Coffee mugs don’t attract much attention from collectors. There are no published mug price guides or large collectors’ clubs for mug aficionados. That creates an opportunity—old mugs often can be found for just $1 or so at thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales, but some can be worth quite a bit of money.
Check your cabinet for these valuable coffee mugs:
1. Starbucks mugs. The well-known coffee chain sometimes sells mugs linked to particular cities or regions. These local Starbucks mugs have become collectible, and the rarest examples can fetch $100s. Example: 2009 Puerto Vallarta mug with a picture of a seahorse, $1,350.
2. Out-of-production Disney mugs. Anything Disney is likely to be collectible, though old and rare items tend to be worth the most. Example: Set of six mugs, black, each with a Disney villain, $175.
3. Non-Disney cartoon mugs. Out-of-production Looney Toons and Peanuts’ Snoopy mugs often have value, as do some mugs from less well-known cartoons. Examples: Set of four glass mugs with Snoopy in election-themed drawings, 1980s, $50 to $90.
4. Superhero mugs. Anything featuring a comic book superhero has a decent chance of being collectible. Famous superheroes such as Superman and Batman are good bets, but mugs featuring less popular characters sometimes are rarer and even more valuable. Example: Pair of Warner Bros. Studio Store mugs with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, two of Batman’s comic book adversaries, $140.
5. TV show mugs or mugs with movies from 1980s or earlier. There are many Hollywood memorabilia collectors, so mugs tied to popular actors and productions can have value. Example: Mug with picture of Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy, 1950s, $350.
6. World’s Fair mugs. There are collectors who buy items from old World’s Fairs. Example: Mug, 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, Electrical Building, $108.
7. Tiki mugs. These mugs were made to serve tropical drinks like Mai Tais. Vintage examples sold by Pacific Island-themed restaurants such as Trader Vic’s now have value. Example: Tiki mug from “Tiki Bob’s San Francisco,” $405.
This is an excerpt from a Bottom Line/Personal article by Terry Kovel. For the full article and more prices, see http://bottomlineinc.com/your-coffee-mug-could-be-worth-1000/.
Terry Kovel is a frequent contributor to the publication Bottom Line/Personal, writing about collecting trends, and helping readers find great buys.