We can freely say that coffee is some kind of liquid gold, at least for us coffee addicts. Surely 3 out of 5 people start their morning with a fresh, hot cup of coffee, the other two probably take tea. However, no matter what kind of hot beverage you choose, we are sure you have a favorite mug.
But did you know that Starbucks has some pretty awesome mugs you can buy in any of their stores? Moreover, did you know that Starbucks mugs are a valuable collectible? If the answer is no, you are at the right place at the right time.
This article will help you figure out what it is that makes them so highly prized by collectors. The craze about them is quite legit if you ask us. That is why we also prepared a list of the most valuable Starbucks mugs that you can find on the market.
One of the most iconic American brands for sure is Starbucks. Having chains of coffee shops worldwide makes it very popular and famous, which also means that almost all its merchandise became potentially collectible.
Starbucks is founded on 30th March 1971, and from that point, this machinery didn’t stop. Behind their great success is for sure their high-quality coffee, great service, and brand awareness. Oh, let’s not forget their merchandise like mugs, cups, tumblers, and more.
Naturally the most popular are Starbucks mugs. In fact, these mugs are popular among collectors from day one considering they come in different thematic series, from country-themed, Star Wars themes, Christmas specials, to Disney specials.
Even though you might think how such a humble and uninteresting thing as a mug can achieve the status of a highly valuable collectible, the truth is that some mugs can earn you a small fortune. But first, let’s figure out why these mugs are so expensive at the stores as well.
Why do Starbucks mugs cost so much?
Clearly, Starbucks sells a lot of coffee mugs per year, and let’s not talk about the fact of how many actual cups of coffee they sell per year. So that being said, we must ask why are their mugs so expensive.
If you think about it, buying a brand’s merchandise is some kind of free marketing for them, right? Like, imagine you are walking down the street, and voila you see a girl passing by with a Starbucks tumbler. Now in 7 out of 10 times, you will head to the nearest Starbucks to take your dose. However, Starbucks is a premium brand, and we know that premium brands have premium prices as well. Here is the list of reasons why their mugs are so expensive and how they validate it:
- High demand – People are crazy about everything Starbucks-related, and we know that demand drives prices high. has been on the rise. Some research has shown that demand for mugs has been on the rise since March 2020, in fact, the demand increased by over 100% since March 2020. With that kind of demand, it is expected that their prices are high, and have the potential to go even higher.
- Rarity – Rare is always good. Starbucks always produces a limited amount of mugs in different series. This is a great marketing trick since people will rush to buy there for instance new Starbucks Christmas mug. Urgency sells things, and the best ally to urgency is rarity and uniqueness. Finding an original Starbucks Mug is extremely hard so the price goes up.
- Low competition – Starbucks does not have real competition. Of course, there are other coffee brands that sell great coffee and mugs, but they simply can’t do it better than them. The thing is that once you go Starbucks, you stay Starbucks. Also, none of the competition produces mugs that are as original and attractive as Starbucks. Not having competition means you can dictate trends and prices with ease.
- Starbucks is innovative and that costs – When you are a premium brand company as they are you heavily rely on new technology and highly skilled labor. That means Starbucks invests a lot of money in infrastructure and education. Having more than 200,000 employees and more than 15,000 locations requires a lot of money to maintain all.
- Made of ceramic – It is always a good idea to be eco-friendly and aware of how the material used for production will impact the environment. Luckily, all their cups are made of ceramic, which is not biodegradable.
- Unique and classy design – What makes Starbucks mugs special is their design. All their mugs have an eye appeal, they look classy, expensive, sturdy, high-quality, and stylish. The cute design is always accompanied by the famous Starbucks logo. Sometimes on the front and sometimes on the back, depending on the design.
- They want to make their customers feel special – People like expensive things, it may them feel special and well-treated. That is why Starbucks doesn’t sell their ordinary mugs for cheap prices since they are trying to ensure that their customers will get only the best of the best when it comes to quality.
