Collecting figurines is considered unusual or odd in modern times, but, back in the day, it was one of the best hobbies and interests one could have. Originating in Germany, figurine making and collecting. Simply showcased the easygoingness and simplicity of the past days, which is something we’re missing in these rather odd 2020s. If there are figurines that deserve our complete focus and dedication in the modern days, then those are the Hummel figurines.
These beautiful figurines have an incredibly rich history, cultural significance, and an overall artistic and general value that honors the ‘good old days’ as people like to say. So, in the following paragraphs, we’ll talk a little bit about these Hummel figurines, and their origin, but mostly, we’ll talk about their current market value (in case you’re buying or selling). Therefore, without further ado, let’s get started!
Hummel Figurines – Everything You Need To Know
Origin and History
A quick overview: The story of Hummel figurines began in the early 1930s in Germany when the artist Berta Hummel created a series of small figurines inspired by the children she saw playing in the streets. She collaborated with the porcelain manufacturer Franz Goebel to produce these figurines, which were first introduced to the market in 1935. They were an instant success and became popular not only in Germany but also in the United States and other countries.
But, let’s talk a little bit about Berta Hummel herself, in a bit more detail. From an early age, she was very creative and highly artistic, which is something her parents recognized. They encouraged her to continue her artistic path in the future, which she did; in 1931, Hummel graduated with honors from the State School of Applied Arts in Munich. Following her graduation, Berta decided to join the Franciscan Sisters of Siessen, where she was given a new name; Maria Innocentia.
This is when Berta will embark on a journey of drawing; she mainly drew children playing and enjoying their peaceful days, which mostly represented her childhood in Bavaria. As her drawings caught public attention, they managed to reach an important person, responsible for Berta’s figurine path; Franz Goebel, a master porcelain maker, artist, and owner of the very W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik. This was just what Berta Hummel needed. Berta Hummel and Franz Goebel joined forces, and in 1935 started their figurine production.
However, the production of Hummel figurines was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. During the war, the Goebel factory was forced to close, and Berta Hummel died at the age of 37 due to tuberculosis. After the war, the Goebel factory resumed production of Hummel figurines, and they quickly regained their popularity. To this very day, the Goebel company controls the production and quality of the Hummel figurines.
Hummel Figurine Identification
It can be hard for an untrained eye to identify an original figurine piece, especially the antique one. Many have tried to copy the Hummel figurine style, imitating Berta Hummel’s drawings and drawing style. Nevertheless, no one can do it like Berta; her style was simply too unique. But, this isn’t stopping the copycats, and because people don’t really know much about these figurines, they’re easily tricked into thinking they’re buying a valuable item. So, in order for our readers to be properly informed and prepared, we’ve gathered some of the main telltale signs of a genuine Hummel figurine;
- TMK, Goebel Trademark – a genuine Hummel figurine will have the TMK or the Goebel company trademark, at the very bottom of the figurine. The TMK-1 was the first, and of course, the oldest trademark, while the newest one is the TMK-8. The TMK-2 and TMK-3 indicate that a Hummel figurine is a genuine, vintage piece, which also increases its worth.
- The Goebel Symbol – alongside the trademark, a genuine Hummel figurine will feature one of the Goebel symbols. These symbols come in different shapes, from a full-on ‘Goebel’ trademark to a full bee and V symbols. Such symbols indicate that the figurine is an older model. Why a bee, you may ask; well, the word Hummel means ‘bumblebee’ in German.
- HUM Numbers – each genuine Hummel figurine features a 4-digit HUM number, which is used to identify the figurine model. Because these numbers are incised onto the figurine while it’s still in the making, they are a permanent identification feature.
- Factory control number – there is either a hand-painter or incised small 2-digit number which indicates who assembled the Hummel figurine; the number is only found on genuine Hummel figurines.
Now, these are the main indicators that a Hummel figurine is genuine. But, what are the signs of a fake, copycat Hummel figurine? If you’re new to the world of Hummel figurines, make sure to pay attention to the following indicators of forgery;
- Different features – fake Hummel figurines often have displaced, missing, or added features. When compared to the original, the differences are apparent, even to the untrained eye. For example, a fake Hummel figurine will have different facial expressions, missing color or the head might even be turned on the other side.
