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Are Beanie Babies worth anything nowadays?

Hey there, Beanie Baby aficionados and curious minds alike! One tidbit about Beanie Babies that might surprise you is the shifting sands of their market values. Let's dive into whether these iconic stuffed toys from the '90s still have a spot in the collectors' market today.

What are Beanie Babies?

Originally launched in the early '90s, Beanie Babies became an instant sensation thanks to their unique design—understuffed animals with plastic pellets ("beans"), which gave them a more flexible, life-like feel. Created by Ty Warner, these toys weren't just playthings but became a cultural phenomenon, sparking one of the first internet-driven collecting crazes.

During their peak, Beanie Babies were more than just toys; they were investments. Parents and collectors alike hunted for rare editions, hoping their acquisitions would soar in value. However, as the initial frenzy waned, so did interest and prices, leading many to wonder about the current state of Beanie Baby collecting.

Market Dynamics

The market for Beanie Babies today is a fascinating study in nostalgia, collectibility, and economic fluctuation. While the bubble of the '90s has certainly burst, a niche market persists for certain rarities. The dynamics have shifted from widespread mania to a more subdued, selective collector interest, with prices reflecting this change.

Factors Influencing Value

Several key factors impact the value of Beanie Babies, including:
  • Grade: The condition is paramount; mint condition with original tags is what collectors want.
  • Rarity: Limited editions or those with production errors fetch higher prices.
  • Demand: Popularity of specific characters can drive up value.
  • Provenance: Historical significance or interesting stories attached to a Beanie Baby can increase interest.

Risks and Rewards

Collecting Beanie Babies, like any collectible, comes with its own set of risks and rewards. While finding a rare, sought-after edition could result in a significant payoff, the fluctuating market means there's also a risk of not recouping your investment.

Does anybody buy Beanie Babies today?

Yes, but the market is more selective. The days of easy sales are gone, replaced by a market of dedicated collectors and enthusiasts. Challenges include a decrease in active dealers and changing collector demographics.

Yet, not all Beanie Babies have lost their sparkle. Certain editions—like the first-edition Princess Diana bear or Peanut the royal blue elephant—can still command impressive prices.

Learn More About Beanie Babies Prices

For those interested in diving deeper into the world of Beanie Babies collecting or simply curious about the value of a childhood toy, iGuide’s Beanie Babies price guide is an invaluable resource. It offers up-to-date pricing information, helping you understand the current market values of your Beanie Babies. Learn more.

Are Hummel figurines worth anything nowadays?

One aspect of Hummel figurines most people are not aware of is the declining market values. Once a beloved hobby that captivated millions worldwide, Hummel figurine collecting has seen a significant downturn. The heyday of this unique form of art and collectible saw enthusiasts eagerly hunting for rare pieces, driving prices to impressive heights. However, as interests shift and the collector base ages, the market for Hummel figurines has experienced a notable decline, affecting their overall prices.

Market Dynamics

The market dynamics of Hummel figurine collecting are influenced by a complex interplay of economic considerations. The decline in demand, coupled with an oversupply of common pieces, has led to decreased prices. Yet, the market remains vibrant for rare and unique Hummel figurines, which continue to attract high bids at auctions and from private collectors. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for both buyers and sellers to navigate the market effectively.

Factors Influencing Value

Several factors determine the price and collectibility of Hummel figurines, including:
  • Grade: The condition of the figurine plays a significant role in its value.
  • Rarity: Limited edition and hard-to-find pieces command higher prices.
  • Demand: Figurines that are highly sought after by collectors are more valuable.
  • Provenance: A well-documented history can increase a figurine's desirability.

Risks and Rewards

Trading in Hummel figurines, like any collectible, presents both risks and rewards. While the potential for significant returns exists, particularly with rare items, market fluctuations can also lead to losses. Collectors must weigh the sentimental value of their collections against the financial investment and market trends.

Does anybody buy Hummel figurines today?

The market for Hummel figurines has contracted, partly due to the aging of primary dealers and collectors. However, there remains a niche community of enthusiasts who appreciate the artistry and history of these pieces. Finding buyers may be challenging, but not impossible, especially for well-preserved, rare models.

