Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.
Coffee Mug Collecting is Fun for Coffee and Tea Drinkers Alike
I love coffee. I am not a morning person and every morning when I wake up, the first thing I think of is having my cup of coffee. And every afternoon between four and five pm, I have a second cup of coffee, usually with a small snack and I savor every sip of both the coffee and the snack.
Having a cup of coffee can help you relax, or give you a bit of energy to get going in the morning, or get you through the second part of your day.
Below I have outlined four reasons to collect coffee mugs. Especially if you are a coffee fan. But I also drink herbal tea in my coffee mugs, so whether you are a coffee drinker or a tea drinker, collecting coffee mugs is worth considering to add joy to your life.
Coffee Mugs Make Good Souvenirs
I love to collect things. I collect teddy bears, antiques, and most recently coffee mugs. My husband and I love to travel. We travel on cruises, visit Europe, travel around the United States of America, and day trips in our state of Georgia.
My first souvenir mug was purchased at Disney World while visiting on a cruise. I had found $10.00 worth of Disney Dollars tucked away in an envelope from a Christmas gift given to me many years ago. I brought it with me and on a cruise stop my husband and I chose an excursion to Disney World. I was determined to use the Disney Dollars on something that would remind me of our cruise. The thing that caught my eye and jumped out at me as a wonderful souvenir was a Disney World mug. I searched and scoured all of the gift shops we passed during our one day at Disney World, but the souvenir I liked the best was that Disney World coffee mug. And so I bought it with my $10.00 worth of Disney Dollars, and every time I drink coffee from it, I think of how much we love going to Disney World, and the fun we had on that trip!
On one of our first cruises, my husband and I were in London, England and I was looking for a souvenir to bring home. I didn't like the typical coffee mugs in the gift shops that had the word "England" emblazoned across the front. But then I saw another coffee mug with many photos of Princess Diana all over the mug. Princess Diana has been a heroine of mine for many years, and I was quite excited to see a mug honoring her. So, I bought that mug as my souvenir from that trip.
I have brought home coffee mugs from other cruises and trips as well, including trips to Ireland and Bermuda.
At first, I thought it might be a problem to bring a mug home from a vacation that requires air travel since it is a breakable object. But whether you are on a trip that requires plane travel, car travel, bus travel, etc. wrapping a mug in lots of clothing in a suitcase keeps it safe from breaking. Or, if one is really concerned about the safety of a souvenir mug, it can also be wrapped in a jacket and carried home in a carry-on bag, as long as the bag is not thrown around or tossed up into a storage compartment on a plane, bus, etc.
Coffee Mugs Are Inexpensive to Collect
A few years back, I saw a really cute mug in a thrift store thirty minutes from our home. The mug had the name of our community on it. I was quite excited because we had only recently moved to this community and I really loved it. In the golf pro shop in our community, similar mugs cost $16.00. I got my mug for 99 cents! That's when I realized that coffee mugs could be fairly inexpensive.
Then just this past Christmas I was at Dollar General looking for Christmas decorations and found a mug that I fell in love with. It has a message on it that fit one of my life mottos, and since it is also a Christmas message, I just had to get it. The best part: It only cost $2.00! Seemed unbelievable to me that I could buy all of that happiness for only $2.00!
And another day when I was at a Dollar Tree store (where everything is one dollar) I found a coffee mug with one word on it, "Blessed" and since I am a breast cancer survivor, that is a word I cherish and often remind myself of how blessed I truly am. For $1.00, it's hard to imagine getting a better deal that brings me so much happiness. Unless of course, I find a coffee mug at a thrift store, like the aforementioned mug with the name of my mountain community on it.
And my husband and I love to cruise. Our favorite cruise line is Princess Cruises, and so you can imagine my surprise and thrill when I found a nice large coffee mug at a thrift store that has the words Princess Cruises on the front. To buy that mug on a cruise ship usually costs anywhere from $12.95 to $19.95. I got it for 75 cents!
Coffee Mugs Bring Back Good Memories
One of my favorite reasons to collect coffee mugs is that when I am drinking coffee from a mug from one of our trips, seeing the photo on the front from a place we have traveled to and loved brings back many happy memories. As I hold the mug of warm coffee in my hand, and breathe in the steam of whatever flavor coffee I am drinking that day (French Vanilla is a favorite) memories of a trip we took come flooding back to me and fill my head and heart with peace and joy.
And not only does that bring a sense of happiness to my day, but the aroma of a good cup of coffee, and the warmth I get as I sip it, makes me very happy.
It seems odd to me that drinking coffee from a favorite coffee mug can bring me such joy, but it does. And with the craziness going on in the world, I am a big fan of anything that brings joy.
Coffee Mugs Can Contain Positive Messages
Although I have collected some coffee mugs with photos of places we travel to, I have also collected coffee mugs with sayings on them that offer a message to me. I choose coffee mugs with messages that inspire me ("Live with Passion" for example), or that remind me of a personal motto ("Making Spirits Bright") which encourages me to live out that motto all day long.
