Beer stein markings

What is behind the markings on a beer stein? That is a very frequently asked question. So today I would like to pass on, some knowledge about that topic with you out there, to hopefully answer those questions. 

Over the years, of course a lot of different markings spread around the world. From all different kind of manufactures, not only authentic German made ones.

Here in Germany the steins are a tradition in many areas and where a part from the German “Gemütlichtkeit” coziness. But to be used in beer halls and pubs / bars they had to have a calibration mark, for the volume what was able to be put in.

The calibration mark

Is usually located on the upper part of the stein near the handle. Always with like a two finger gab to the top of the stein, so the foam from the beer had enough space. This way it also was a lot easier to serve the beer for the waitresses or waiters without spilling anything of the ordered beer.

Depending also on the region the beer is served, the sizes and volumes, change quite a bit. 

In Bavaria for example when you order a beer, you will get served a “maas”, what is a typical size there. In volume it would be 1 Liter. Most people now days of course have a picture quickly in the head from the big glass stein from the Octoberfest. If you also have that, great, it’s the right size.

A Wheat beer for example is typical served in a half liter, 0,5 volumes, pretty much all over Germany. And just to give one more example.  Cologne on the Rhine is famous for their “Kölsch”, what is always served in 0,2 liters.

Beer stein Markings at the bottom

Here we are already on the most important point from a beer stein, where you can tell more about his origin.  Over the years, a lot of different markings spread around, from all different kind of manufactures, not only authentic German made ones. So It is very difficult to get a complete list, or Photos from all of them. I will attach you some photos later on, from the five German manufactures we still have left, which are still producing.

Company logos or their Brand names

Most markings what you will find, should be like company logos or their brand names. Some of them also have bought.

Also very often seen are numbers, here unfortunately not all of them have a meaning. Sometimes they have like a model number or a form number, what only is relevant for the manufacture. Others also have the measurement written below or the capacities / Volume.

Initials of the names from the artist who designed the beer stein or from the artist who did the painting on it.

Limited Edition Beer steins

On the limited edition beer steins, or collector steins you also will find the maximum number on how many steins will be made in total of that one model. 

For example, most of them are a couple thousand, like 3.000, 5.000 or 10.000. But also smaller amounts are possible as well, especially with fine collector steins.

Here often only a couple hundred are made, like 100, 500 or in special events like 212 years Oktoberfest, also one with only 212 pieces.

In general, of course you can say, the lower the number of the stein is, the newer it is or it was one of the first ones made. And the lower the limitation is, so rarer is the stein and most of the time, the value is a lot higher as well because of that.

Where is my beer stein made?

Well very good question, also here check the base of the stein. Important here is of course that it is written where it was made, or something in the country specific language. For example, written “handarbeit” is German and would translate to handmade. Because some of the smaller manufactures used their mother language to mark their steins, so you will also find some of those types.

Most important of course is that they say made in ….

Germany, USA or other countries. Only when you have high quality products, manufactures also will write that on them. If you have an imported bad quality product or a faked one, well they honestly don’t want you to know that, so there will be no marking on it, to say where the product was made! Only if the steins for example says that it made in Germany, then it is also made here.

My stein is designed by

If the steins say designed by, it’s not a great thing in most of the cases. Sometimes you also find some stein with a lot of pictures on the form example, here it can be that the pictures are designed by xyz. But that not a bad thing, but for sure here the manufacture also will place his logo or his company name underneath the stein, and it will be written clearly that the pictures are designed by xyz.

If it only says designed by xyz in Germany, then the chance that you have a faked beer stein is very high. It means the order for the production was made from Germany or a German Company. But the product itself was not produced or made here / or Germany.

Value of beer steins

Well first of all I have to say, that the value of any product or item in the complete world, depends on the person, who wants to buy it.

So the value always depends on the other person’s eye, or the market price what you an able to get for it. 

Of course you also can get or do some estimates, what gives you a number on how much you could get for it. But then rule one pops up again, you have to find the person who is willing to pay that price.

But besides that, here some rules, what can help you to get an idea of the value.

  • 1st check the bottom of the stein for authentic markings like logos, brand names or where the stein was made
    • Are there any, its good chances to have an authentic made beer stein.
    • Are the none, the value drops rapidly.
  • 2nd is the beer stein limited, is there a limitation number and maximum number of the series?
    • Yes, great that ads some value because it its limited to a certain amount
    • No, could be a souvenir type stein, or knock of
  • 3rd what is the maximum number of the limitation from the beer stein?
    • Under for example a thousand pieces is good, its rare
    • A couple thousand like 3,5 or 10 thousand are very comment as a limited edition beer stein.
  • 4th the number from the stein in the series.
    • If you have a low number it means the stein has not been out so long, the numbers above are not produced yet. Or if it is an old stein, that you got one of the first ones that were made in that series. 
    • If you have number 1 that adds a lot of value to your stein. Specially the first one and the last one made, have the highest value in the series.
    • If you have any numbers in between, not bad at all, it just won’t add any extra value to your stein.

I hope I could help you any further with all that information. I you have any more questions please feel free to contact me.

Your Markus Montag from SteinandClocks


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  • trying to get information

    I have a 7 inch stein with a pewter top , it has the Star of David on the front of it ,on the bottom only the number 1597 with 6 under it . It has a signature [ black ink] also It look like the figure 8. Do you have any information about this stein.
    With the Jewish star I think it was made long before the Second World war
    Thank for any help , You also have very beautiful steins

  • help on stein

    I am trying to see if my Beer stein is authentic. It has only marking at the bottom to indicate origin. It has the word German and above that it shows 1/2. Above that is a symbol of an upside down horse shoe with a jagged line. The stein is of two men sitting as a women serves them beer. Words of Wer nicht liebt trinkt und fingt, (other side) CS nie zuwahrer freude bringt.
    I am at a loss. Thank you

  • western germany

    I have a ceramic stein, on the base is western Germany below that is what looks like c with also what looks like a j going thru the c, under the handle is a date 1881.
    Under the handle and near the lid is 1/2 I guess that is a 1/2 litre. The picture is of two men sitting at a table drinking under the night sky, like in a beer garden. My question is, is the date 1881 the true date and can you please tell me what or who is cj.
    thank you in advance for any info

  • western germany

    great info need some info on my stein please

  • Hey there from the U.S., I have a 7" beer stein, it's hand made "Handerbeit" the words "Handerbeit", "made in Germany", the brand "Zoller and born trade mark inside a triangle, and the number 1 were all pressed before before it was baked with an eagle spr

    Please advise on my finding



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