It's important for investors to remember that not all Hummel figurines are considered "trash"; some remain in high demand, such as those from the Century Collection. These pieces continue to be sought after by collectors and can fetch considerable sums.

Learn More About Hummel Figurine Prices

iGuide's Hummel figurine price guide is an excellent resource for finding pricing information about your Hummel figurines and their current values. Learn more.

How To Grade Your Hummel Figurines

I believe someday all collectibles will be graded using a 10-point scale. This universality will be a factor in making collectibles a recognized investment like stocks and bonds. Grading services will exist for every collectible hobby, and these grading services will enable a liquid marketplace for massive trading in collectibles of all kinds. Collectors will view their collection “portfolio” as a source of retirement income in the same way that stock investors do today. EBay and similar sites will be the "NASDAQ" for the liquidation of these collectible investments. This isn't a great insight on my part, it is already happening in a small way, and I believe it is just beginning.

Until the introduction of our 10-point system, the Hummel marketplace suffered from a lack of a standardized system for ranking condition. Each merchant more or less "invented" their own system, with one seller's "Fine" equal to another seller's "Condition B" and yet another's "Excellent." In our opinion, lack of grading consistency among merchants is a major obstacle to growth in any hobby. Why? Because buyers feel more secure with "sight unseen" internet buying when they are familiar with a consistent grading system. New collectors in any hobby become advanced collectors through knowledge, including knowledge of terminology. Without such a set of grading terms and definitions, buyers may feel confused and uncertain about the quality of items they are buying over the internet or through the mail. Confusion and uncertainty are not good for the growth of any hobby.

Our 10-point scale for grading is similar to systems already adopted in other markets. Basically, a 10.0 is like brand new and a 1.0 is in terrible shape. By using a set of standardized grading terms, we can ensure the growth of the hobby now and in the future.

I welcome your feedback. Please email with comments and suggestions. My email address is jon@2ndmarkets.com.

I have outlined the grades, and described the requirements for each. These grading definitions are intended to help rate the condition of your collectible. As in any collectible, the better the condition, the more valuable it is.

Mint in Box 10.0     

Perfect, i.e. - brilliant, unusually bright, as new. Example is in brand new condition, includes the original box and all original paperwork (if applicable) that was included in the box at the time of original purchase. The box itself is in near-perfect condition and contains little, if any flaws. The item inside the box is in brand new condition and has no flaws.
Seldom used by professionals since it represents perfection...and perfection is extremely rare.
Mint 9.0 or M 9.0    

Virtually flawless. Superb.  Example is in like new condition, may or may not include the original box (if applicable) and may or may not include original paperwork (if applicable) that was included in the box at the time of original purchase. The box itself is in almost new condition but may possess a few minor flaws such as light corner dings, small creases in the box or even small scratches on the box. The item inside the box is in brand new condition and has no flaws.  


Near Mint 9.0 or NM 9.0    

Almost perfect. Item may have very slight crazing in an unobtrusive area of the item, but otherwise without any scratches, chips, nicks, dings, flakes, fading, or other flaws. Deep, rich color with excellent original patina and gloss.


Very Fine 8.0 or VF 8.0    

Very Fine 8.0 or VF 8.0 An exceptional example. Acceptable to all but the most finicky collector. This is a sharp, almost perfect example. The item may have very minor crazing but not on the face. The bottom of base may have numerous crazing cracks in the glaze. Otherwise, the item has no major defects but may not quite as bright as Near Mint. May or May Not have original box.

Fine Very Fine 7.0 or FVF 7.0    

Slightly worn. Although this example may or may not include the original box (if applicable, many early Hummels never came in a box), it also may or may not include original paperwork (if applicable) included in the box at the time of original purchase. If the box itself is present, it may not be in ideal condition The box most likely has several creases, tears, scratches, etc. However, the item inside the box is in almost new condition and has no chips, color flakes, or cracks. It may, however, have very slight crazing (hairline spiderweb thin cracks in the glaze).

