Starbucks Icon Mugs Collection

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 Starbucks icon mugs when I was in Kuala Lumpur LCCT waiting for my flight to Kathmandu. 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. over-rated; 2. it’s expensive, and 3. not easily accessible. Honestly, I prefer Coffee Bean and Tea Leaves over Starbucks – – before. BTW, Mc Donald’s coffee even tastes better!

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 I 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 Starbucks Icon Mugs

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 friendsTeam 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 tradeLessons Learned

  1. Collecting Starbucks icon mugs is expensive and involves spending lots of money. However, I find it as an investment. You may disagree with me here.
  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!, collector that is

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. However, never mug are now made in in Thailand. No more made in China.
  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, architectural mugs, been there mug, eetc etc etc. I only collect the former as they are more valuable.
  9. There are 355 icon mugs released since Beijing Olympics in 2008 and growing.
  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
  12. THERE ARE FAKE MUGS!

140 Comments

  1. 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.
    drsunny999@gmail.com.

    Like

  2. 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.

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  3. 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.
    afjbm@yahoo.com (I live in the Bacolod area)

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  4. 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.

    THX

    Felix from Germany

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  5. 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).

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

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  7. 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. 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

    Like

  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?

    Arizona
    Bucharest
    China
    Colorado
    Denver
    Hamptons
    Hawaii
    Hong Kong
    Istanbul
    Kuala Lumpur
    Macau
    Malaysia
    Orange County
    Phoenix
    Phuket
    Pittsburg
    Romania
    San Diego
    Singapore Orange
    Singapore Brown
    Thailand
    Turkey
    Waikiki
    Washington DC

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  9. 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.

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

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  11. 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 =)

    Like

  12. 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.

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        1. I am selling my collection. Have 1 set of collector’s item from the middle east also. Anybody interested ?

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

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      1. 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…

        Like

  14. 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

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

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  16. wow! so many mug *envies* hehe, i only have one which is Canada given to me by my friend because she cant find the tumbler, i collect tumbler.
    i didnt even know that malaysia is discontinued glad i already have one

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  17. Hi, i admire your collection a lot. I planned to start collecting icons in 2009 but hesitated due to its addictive. But then, when I went to KL last September, i couldn’t resist and ended picking my first 2 tumblers. now, i have 26 in total. i hope we can meet and i can see your collection. 🙂

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  18. Good day! Is there a group here in the Phil who are active in this hobby of collecting starbucks mugs? What is the name of the popular groups? Thanks.

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  19. Hi I have a question! How did you get these mugs? All the mugs I’ve ever found are the shorter ones with a wider mouth. They typically come in the green boxes. I love the original mugs that you have collected. I have found that most Starbucks retail stores I go to no longer carry those original mugs. Awesome collection by the way! I’m inspired!

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    1. hi there. some i got myself, some i traded, some i bought from other collectors. the mugs i collect are called starbucks icon mugs. they are no longer available in usa, canada, japan, south korea and indonesia. the ones you see now with green boxes are called yah or you are here mugs. cheers.

      Like

  20. Hi truly starbucks mugs are gems. I’m so happy for you, you inspire me to collect more. Been a collector for 6 years but I have less than 50. Hope to meet you someday and trade… Thank You!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow great collection . I’m collecting starbucks mugs and tumblers too still have a few i am so inspired with what you’ve got though its hard to achieve for me. AWESOME.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. New collector here. I’m about to complete my Philippine series (only need 6 more I think). I hope you can give tips on spotting fake mugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. wow! bravo! 🙂 im collecting starbucks tumblers. but i find collecting mugs more interesting after reading your blog. good read! two thumbs up for you *clap clap*

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Wow! I’ll be more than happy to have even just a quarter of your collection for a year.. I just started collecting a month ago and currently only have 4 mugs.. Your post made me sooo excited to have more!!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. i’m impressed. i wish I travelled more. i just bought some on ebay. didn’t think about fake ones, so nervous until they arrive… any tips on how to spot them?

