Saturday, September 28, 2013

Antique 20th century Rodenstein Mettlach Beer Stein

Rodenstein Mettlach Beer Stein
15 3/4" high 

Price: $7,350

A wonderful Mettlach beer stein by Villeroy & Boch of Germany, adorned with a wonderful landscape of the village of Beerfurth, and topped by a figural finial of Rodenstein Castle, both located in the Odenwald Mountains of Germany. The rare and quite large 3.8 liter stein retains its original pewter thumb hinge and is in excellent condition.

The stein bears the incised Mettlach abbey mark above the form number "2038" and the date mark of "07" for the year 1907.

Located on the Saar River in western Germany, close to borders with Luxembourg and France, the Mettlach factory is housed on the grounds of a former Benedictine Abbey dating to the 10th century. The factory was founded on this site in 1809 by Johann Franz Boch-Buschmann, and the company of Villeroy & Boch resulted from a merger with Nicolas Villeroy in 1836.

Mettlach steins have a number of characteristics which make them a perfect collectible:
  • they are well-marked and easily identified
  • good reference books are available
  • there are many related pairs and sets
  • designs are original and creative
  • broad variety allows for every taste
  • excellent quality control was maintained
  • there is a ready market
  • prices have been broadly stable
Mettlach produced many steins to special order, for both domestic purposes and for export. In fact, many steins bearing German phrases or verses can also be found in an English-language version. While we might suppose that it would be prohibitively costly, the existence of a sizable number of such pieces indicates that it was not. Well-known examples of special orders include an etched stein for St. Augustine, Florida, which includes a figural alligator handle, three steins produced for Cornell University, and the Quilmes Brewery (Argentina) stein.

Mettlach employed a large number of artist/designers, among them some of the most prominent of their time. Most prolific among them were Heinrich Schlitt, Otto Hupp, Fritz Quidenus, Christian Warth, Johann Baptist Stahl, and M. Hein. Other notable artists who designed steins for Mettlach include Ludwig Hohlwein, Franz Ringer and Richard Riemerschmid. A large number of steins, although still the minority, carry the name or initials of these artists as "signature". Many unsigned steins can still be attributed to the artist who conceived of their design. The works of Heinrich Schlitt, a very famous Munich artist who designed murals in many public facilities, is a favorite of Mettlach collectors. Many of his works feature Heinzelmaennchen, the German "mystery people", or fun-loving dwarfs. The steins designed by Ringer, Hohlwein, Hupp and Riemerschmid are also highly coveted by collectors for their artistic execution.

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