Fine 6.0 or F 6.0    

Still quite fine without chips, cracks, color flakes or visible damage of any kind, but age crazing in a more significant amount than in the FVF 7.0 grade.

Very Good 5.0 or VG 5.0    

This example may have a minor color flake or two, some crazing, or a color scratch but has no major flaws such as chips or cracks or repairs.

Good to Very Good 4.0 or GD/VG 4.0    

Beginning to show signs of significant wear. Worn paint. Color flakes. Crazing to a degree that affects eye appeal. Scratches. But still, no repairs or cracks.

Good 3.0 or GD 3.0    

A worn, crazed, flaked example. This example is in visibly worn condition, and could have one or two minor flaws which may include small scratches or light paint wear. However, this does not includes cracks, chips or any missing pieces. The original box and any accompanying paperwork may or may not be present. Typically a filler-copy only.

Fair 2.0 or FR 2.0    

The lower grades are separated by degrees of damage. The accumulation of many defects lowers the item from the C3 grade down to the C2. This example is in used, displayed or handled condition. It most likely has been handled and may contain scratches, paint wear, minor chips, dings or even small cracks.

Poor 1.0 or PR 1.0    

Extremely worn, damaged or incomplete, although such should be noted. This example is in distressed condition... It may contain scratches, paint wear, chips, dings, cracks and/or missing pieces.

The Trademarks and Their Kin

   Because the subject of Goebel trademarks used on M.I. Hummel figurines can be either simple or complex, let's consider it that way.    Let's deal with it in two parts, which we'll call the short course and the long course    But we'll preface both parts by repeating, again, that it's difficult to use this or any other price guide on Hummel Figurines without a rudimentary knowledge of the trademarks (TM's) and how to identify them on a figurine.

   Outside of condition, trademarks are the most important factor in determining values and prices on M.I. Hummel figurines. A figurine such as Cinderella(mold 337) may be worth up to six times more in TM4 (trademark 4) than it is in TM7, for instance.    If you have acquired an older Cinderella, this information won't help you unless you know how to identify which trademark was used on your figurine.    Many people seem to be intimidated by having to learn the "Hummel marks."    Don't be one of them. It's really rather simple, and, if you don't already know the system, we're here to explain it.

   The Short Course

   While Goebel has used numerous different marks to stamp its factory "brand" on M.I. Hummel figurines, these have been consolidated by common usage into seven distinctive TM eras, beginning with the very first Hummel figurines in 1935 and ending with the figurines leaving the factory in Germany as you read this.    These TM eras are what you will find referenced repeatedly in this book as TM1, TM2, TM3, TM4, TM5, TM6 and TM7.    If a figurine you are examining has a back stamp under the base matching one of these trademark designs, you should have no trouble identifying the TM era in which it was produced.    If we do a skin-deep examination of the TM eras, here's what we'll find.

   TM1. This is the so-called crown mark era which identifies the earliest (and usually most valuable) Hummel figurines. The crown itself had been part of the company's trademark for decades, and the WG entwined initials honored William Goebel, a founder of the company.    The era extends from the beginning of production in 1935 through the World War II years to 1950, but...    In the 1946 - 1948 period after WWII, Hummel figurines were commonly marked simply with some sort of U.S. Zone mark, a postwar mark used to identify the items as coming from the U.S.-controlled region of divided Germany.    These U.S. Zone marked figurines, coming as they did within the crown era, are valued and priced as TM1 pieces.

   TM2. In 1950, Goebel officially adopted its now-famous full bee mark in honor of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, who had died four years previously.     The bumblebee in the mark represents Sister Hummel, Hummel being the German word for bumblebee. The V in which the bee flies stands for Verkaufsgesellschaft, or distribution company.    The TM2 era extends through 1959. Through 1955, the bee is quite large in relation to the V and is easily identified. From 1956 through 1959, it was diminished in size, and its placement in relation to the V was changed several times.    Common to all TM2 era pieces, however, is a bumblebee that looks like a bee. That is contrary to...

