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Mugs & Tankards

From Moorcroft mugs to stoneware steins, the field of antique and vintage mugs and tankards is an expansive one. Including any large cylindrical cup with a single handle, mugs and tankards can trace their origins to the Middle Ages.

Wooden drinking vessels in the 1200s were the first to be referred to as tankards, laying the foundation for the rich tradition that followed. These initial versions were not lidded, but the rise of sanitation concerns in the wake of the Black Death led to the innovation of the lidded mug. They were believed to be so effective in preventing the spread of disease that these covered tankards became mandatory in Germany by the early years of the 16th century.

At the same time, new materials were incorporated into tankard designs. Evolving from the initial wooden format, pewter and silver became customary alongside ceramic stoneware, which proved remarkably durable for such a well-used vessel. Mugs and tankards continue to be produced and enjoyed in the present day.


Quick Facts

  • The record for the world's largest pewter tankard goes to the Royal Selangor company, located in Setapak, Malaysia. The tankard weighs more than 3,400 pounds and can hold more than 94,000 fluid ounces
  • The glass bottom that is featured in many antique metal tankards bears different interpretations among experts. Some experts have suggested that the glass bottom allowed tavern-goers to avoid being duped
  • A pair of 17th century James II large silver tankards known as the "Brownlow Tankards" by English silversmith John Duck set a record for tankard sales at a Christie's auction in London. Featuring elaborate decorative motifs, the two vessels sold in 2000 for $1,423,145

Recommended Items at Auction

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Large China tankard
Jun 14, 9:00 AM EDT
Large China tankard
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$454 Bids
Caneca em porcelana de Coimbra S.P e Vista Alegre
Jun 20, 7:00 PM WEST
Caneca em porcelana de Coimbra S.P e Vista Alegre
by Palácio do Correio Velho
Est: €15- €30
€151 Bid
A GERMAN FAIENCE TANKARD
Jun 27, 10:00 AM CEST
A GERMAN FAIENCE TANKARD
by Nagel Auction
Est: €200- €250
€1001 Bid
TWO GERMAN PEWTER MOUNTED FAIENCE TANKARDS
Jun 27, 10:00 AM CEST
TWO GERMAN PEWTER MOUNTED FAIENCE TANKARDS
by Nagel Auction
Est: €150- €200
€701 Bid
A GERMAN PEWTER MOUNTED FAIENCE TANKARD
Jun 27, 10:00 AM CEST
A GERMAN PEWTER MOUNTED FAIENCE TANKARD
by Nagel Auction
Est: €150- €200
€701 Bid
A PEWTER MOUNTED FAYENCE TANKARD
Jun 27, 10:00 AM CEST
A PEWTER MOUNTED FAYENCE TANKARD
by Nagel Auction
Est: €250- €350
€1201 Bid
TWO GERMAN FAYENCE TANKARDS
Jun 27, 10:00 AM CEST
TWO GERMAN FAYENCE TANKARDS
by Nagel Auction
Est: €300- €400
€1501 Bid
A THURINGIAN PEWTER MOUNTED FAIENCE TANKARD
Jun 27, 10:00 AM CEST
A THURINGIAN PEWTER MOUNTED FAIENCE TANKARD
by Nagel Auction
Est: €200- €300
€1001 Bid
TWO GERMAN FAIENCE TANKARDS
Jun 27, 10:00 AM CEST
TWO GERMAN FAIENCE TANKARDS
by Nagel Auction
Est: €250- €350
€1201 Bid
Kayo O'Young (Canadian, b.1950), Red and Blue Glazed Covered Jar and Large Mug, 1987
Jun 20, 2:00 PM EDT
Kayo O'Young (Canadian, b.1950), Red and Blue Glazed Covered Jar and Large Mug, 1987
by Waddington's
Est: $75- $150
$501 Bid
MacKenzie Childs Owl Mug
Jun 23, 6:00 PM EDT
MacKenzie Childs Owl Mug
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Group of 4 Lucy Faces I Love Lucy Mugs
Jun 15, 10:00 AM CDT
Group of 4 Lucy Faces I Love Lucy Mugs
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $50- $300
$250 Bids
GROSSER BILDER-BIERKRUG.
Jun 14, 10:00 AM CEST
GROSSER BILDER-BIERKRUG.
by Auktionshaus Wendl
Est: €0- €0
€900 Bids
GERMAN BEER MUGS, LOT OF TWO
Jun 20, 7:00 PM CEST
GERMAN BEER MUGS, LOT OF TWO
by Zwiggelaar Auctions
Est: €70- €120
€700 Bids
World War II Spitfire Commerative Tankyard By Micheal Turner
Jun 16, 7:00 PM BST
World War II Spitfire Commerative Tankyard By Micheal Turner
by James Auctioneers London
Est: £25- £35
£250 Bids
2 BEER MUGS, C. 1900, PEWTER LIDS WIT
Jun 22, 10:00 AM CEST
2 BEER MUGS, C. 1900, PEWTER LIDS WIT
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€1200 Bids
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Boccale con decoro a Tau su girale. Manifattura toscana del XVIII secolo XVII cm 22,4x15,5x9,5
Jun 27, 3:00 PM CEST
Boccale con decoro a Tau su girale. Manifattura toscana del XVIII secolo XVII cm 22,4x15,5x9,5
by Gliubich Casa d'Aste
Est: €600- €800
€2600 Bids
Pinselbecher / A brush mug, China, um 1920
Jul 08, 9:00 AM CEST
Pinselbecher / A brush mug, China, um 1920
by Auktionshaus Schwab
Est: €260- €520
€2600 Bids
A NUREMBERG FAYENCE TANKARD WITH ST. JOHN OF NEPOMUK
Jun 26, 9:30 AM CEST
A NUREMBERG FAYENCE TANKARD WITH ST. JOHN OF NEPOMUK
by Nagel Auction
Est: €250- €350
€2000 Bids
Large German METTLACH Poly-chromed Tankard
Jun 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Large German METTLACH Poly-chromed Tankard
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $250- $450
$500 Bids
LIDDED TANKARD, VIENNA, C. 1900, C. 1900
Jun 20, 9:00 AM CEST
LIDDED TANKARD, VIENNA, C. 1900, C. 1900
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€9000 Bids
Face Mugs and Dishes
Jun 17, 6:00 PM EDT
Face Mugs and Dishes
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
Face Mugs
Jun 17, 6:00 PM EDT
Face Mugs
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
Walzenkrug "Auferweckung des Lazarus"
Jun 17, 2:00 PM CEST
Walzenkrug "Auferweckung des Lazarus"
by Im Kinsky
Est: €10,000- €20,000
€10,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Mugs & Tankards


Im Kinsky

Im Kinsky

Nagel Auction

Nagel Auction

Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates

Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates

Bonhams

Bonhams