Some military mugs are officialy sanctioned items that are commissioned by the services themselves and others are personalized items that were produced for individuals. This means that there are large runs of some mugs where there may be thousands of them out there, which makes them easy to find. And for other military mugs, which may have been produced in smaller runs, this makes them rare and hard to find.
US Navy Naval Strike Warfare Center Mug / Coffee Cup
Branch mugs have crest and insignia that identify the different branches of the military. Such as Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. They often have the popular recruiting slogans on them and other types of promotional sayings from the armed services. One of the things that make these kinds of mugs collectible is that over time the services change their recruiting slogans, so mugs with older slogans are generally more sought after then mugs with newer slogans. Branch mugs are produced in large runs and are quite easy to find. You can even get them by visiting your local service recruiter. They are collectible because many people identify with the different branches of the military.
AN/SYQ-8 SEAPROD OUTBOARD II Mug / Coffee Cup
Individualized mugs are a very special sub group of military mugs. As the name implies, they may list the job specialty, rank, title and other military honors that a mug owner may have. Some times the mug of a famous individual can be found and these are highly collectible.
Lockheed Mug Coffee Cup
There are mugs that commemorate the various service academies as well as military mugs from many ROTC units. Some collectors and alumni of the service academies specialize in collecting these types of mugs.
Society of Military Widows Cup Mug
Some of my favorite military mugs are unit mugs. Almost every unit in the military has a mug that celebrates that unit and serves to boost the morale of unit members. Because I was in the Navy, I collect the mugs of ships. But you can collect the mugs of Army units, Coast Guard units and units of the other services as well. Some collectors are so specialized that they only collect the mugs of Submarines, or of Air Craft Carriers or of Army Units that served in Veit Nam. Unit mugs can be very unique and rare, it is not unheard of for a unit to commission the art work form a unit member, or to create a totally unique mug for itself. This makes for many variations and some famous units in the military have some highly sought after mugs.
Army Security Unit Mug Cup
Another type of military mug that is very interesting and fun to collect are operational mugs. Mugs that commemorate a particular deployment or exercise. I like these types of mugs because they give the collector a chance to learn the history of the unit and personnel that were involved in the operation. These types of mugs are usually made in smaller runs so they are often more rare then other mugs. And thus more collectible.
Military mugs come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Which can make for a very visually interesting collection.
USS Bonhomme Richard LHD 6 Mug Cup