List Of Most Valuable Starbucks Mugs You Can Find On The Market
2002 USA Scenic Series, Iwo Jima
- Year: 2002
- Price: $18,995
One of the rarest Starbucks mugs is the one from the 2002 USA Scenic Series that represents Iwo/ There are only 6 of these mugs made, and also this mug was available for purchase only for 3 hours in Starbucks in the Pentagon. Not so a convenient location.
The USA Scenic Series was created after the terrorist attacks of 9-11 to show solidarity and unity. This mug features four different designs. The one that we can see on this particular mug portrays the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima in World War II.
Since customers didn’t like the new design they dropped the production and all recalled mugs were destroyed.
Edmonton City Mug
- Year: 2009
- Price: $12,000
The second most valuable Starbucks mug is the Edmonton City Mug. The mug was on the market in 2009 and as you can see it features a simple blue and white design with an illustration of an Edmonton skyline, a boat, and woods in the distance.
This particular 16-ounce mug was sold for such a high price considering it was in mint condition, without any cracks or signs of wear. The production of this mug was dropped in 2013.
Charlotte Coffee Mug
- Year: 2009
- Price: $5,661
The mug was first designed in 2009 as part of the City Collector Series, but it was put on the market sometime in 2011. A simple design is what makes this mug special. On the front side, you can see an image of the signpost, and on the back side, you’ll find the Charlotte skyline.
At the time it was sold, the mug didn’t have any signs of wear or minor damages which conveniently enhanced the price.
Autumn MD Animal Bear Mug
- Year: 2021
- Price: $3,190
This must be their cutest mug ever, and if you just take a quick look at her you’ll understand why so many people want to have it. This bear-shaped mug was designed by Starbucks in Korea and it was released on the market in 2021. Also what makes this mug special is the amount of liquid it can hold -237 mm which was not common for this manufacturer. Autumn MD Animal Bear Mug is made of white ceramic, with cute and minimal decorations like ears, hands, and eyes.
The mug was sold in an unused condition and packed in the original packing, which validates the price tag.
Culican VHTF Mexico Icon Mug
- Year: 2009
- Price: $3,040
Designed in 2009 in honor of the capital of Sinaloa in Mexico. The Culican Mexico Icon Mug features an image of the famous Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. Like all of their mugs, this one as well features a simple design, with a white exterior and a dark blue inside.
The image on the front side is printed in several colors and white was used as the canvas, while Torre del Reloj is printed in brown and black drawing ink. The back side of the mug features an image of a kiosk. The writing is printed with bluish ink on the backside.
The Mexico Icon Mug was sold in good condition and without any signs of wear.
Zacatecas VHTF Mug
- Year: 2008
- Price: $2,800
A Zacatecas VHTF Mug was first designed in 2008. This mug portrays and honors a Mexican State by the name of Zacatecas. What makes this mug special is the prominent drawing of the pre-Columbian artwork the Aqueduct Of Zacatecas. The interesting thing is that Starbucks did not buy the rights from Mexico to put this image on the mug so the production was dropped.
Only a few of these mugs were released. The outside of the mug is white, while the inside is orange. On the front side, you will find an image of El Cubo Aquaduct, while the back side portrays Miner’s Monument.
Zagreb Starbucks Mug
- Year: 2010
- Price: $2,500
Did you hear about a country in Europe named Croatia? Yes, that one where GOT was filmed. Well, Starbucks dedicated one of its mugs to the capital city of Croatia, Zagreb. The funny thing is that at that time they didn’t have stores in this country and these mugs were in fact prototypes. The series was dropped in 2010, but a few of these mugs end up in collections.
The outside of the mug is white and the inside is marine blue. On the front side, a drawing of the Ban Jelačić Square is printed, while the backside features the usual skyline of the city. This is an extremely rare Starbucks Mug.
Corfu Greece Mug
- Year: 2009
- Price: $2,250
This is an extremely rare Starbucks mug just like the one from Zagreb. A Corfu Greece Mug was produced in 2009 and discontinued in 2011. The Corfu mug was designed in honor of the Grecee island and it features an image of the Spianada Square on the front side. This square is the main tourist attraction on Corfu Island.
