“The bulk of the steins we sell are from 1850 to 1910,” Ammelounx says. “From 1870 to 1910 there was a big production increase. Every young man after three years of service in the German military bought a regimental stein. The infantry steins are the most common, but there were steins for each branch of the service, including artillery and the navy. The airship and the motorized divisions are the rarest.”
Ammelounx says his favorite stein maker is Martin Pauson, a Munich company that went out of business during the 1930s. “They were a great designer of steins and their pewter work was high quality,” he says.
James Kaiser is a Michigan stein collector who focuses on steins from the 1700s through 1905. He has around 50 steins in his collection. For older high quality steins you can expect to pay in the $1,000 to $2000 range, sometimes higher.
“Once you hit the turn of the 20th century you start to get more into souvenir type steins,” Kaiser says. “I like earlier steins because each is a work of art and it is not a mass produced product.”
Kaiser says you should buy steins for “personal appreciation, not economic appreciation,” because while prices for many brewery collectibles have gone up in recent years, stein prices have remained fairly stable.
“I buy what I like,” Kaiser says. “I like steins because they reflect my German heritage and the historic interest of each piece. Just holding something from the 1700s is pretty special.”