Stein Collectors International, Inc.

~ Collecting Beer Steins ~

An Introduction to the Hobby


What is a beer stein?

"Stein" means "stone" in German. Most early steins were made of stoneware. Today, collectors consider steins to be beer-drinking vessels with handles and hinged lids. Without the lid, the vessel is called a mug. Without the handle, it is considered a beaker. The hinged lid found its place in history during the 15th and 16th centuries. When the bubonic plague was thought to be caused by flies and other insects, it became common practice to put lids on drinking vessels. [Ed. note: This assertion, and the so-called "covered container law", have defied all attempts to establish historical basis. Even so, it is widely believed and repeated by stein collectors.] Once the lid was attached, there was no turning back...the beer stein would always have a hinged lid. Beer steins come in all sizes and shapes and are made from a variety of materials, such as glass, pottery (earthenware), pewter, porcelain, stoneware, faience, etc. There are even rare examples carved from wood, made from leather, ivory, ostrich eggs and horns. The royalty occasionally had steins of pure gold or silver. Now let us explore the major stein categories:


We thank SCI Master Steinologist Ron Heiligenstein whose initial idea launched this "introduction to the hobby". Our sincere appreciation is extended to the following SCI members whose assistance made the idea into a reality:

Author: John Aschenbrenner

Editors: David Cantwell, Richard Cress, Ron Heiligenstein, Patricia Jahn, David Lowry, Eugene Manusov, Patricia Manusov, Robert Smith, Therese Thomas, Robert Wilson


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