The back side of the mug features an image of the harbor skyline. As usual white dominated on the outside, while inside is bright yellow, like the sun. There are only a few of these mugs in circulation so you can expect prices to go even higher in the following years.
- Year: 1994
- Price: $2,200
If you like to start your day by sipping coffee from an old and retro mug well this one is just that. However, considering how rare and valuable this series of Starbucks mugs is it would be a shame to use it. This is the oldest mug on this list and it was produced in 1994 in honor of the Minneapolis city.
On the front side, you can see an image of the Spoon Cherry Bridge covered by writing Minneapolis. The backside features only the rest of the city’s names. It is estimated that only 50 of these mugs were produced and sold, which makes them ultra-rare.
When Starbucks Release New Cups?
Unfortunately, Starbucks does not have any pattern or system that allows you to predict when they will release new merchandise. There are a lot of customers that collect Starbucks cups and mugs, so naturally, you want to be informed on time.
The great thing is that you can use the Starbucks app and check their stores to see if there is any new release coming. There is a specific section where you can check this info and it is labeled under the Drinkables.
Where Can You Buy Rare Starbucks Mugs?
As already mentioned, Starbucks does not use third-party services when it comes to selling its merchandise. The only way to acquire their cups and mugs is to buy them directly from the store. However, if you are hunting for already discontinued mugs and cups, then we have good news.
A lot of Starbucks collectors list their mugs on web platforms such as Etsy, eBay, LiveAuctioneers, Craigslist, and so on. The only advice we can give you is to be extra careful when buying any collectibles from these places. Avoid being scammed by checking the dealer and his feedback first.
Also, visit your local flea market and yard sales. These sales are always full of a wide variety of items, and some of them are very valuable collectibles. A lot of people are selling their items without even knowing their actual worth. This is your chance to score a great deal for a few bucks, literally.
Are Starbucks mugs a good investment?
Collecting is a tricky hobby, sometimes it can pay off greatly, and sometimes you can end up losing too much money. However, most people do this because they love it and not because they want to make money on it.
When we talk about collecting Starbucks mugs, you need to remember that the value of these mugs is not fixed or guaranteed. Their value constantly varies due to demand and trends in the market.
Moreover, there are some rare and special editions of mugs that will always cost a few hundred dollars considering their rarity. Those are mugs that are linked to particular regions and cities that are produced in extremely small series.
Also, there are mugs with errors that can also be worth a lot just because of that misspelling error for instance.
Disney mugs are also very popular and hard to find considering Starbucks dropped the production. It is estimated that an original Disney mug can cost from $5,000 and up, unfortunately, we couldn’t find any reliable source from his information, but it is good to be informed.
Starbucks mugs that are decorated with popular cartoon characters like Snoopy, or superhero characters, can also reach high price tags, well at least $1,000 and above. Keep in mind that there are a lot of collectors that collect everything Hollywood related. Starbucks mugs with popular actors’ images may cost over $1,500.
After this information, it is up to you to decide if it is worth investing in Starbucks mugs, and their collectible merchandise in general.
Who is manufacturing Starbucks mugs?
Since 2012, Starbucks moved its production to the US. They partnered up with a small company from Ohio. This manufacturer is in charge of making all their merchandise from mugs, to cups, tumblers, and other items you have seen there.
Let’s Spill The Tea
Now, next time you end up lurking in the Starbucks store while waiting on your order make sure you take a good look at their merchandise. If you find anything interesting, don’t hesitate and buy it. Keep it in the original packaging and wait.
Starbucks mania will not drop any time soon, which is great news for you. People are crazy about this brand worldwide. Do you know that saying one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Well, that saying explain this in a nutshell.
Even if you aren’t a fan of Starbucks if you come across a mug with their name while searching for something else, purchase it and you’ll earn some nice allowance in the future.