How to Identify German Beer Steins

Written by laura hageman
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The word stein (meaning stone) originated in Germany. The stein was created for beer, a common drink in Germany. The beer stein has a lid that is easily flipped open and closed. The lid was made for sanitary reasons, preventing bugs from flying into the beer. The German stein became an item that was used for decoration due to the artwork that was painted and sculpted on each one. Thanks to its lid, which differentiates the stein from any other cup or mug, it has become a collector's item.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Look at what was used to make the beer stein. German steins will be made of wood (these were made before the 1800s), hard metal, earthenware, pewter or stoneware.

  2. 2

    Read the bottom of the stein. Authentic German beer steins will have the country name labelled on the bottom of the stein.

  3. 3

    Analyse the artwork on the beer stein. German beer steins will have relief artwork featuring scenes that relate to the German culture, history and biblical stories. Many of the Renaissance artists added their artwork onto the steins.

  4. 4

    Determine the height of the stein. A German is two times taller than it is wide. They are known for their tall appearance.

  5. 5

    Check the stein's lid. A German beer stein will have a lid with additional artwork and will be very sturdy. It is most commonly connected firmly with metal.

Tips and warnings

  • A German styled beer stein doesn't mean it is made in Germany. Look it over carefully since many are imitations that sell for too much.
  • Beware of a made in China stamp on the bottom of the stein.

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