About Kimbesa

I love dishes, and I continue to haunt thrift stores, estate sales, and other places where vintage china, dinnerware and glassware are to be found.

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Starbucks Coffee Mugs – Collecting for Fun and Profit

Starbucks coffee mugs

Our next guest post is from an online colleague, Wanda Fitzgerald, who has a great passion and knowledge about charms. I've admired many of the beautiful sterling silver, enameled and gold charms that I've seen in her stores over the years. I can relate...they are so pretty, just like the dishes I love!

By Wanda Fitzgerald

I've been reading Diary of a Dishie for a while now and share Sally K's passion for collecting. So I was honored and excited about the opportunity to exchange guest blog posts with her. My name is Wanda Fitzgerald, and I own and operate The Charm Cellar, where I sell vintage charms and charm bracelets on-line.

I'm a fanatic for collecting vintage silver and gold charms, but my collecting interests don't stop there by any means. One collection that I've been working on for a few years is Starbucks Coffee mugs. These aren't vintage, as they were first offered for sale in 1994. But they are just as much fun to seek out as vintage collectibles. As any collector knows part of the fun is in the hunt for the treasure, whether it's old or new.

There are hundreds of varieties of Starbucks cups and mugs available, as one quick search on the Internet will confirm. But in order to keep my collection within the bounds of my pocketbook and my display space, I've limited myself to a few specific types. I search for the large 18-ounce Christmas mugs, and mugs decorated with Expressionist and early 20th century artists' paintings.

I became enamored with the Christmas mugs by chance when I found my first at an estate sale. It was a blue snowflake mug and I loved it because it was nice and big and had the cutest little snowflake on the inside rim. Right away I did a search on eBay and found a mate so I would own a pair. But as I was searching eBay for my mug I found a few more that were the same size and shape, with different patterns. Of course I loved those too, that's how collections are born, right? Also as a lover of Expressionist art I discovered the series of Starbucks famous painting mugs so I began that collection as well.

Throughout the next year I overindulged which is pretty common for me, and I found myself with more than two of each. Starbucks coffee mugs were taking over my kitchen. About that same time the mugs began selling for more and more money online, up to $50 or $60 each. Naturally it seemed like the perfect time to unload some of my extras. I ended up making such a tidy profit that I began sourcing Starbucks mugs again at garage sales and thrift shops. Not just the styles I collect, but any kind of Starbucks coffee mug seemed to sell quickly and for a high price. It was fun and I'm sure I made the price of my investment in my own collection several times over.

The days of rip roaring profits on Starbucks mugs have stalled but there are a few that still demand high prices. For example the Dog and Cat "I Love My Owner a Latte" pair is quite rare. And recently a Minneapolis / St. Paul 1994 city mug edition sold for $2,020 on eBay. If a seller sources them right, as in thrift shops and estate sales, a profit can still be made with any of the older collections. Like all collectibles the early ones are getting harder to find and more valuable. Anyone who is interested in learning about the different series of mugs that are available can search for "Starbucks mug collections" on Google and find dozens of related articles. There are even collectors that have electronically cataloged every Starbucks mug ever made.

Next Steps for Budding Starbucks Collectors

If you're a collector of vintage tableware like Sally, or Starbucks mugs, vintage charms, or anything at all, you'll find we all share the same passion for our favorite pursuit. And no matter what your fancy, thanks to the Internet and blogs like Diary of a Dishie you can easily learn as much as you want to know. So have fun collecting what you like, whether it's old or new, and you may find an opportunity to make some money along the way.

I invite readers to visit my vintage jewelry blog and labor of love, CharmChatter, for some insights into vintage jewelry collecting. Also please visit my eBay store, Charmcrazey, and my website The Charm Cellar, to discover the enchanting world of vintage charm collecting.

Whether your passion is for jewelry, dishes or anything...bring out those items to use and enjoy them!

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6 comments to Starbucks Coffee Mugs – Collecting for Fun and Profit

  • Dawn

    I remember years ago my mother having some lovely antique glasses. They were exquisitely fine and delicate. She kept them locked away in a china cabinet and they were never used.

    After her passing, I bought them out into regular use, and despite their delicate appearance they have survived 20 years of my butter-fingers.

    They’re obviously more sturdy than they look. I do believe that lovely things should be used and enjoyed.

  • Kimbesa

    I agree!

    With a bit of care, even fragile things can stand up to some use, and what a joy to bring them out and use them…the more special the occasion, the better.

  • Elizabeth

    Can anyone help me find a Starbucks mug from around 1996? It was one of the series that had paintings on them. My husband and I bought 2 at the same time. Mine had the Van Gogh painting with the red-roofed cottage. His had a sea scene with men in a boat on sailboat. I don’t even know who the painter is, but the painting seems as if it is pretty well known. I broke this mug last night and he was really bummed. I would like to find him a new one.

  • Kimbesa

    Hello Elizabeth,

    I’d suggest a search on eBay, Bonanza dot com or perhaps Replacements dot com.

    If you can identify the painter from an initial search, it will help you refine your subsequent searches.

    Hope you find one!

  • Mark Royer

    In the picture on the lower left a mug is depicted with a picture of an old Starbucks store. The people appear to be dressed I need 1940s’- 1950s’ garb. I am interested in finding a couple of these. Can you help? Thanks.

    • kimbesa

      Hello Mark!

      Best I can suggest is eBay or Replacements dot com. It may take some time, but you can find them if you are determined. Happy hunting!

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