   TM3. The so-called stylized bee era begins about 1957 and ends officially in 1972. The bee now can be identified simply as a round dot with wings.    Though the trademark wasn't officially put aside until 1972, it wasn't used as often after 1964 as the concurrently running...

   TM4. This is the so-called three-line mark - always easily identified on a figurine by the use of the stylized bee inside V mark in combination with three short lines of text to the right of the V as you view it.    The TM4 era officially extends from 1964 to 1972. The three lines mark is said to be the prevalent mark in the years its use overlapped that of the stylized bee.    In 1972, it gave way to...

   TM5. This is sometimes called the last bee mark and at other times the Goebel bee mark. It was officially used from 1972 until 1979. It was adopted to help identify Goebel as the producer of the M.I. Hummel figurines, for the figurines had developed such a strong identity that many did not associate them with a maker.    This trademark varied little in the era in which it was used and can be easily identified by the word positioned above the letters be, and by the small text W.Germany centered beneath.    It represented the last use of the bee in any form, because in 1979 Goebel adopted...

   TM6. In use from 1979 through 1990, this mark incorporates the text Goebel with its now-familiar registration symbol and, again, the small text W.Germany centered beneath.    The purpose for the dropping the bee with V altogether hasn't been detailed, but I think it probably had to do with Goebel's desire to strongly promote other products it produced. By closely identifying Goebel with Hummel, it could be argued, the immense popularity of Hummel could be conveyed through the Goebel name to other Goebel-made figurines.    The change also came at a period that may have been the heyday in Hummel/Goebel popularity. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, retailers were fighting over available product, as the company could not produce enough to meet demand.    In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and West Germany subsequently became Germany again. The small line of text in the trademark needed to be altered, so why not just create...

   TM7. For a combination of nostalgic and promotional reasons, Goebel in 1991 resurrected the Crown with WG initials mark, but incorporated it as the bottom tier in a three-tiered trademark topped by the large word Goebel, under which is the smaller word Germany to indicate country of origin.    This mark is found on figurines of contemporary production and is quite easy to identify.

   The Long Course

    Now, if the short course sounds a bit too simple to be true - if you think there might be a bit more to this trademark thing - you're right on. Here, we'll reexamine the TM eras to see how they relate to figurine values.    Warning: we'll deal somewhat in suppositions, so if you feel like you've been saturated with all the trademark data you can handle, it's time to tune out.

