Shaving mugs were commonly used from 1870 to 1920 at home and at local barber shops. Many gentlemen went to the barber shop to get a daily shave during this era. Each man was required to have his own shaving mug, as it was thought having individual shaving mugs would reduce the rashes caused by shaving. Shaving mugs are about the size of an oversized coffee cup and may be decorated with gold leaf trim, ornate designs, personalised or depict fraternal organisation or occupational symbols. Occupational mugs are the rarest and most sought by collectors.
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Learn the difference in the types of antique shaving mugs. Decorative mugs are the most plentiful. They are decorated with hand painted or transfer designs and are usually very colourful and expensive. These mugs were often used in the home and given for Christmas and birthday gifts. Glass and advertising mugs were given as promotional items from soap manufacturers. Scuttle mugs are in the shape of a coal scuttle and have a separate reservoir for the water and the soap. Character mugs were created in the shape of objects such as fish, a swan or other animal. Metal shaving mugs are often made of pewter, silver or silver plate. Souvenir mugs often represent vacation locations and were purchased as souvenirs. Barber shop mugs were sold by the local barber and kept at the barber shop. Each mug is marked with individual names. Fraternal mugs depict symbols of fraternal organisations such as the Masons or Knights of Columbus. Occupational mugs depict occupations such as plumbers or farmers.
Refer to a guide book such as "The Best of Shaving Mugs" or "The Shaving Mug and Barber Bottle Book," both by Keith E Estep. A guide book will help you identify the different types of shaving mugs and determine their value.
Purchase antique shaving mugs from online auctions, antique stores, resale shops and garage sales. You may also find them at thrift stores such as Goodwill or Amvets.
Display your mugs in a mug rack. Original mug racks barbers used to keep the mugs on display in the shop are available. Reproduction mug racks are also available. Each rack typically holds 35 to 70 mugs.
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