Collectors International, Inc.
|~ The Corona Characters
Steins with a Pedigree
by Frank Loevi
This article is
drawn from a series which appeared
in Prosit between 1996 and 1998. The articles were written as the
discuss were at various stages in the process of coming to market, and
perspective has been maintained. An update on the later steins in this
included at the end.
Part 1 (from Prosit
of September 1996)
Even the most demanding of stein collectors
be interested in the new character steins created by the firm of Albert
& Co. for the makers of Corona beer. The three steins, in what will
continuing series, were produced in individually numbered limited
5,000 and rank with some of the nicest I've seen, antique or otherwise.
In addition to their quality, what makes these steins unique (and
collectible) is the fact that Stahl is the successor to Ernst Bohne
well-known and respected character stein manufacturer with a history
almost 150 years. Before getting any deeper into the Bohne-Stahl
however, let's take a look at the Corona character steins.
You Get What You Pay For
1 - The Corona Parrot
2 - The Corona Iguana
All steins in this series are created in deep relief and entirely hand-painted,
porcelain tops mounted on pewter lids. The first in the series (figure
made in the shape of a very "hip" parrot, complete with sunglasses and
a towel draped over one wing, which also holds a bottle of Corona
Latin American motif is continued right through to the stein's palm
The second in the series, and my personal favorite, is the Iguana Stein
(figure 2), which combines a very realistic-looking head with a body
in a Corona tank top, shorts and a serape. The sombrero it's holding
final humorous touch to this striking and unusual piece.
3 - The Corona Toucan
The Toucan Stein (figure 3) completes
the current series. It's dressed
grass skirt and a red pepper necklace, and has a four-inch beak held
high in the
air. Add the Latin drum under its wing (a drumstick?) and it's not hard
imagine this Toucan on a beach in Mexico leading the band.
A fourth Corona stein is in development and that, in keeping with the
animals-indigenous-to-Mexico theme, the character will be a Jaguar.
At the risk of sounding overly enthusiastic, these steins leave little
for comparison with most other contemporary character steins -
those aimed at American consumers. While "Budman" has clearly found an
audience, from a quality standpoint he's not even in the same league
Corona steins. Much the same can be said about virtually any of the
steins from Brazilian manufacturer Ceramarte, as well as the steins in
"Schultz and Dooley" series, all of which, like the Corona steins,
were created specifically for sale in North America.
As might be expected, however, all that quality doesn't come cheap. Any
of the Corona steins will set you back about $170.00 and, because they
quickly becoming favorites among beer-drinking Tex-Mex and Jimmy Buffet
there appears to be very little discounting at the retail level. If you
afford one, my advice would be to start with the parrot stein. Because
the first in the series, it's likely to be the first to disappear from
shelves and also the one with the highest appreciation potential.
Some Bohne-Stahl History
Figure 4 - Skull on a Book
by E. Bohne Söhne
As already noted, the quality of the Corona character steins can, at
part, be attributed to the fact that the manufacturer is the successor
Bohne Söhne, a stein-maker with a long history of producing quality
steins. Perhaps the most popular and recognizable of those today are
variations of the familiar skull on book stein (figure 4), which was a
"best seller" and a prized souvenir among German university students
around the turn of the century.
In 1937, the company was sold to Albert Stahl and was incorporated
"Albert Stahl & Co. vormals (formerly) Ernst Bohne Söhne."
Unfortunately for Stahl, the factory was located in the town of
the formerly East German state of Thüringen (Thuringia) and, following
War II, the production facilities were nationalized and eventually
the production of technical porcelain. While the company managed to
of the original molds and, after reunification, was able to reclaim
had been confiscated, stein production both during the war years and
under the socialist regime was virtually non-existent.
in 1990, the
company again began regular production of character steins using the E.
molds, creating pieces which are quite similar (although intentionally
identical) to the Bohne originals. Anyone familiar with Bohne
be able to distinguish the reproductions on sight. For those with less
experience, look for Stahl's crown and shield logo on the bottom.
Since returning its facilities to beer stein manufacturing, the company
also produced a number of new designs, in addition to the Corona
deserving of serious attention. I hope to take a look at some or all of
a future issue of Prosit.
Given their history and continuing attention to quality, there can be
doubt that today's Albert Stahl & Co. steins, including both Bohne
reproductions and the company's new creations, will be actively
future generations of character stein collectors.
Part 2 (from Prosit
And Then There Were Four
5 - The Corona Jaguar
The latest addition to the Stahl line-up, this time via Tradex, is the
fourth stein in the Corona beer series. The new Corona Jaguar stein
features this South-American jungle cat fashionably decked out in a
and slacks with a matching sun helmet. He also sports a hunting rifle
his shoulder while he sits on a case of Corona with his overhanging
up to serve as a handle.
As this is written, no decision has been made as to whether or not
will be a fifth in the series. Regardless of what is decided, however,
innovative Corona steins deserve lasting recognition for modern beer
pioneering. They are the first contemporary equivalents of old world,
quality porcelain character steins based on new world concepts. More
characters like the Budweiser frog and penguin, not to mention [the
stein by Albert Stahl & Co. and the Disney "Looney Tunes"
characters developed by Cornell Importers for Walt Disney], all took
from the early Corona editions to produce a category of steins that
be among the most sought-after by future collectors.
(from Prosit of September
Two New Steins Announced in the
Corona Beer Series
6 - Artwork for the
Corona Sea Turtle
When the Corona Jaguar, last of the currently available Corona
steins, was pictured in Prosit
last September, it was unclear
whether there would be any future additions to this very popular
Apparently the good guys have prevailed, and I can now report with
that two new Corona steins are in the pipeline.
Shortly after reading about it you
begin to see the fifth stein
this series, a sea turtle decked out in pirate garb, holding a Corona
one hand and a shovel in the other as he gets ready to bury his trunk
ill-gotten gains. Jim Brooks, of Tradex GmbH, sent me the accompanying
photograph of the model for this stein in its pre-production stage
As for number six, I'm told they've decided on a Mexican bull.
Look for the
Sea Turtle stein later this
year (hopefully, in time for
Christmas), and the Mexican Bull in late 1999.
Events (provided by
The Sea Turtle (figure 7) has now
the market for some time, followed by an Octopus (figure 8) and an
Armadillo (figure 9), bringing us
to a current total of seven of
these "critters". The popular series is expected to continue, with
possible future additions of a Horned Toad, a Chihuahua and the
7 - The Corona Sea Turtle
8 - The Corona Octopus
9 - The Armadillo
The eighth stein in this series, a 10 1/2" high Macaw
lounging in a
chair at the beach,
is now available.
...and here's the rest
(provided by Walt Vogdes - 2019)
Stahl continued to produce steins in this series until for a number of
years, although with a burst of three steins in 2009 the series seems
to have ended. While the Horned Toad did arrive, the Chihuahua and the
Mexican Bull did not.
8 - The Corona Macaw
9 - The Corona Horned Toad
10 - The Corona Palmtree
11 - The Corona Pirate Parrot
12 - The Corona Crab & Bucket
13 - The Corona Snorkel Parrot