Buying steins is something you need to be watchful and careful about. BE SURE that you are buying steins that are not chipped or cracked. Crazing should not be considered acceptable for any Budweiser stein made after 1975. A lot of pottery steins made before that time were made of lesser quality ceramic than the ones made after 1975. They were American made for the most part. And not nearly as superior in quality to German and Brazilian made steins. Crazing is not uncommon in pottery steins made before this time because of the quality factor. And crazing is just something that happens to ceramic over very long periods of time. Budweiser steins were not intended to be collectibles before 1975. They were intended to be novelties, advertisement and souvineirs. Nobody really "collected" them persay. Luckily, a small handful have surfaced out of peoples attics and what not and been made/born into collector status. Collectors today have a real appreciation for the vintage Budweiser steins. And to get your hands on an older pottery stein without any chips, cracks or crazing is EXTREMELY RARE! Collectors will pay high premiums for MINT steins. MINT is generally defined as having no chips, cracks or crazing. You may find factory/production flaws in some pieces. "Fleabites" and "misglazing" small areas are not completely uncommon. Any seasoned collector will have there stories to tell about them. Many of the early steins (1975-1981) made by Ceramarte also have a "brown wash" or "antique wash" that can also vary from stein to stein. This also is not considered to be a defect. Fleabites, brown wash and antique wash are character marks on your older Budweiser steins from 1975 to 1981. These pieces are still considered MINT because this is the original form they were produced from the factory. Chips, cracks and crazes are not of the original standard. Chips and cracks are something that is inflicted upon a stein by the consumer in one way shape or form. Crazing happens with age.
Many, NOT ALL, but many steins come with gift boxes and Certificates Of Authenticty. It is important to keep the original boxes and Certificates Of Authenticity. They help retain value and collectibility of the stein. The more originality you can keep with your stein the better. Even the cardboard or styrofoam you might find in some stein boxes. These factors also come in handy in the event you want to store away your steins or move and relocate to another house. And if in the event you ever want to sell your stein(s), the original packaging lets another prospective collector know you cared enough to take proper care of your stein and may very well pay better premiums for it.
Budweiser stein collecting made a BIG BOOM in the early 90's and has been popular since. The collector count is growing every year. So is the Budweiser stein business. It is very difficult and expensive to keep up with the expenses and small availabilitiy of alot of pieces as the market expands. Only a small handful of collectors more hardocre than myself have the whole enchilada. I personally have not accomplished it either. But to get on the road to getting an extreme majority of them can be made easier with the Anheuser Busch Stein Collectors Guide Vol #3. The guide IS NOT complete. It simply illustrates a vast number of steins available out there for you to seek in your quest for stein hunting. The guide can tell you when one was made, where it originated, the edition size, the item #, the series order, the manufacturer and any special features or variations of the same stein. It is still a very informative book with great pictures even though it is not complete with EVERY Budweiser stein ever made. It will illustrate at least 500 different Budweiser steins for you. The guide can be obtained through a reputable book store. More than likely, you will have to order it through that store. I don't remember how much they are. I want to say the $40-$50 range. It is a MUST for anyone who is taking Budweiser stein collecting seriously. It is a difficult book to obtain otherwise. It is well worth the money though. Another book for steins and other fine collectibles was published by the CIB. The CIB is the Collectors Information Bureau. You can obtain it the same way. I believe it is about $50. The CIB has a very small portion of secondary market activity pricing on alot of the vintage Budweiser steins. This book is MOSTLY about fine collectibles from around the globe and DOES NOT just target Budweiser steins. You will find Swarovski, Hummel, Lladro and other fine high end collectibles in this book.
SELLING STEINS: Sincce I have written this guide, a few people have emailed me and asked what a stein is worth. As with any collectible, it is only worth what someone will pay for it. There is no actual "price guide" for steins. Many dealers price their steins base upon a few different factors. Availability and scarcity are 2 of the most inportant factors. The demand for a given stein is also factored into the price. The craftsmanship of a stein is a factor. Some dealers even have a "finders fee" factored into the price of a stein. The history that certain steins have sold for at fine aution houses and the secondary market are also things that make up the price af a stein. I personally don't specialize in every type of stein there is. And have never met a collector that did. So it would be difficult to write a guide for ALL steins. But perhaps one day someone will make a "price guide" for certain types of steins. When you consider how many steins and different kinds of steins there are in the world, it is easy to understand why no one has written a guide for prices on them.