- Different weight – fake Hummel figurines are much lighter in weight compared to the original. That is because they’re not made out of porcelain (The Goebel Company uses a special porcelain mix for their figurines). Fakes are often made out of plaster and chalk, while some are even made out of plastic.
- Different color scheme/palette – for this, it is best to compare a fake figurine to the original one. The difference between colors is often really apparent because the Hummel colors are unique and defined by Berta Hummel herself. Fake figurines are colored in similar tones, but never the same one.
Hummel Figurines Worth
People generally assume that vintage figurines, of any kind, aren’t worth much. And, in most cases, that would be a correct assumption. However, genuine, vintage figurines, especially the Hummel ones can be worth a lot of money. An approximate price tag for a regular Hummel figurine would be anywhere between 50 USD and 100 USD. Nevertheless, some Hummel figurines can reach a price tag of several thousand dollars, especially if they’re in mint condition. Let’s take a look at some of the most valuable Hummel figurines (and their current market value);
- Adventure Bound – this Hummel figurine was made in 1957, and it is a genuine, vintage Hummel Goebel figurine example. It even comes with its original German box. The figurine is in mint condition, with no chips or cracks, which is why it is currently listed on Etsy for 3,500 USD.
- Ring Around the Rosie – this Hummel figurine was made in 1957, but released globally in 1960. This figurine captures what Berta Hummel was trying to accomplish; it depicts a carefree, playful childhood moment, which is nostalgic and beautiful. This figurine is currently listed on Hummel’s official website for 2,990 USD.
- Picture Perfect – this Hummel figurine was sculpted in 2000, for the 25th Anniversary Club (as a commemorative figurine). It comes with a wooden base and porcelain plaque. This beautiful figurine is also a limited edition, as there are only 2,500 pieces. It was sold 2 years ago for around 2,000 USD, but the price is believed to have gone higher since. There are no current USA listings of this figurine, but hopefully, we’ll see one soon. However, European listings show that the figurine price varies between 800 Euros and 1000 Euros.
- Merry Wanderer – this is one of the most iconic Hummel figurines, and it might be one of the most interesting to collectors out there. It was made in 1935, which indicates it was one of the first Hummel figurines to be produced. The figurine depicts a young traveler setting out for new adventures. The figurine is currently listed on Hummel’s official website for 1,700 USD.
- Stormy Weather – this is yet another iconic Hummel figurine, part of the Masterpiece Collection. It depicts two Hummel children headed out for an adventure in stormy, damp weather. The figurine was first modeled in 1937, and a smaller size was issued in 1985. The figurine is currently listed on Hummel’s official website for 2,900 USD.
Why Are Hummel Figurines Sought-After?
Hummel figurines have become highly sought-after collectibles for several reasons. As German-made, they are known for their high-quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. This makes them stand out from other mass-produced figurines. The fact that each figurine is hand-painted and has its unique characteristics only adds to their appeal.
Furthermore, Hummel figurines have a long and rich history that spans several decades. This makes them not only aesthetically pleasing but also historically and culturally significant. Many collectors enjoy owning Hummel figurines as a way of preserving and honoring this history.
Finally, Hummel figurines have a nostalgic and sentimental value that appeals to many collectors. They often remind people of their childhood or evoke a sense of innocence and simplicity that is hard to find in today’s fast-paced world. Collecting Hummel figurines can be a way of reliving these memories or creating new ones.
Hummel figurines, regardless of whether affordable of expensive, are beloved collectibles that have captured the hearts of many collectors around the world. Their charming designs, intricate details, and rich history make them stand out from other porcelain figurines. Whether you are a serious collector or simply appreciate their beauty, Hummel figurines are a valuable addition to any collection. Hopefully, we’ve provided you with all of the information needed to embark on your own Hummel journey. We wish you good luck and make sure to have fun!