German Beer Steins

You don't necessarily have to love beer to love collecting German beer steins, as many people already know. More than just a vehicle for holding beer, many of these traditional mugs also have incredibly detailed designs engraved into them that makes them a true piece of art, as well as a collector's item.

German beer steins first came about as a result of laws passed in Germany in the 16th century following the epidemic of bubonic plague not too much earlier. In a nutshell, these laws stated that all food and drink containers must be covered in order to protect their contents from the spread of disease. Of course, with beer being as important as it is in Germany, it's not surprising that they were the ones to come up with a mug that incorporated a hinged lid and lever to allow easy, one handed access to their drink while keeping it clean at the same time.

Around the same time, stoneware was beginning to be used in making tableware due to its moisture resistant properties. It was also much more durable than the earthenware that had been in widespread use previously, and steins made of stoneware became very popular right away. Add to that the elegance of a heavy pewter lid and you can see that German beer steins certainly haven't changed much since their birth hundreds of years ago.

The best place to find them, bar none, is to visit breweries in Germany where some of the best steins are crafted alongside some of the most equally famous beers to go inside them. However, a quick jaunt to Germany might not be in everyone's reach! Thankfully, there are plenty of places for collectors to find new and antique German beer steins without leaving the comfort of their own home.

Upscale gift shops and fine jewelry or crystal boutiques often have a few of the more ornately designed beer steins for sale, sometimes commanding prices that match the reputation of the store rather than the quality of the piece. To find authentic beer steins from Germany, the Internet is a wonderful place to start looking, since it only takes a quick search to find a store that sells authentic imported steins. You can even buy them straight from Germany if you so desire, but be prepared to pay for international shipping. Thanks to the heavy pewter lids of most steins, shipping can sometimes be quite expensive.

If you've been collecting for years already or have just inherited some German antique original beer steins, you might be wondering how to tell if they are valuable or not. There are actually quite a few reputable price guides available that can help you get started, most of which are geared toward a specific type or brand of stein. Fine art or antiques appraisers are also a great source to get an accurate value of your steins, and they will also give you a certificate of appraisal with the value written on it so you can easily insure your collection or know how much to ask for if you plan to sell it later.

For thousands of collectors around the world, German beer steins are more than just a novelty to have on their shelf or something to store their lager. Each and every one is a piece of German culture, with their long and illustrious heritage carved into every handle, stein and lid. There are so many different steins out there to choose from, why not take a closer look at these German originals and see why they've found such a special place in so many hearts.

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