March 15, 2014 marks my first anniversary as a Starbucks mug collector! How fast time flies!
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Collecting Starbucks icon mugs needs time and energy. I flew to some countries just to buy mugs to trade and to sell.
- Collectors will either hate you or love you. I don’t mind. No one can please everybody. To each his own.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Treat the mugs as gold and diamonds. They are.
What I love About Collecting Starbucks Mugs
- It’s therapeutic and stress reliever
- It gives a different kind of fulfillment
- It gives some sort of bragging rights
- It is a good topic to start a conversation
- It’s never ending. New mugs will be out while the world is sleeping
- It keeps me busy and appreciate things others ignore
- It’s a prime investment!
- It’s a good medium to know who are real and fake people!
What I hate About Collecting Starbucks Mugs
- It’s addictive
- It’s expensive
- It’s habit forming
- It consumes so much of my time!
Some Fun Facts About Starbucks Mugs
- A mug is either Made in China (MIC) or Made in Thailand (MIT). The former is preferred.
- 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
- 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.
- There are mugs with wrong designs like in the case of Nijmegen (in Netherlands)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- There are 355 icon mugs released since Beijing Olympics in 2008.
- 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).
- The Starbucks Headquarter displays all icon mugs including the prototypes
- THERE ARE FAKE MUGS!