A Year Of Being A Starbucks Mug Collector

March 15, 2014 marks my first anniversary as a Starbucks mug collector! How fast time flies!

A Year Of Being A Starbucks Mug Collector

MY PERSONAL favorite icon mugs! Iloilo tops the list!

How it All Started

I started seriously collecting icon mugs when I was in Kuala Lumpur LCCT waiting for my flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. The sight of all 4 Malaysian icons in a single row in the display cabinet started my love of the icons!

To begin with, I am not a Starbucks fan for several reasons: 1. it’s expensive; 2. it’s expensive and 3, it’s expensive. Honestly, I prefer Coffee Bean and Tea Leaves over Starbucks – – before.

So at the airport, I got 1 set and brought it to Nepal with me. Luckily, all arrived home in perfect condition after 15 days traveling in Nepal and Malaysia. A year after I got them, they are no longer available and are said to be discontinued already! Guess what, I was able to bring home some spare in my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur few days ago.

A Year Of Being A Starbucks Mug Collector

The first and the last set I bought is Malaysia icons. They are now gone forever in Starbucks stores!

Statistically Speaking
My first Starbucks mugs are California and San Francisco which were given as a gift by a good friend last February 2013. I have been to the US before but never bought any mug. Then, the US icons were still in stores. A year after, I was able to acquire 45 out of 50 US icon mugs. Seattle 1, Tampa, Utah, Forth Worth and Jacksonville are still missing though a kindhearted collector has promised me already Forthworth and perhaps Tampa and/or Jacksonville.

A Year Of Being A Starbucks Mug Collector

Team USA is not yet complete and I need everyone’s help!

I personally hand-picked all my Philippine icons. I have traveled just to get them. I drove all the way to Baguio down to Naga – the last icon that completed my Team Philippines. It took me 3 times to return to Naga just to get 1 piece. Imagine driving for 8 hours just to get 1 mug.

A Year Of Being A Starbucks Mug Collector

Team Philippines. Rumors have it that perhaps 2 more new mugs will be released 😉

Then I learned of Fred Orange. It was with FO that I got lots of my mugs. I am thankful to my German mugging friends who traded with me, without them, I could have hardly made it to 300 icons.

Today, I have 305 icons in my cabinet and awaiting for the arrival of 18 other icons which have been in the customs months ago. So that makes my collection 323 out of 355, should customs release them and arrive to me all in one piece.

Team USA is not complete yet but I am hopeful to have them all!

Team Germany minus the 3 new releases

Team Canada. I originally have 2 Canada icons but i traded them. I am expecting 2 more from friends

Team Canada. I originally have 2 Canada icons but i traded them. I am expecting 2 more from friends

Team Mexico. I originally have Guanajato and Vera Cruz but I gave it to a friend. I am expecting to have them again from a trade

Team Mexico. I originally have Guanajato and Vera Cruz but I gave it to a friend. I am expecting to have them again from a trade

Lessons Learned

  1. Collecting Starbucks icon mugs is expensive and involves spending lots of money. However, I find it as an investment. The value of Starbucks icon mugs never depreciate.
  2. Collecting Starbucks icon mugs needs time and energy. I flew to some countries just to buy mugs to trade and to sell.
  3. Collectors will either hate you or love you. I don’t mind. No one can please everybody. To each his own.
  4. Hoarding helps you get the mugs you want. And I have benefited from hoarding new releases. Again, not all may appreciate it, but it works. After all, not everyone can afford to spend to get as much mugs as possible.
  5. You gain friends. All sort of friends. In my case, as I have always been, I chose my friends. I don’t need many friends. I prefer to have a handful real and honest friends than to have bunch of assholes.
  6. It was a mistake on my part not to prioritize the more expensive mugs first. I now realized that I should have spent more on buying the discontinued icons rather than acquiring the new ones.
  7. Treat the mugs as gold and diamonds. They are.

What I love About Collecting Starbucks Mugs

  1. It’s therapeutic and stress reliever
  2. It gives a different kind of fulfillment
  3. It gives some sort of bragging rights
  4. It is a good topic to start a conversation
  5. It’s never ending. New mugs will be out while the world is sleeping
  6. It keeps me busy and appreciate things others ignore
  7. It’s a prime investment!
  8. It’s a good medium to know who are real and fake people!

