There are close to 1,000 Budweiser Steins that have been produced over the years by Anheuser-Busch Co., the brewer of Budweiser. The majority of them are made out of ceramic, and many come with pewter lids that naturally make them more valuable. The real key to understanding their true value in today's market depends on three main factors: how many of each style were produced, availability in the secondary market and the overall condition of the actual stein.
Limited Edition vs. Open Production
Like any collectible, value is often based on how many items exist. With Budweiser steins there are basically two different categories: limited edition and open production. With a limited edition series, there is a fixed amount of a particular stein that will be produced. Many times this is marked on the bottom of the stein or on the packaging the stein was packed in. Obviously, the lower the number, the more valuable this stein is or has the potential to become. An open production stein will be produced for as long as the demand for it exists. These steins tend to be the least expensive ones that Budweiser produces.
The Secondary Market
When a Budweiser Stein is first released it is generally sold at a set suggested retail price. The value will begin to fluctuate once it is no longer being produced and the brewery itself no longer has any left in inventory. This is where the law of supply and demand comes into play as far as value. If a first edition of a new series sold out quickly, it is likely rise quickly in value. There are several companies that specialize in selling Budweiser steins (see resources). They can provide a fairly accurate idea of what the stein in question is currently selling for. The biggest thing to remember on the secondary market is value is often determined by what someone is willing to pay for a particular stein, not necessarily what the asking price is. This is why a company such as EBay may be a good option if you are looking to buy steins and seeking out a private collector if you are looking to sell them.
The Overall Condition of the Stein
Collectibles increase in value based upon their condition. If something is in mint condition it will certainly command a higher price than the identical item that has a ding or dent. With collectibles such as Budweiser Steins this is true along with one other major factor---original packaging. By having the original box and certificate of authenticity you add tremendous value as opposed to just having the stein itself. There are many steins that were produced without a box, especially the older ones, which are still the most valuable, but the majority of the more expensive steins produced from the mid-'80's on came in a box. True Budweiser stein collectors often buy two of everything, so they can display one and keep the other unopened to preserve its value.