How to Buy Antique German Beer Steins
Knowing how to buy antique German beer steins and knowing the difference between the genuine article and the fake ones can save you a considerable amount of money and time. The German beer steins are an art form, so know your product before venturing out into the market place.
The first thing you need to look for on any stein is the marking of where it was made. Most Chinese and Taiwan imitations are labeled as such, but not all. What to look for is the "Made in Germany" label or made in East Germany, West Germany or "Gemacht in Deutschland" labels. All of these describe the fact that they were made in the German heartland.
For the German beer steins that are very artistic, it is not uncommon for the artist to place their name in the stein also. The manufacturers of steins have also been known to place their label on the bottom of the stein, but not in all circumstances. While this is not a fool-proof method of identifying where a stein was made, it is accurate over 90% of the time.
The reason the German beer steins were created in the first place was to stop the spread of disease. Back in the 14th century, this was done by having a cover on all beverage containers. This is why the real German beer steins have lids. In most cases, the beer stein has spent most of its time with the lid closed. This is why the antique German beer stein has a darker appearance on the outside of the lid than what is visible on the inside of the lid. If you find one that is being displayed with the lid opened, then both sides could have oxidized to the same degree and be the same color, but this is rare.
Another key ingredient of an antique German Beer Steins is the lithophane that decorates the bottom. These are hand painted pictures that are works of art themselves. If you find one with a nude lady or other provocative design, then it is not an antique.
The antique German steins have hand painted pictures that adorn its exterior. A large percentage of the pictures on the antique steins are of historical scenes that can include battles. The Regimental Steins are also easily identified because they have the rank and last name of the original owner. If you have one with a first name, it is not an antique stein.
A bump had been added to the handle of many German beer steins some time back. The older and antique ones do not possess this bump. Some manufacturers still produce steins without a bump, only 10% to 20%, but a majority of the new ones do posses one.
While on your search for an antique German beer stein, do not get confused by alternate names. The word vintage means old, not antique. If you are looking for an antique Oktoberfest German beer stein, the first ones were produced in the early 18yth century. This is when the beer drinking party was first held. If you find one from the 17th century, it is a fake.
These are some helpful hints on how to buy antique German beer steins. Remember, the more information you have, the better the decision you will be able to make.