How Much Are Trader Sam’s Tiki Mugs Worth?
How Much Are Trader Sam’s Tiki Mugs Worth?
Table of Contents
Introduction to Trader Sam's
Ceramic mugs from Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto can be worth a lot of money… but just how much? The value depends on many factors including when a mug is sold. We have created this helpful guide as a resource to buyers, sellers, curious collectors and anyone interested in learning more about the value of Disney brand tiki mugs.
Disney has two Trader Sam’s locations and both of them sell ceramic mugs:
Enchanted Tiki Bar
1150 Magic Way, Anaheim, CA 92802
Opened May, 2011
1600 Seven Seas Drive, Orlando, FL 32830
Opened March, 2015
Conveniently located just outside Disneyland and Walt Disney World, both of these locations benefit from a very large and loyal fan base. Patrons often wait multiple hours to get into both bars and neither location accepts reservations. Their mugs tend to sell out… or be available months after release, depending on the demand for each mug and the quantities of each mug produced. There is a strong correlation between the edition size of a mug and its value (more on that later).
Most Trader Sam’s mugs are characterized by three unique qualities:
The location the mug was sold, either the Enchanted Tiki Bar (ETB) or Grog Grotto (GG)
The unique design and styling of the mug, typically given a designated name by Disney
The edition of the mug, typically a single-digit number, in ascending order of release
Most mugs are referred to by the name given to them by Disney. However the location and edition of each mug are used as additional identifiers that can be found on the bottom of each mug. You can also use our extensive database of tiki mugs to locate mugs and learn about their origin here.
While color can and is often used to describe tiki mugs, color can be misleading. Take for example the Krakatoa, a mug inspired by an erupting volcano. There are seven unique editions of the Krakatoa mug and three of the editions feature red-colored lava. Many online auction listings might refer to the mug as a “red Krakatoa” which could mislead people into believing it is a more valuable mug than it actually is based on its edition. This is why it is always good practice to utilize photographs of the bottom of a mug when buying or selling, because the bottom shows a mug’s location and edition details.
Very few mugs deviate from the characterizations outlined above, but some outliers do exist. Those mugs are described in detail later in this article.
It is important to note that while the name of a mug often refers to both the mug and the cocktail served in it, sometimes a cocktail receives a designation of its own. Local ingredients vary from one coast to another, so sometimes Trader Sam’s locations offer different beverages. Patrons can always ask their skipper (the name of a Trader Sam’s bartender) to substitute the drink when it’s not their particular cup of tea (we’re looking at you- Grim Grinning Grog!)
The Initial Cost of a Mug
At Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto most mugs come served with a drink when they are purchased. Often the drink can be purchased separately, but the mug cannot. Only on rare occasions are the mugs sold separately. If a mug is overproduced, it may be offered at a heavily discounted rate to cast members. This is unusual, but it occurred recently with the Holiday Elephant mugs.
When calculating the initial cost of a mug, you should include the cost of tip and shipping:
Sale Price + Tip + Shipping = Initial Cost of Tiki Mug
Buying Mugs at Cost
When a mug is still available, you should not pay more than the initial cost of the mug. There are many tiki enthusiasts online who will arrange a mug pick-up for you. With a little effort, you can get the mug you want for a fair price and the person doing the footwork gets to enjoy a drink on your tab (remember a drink comes with every mug purchase).
If you are interested in having someone reputable pick a mug up for you, we recommend checking out the Facebook group here. Please note: a majority of online sales occur through Paypal or Venmo. We do not recommend paying someone for an item via “family and friends” because your purchase will not be insured if you do this. We recommend paying for the item as goods, which may increase the cost of the mug slightly. If you choose to pay someone as “family or friends,” do your research on the seller beforehand.
Payment for gas or time should not be included in the initial cost of a tiki mug. If a buyer chooses to include an additional tip they can, but it should not be expected.
Unfortunately tiki mugs will not always be available for sale. Many editions are retired after inventories deplete, or after a predetermined set amount of time. So once a mug has retired, does its value increase?
When Tiki Mugs Sell Out
If a mug sells out, it does not necessarily become more valuable right away. Sometimes mugs sell out, but then inventory is replenished at a later date.
