Stein Collectors International

~ A Glossary Of German Stein Terminology ~

by Walt Vogdes

Occasionally a stein collector will come across the description of a beer stein written entirely in German. It's nice to know how to decipher it, but critical to understand it if it appears in an auction catalog! While an illustration goes a long way to recognizing what we are looking at, gaining an understanding of the description, especially if there is any damage, is essential. This is a U-Build-It Glossary of German stein collecting terms. We've seeded it with a few terms, but would like our visitors to make further contributions, or to comment on the definitions we have provided. It is presented in alphabetical order, like a dictionary, to ease the task of looking up unfamiliar words. Please send your contributions or comments to us by email at We thank Joe Gehres for his help in reviewing this material and offering suggestions before it was published.

Absplitterung chip
aufwendig complicated design or decoration, difficult to make, intricate, lavish, costly
Ausführung produced by, originally by
Ausgabe (abbreviated Ausg.) Edition
Band pewter strap
Bayern (bayerisch) Bavaria (Bavarian)
Becher beaker
Bekronung finial
bemalt painted
Bemalung painted decoration
beschädigt damaged
Bier beer (Bierkrug is a beer stein)
Bildnis portrait
Boden bottom
Bodenbild lithophane (picture in the bottom)
Bowle also Wein Bowle, referring to a wine bowl (punch bowl)
Brauerei brewery
Daumenheber thumblift
Daumenrast thumblift (literally, thumb rest)
Deckel lid
Deckelheber thumblift (this is unusual usage)
D.R.G.M. Deutsches Reichs Gebrauchmuster - German (State) Patent or protected prototype.
Einlage inlay
Email (Emaille) enamel (painted and fired oxides)
Emailfarbe colored enamel
Entwurf (Entwerfer) design (designer)
Fehlerstelle defect, damage (chip, paint flake, etc.)
Figurenkrug character stein
gebraucht used, not new
gebrochen broken
Gebrüder (abbreviated Gebr.) brothers
geloetet soldered
geritzt etched (incised, scratched)
Gesellschaft (abbreviated Ges.) Company
Gesetzlich geschützt (abbreviated Ges. gesch.) protected by law, patented, copyrighted
Geschützt protected (by law)
Glas glass
G.m.b.H. (Gesellschaft mit beschränker Haftung) company with limited liability (e.g., "Corp." in US, "Ltd." in England)
Haarriß Hairline
handgemalt hand painted (usually suggests that the stein was made post-World War II)
Henkel handle
Hirsch stag (springender Hirsch is a leaping stag)
Humpen a large, cylindrical drinking vessel, typically of glass
Jahrhundert century
Jugendstil German art nouveau (after the German magazine, Jugend)
Kanne pitcher or master stein
Keramik ceramic
Korpus body
Krug stein, pitcher, jug, mug, tankard - any size
Kupfer copper
leuchtend shining, bright, luminous, vivid
Maß one liter serving of beer
Maßkrug a one-liter Krug
München Munich
Musterschutz registered patent, copyright, registered pattern
ohne without (as ohne deckel)
Pokal pokal (see the standard glossary)
Porzellan porcelain
Rand rim
Randabsplitterung rim chip(s)
Reservistenkrug reservist or regimental stein
restauriert restored or repaired
Römer römer or roemer (see the standard glossary)
salzglasiert (Salzglasur) saltglazed (saltglaze)
Schankkrug serving or master stein, also called a flagon
Scharnier hinge
Seidel a half-liter Krug
Spannungsriß stress crack, usually tight
Sprung crack
Standfuß base ring
Steinzeug stoneware
Turm tower
Wandteller decorative, hanging plate
Wandung walls or sides (of the body)
Wappen crest, coat of arms
zeigt it shows
Zinn pewter
Zinndeckel pewter lid
Zunftkrug guild or occupational stein

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