   TM1

   The crown era, as we have seen, begins with the first production of Hummel in 1935 and continues all the way through the decade of the 1940s.    It is documented that the earliest pieces were nearly always marked with what is called the wide crown WG mark in its incised form. (The WG initials in the company of a copyright symbol can also sometimes be found on the side or top of the base of a model.)    The incised mark is usually colorless    Soon thereafter - but we don't know exactly when - the company also began applying the mark with the use of a print under glaze (PUG) decal, commonly referred to as the stamped crown mark.    This printed or stamped crown mark will normally be either blue or black. (There is a very limited range of mineral colors which will print under glaze.)    Not infrequently, Hummel figurines will be found marked both with the incised and the stamped wide crown WG mark. These examples are referred to as "double crown" figurines. They are highly prized by advanced collectors and usually command a modest premium in price.    From 1937 to 1945, the wide ducal crown with Goebel mark (also called the narrow crown mark) became prominent for a while on certain Goebel products. However, the products did not normally include figurines, and the mark is thought to be rare to nonexistent on Hummel figurines.    Before advancing beyond the World War II years, there are factors which should be considered. They help explain why early crown-marked Hummels in good condition are so rare and valuable today.    We can start with the supposition that, in the 1930s, Hummel figurines were not produced in anything resembling the abundance of later generations.    Produced by a major manufacturer and of obvious appeal, the figurines were no doubt well received. However, the prewar 1930s period was not one of voluminous export from Germany to the U.S., where the M.I. Hummel figurines would later find their greatest market.    Moreover, it can be assumed that production was abated in almost direct proportion to Germany's military buildup of the late 1930s. This may be reflected somewhat in the history of the molds themselves.    A quick, rough count shows some 33 new models were credited to the year 1938. In 1939, this figure is 17. In 1940, it is nine.    In 1941, it is six, two of which were never produced. In 1942, it is three. In 1943, it is 11, eight of which were never produced.    In 1944, a single mold was produced, and it wasn't until 1948 that such production again hit double figures.    Figurines produced by Goebel during the World War II years bore the crown mark, but it's very unlikely they were produced in any abundance.    The point is that M.I. Hummel figurines made between 1935 and 1946 - never plentiful by today's standards - needed to survive the physical tumult of a world war, dislocations, shipping to the U.S., and more than 50 years of wear and tear in order to sit today on collectors' shelves looking new and fresh from the factory.    Not many did.    The remainder of the TM1 era - the post war years of 1946-1949 - formed a new, important epoch in the history of the Hummel figurine as a favorite American collectible.    Its mission to conquer Germany completed, the American military began the task of reconstructing its part of the country, which fortunately included the Coburg/Roedental area where the Goebel factory is located.    From 1946 to 1948, figurines intended for the U.S. market (for practical purposes, the only market of this period) were marked with several U.S. Zone, Germany back stamps, usually with print under glaze decal but sometimes stamped over the glaze.    The U.S. Zone, Germany mark definitely dates any TM1 Hummel to postwar production. Quite often, however, it is accompanied by one of the crown marks. And, it is even known to be accompanied on one figurine by both the crown mark and the full bee mark (TM2)!    The more important happening of the postwar period, however, was discovery of Hummel figurines by American servicemen and their families.    Oh, it wasn't just Hummels they discovered. With the war and the efforts to destroy Germany over, there came the time to study, appreciate, and enjoy the country's treasures.    This seeking of treasures coincided with a time when the German people had little in mind except restoring order to their lives. To most Germans of the period, nonessential possessions held little importance.    Americans bought cheaply and bartered favorably for classic Black Forest clocks, for wonderful antique German steins, for exquisite Meissen porcelain, for original works of art, for woodcarvings and ivory carvings - and, of course, for M.I. Hummel figurines.    For the most part, this is how the bulk of the early Hummels came to America - in the company of or shipped by American servicemen in the years of 1946 through about 1972. During this extended period, Germany's finest goods were cheap, and the German people were more than willing to part with them.    (Today, there are literally caravans of German antiques dealers scouring the U.S. for these clocks and steins and Meissen pieces and art and carvings and Hummels to send them back to a rapidly growing German/European market.)    Before we leave the TM1 era, there are still other important things to note.    First there was a period, say 1948-1950, when the crown mark was used without the U.S. Zone mark. Surviving examples of this marking will likely be indistinguishable from the pre-1946 pieces if they were produced in both periods.    Second, we discover early on that there is a major overlap in the TM eras. Recall, we said, "In 1950, Goebel officially adopted its now-famous full bee mark in honor of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, who had died four years previously."    However, it has been verified that the full bee mark was used on at least some pieces as early as 1948, two years before its supposed inception.    A few paragraphs back we alluded to a figurine marked with the crown, full bee and U.S. Zone marks. Note this occurred even though, officially, the U.S. Zone mark was not used after 1948 and the full bee mark was not used before 1950.    In his book, Luckey's Hummel Figurines and Plates, Carl F. Luckey does a fine job in explaining the progression of trademarks, and he says: "The dates of the early trademark changes are approximate in some cases, but are probably accurate to within 5 years or so." Five years or so!    Almost assuredly the crown mark appears on a number of figurines which were actually produced in 1950 or later. It appears frequently in combination with the full bee mark on a single figurine.    (Best rule of thumb for these TM1 + TM2 marked figurines: Price or value them on the TM1 scale as they are considered to be made during the crown era.)    Finally, you should understand that the TM1 era did not come to an abrupt end. At some point around 1950, Goebel was busy phasic in its full bee mark and shipping out the last supply of figurines bearing the crown mark. We do know that figurines first introduced after 1949 are not found with the crown mark.    A point made repeatedly in this book is that these phase-in periods - when one trademark was phased in to replace its predecessor - should be of great interest to advanced collectors because they created trademark scarcities and rarities.    In the TM1 era, for instance, it can be assumed that any figurine first introduced on the market in 1948 or later will fit somewhere between relatively scarce to quite rare in TM1.    After all, it could not have been in production long, and only so may pieces would have been manufactured before the total change to TM2, which we'll take up next.    (Footnotet: The crown mark was used for an unspecified period and on an undetermined number of pieces both in 1960 and in 1969-1971 in conjunction with the prevailing mark in order to protect Goebel's copyright of the mark. Examples on Hummels must be few as they seldom turn up.)