What I hate About Collecting Starbucks Mugs

  1. It’s addictive
  2. It’s expensive
  3. It’s habit forming
  4. It consumes so much of my time!

Some Fun Facts About Starbucks Mugs

  1. A mug is either Made in China (MIC) or Made in Thailand (MIT). The former is preferred.
  2. A mug is either a Collector Series (CS) or and ordinary one. The former is more sought after. However, there are mugs without collector series just like in the case of Philippine mugs
  3. There are mugs but there was never a Starbucks store that opened in that place! Zagreb (in Crotia) and Leige (in Belgium) are example. Though the number of mugs are very few.
  4. There are mugs with wrong designs like in the case of Nijmegen (in Netherlands)
  5. There are city icon mugs but not a country icon mug. Example is Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo but there is no Japan. Also the case of US mugs, there is no USA but there are city and state mugs.
  6. Discontinued Mugs (DC) are categorized as Very Hard to Find (VHTF), Hard To Find (HTF) or Hard to Get (HTG). Example are the US, Mexican and Canada mugs.
  7. DC mugs can be extremely expensive. 1 set of complete US icon mug costs not lower than 300,000.00 which is even considered a friendly price!
  8. There are different kinds of Starbucks mugs – icon or city mugs, relief mugs, artistry mugs, Architecture mugs, etc etc etc. I only collect the former as they are more valuable.
  9. There are 355 icon mugs released since Beijing Olympics in 2008.
  10. There is no single person in the world that has a complete collection of the icon mugs (unless he/she doesn’t like the world to know about it yet).
  11. The Starbucks Headquarter displays all icon mugs including the prototypes
305 out of 355 icon mugs after a year of collecting. bad or not bad records?

305 out of 355 icon mugs after a year of collecting. bad or not bad record?


140 replies »

  1. Hi!Sir,can I buy your Korea mug?Im collecting also that one,when I went there,no more mug like that.Thanks-Ann

  2. Hi, I just started collecting icon mugs. I’m not sure if I can be called as a collector since I only have a few mugs. I was just wondering how do you trade with Fred Orange? Can you give me a few tips, I’m kinda hesitant to ask the member if I can trade with them

  3. Great Post! I’m one of the Fred Orange people who appreciates your selling and hoarding since I can’t fly everywhere you do.

      • Hi,
        I love your collection. I started on 2010 I currently have 70. Most of course US Cities, but 23 from different countries.
        I leave in Costa Rica, if you do not have that one yet. I am happy to send it. I made trade in from one of your city.
        Let me know! I am happy to do it. By the way, Costa Rican version is the old version which I love, not much fun of the new version, I still have lots of them…

  4. Hi, I’m also collecting Starbucks and a i have total of 38 mugs only. Do you still spare mugs that I can purchase? Or can you give tips how to contact Fred Orange? Hope to here from you soon.

  5. Wonderful collection! I also collect Starbucks merchandise but I focus more on the tumblers. They are easier to transport and much more useful for me since I bring tumblers to the office. Unfortunately, not all icon / city mugs have tumbler counterparts so they are much harder to buy. When I was in Europe, I settled for mugs as the tumblers were almost always not available. =)

    Great blog! Great pictures! Keep collecting =)

  6. Can you visit the starbucks headquarter and see all the mugs? That would be great! Your collection is awesome!

  7. Hi Nik!
    Congratulations! Thanks too for being part OF my icon Mug Collections. I think its more than 355 now. That includes versions 1 & 2 and prototypes are not included.

  8. Hi, I’m actually looking to sell my collection to other Starbucks mugs loves. I’ve already sold about half of it and I’m looking to sell the rest. Do you have any interest in any of the following?

    Hong Kong
    Kuala Lumpur
    Orange County
    San Diego
    Singapore Orange
    Singapore Brown
    Washington DC

  9. Well done – what a lot of effort you have gone to which all of us surely admire. I’ve got around 26/27 but they’re all based on places I have visited. I love their design more than the older and newer versions as well. I hope you get the rest realised from customs and get to 355 soon. 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

  10. Nice collection – I see that there are some German mugs missing like e.g. Freiburg and Nuremberg – interested in trading?

  11. Hi! Where in Japan where you able to get your mugs? I was there twice last year and I haven’t seen any of these global icon mugs (visited Osaka and Tokyo).

  12. Your Collection ist very impressiv!
    I’m just Asking myself if there Exists a new dehli mug or Not.

    I would be Barry grateful to get an answer.


    Felix from Germany

  13. Pinoy on the Road, I’m Canadian and going to Canada and possibly soon, if not then next June 2018. I can look for a Canada or Canadian mugs for you in return for Phil. mugs. I have so far quite a few from the U.K., 1 Phil., 1 Bacolod and 1 Iloilo. I foolishly gave away a Beijing mug which I desperately want back so…………….Let me know. (I live in the Bacolod area)

  14. Hi Mug Collectors…….I was just at the Caticlan, Philippines airport where they had atleast 20 Starbucks mugs from the City-You Are Here-Relief series. I bought 12 that I didn’t have. Carrying them back was murder but they now look great in my display cabinet. Book a trip to Boracay via Caticlan and have some fun. By the way, there is only 1 Starbucks on Boracay Island, near Station 1 on the white sands beach.

  15. Hi Pinoy on the road.
    I am impressed by your collection and it gives me hope.Im based in the United Arab Emirates and collect Starbucks mugs since 5 years mostly Iconic,Relief and YAH series.
    Would you like like to trade with me as I too travel quite a bit.
    DrSunny Kurian.

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