Antique beer steins, mugs and tankards are prized for their craftsmanship and colorful ornamentation and scenes. They can be found in many styles and materials, including copper, pewter, silver, pottery, ivory, porcelain, glass and wood. Many steins were imported to the U.S. from Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially from the city of Mettlach, whose potteries produced thousands of the vessels.

The beer stein had its origins in the mid-1500's along the Rhine river in Germany, when small towns began producing functional drinking vessels decorated by enameling and glazing. Each town or area adding their own flair or nuance. By the 1860s, factories around Westerwald and Dresden began producing ornamental steins for display, and continued doing so until WW1, from which the industry never fully recovered.

Lately there's been renewed interest in collecting beer steins with unique designs, including reproductions of works by famous artists. Designs reflect everything from historical battles to comical faces and even car racing and baseball. While many steins have been produced and marketed as collectibles, the most valuable continue to be pre-1900 German handmade steins.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Beer Stein Library

Beer Stein Library

Though partially restricted to members-only, this site has a huge amount of free, publicly available and incredibly… [read review or visit site]

Red Fox Chapter

Red Fox Chapter

The guys at the Connecticut Chapter of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America have created a full-on tribute to t… [read review or visit site]

Bottle Cap Index

Bottle Cap Index

Assembled by Gunther Rademacher with the help of several other contributors, this collection of over half a million… [read review or visit site]

British Beer Labels

British Beer Labels

This pre-1965 collection is organized alphabetically by brand and contains scans of seemingly thousands of beautif… [read review or visit site]

Norbert Lamping's collection of 600+ ceramic bottle stoppers, Hutter stoppers, swingtops, swivel stoppers, and ligh… [read review or visit site]

Bock Beer Labels

Bock Beer Labels

A quick tour of pre-Prohibition bock beer label designs with nice, high resolution scans. Do the whole slide show o… [read review or visit site]

Trappist Beers and Monks

Trappist Beers and Monks

An interesting site dedicated to Trappist beers and the history of the development of beer brewed by Trappist Bened… [read review or visit site]

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Recent News: Beer Steins

Source: Google News

Baltimore shopkeeper collects and sells Victorian jewelry that honors lost ...
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 20th

Baltimore — Amid the old pocket watches, vintage lamps, beer steins and postcards at The Parisian Flea store is a small, 14-carat gold brooch with an oak leaf emblem. It sells for $595. There's nothing surprising about the Victorian-era piece, until...Read more

Vintage clothing is back in fashion, February 17th

Q: I inherited an antique beer stein from my grandfather. It appears to be made from milk glass or porcelain with a cast-pewter top. Written in German calligraphy is "Froh erwache jeden morgan. Trink dein topfchen ohne Sorgen," or, in translation...Read more

Local legend Wanda Wilson, of P&H fame, dies
Memphis Commercial Appeal, January 31st

Under Wanda's guidance, the so-called “Beer Joint of Your Dreams” became something like the funky underdog Memphis equivalent of Gertrude Stein's salons in Paris, where Picasso, Hemingway and others of their ilk gathered to change the world or at least...Read more

Florida Weekly, January 28th

Chili & More - The fourth annual Charlotte Harbor Chili Challenge and Beer Festival starts at noon in Laishley Park. Taste chili from 25 teams while enjoying live entertainment. ... Farmers Market - The Punta Gorda Historical Society's Farmers Market...Read more

The Evolution of a Big Mountain Icon
Flathead Beacon, January 28th

Its beer-begrimed, boot-battered floors have hosted untold leg-wrestling matches, and the rough-hewn timber beams and walls remain festooned with a hodgepodge of historic ski posters, antique signs, sepia-toned photographs, crudely carved names and...Read more

Drink up! Old world beer steins find new market
HeraldNet, December 11th

Tradition claims that it was the bubonic plague in the 14th century that inspired the creation of beer steins. Many people had noticed that there were more deaths in filthy places in town than in clean sections, and that there were clouds of insects...Read more

Antiques | How did Uncle Sam become famous?
The Courier-Journal, November 14th

Uncle Sam seems very happy, perhaps because he is 101 years old this year. Or perhaps because his likeness has been used on a beer stein. How did he become famous? The initials "U.S." were put on barrels of beef sent to the U.S. military during the War ...Read more

At 101, Uncle Sam is one happy centenarian
HeraldNet, November 6th

Uncle Sam seems very happy, perhaps because he is 101 years old this year. Or perhaps because his likeness ... A beer stein that looks like that Uncle Sam was made by Schierholz Porcelain of Plaue, Germany, in about 1890. The company, started in 1818, ...Read more