   TM2

Sister M.I. Hummel and Her Art

   It is very difficult for me, in writing this chapter, to know where to start this story. Sister M.I. Hummel. So many accomplishments, such a short life span. It seems almost impossible that this story is about a single, frail, ever-so-gentle lady.    Which Sister Hummel will I start with?    How will I explain this Berta Hummel, who was affectionately called s'Hummele or Bertl by her family? What do I say about a child, long gone, that was so alive and has so much zest for living?    Should I start with Miss Berta Hummel the artist, outstanding in her craft, with a bright future - a pretty young lady, so vibrant, always attentive to the needs of her fellow man and yet ready for a prank whenever the opportunity presented itself?    Should it be Maria Innocentia Hummel, the nun, the lady who gave up rich worldly promises for her religious belief?    Or, should it be the accomplished artist, the artist so extraordinary that entire museums have been dedicated to her life and creations?    And then, there is the lady, one so full of love, so full of caring that she kept on loving and caring even in times when the world only seemed to know hatred!

   I do not favor third-person biographies because it is so difficult to do justice to the subject. But I was asked to do this, so I will attempt to share what I have learned and what I feel about this lady and her art. The lady, I must add, is one whom I have learned to admire, and, yes, to love very much.

The only way I feel I can adequately perform this task is to let Sister Hummel's art assist me. I have found that is speaks well enough for its creator. Be reminded that I am not an accredited art critic nor historian, so if, in this attempt of sharing, I should make a mistake, I ask for forgiveness. It will have been an honest one.

   The Early Years

   Bertl. Little Princess. s'Hummele. If you are of German heritage, you will recognize these are endearing nicknames given to one much loved. They were the nicknames used for Berta after she was born May 21, 1909, in the small town of Massing in Lower Bavaria, Germany, the third of six children born to Adolf and Viktoria Hummel.

   From what I have been told by her brother Adolf, this little girl was an individualist from the earliest days of her life. She was not easily controlled

   When I asked Adolf when his sister first started to draw, his answer came quite quickly: "She was born with a pencil in her hand!" When Berta was a mere toddler, he explained, she would find a way to get to her daddy's desktop and, pencil in hand, "decorate" his work for him. She would "decorate" everything in the vicinity while she was at it!

   On another visit to Adolf shortly before his death in 1992, I was allowed to look through the family album and spotted a picture of blonde little Berta seated on a chair as if one a throne. Under the photo, her proud father had written the words Little Princess.

   In southern Germany and Bavaria, it is very common, in fact customary, to impart pet names to those for whom we deeply care. Ideally, the pet name reflects t he personality of the individual. The nickname Hummele must have been perfect for young Berta. It means little bumblebee, and we can readily imagine that Berta was one busy little girl.

   The nickname Bertl is also fitting. It's an endearing diminutive of Berta, a more informal way of addressing her.

   By the time s'Hummele started school, her creations already showed much promise for the arts and the theater. Creating fashions for her dolls was yet another favorite pastime, and there was early passion for nature and religion. Mr. Hummel often took his children on field trips into the countryside to teach them about God's creations. Afterwards he would encourage them to recreate these experiences and discoveries on paper.

   When World War I broke out in 1914, s'Hummele was stricken. Her father was called to serve in the Germany army, and he was terribly missed by this little six-year-old. His guidance, love, encouragement, understanding and discipline had been taken from her young life.

   No child at such a tender age can understand chaos of this nature, and Bertl began to show signs of willfulness, often trying the patience of teachers at the convent school in her hometown. Despite this, one of the teachers saw something very special in the child, deciding to do what she could to foster the talents of this youngster.

