How Do You Identify German Beer Mugs or Steins?

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Marks found on the bottom of German beer steins help collectors identify the company or artist and date of manufacture. Collectors should also examine the underside of stein handles for marks. The material used to manufacture the stein can also help identify the beer stein’s age.

  1. Find the beer stein mark

    Carefully examine the stein to find identifying marks. Look for incised marks impressed into the clay as the stein dried or ink marks stamped on the stein afterwards. Check the back of the handle if the bottom of the stein doesn’t have a mark.

  2. Review images of legitimate German beer stein marks

    Compare marks to images found in antique dealer catalogs, websites or images from professional collectors to determine authenticity. Compare the mark stamp, color, date of manufacture, company or artist name and other features of the mark.

  3. Determine the beer stein type

    Beer stein types include earthenware, porcelain, creamware pottery, saltglazed stoneware and glass. Examine the stein to determine the overall theme of the images etched into the stein body. For example, earthenware steins typically feature images of everyday life, hunting or group celebrations. Porcelain steins, which are hand painted and more delicate than earthenware steins, typically feature nature scenes with gold and silver decorations.