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Starbucks Minneapolis Mug Sells for over $2000 on eBay

October 28th, 2008 by Skip McGrath

Max, an eBay seller from Pennsylvania, sold the rare Minneapolis 1994 collectors mug on eBay for $2,020

When contacted, Max said he had no idea the mug was worth so much.  The 1994 Minneapolis mug is probably the rarest Starbucks mug in existence except for the Iwo Jima mug in the Patriotic collection. The buyer was a woman named Marcel in Europe.

Why is this mug so rare?  The mug features a photo of a popular sculpture on the front of the mug. Well it turns out that the sculpture is copyrighted. Shortly after the mug had to be recalled because Starbucks was violating the copyright.  Starbucks immediately recalled all of the mugs, but it is estimated that about 20 to 30 got into circulation before Starbucks pulled the plug.

I am not sure how Max found his mug, but when he put it on eBay, the bidding went crazy. the listing got 984 hits and 34 bids.  If you would like to see the auction, the listing number is 290269099902.  Just type that number into the eBay search box on eBay.com and you can see the listing and the photographs. His price of $2,020 is a new record. The last one of these that sold on eBay went for $1,263.

The other ultra rare mug that is out there is the Iwo Jima mug.  Shortly after 9-11, eBay produced a limited edition series of mugs called the Patriotic Series.  There were originally 4 mugs in the series: Flags, Mt. Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty with Fireworks and a mug that portrayed the flag raising at Iwo Jima in WWII.  Well it seems that some peaceniks complained that the Iwo Jima mug was too warlike. Starbucks, a company will well known liberal roots agreed and recalled the mug.  There were several (estimated at 5 or 10) sold by the Starbucks in the Pentagon, before they were recalled.  Serious collectors have stated they would pay over $2500 if this mug ever came up.  The other three mugs in the series are also valuable –some have sold for up to $200 each –but I have also seen them sell for much less –as a lot of collectors just don’t know about them.

The other hot Starbucks mugs are any city from the Skyline Series.  I recently sold a Skyline mug from the original store where Starbucks started for over $300.  Prices for the more common mugs are holding up well.  It seems that collectors still buy during recessions. Prices for hot collectibles don’t rise as fast during a recession, but they tend to hold steady or rise slowly –they rarely fall unless a certain collectible goes out of favor.

Until next time,

Skip McGrath

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