|~ A Triple-Double Student Association Stein ~
By John Piet
Most German student association steins are seen with one Wappen (coat of
arms). This month's
featured stein comes with two, which will be referred to as a double-Wappen. Steins with a
double-Wappen are very uncommon. The Wappen on the left is that of Hercynia Stuttgart,
founded in 1898. The one on the right is that of Turnerschaft Frisia Berlin, founded in
1884. Neither association is active today and very little is written about either one of
them. The stein itself is a well worn common Mettlach, form 1526 dated 1897.
Many times when a member of a German student association gave a gift to one of his friends in the association, the gift was a stein with the association's Wappen on the front, and a dedication somewhere on the stein saying who was giving the gift and for what reason. Unlike American fraternities, each student association was a unique organization, existing only at one school. If a student changed schools and wanted to enjoy the camaraderie of an association at his new school, he would have to join another association. Since membership in an association was for life this student would then belong to two different associations. Steins with a double-Wappen occur when either the giver or the recipient of the stein belonged to two student associations.
Look at the inscription from the stein, shown below. The inscription is well worn, but can be interpreted as such:
?????, member of (unknown association) and also member of Hercynia Stuttgart,The funny looking marks at the end of the second and third lines are called Zirkels (literally circles, but best defined as a cipher which identifies the association). The second Zirkel identifies both the giver and recipient as members of Hercynia Stuttgart. This Zirkel is uncharacteristically missing from the Wappen of Hercynia Stuttgart, so you will have to take my word for it. The recipient is a member of both of the associations whose Wappen appear on the stein.
Getting back to the title of this article, probably influenced by watching too
much basketball in the last two weeks, there are a couple of other doubles that make this stein interesting. First, both the giver and
the recipient of the stein were members of two different associations. The giver was a member
of Hercynia Stuttgart and another association which would be almost impossible to determine.
Because there are three different associations involved, the giver of this stein could have had
the stein designed with the Wappen of all three associations. This would
have made this a truly rare stein. A triple-Wappen stein can be seen in the September 2009 issue of
If you check the Wappen of each association, you can see another double appearing on this stein. What might appear to be two red crosses, are actually the back to back four "F"s identifying each association as belonging to the Turnverein (gymnastics association), making this student association stein also double as a "4F" stein, another category of steins sought by collectors.