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Starbucks City Mug Souvenirs: Traveling the World over Morning Coffee (a Reader’s Collection)

When reader and fellow blogger Sue mentioned she collected souvenir Starbucks mugs as she traveled, I’d never heard of the mugs and had no idea how popular they are.  While Sue collects mugs strictly for the memories, I learned that others collect Starbucks mugs like beanie babies, trading them on the secondary market and bidding for rare mugs on ebay.  According to Wikipedia, certain Starbucks mug city releases create a “frenzy of buying as collectors swarm to buy” the mugs.  A 2007 mug from Japan (retail, $8.95) even went for $1300 on ebay!  Sue– check your mugs– you may have a gold mine in your cupboards!

Guest Post:  Traveling the world over Morning Coffee– My Starbucks City Mug Collection 

by Sue Slaght

starbucks city mug lisbon athens travel souvenir collect“Honey would you like to go to Athens or Lisbon this morning?” I call up the stairs on Saturday morning.
“Hmmm I think Athens. I feel like going to the Parthenon today” replies my smiling husband, ambling down the stairs.

Sadly, we are not in Europe this morning, ready to leap onto a high speed train, but rather having breakfast in Western Canada. Avid travelers and proponents of carry on baggage only, collecting Starbucks mugs from locations visited is our one souvenir collector addiction.

starbucks mug london souvenir collectYou may ask yourself if there might be something less breakable and slightly smaller than on oversized glass cup to lug back from exotic spots.   Yes …point well taken. However over the weekend cups of hot java, our fabulous journeys are relived over shared stories.

“Remember when you almost got hit in the head by the guy throwing the squid at the Athens fish market?” laughs Hubby.  “Or when we were given the hairy eyeball at the Lisbon Port Institute dressed in our t-shirts and shorts? “ I quip back.

starbucks miami mug starbucks hawaii mug collect city maugOn bitterly cold mornings– and there seem to be a fair number of those in Calgary– the Miami and Hawaii cups are hot ticket items.  “It’s minus 20 this morning,” Hubby announces from the kitchen. “Florida or Maui …what will it be?”

I give him a serious look “Do I have to eat the roasted pig at the luau? If you say yes I am off to South Beach for sure!” The comical banter continues over our special keepsakes.

starbucks travel souvenir las vegas mug starbucks houston mug starbucks chicago mug starbucks dallas mug“Do you want to go to watch the fountains at the Bellagio?” I muse while sipping out of my Vegas mug.
“Sorry I’m too busy working over here in Houston this morning,” pouts Hubby.

Starbucks Toronto mug Starbucks Vancouver mug travel souvenirSometimes the mugs remind us of very special people in our lives. “I’m going to see my sister this morning,” smiles Hubby. “Have a great visit and dress warm for that ocean air,” I instruct in a motherly tone. “I’m off to California to hang with my brother. Can’t wait to see him!”

starbucks san francisco mug travel souvenirMemories in a mug, that’s our souvenir… and caffeine fix. What do you like to bring back to remind you of a special trip or person?

Follow Sue’s travels (and her amazing photography!) on her fabulous blog at Travel Tales of Life.

Sue lives in Calgary, Alberta and has been married to her best friend Dave for over thirty years and is ‘Mom’ to adult children. Her decades as a nurse have shown that in a moment life can change completely.  Passionate about travel, storytelling, social justice, volunteerism and not letting the phrase “What would people think?” or her own fear get in the way of trying something new Sue believes the possibilities in life are endless. 

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Starbucks City mugs collecting souvenirs travels

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20 Responses to Starbucks City Mug Souvenirs: Traveling the World over Morning Coffee (a Reader’s Collection)

  1. Ray Laskowitz 01/29/2014 at 1:07 pm #

    I live in New Orleans. What is this Starbucks that you write about? 🙂 Kidding, of course. But, we are a coffee city…

    • sueslaght 01/30/2014 at 1:56 pm #

      Ray I loved the coffee in New Orleans! I don’t think we had started our collecting back then. Perhaps another visit is in order 🙂

      • Ray Laskowitz 01/30/2014 at 5:53 pm #

        Come on down. We have real coffee. Local coffee.

      • sueslaght 01/30/2014 at 7:28 pm #

        Can I have a beignet with that?