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Big WOW!!Starting this year, Im starting to collect both mugs and tumblers… Its amazing that you almost completed the SB city mugs, where can I get these stuffs, i want to add up my collections too.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Big WOW!!Starting this year, Im starting to collect both mugs and tumblers… Its amazing that you almost completed the SB city mugs, where can I get these stuffs, i want to add up my collections too.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Awesome collection! I just started my collection I have only 3 mugs so far from Bali, Indonesia and South Korea. I collect them in my travels that I visit. Going to Thailand and have a layover in japan this December 2014 so I’m excited to add more mugs to my collection

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Such an amazing collection ..!! I am a newbie, collecting mugs n tumblers just for fun and regret why I didn’t start earlier….:-). Looking at my collection – always bring back my memories when I visited these cities n how hard to get the mugs home. Do you have Indonesian’s mugs also?.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Wow! That’s a LOT of mugs! At the moment, I have 11 mugs (London, England, Sao Paulo, Brasil, Amsterdam, Toronto, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Cebu and Tagaytay) and 1 SG tumbler. I’ll be going to KL again and will definitely buy the Malaysia mug, and Brunei too. I don’t consider myself a collector (with the number that I have, yeah right!). I think, I am more or an “appreciator” than a “collector.”

    Anyway, good luck on your quest to complete the collection! I hope to see your treasures soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Hi, i been following you for almost few months now and i could say ur really amazing. I am a new collector for starbucks icon mug and so far i had 25 together with the tumblr. Like you i started when I was in KL Malaysia where i used to work before. Since its one of my passion is to travel thats where i get the idea to start as a souvenir. I bought only few mugs but most of them was from my family and friends.

    Anyway, anyone who is interested in trading kindly let me know. I had CEBU and THAILAND with me ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  32. WOW!! Such an amazing and awesome collection! So far, I only have 3 thumblers and 2 mugs.. Seeing your collection make me a little bit jealous and wanna collect more. Hehehe!! Cheers, to more travel and more Starbucks mug to collect!

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  33. Such a great collection. Thanks for the fun facts, i learned something new, specially the terms. I have a few mugs which i got from my travels and as gifts from family and friends. Really don’t need to spend so much as long as you got good connections. 🙂

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  34. im starting to collect mugs. Im into YAH now coz I find it so hard now to catch up. WOuld love to trade and buy from you soon if you have extras. 🙂 Now when can we visit that museum of yours. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Hi Nik, until now, I am still in awe for the Vietnam and Makati icon mugs that you sent and gave it eventually – for free!!! I wish i can repay your kindness. Hope to see you real soon.
    PS I love reading your blogs. Pashare ha! :D.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. im fascinated with your collections,OMG! .as of now i only got my first mug frm.Boracay..you will be my inspirations.Too bad i missed buying Manila and Philippine Mugs.i guess i shld.start frm,.where I’am right now.Taiwan ..more to go on me.

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  37. My first mug was given to me as a gift from California. I went to Ilocos Sur but forgot to look for Starbucks lol

    Hope you complete your collection soon! 🙂

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  38. Wow! Makes me drool! As a newbie mugger, parang nalula ako sa dami ng mugs nyo. Just started collecting pa lang. Dreaming of having those mugs of yours.

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  39. Wow! I just “seriously” started collecting mugs less than a year, but i only have 50 so far. I have not tried trading overseas yet coz i’m a bit scared. Usually i got my mugs/tumblers through my relatives and officemates travelling abroad. It’s addicting and therapeutic 😉 i came across your blog coz i’m searching on display cabinets. Very inspiring and informative. Thanks!

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    1. Youre right. Just got back from MY. Didnt see any KL Penang mugs anymore. Too bad, sadddddd. 😦

      Can i have mugs too? Pleaseeeee! 🙂

      Like

  40. very nice record! 1 year w/ 305! amazing! I know some collectors missing only 5pcs or so hehe btw I think Malaysian mugs are back on shelves 🙂 any extra to spare there? haha

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  41. Nik, there are people who have completed the ’08 Series (pending the release of the new one).

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  42. Nice job sir. Hope I can collect just as much!

    Hoping to find Malaysia-Penang-KL-Sabah mugs in one store next week. *crossed fingers*

    More tips in collecting please! Especially for us beginners. More power!

    Ponching from Manila.

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  43. wow! amazing indeed! yes, such collection is a gem..it gets me wanting from one mug to another mug. luckily, there are really good friends to help to collect the mugs 🙂 I started last year in July and got only 30 mugs..but mostly free gifts from friends. I hope I can meet you and see your collection during my vacation n Manila.

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  44. Wow!!! I think that is a great record! I have been collecting tumblers, but also collecting A mug! haha such a shame I only have 1 mug and you have 300++. I wish and hope you will be able to complete the whole collection, and it that case please let me see them personally!👍😄

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  45. Hi there i’ve read your blog and I am amaze of what you have collected. I am a new collector and I only have 4 mugs right now. Sometimes starbucks mugs are really hard to find.

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    1. Love your collection! Having relatives pick some up for me in the Philippines. How much does it cost for one?

      Like

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