   Through the efforts of this lady, Berta was enrolled in a religious boarding school, the Institute of English Sisters, in the nearby town of Simbach. This took place on May 2, 1921, when Berta was 12 years of age.

   Here I would like to interject and share a story that might add insight to what life was like for this little girl during the war. She was nine at the time, and she in in a photograph since donated by Adolf Hummel to The Hummel Museum. In the photo, she's dressed all in white, flowers in her hair, holding a candle.

   It was Bertl's first holy communion picture - an important happening in her family. The photo had been used as a postcard which she had hand addressed to her father on the reverse.

   She tells him about this special day in her life that he was not able to attend. And there is a plea which touches me deeply. "Will you please be here for my confirmation in July? I would be so pleased." She was unable to comprehend that he daddy would be unable to attend the next important day in her life either.

   The contrast between life then and now is shown in the confirmation gift from her father. Where children today receive expensive mementos, her gift in 1918 was a photo postcard showing her father in uniform and his written explanation: "Sorry, I will not be able to be there for this special day in your life either."

Then and in succeeding years at the convent school in Simbach, Berta wrote frequently to her family. Favorite course was art, in which she received great encouragement. Her letters were frequently embellished with special drawings. A memorable one from the Christmas season depicts a Santa figure carrying a bag of toys and a tree. Adolf Hummel lovingly cataloged this collection of early letters, and many are now on display in the family's Berta Hummel Museum in Massing.

   These early memories must have greatly influenced such an impressionable child and stayed with Sister Hummel throughout life. For instance, I cannot help but be drawn to one of her originals which is cataloged as H 193 Little Brother's Lesson, which in turn was interpreted into the figurine Smart Little Sister.

   I believe with all my heart that Sister Hummel, remembering the terrible wartime in her early life, was moved when she once again saw young children writing letters to their fathers at remote military fronts. I think she is drawing her own memories in this original. I think she is showing her brother how to write their father.

   In her teens, Berta was setting out on all manner of artistic endeavors. her classmates had discovered her talent, and more than one would seek to be a subject in her drawings. She was introduced to watercolors, and developed a love for landscape painting.

   Germany is a country of folk tales and fairy tales. With her imagination, Berta found it simple to bring these characters to life on paper or on stage at school. At the same time, she was developing an individual style that was reflected even in her scenes and costume design.

   Berta was known for her ready sense of humor, and it is evident throughout her drawings that she had much fun with her own last name, Hummel. Imagine what you might do if your last name was Bumblebee and you were a young artist filled with both talent and a sense of humor.

   At age 16, she did a series of drawings with this Hummel theme. A brother is shown as a bumblebee running on his way to school, suggesting that he might have been late on occasion. Katharina, a sister, is a bumblebee dressed in a pink pleated skirt admiring herself in front of a mirror. Sister Viktoria is a bumblebee in a green pleated skirt positioned on a round stool playing the piano.

   What of herself? There is bumblebee seated, as if on a throne, atop a paint palette on wheels, behind which is a wagon filled with paint pots. The entire train is being pulled by a team of countless ants, while the bumblebee uses a paint brush like a whip to speed the team along, the paints spilling from the pots along the way. She called this memorable self-study The Bumblebee's Happy Drive Into the New Year.

   Seeing it made it easier for me to understand yet another portrait - this one done much later in 1940 of a new addition to the Hummel Family. Its catalog number is H 106 and, again, the English title of My Baby Bumblebee does not do it justice. her title, written in her own hand, was simply s'Hummele, which in the native Bavarian dialect I share with her literally means This Is the Little Bumblebee.

Perhaps when this latter work was done - when she was already at Convent Siessen, the war was on and she had to face so much that was ugly - she would sometimes wish and dream to be a little Hummele again, safe and protected by her parents just one more time!

   She so enjoyed poking fun at her name and she so often used the images of bumblebees in her drawings that the bumblebee can logically be thought of as her pictorial signature. With he been, she might be trying to say I was there, too or I'll protect you, little one, or perhaps in some cases the bumblebee was just so much fun for her to draw she could not resist.

