Stein Collectors International, Inc.

~ Student Association Steins - A Pictorial Essay ~

by Master Steinologist Walt Vogdes

In this pictorial article we will look at a variety of student association coats-of-arms (in German, a Wappen), steins, lids and inscriptions.

Student association steins are collectible because of their bright colors and badges, if for no other reasons. These beautifully decorated steins were common gifts between members of the same association, and they signified a special and lasting bond of friendship. Factors which add to their desirability include Zirkels on both body and lid, and an inscription which includes the date and names of both the owner and the presenter, the names being followed by the Zirkel of the association. Occasionally, in perhaps 1-2% of the cases, we see a stein displaying the Wappen of two associations, usually side-by-side. In most cases where two Wappen appear, the Zirkel in the inscription will reveal that both men belonged to one of the associations (presumably at the time of the presentation) and one belonged to both of them. This would occur when a student began his studies at one school where he joined his first society, then continued his studies at another school, joining the second association. A second possibility is that the Wappen represent two societies which merged at some point, and chose to display the arms in combination from that point forth. Triple-Wappen student association steins are also known, but very rare.

The Wappen to the left is that of Corps Hassia Giessen. An inscription dates it to 1887.

The heavily enameled
to the right, surmounted by swan and banner, and featuring a harp on the shield, belongs to the Polytechniker-Gesangverein Hannover. No inscription.
Left, a Mettlach half-liter stein, form 1526, decorated on the body with a large Zirkel for Akademischer Turnverbindung Arminia Berlin.     Center, A porcelain stein displaying the arms of Katholischen Studentenvereine Arminia Bonn. The inscription is for the winter semester, (18)94/95.     Right, a Mettlach half-liter, form 1526, with a Doppelwappen. The arms to the left are those of Giessener Wingolf, while those on the right seem merely decorative.
Shown above are three clear, blown glass steins with enameled student association decorations. The bodies are faceted, and the panels alternate clear and frosted. Each of the steins contains an enameled dedication between the upper and lower handle attachments, with dedication, names, Zirkel(s) and date. From the left, the societies are Saxonia Münster i. W. (1903), Turnerschaft Stauffia Berlin (1905), and Germania Tubingen (1901).
Above, a porcelain stein from a Swiss association, Blau-Helvetia Zurich, inscription dated 88/89. These student steins with a transfer design by Franz Ringer show the articles of student life and a dueling student, chasing the owl of learning away from his beer stein with his sword. The absence of a Wappen makes these steins much more difficult to identify.
A stein from the Jugendstil period by R. Merkelbach. The arms belong to Kurhessen Marburg a.d.L., and the association name appears on the side. An inscription is enameled on the rear of of the stein, with date of (19)13/14.
This relief lid is on the Ringer stein to the left above. The design is a "generic" shield with helm, mantling and crest. The shield contains the same Zirkel as the body. The thumblift is an unusual figural lion with the shield of Bavaria in its mouth.
The inscription at the right indicates that Karl Wirsel, a member of three different associations, presented this stein with affection to Karl Bohn. The inscription indicates that Wirsel was a mentor of Bohn's, a special relationship lasting for life..


  • Studentische Antiquitäten, Hubert Kampik, Munich
  • Studentica, Galerie Wolfgang Ketterer, München, Auktion 1991
  • Die Wappen Der Deutschen Korporationen Des In- Und Ausland

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