Deutsches Haus Newsletters
Which Stein is
Steins have been around since the 13th
century. They are beautiful pieces of art and fun to collect. In this
newsletter we are focusing on the different types of steins and their
These steins are made of stoneware and range in size from 1/4 liter
to 4 liters in size. They are the most well known and range from just
a couple hundred dollars to many thousands depending on the type, size
and rarity. They usually are etched, hand painted or have a type of
"print under the glass". After 1970, collections of Mettlach
steins were started in many major museums in the United States, Hamburg,
Amsterdam and many other other well known places. They can have either
ceramic or pewter lids and are all beautifully decorated. They are highly
sought after today.
There are many look-alike Mettlach Steins
out there. These are also beautiful, but if you are only interested
in the genuine ones, then here's a couple of things to look for...
There are several other ways to tell what
you really have too, but can get quite detailed. The above two methods
I mention are two of the "quick tell" ways and one of the
first things collectors will usually look for.
These steins reflect the time period between 1870 to 1914 and are mostly
made of porcelain. These steins were the result of the Franco-Prussian
War (1840-1871). After the war, the Imperial German Armed Forces was
broken into six different divisions (Infantry, Cavalry, Technician Troops,
Artillery, Colonial Guard and Supply Train) and the Navy. This is where
the scenes you see on these types of steins come from. Military service
during this time was considered an honor and when a reservist's time
of active duty was finished, they were sold one of these steins. The
soldier would receive one of these steins of his choice and decorations
which usually reflected the division he was in. After that, they became
valued family heirlooms.
Many of these steins will have a translucent
picture, called a "lithophane," in the bottom of the stein
which when you are drinking the last of your beer, you will see some
sort of picture on the bottom.
Today, authentic regimental steins (the
reproduced ones) are made in Bavaria and can cost from a few hundred
to thousands of dollars depending on the rarity and condition. Steins
from medical, airships and railroad units are considered more valuable
than those from infantry, cavalry or machine gun units.
These steins are unique, desirable and fall into the same price ranges
as the regimental steins. You will usually find these in the shapes
of faces, animals, towers, buildings or whatever the artist decided
to make. Usually, the head or the roof is the lid. Most of these types
of steins are made from porcelain, but you can also find stoneware and
even some made of pewter. A lot of the porcelain steins also have lithophanes
in their bases just like the regimental ones do. They are more of a
novelty type of stein.
Stoneware Westerwald (Western Forest)
These are the bluish type stoneware steins that are made in the Western
Forest part of Germany just southeast of Cologne. The Western Forest
is famous for its quality stoneware and the steins that you see from
here are the heavy-duty steins that they use in the Munich beer gardens
and bars all over Germany. These steins have become Germany's most popular
souvenirs and you can find these at reasonable prices which can be anywhere
from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars.
Steins have also been made out of wood,
ivory and believe it or not, coconut shells. Then there's the gold,
silver and pewter steins which have been made for centuries.
Many people enjoy collecting steins as
there are so many different types all at different price ranges. Whether
you are a beginner or an expert, there's always something that's sure
to catch your eye!
Here are some great resources on beer steins
(you need to become a member, but it's free!)
Beer Stein Translations
(great books on beer steins)