Coffee Mugs Can be Worth Money
If you are interested in collecting coffee mugs not because they are practical but because they are valuable, that is another option. But those mugs should not be used to actually drink coffee. There are some coffee mugs that are worth hundreds of dollars. I collect coffee mugs to drink coffee from, so I don't have any photos of valuable coffee mugs in my collection. But I did go to eBay and check out the most expensive coffee mugs to see what they are selling for. Here are a few of the highest-value ones that I found:
- On October 20th, 2020, a set of two used Hermes La Siesta Mug Cup Orange Set of 2 Porcelain used mugs sold for $268.00. These two coffee mugs were used so the price is a bit better for two.
- On October 30th, 2020, a set of two Tiffany & Co. Bone China 5th Avenue coffee mugs sold for $185.00
- On November 23rd, 2020, a Hermes coffee mug set of 2 sold for $543.00! This set was listed as "HERMES Mug Cup Mosaique Van Cattle Gold Platinum" and was brand new in the box.
- On November 25th, 2020, a set of 3 Anthropologie Christmas Time In The City Mugs NYC PARIS LONDON sold for $130.00. Apparently the Anthropolgie Christmas mugs sold out in 2020 so they are worth a lot of money now.
- On December 2nd, 2020, a Rae Dunn Tweet Bird pattern large coffee tea mug Magenta discontinued in excellent used condition sold for $137.50.
- On December 12th, 2020, a set of Takayama limited wood mugs, that were a lacquered white and black set sold for $250.00.
- On December 15th, a Starbucks Wyoming Farm Cowboy Nature Ceramic Traveler Tumbler Coffee Mug 12oz sold for $132.50.
- On December 16, 2020, a Scrimshaw Pottery Plague Doctor Xmas One-off Mug 22oz sold for $305.00. twenty-five percent of the proceeds from this mug went to the WHO for research on the Coronavirus.
- On December 17th, 2020 a brand new Starbucks San Diego California Seal Ceramic Traveler Tumbler Coffee Mug 12oz sold for $119.00.
- On December 21st, 2020, a HERMES Porcelain Mug Cup No.3 Bleus D'Ailleurs Tableware Blue 240ml Microwavable sold for $269.99 from Japan. The description says it is microwaveable, but I know for sure if I spent that much money on a coffee mug, I certainly wouldn't be using it, or putting it on the microwave!
- Also on December 21st, 2020 a second HERMES Porcelain Mug Cup No.3 Bleus D'Ailleurs Tableware Blue 240ml Microwavable sold for $269.99, but the design is a more solid blue than the one I mentioned above.
So if you want to collect coffee mugs for their value, there are a variety of brands to look for, but they are most valuable if they are in brand new condition. And if they are in the original box, that's even better.
Brands to look for are:
- Tiffany & Co.
- Starbucks (but only certain types so do your research before buying one to collect)
- Anthropologie Christmas 2020
- Rae Dunn discontinued designs
- Fire King by Anchor Hocking
- Disney Migs (only certain ones so be careful when purchasing)
Here's an Article About Some Valuable Coffee Mugs to Collect
- Your Coffee Mug Could Be Worth $1,000 | Bottom Line Inc
Check your cabinet for these collectibles Coffee mugs don’t attract much attention from very many collectors. There are no published mug price guides or
Collecting Can Add Joy to Your Life
While many people think that collecting items just adds clutter to your home, collecting can add joy to your life. And in the case of the above section, may also add money in your pocket if you collect coffee mugs as an investment. I am all for anything that adds a bit of happiness on a daily basis, and drinking coffee or tea from a mug that makes you happy is right up there on my list of favorite things!
Collecting coffee mugs can be fairly inexpensive, but it is also practical in that coffee mugs are something coffee drinkers actually need and use in everyday life. This makes collecting coffee mugs a practical and joy producing activity.
Poll About Collecting
Here's a Video of a Guy Who Has Taken Mug collecting to Extremes
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Karen Hellier
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on January 15, 2021:
You are most welcome Peggy W. I am working on a couple of other articles that require more research, but needed a break so decided that would be fun to write about. Glad you enjoyed it.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 15, 2021:
Thanks for sharing your love of collecting coffee mugs. With all of the craziness going on in the world today, reading articles like this is fun and brightens my day. My favorite souvenir of trips are the photos I take, and occasionally when photos are not allowed, souvenir postcards.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 15, 2021:
It's a cool hobby, me thinks, but then I think most hobbies are pretty cool. I kind of wish I had one, but for the life of me I don't know what that would be. Anyway, thanks for sharing, and have a wonderful weekend.
MG Singh emge from Singapore on January 15, 2021:
This is a wonderful article. I have a friend who has collected a lot of teacups.
Liz Westwood from UK on January 14, 2021:
I have read your article with great interest and agree completely with the points you make. We have collected mugs on our travels as souvenirs. The problem I now have is storage. We are running out of shelf space and we have far more mugs than we can ever use. It's sad too when a mug from our travels gets damaged, as they are irreplaceable, unless we visit the area again.