chips, dents or cracks No obvious repair work Original decorations are clear No unattractive discolorations Little to no damage to the front Working hinge on lid. Popular German Beer Stein Manufacturers Stein makers often Dating beer steins their work with easily identifiable maker's marks. German Beer Stein Resources From books to websites, you can find plenty of resources from experts and avid collectors to help you identify a piece or start your own collection.

If you're looking for a specific maker, something like The Dating beer steins Book by Gary Kirsner provides details on one stein brand. The Stein Center is an online marketplace where you can buy German steins. The Beer Stein Library features resources for a variety of stein makers along with general stein collecting tips. Stein Collectors International is a group dedicated to the collection of steins. Collecting German Beer Steins Although you will not find antique German beer steins made of early stoneware or faience in local antique stores or online auctionsthere are many beautiful beer steins made in centuries past available to collectors.

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