BUYING BUDWEISER STEINS: As with anything you are interested in collecting and learning about, you should stick to what you like and what feels good to you when you purchase it. Sellers can ask for extreme prices on some of the rarest and more scarce collectibles. Those are usually the most sought after Budweiser steins in the business. You can EXPECT TO PAY high premiums for steins that are extremely limited in edition size or availability. Demand has alot to do with the price of a stein. So does the factor of collector coveting. When a seller makes a rare piece available for sale, you can bet he knows he has one of the "Grand Pubha's" in the business. And just like you, if you had it available in the palm of YOUR HANDS, you would ask a pretty penny for it as well. These pieces ARE NOT easy to find. So why would you let it go for a bargain? You probably wouldn't. Which brings me to the next phase of stein buying and collecting. MOST collectors get hooked on Budweiser steins becuase they received one as a gift for Christmas. People begin to think of the fun, the challenge and the chase for hunting down all the Budweiser Holidays steins they can to complete their collection. And the Budweiser Holiday steins are the PERFECT way to start your collection and see where your desires lead you. HANDS DOWN, Budweiser Holidays steins are the most sought after stein series on earth. They can be found at bargain prices AND high prices. MOST of them can be had at bargain prices that will not hurt your wallet. Only a few of the older Budweiser Holiday steins can cost a bit. But still, overall, is a helluva lot of fun without breaking the bank. TRY IT!!! You will enjoy the chase. Collecting Budweiser steins can be addicting. There are so many to choose from. And there are alot of differrent series out there. Just about anything you can imagine can be found on a beer stein. Flea markets and yard sales are about the best place to find really HUGE bargains. Most of the time if you go to a yard sale you have to ASK if they have any. You WILL get more no responses than yes responses. But when you do get a yes response, it is usually worth the wait. It can be very surprising what people forget they have until you ring that little bell in thier head that reminds them of something in there house. This works VERY WELL for liquor collectibles. MOST people don't know or don't care what they have and will sell it at a "yard sale price". And as with ALL yard sales, the early bird gets the worm. So hang it up if you think your going to find treasure after church. It is a lottery shot. But Saturday mornings are the best.
If you are not the yard sale type, I would recommend eBaying it. Do your research. Set a budget for what you want to spend and STICK TO IT as long as it is reallistic. Collecting ANYTHING is not fun when you overpay for something. EBay has a great number of ways you can track the present market conditions of any given collectible. I recommend educating yourself and using them.
There is also a good number of sellers that specialize in selling Budweiser steins at a fixed price. I would recommend checking out what is available through fixed price sellers if bargain hunting is not up your alley. You will pay higher premiums through one of these sellers. BUT you will get far more superior service from one of them as apposed to a fly-by-night seller who is not as knowledgeable and attentive to detail. And you will pay for it as well. As with anything or any service that puts quality,care and attention to detail at the forfront of the business, it comes with a little higher price tag. Operating eBay stores and all the bells and whistles that go with it are NOT CHEAP! Specialty sellers go through ALOT to bring you the collectibles you seek and make them available to you. You perhaps may not even see some collectibles if it weren't for a specialty seller. So keep that in mind when you shop with them. They are ALOT more commited than many of the other users. This also makes as a great hobby for some. So they share the same passion as you do. And they understand your needs. That kind of piece of mind is priceless when you shop on the internet. They also make good people to pick brains and ask questions to. Educating yourself can never hurt. And any good reputable seller worth his/her weight in ____ will be MORE THAN HAPPY to help how they can. So don't be too hard or judgemental on them. They have a job and a commitment. And YOU are part of it. Thank you for your itme. I really hope you found my guide informative and helpful. Thanks again, Michael.