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German Steins

Nothing sings of the gregarious German culture more than the ceramic stein. A symbol of revelry and rowdy drinking, the German stein is also a piece of history, with its origins dating back to the days of the Black Death.

In the 14th century, when the Bubonic Plague broke out and began ravaging western European populations, those who wished to thwart the disease began developing measures to increase sanitation. One of these measures was to add lids or covers to drinking vessels. This trend became law in Germany by the early years of the 16th century, resulting in development of a hinged lid for mugs and tankards.

At the same time, ceramists also began experimenting with stoneware, fired at extreme temperatures to create a more durable vessel. Such was the combination of factors that gave birth to the stein. This vessel has remained relatively unchanged to the present day, save for the level of decoration on the exterior. From family crests to souvenir scenes, German stein pottery comes adorned with a variety of motifs that will compel almost any collector.


Quick Facts

  • "Stein" is actually a truncation of the German word "steinzeugkreug," which roughly translates to "stoneware tankard"
  • Before the popularity of ceramic vessels, many beer drinking mugs were crafted from wood. This proved problematic, as the natural porosity of wood meant that the stench of old beer would linger long after drinking
  • Stoneware stein tankards were considered a symbol of status in the 16th century, as they were without a doubt a pricey investment

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage Gerz 1L. Pottery Stein, Drinker at Beer Barrel
Dec 06, 9:00 AM EST
Vintage Gerz 1L. Pottery Stein, Drinker at Beer Barrel
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$101 Bid
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Vintage Original King Pottery Neuschwanstein Stein
Dec 06, 9:00 AM EST
Vintage Original King Pottery Neuschwanstein Stein
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$101 Bid
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Original King Beer Stein, Folk Art Floral
Dec 06, 9:00 AM EST
Original King Beer Stein, Folk Art Floral
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$51 Bid
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2pc Antique Thewalt and German Pottery 1L Beer Steins
Dec 06, 9:00 AM EST
2pc Antique Thewalt and German Pottery 1L Beer Steins
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$101 Bid
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HB Ceramic 1 Liter German Beer Stein
Dec 18, 10:00 AM EST
HB Ceramic 1 Liter German Beer Stein
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$101 Bid
A large German late 19th century Mettlach lidded stein having lion mask and floral decoration. H 64cm, W 23cm
Dec 04, 12:00 PM AEDT
A large German late 19th century Mettlach lidded stein having lion mask and floral decoration. H 64cm, W 23cm
by Christian McCann Auctions
Est: AUD400- AUD600
AUD3001 Bid
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GERMAN LIDDED STEIN OF A LADIES FACE
Dec 08, 9:00 AM AEST
GERMAN LIDDED STEIN OF A LADIES FACE
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD10- AUD40
AUD101 Bid
German Stein Pewter Lid marked
Dec 28, 6:00 PM EST
German Stein Pewter Lid marked
by Captain Ahab's Antiques
Est: $175- $350
$1500 Bids
Charming Vintage German Stein
Dec 04, 10:00 AM CST
Charming Vintage German Stein
by Thriftiques of Iowa
Est: $10- $1,000
$100 Bids
Humpen/ stein
Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
Humpen/ stein
by Kunstauktionshaus Günther
Est: €0- €0
€100 Bids
Character Beer Steins FISHING BEAR, BULL & BEAR & ALLIGATOR GOLFER
Dec 12, 7:00 PM EST
Character Beer Steins FISHING BEAR, BULL & BEAR & ALLIGATOR GOLFER
by Kensington Estate Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
A Large German Stein - 3 Liter
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A Large German Stein - 3 Liter
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $150- $1,500
$1500 Bids
Vintage German Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Vintage German Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $25- $250
$250 Bids
German Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
German Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
Gerz Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Gerz Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $40- $400
$400 Bids
Gerz Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Gerz Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $40- $400
$400 Bids
A German Stein by Thewalt Company
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A German Stein by Thewalt Company
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $175- $1,750
$1750 Bids
A German Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A German Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $15- $150
$150 Bids
A Schedel Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A Schedel Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $15- $150
$150 Bids
A Joska Design Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A Joska Design Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
A Small Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A Small Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $15- $150
$150 Bids
A German Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A German Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $75- $750
$700 Bids
A Spandahlem Eifel Wanderers Mug or Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A Spandahlem Eifel Wanderers Mug or Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $15- $150
$150 Bids
A Vintage German Stein
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
A Vintage German Stein
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $45- $450
$450 Bids

Sellers Who Sell German Steins


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Lion and Unicorn

Lion and Unicorn