Eventually a mug will no longer be manufactured. When this occurs, people typically find out from the Trader Sam’s skippers and the information is then shared on social media networks. When a mug stops being manufactured, its value will typically spike online and the length of time the mug was previously available for sale will determine how high its value spikes. It is not unheard of for mugs to double in value.
This does not mean you should purchase every single retired mug you find. After their initial increase in value, the value of mugs will often subside. Sold out mugs seldom return to their initial cost, but their value will plateau. If you are willing to wait, you will likely score a better deal on a mug several months after its initial sell out.
Factors that determine a mug’s value when a mug sells out include:
- The quantity produced
- The number of previous editions
- The time of year
- The popularity of the artist who designed it
- The popularity of the intellectual property or mug design
Generally speaking, a mug themed to an intellectual property such as The Haunted Mansion will have a wider demographic of people interested in the mug, thus increasing the mug’s value. Take for example the Hitchhiking Ghosts, sold in four different editions:
ETB 1st Edition (Black)
GG 1st Edition (Blue)
ETB 2nd Edition (Green)
GG 2st Edition (Red)
All four of these Hitchhiking Ghosts mugs were originally sold for $25 and have since tripled in value. The earlier editions are worth even more than the second editions. The value of these mugs increased in part because Disney’s The Haunted Mansion is valuable as an intellectual property. Other mug designs have not appreciated in value to the same degree. Still, the sales history of mugs can be useful when determining the anticipated value of mugs in the future.
The Value of Every Mug Ever Released
A complete Trader Sam’s collection with tiki mugs from both the Enchanted Tiki Bar and Grog Grotto has an estimated value of over $4400. With shipping and insurance, a complete collection could easily cost upwards of $5000 and would include a total of 60 individual mugs with an average value of $75 per mug.
Whether you are interested in purchasing a mug, selling a mug or trying to estimate the value of a mug not yet released, the following list can be an excellent resource for you. The following mugs are listed alphabetically by design and are automatically updated with their most recent sales history:
While the list above technically includes every mug released by Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar and Grog Grotto, over time some manufacturing errors resulted in several unintentional variations, thus complicating what a “complete” Trader Sam’s collection actually includes.
Some of the first edition HippopotoMai-Tai mugs intended for Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort were misprinted. Instead of saying “Grog Grotto” on the back of the mug, they were instead printed with the text “Tambu Lounge.” The misprinted mugs have a higher perceived value than the official ones, because less of them were made.
ETB's Hitchhiking Ghosts
Enchanted Tiki Bar’s first edition hitchhiking ghosts mugs were manufactured in at least two batches. The first batch is heavier than the second batch, with a more chalky-looking glaze. Perhaps because of their weight, the first batch of mugs are perceived to be better made and thus worth more money.
ETB's Rum Barrel
This is one example of a mug best defined by it’s color and glaze, because the second edition rum barrel mug from Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar is actually considered the second version of the first edition. Confused? So is everyone else. The mug either has “1st Edition” or “3rd Edition” written on it’s bottom, with “3rd Edition” mugs fetching more money. Odly enough there are no actual Rum Barrel mugs with “2nd Edition” written on their bottom side.
GG's Shrunken Zombie
The second edition Shrunken Head Zombie mug was released at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto initially to little fanfare, but manufacturing issues quickly surfaced and crippled supplies. Due to unforeseen circumstances, very few of these mugs were actually produced. Consequently the mug is one of the most valuable and sought after tiki mugs in the Trader Sam’s cannon.
In most industries, autographs add value to a product that has been signed. The same can be true for tiki mugs, but is not always the case. Although the exact reason for it is unknown, autographed mugs tend to fetch the same amount of money as their unsigned counterparts. This could be because people often wash mugs and would not want to pay a premium for something that may fade or wash off over time.
The location of a signature on a tiki mug can also affect its value. Many people actively dislike autographs that are on the face (or front) of a mug, so an autograph on the bottom of a mug is preferred.
The Complete Trader Sam's Checklist
Anyone pursuing a complete collection of Trader Sam’s Tiki Mugs may be interested in The Search For Tiki’s complete checklist of mugs. Our checklist will be a valuable resource available only to members (membership is free) and it is coming soon.
The Complete Trader Sam's Mug Checklist
Can you think of any more rare or unusual Trader Sam’s tiki mugs? If so, let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to share this article if you found the information relevant or helpful! We will update this guide as more mugs are released.