The last time you were on a trip to Germany, you chanced upon some exquisite beer steins for sale. Now that you are home, you are not sure if your collectibles are real vintage steins made in the old fashioned way.
An evident indicator of the authenticity of your German steins is the price. Obviously, the cost of an authentic stein will be very different from one that is made somewhere else.
Other indicators to look out for-
Another easy indicator to look out for is at the bottom of the stein. Most manufacturers will place a seal of the country of origin at the bottom. Since this is an international law, chances are that you will be able to assess the authenticity by simply looking at the bottom. Here, you will be able to find a label that says ‘Made in Germany’ or ‘Gemacht’. Note that steins are also manufactured in Taiwan, Brazil and China and these can be legally exported only if they have the country of origin printed at the bottom.
The next indicator that you can rely upon is on the lid which is meant to be complimentary to the design of the body. In most cases the lids are extremely decorated and intricate in design. If you are not able to see an evident correlation between the body and lid, chances are that the stein in question is not authentic. Also, the way in which the lid closes and opens may indicate its authenticity. All German steins will have a thumb-lift.
Now look on the inside of your ceramic, pewter or glass beer stein. Since most steins are displayed with the lid closed, the interiors of the stein are typically lighter in color. Most authentic German steins also come with hand painted lithophanes at the bottom.
If you feel the presence of a bump on the handle of your purchase, it typically means that your beer stein has been made recently. Older ones will not have any bumps on the handle, so if the vendor claims that your stein is old, do not believe him blindly.
With the market offering a myriad of designs, styles and steins made out of varying materials you can pick from a range of options. You may also choose to get your stein customized to represent your family name, your favorite sporting team or anything else that you are passionate about. This way, your stein can turn into a family heirloom that gets passed on for generations to come.
With a little bit of research and some wit you will be able to make sure that no vendor on your trip to Germany will fleece you about the authenticity of your purchase.
by Marina Chernyak