      • Ray Laskowitz 01/30/2014 at 7:57 pm #

        If you must. There are a lot of gourmet donut shops popping up. If there is such a thing as a gourmet donut.

  2. Kirt D Tisdale 01/30/2014 at 12:40 pm #

    We’ve collected a couple of them…nice souvenirs!

    • sueslaght 01/30/2014 at 1:58 pm #

      They bring back great memories Kirt. What cities did you find them in?

      • Kirt D Tisdale 01/30/2014 at 2:11 pm #

        Denver and Seattle….we had our own “SuperBowl” match up this morning at coffee between my wife and I:)

      • sueslaght 01/30/2014 at 2:15 pm #

        I love that vision Kirt! Good to know others are using their mugs for fun…or competitive conversation 🙂

  3. Tripping Blonde 01/30/2014 at 1:08 pm #

    The mugs are really pretty but I know it’d end up breaking it before I got it home! I might still need to pick up a few from my favorite cities in the world. I really like this idea.

    • sueslaght 01/30/2014 at 2:01 pm #

      I hear what you are saying about the fear of breaking them. We try, if possible, to wait until the end of a visit to purchase. Then they get wrapped up in assorted clothing and tucked in the middle of the carry on bag. It can be a fun scavenger hunt tracking down a Starbucks in a foreign location.

  4. dianaveggienextdoor 01/31/2014 at 10:37 pm #

    I brought Chicago mugs (where I live) to India for my colleagues when I went there on business and they were a big hit! One day in New Delhi we went to Starbucks for some cold drinks and saw the New Delhi mugs for sale there too 🙂

    • Kristin Francis 02/01/2014 at 8:29 pm #

      Actually that’s kind of a brilliant gift. I’m always wondering what American gifts to bring others and when you google it you usually get answers like maple syrup (which they do not want!). What could me more American than Starbucks lol. And no this is not a sponsored post!!

  5. Angela Anderson (AngelaTravels) 02/08/2014 at 1:42 pm #

    I actually enjoy the idea of this. I collect post cards because they are cheap and do not take up much room. I have heard of people collecting Hard Rock Cafe pins, which is another idea along these lines.

  6. Nicole 02/26/2014 at 10:19 am #

    My friend, Dylan from The Travelling Editor, collects Starbucks mugs as well.
    I laughed at him when he told me but when I saw that his Auckland mugs (he has two saved and one which he uses) are now worth about $80 each I was amazed.

    For me it’s particularly weird as Australia has all but run Starbucks out of the country (We only have a couple of stores in the very touristy areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland) so it was a lesson!
    Did you know people also collect the StarBucks rewards cards? I just wanted the 2014 Year of the Horse card but then found that people actually sell these cards for a profit!

    • Kristin Francis 02/26/2014 at 12:44 pm #

      Hi Nicole, thanks for commenting! I know Dylan and I was shocked when he mentioned collecting these mugs! Love that he is hoarding them for future profits lol. It turns out lots of people love collecting them– it’s been a very popular post (thanks guest author Sue!)

      I had no idea that Australia was anti-Starbucks, how fascinating! When researching this post I did come across the bit about collecting Starbucks reward cards and was floored– a mug you can use every day (and I started becoming intrigued by the designs myself), but what’s the point of a random card??

  7. Indah Susanti 02/25/2015 at 3:40 pm #

    Love reading this article, and what a brilliant idea to drink every morning with different mugs that remind you of your previous travel!

  8. Anonymous 04/10/2015 at 1:34 pm #

    I collect the starbuck mugs as well and am constantly looking for more on our travels. Your story sounds just like mine when we get up in the morning. I’m asking him the same questions. “Where would you like to go today?” Often enough….we’re not in the same country or state. I’m sad to say that they’re getting harder and harder to find.

  9. brooke 04/23/2015 at 10:28 pm #

    My sister collects these mugs too, which is why I started getting some of my own. I only like specific designs, mostly the cartoon ones. My dad always gets shot glasses and t-shirts. I suppose I tend to take photos more than collect.

  10. Serhat Engul 04/30/2016 at 8:57 am #

    You must have a great collection of these lovely cups. I used to collect postcards and museum tickets. This is a brilliant idea!

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