   (Oh my, I got myself sidetracked again. I warned you.)

   Other than good educations, the schools where Catholic sisters reign are well known for one other ingredient: discipline! At these schools one will not only receive religious training, but, let's face it, the sisters can be very tough. One will learn restraint.

   From what I have heard, this was also the case with Berta at the convent school in Simbach. The strict environment helped her develop into a well adjusted and much-liked young lady, as well as a promising artist.

   The Middle Years

   It was a proud day for father Adolf when, in the spring of 1927, he accompanied his daughter to Munich to enroll her in the Academy of Fine Arts, where on April 25 she successfully completed her entrance exams and was accepted into this special school. To be in surroundings that were at least partially familiar, she took up residence off campus in a dormitory run by a religious order.

   At the academy, Berta was now receiving extensive training in all the arts. She learned to paint with oils and to sketch live models, even nudes. She learned to design and weave fabrics, and she continued to grow in mind and soul.

   Her teachers were very pleased with her as a talented and likable student, and they expressed the hope that she stay at the academy as a teaching assistant after completion of her final exams.

   She must, therefore, have been aware that not only the town, but the whole world, was opening up to her and recognizing her abilities. Somehow - and I doubt that anyone today really knows the exact reason - Berta made a decision that surprised everyone, including her own family.

   While she was a student at the academy, Berta formed a friendship with two Franciscan nuns who ere also students there. Did they convince this formidable young lady to become one of them? Was it her rural, loving and very religious upbringing that led her to her decision?

   Whatever the reason, before graduation from the academy, Berta Hummel visited the Convent Siessen in the state of Wuerttemberg to ask for admission. That was on August 14, 1930.

   On March 15, 1931, an excited Berta sent a telegram to her parents, informing them that she had passed her exams at the top of her class!

   On April 22, 1931, Berta entered the Convent Siessen as a candidate. She was immediately put to work teaching art in the nearby town of Saulgau and creating liturgical church garments in the art room at the convent. In her spare time, she was drawing children and working on art commissions.

   Her works were published as early as 1932. The first Hummel postcard were printed by publishing houses in Rottenburg and Munich.

   On August 30, 1934, Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel was ordained as a sister of the third order of Saint Francis in the Convent Siessen.

    The first Hummel book (named Hummel-buch) was printed on November 4, 1934, by the printing house of Emil Fink in Stuttgart, Germany. Printing for the first edition was 5,000 copies.

   Her Life As A Nun

   In retrospect, the years of 1933 and 1934 were important ones for Sister Hummel. Her art was on exhibit in Saulgau and soon thereafter captured the attention of both Franz Goebel, head of the Goebel porcelain factory, and principals from the printing firm ARS Sacra. Both were looking for fresh new ideas and were captivated by what they say - drawings of children with bright faces, serene and religious scenes, imaginative style. They found just what they had been looking for.

   Goebel and ARS Sacra successfully sought permission to reproduce Sister Hummel's art, initiating business relationships that continue to exist today. A number of Goebel figurines based on her work were made and introduced as early as 1935.

   These must have been happy times for Sister Hummel, but dark clouds were gathering over Germany. Hitler had taken full control of the country and was determined to destroy everything and everyone who did not conform to his wishes.

   There was this sister in this convent who just would not see things his way. She had the audacity to draw these peasant children with shoes too large, dressed to small, hair uncombed and all the while happy about it! Not at all the way he wanted the world to conceive of his super race!

   In a March 20, 1937, edition of the Nazi publication The SA Man, Sister Hummel and her art is viciously and publicly attacked. Soon thereafter, the sisters at Siessen, to their total dismay, learn that the Nazi government is determined to close the convent.

   In 1940, only about 40 sisters are allowed to stay at the convent. After much begging to remain, Sister Hummel is one of them. Convent Siessen itself is turned into a repatriation center for German nationals from other countries.

   The sisters are no longer in charge. They are made to stay in the less desired parts of the convent, since the rest is overflowing with the humanity that the sisters have to take care of.

   Sister Hummel, accustomed to a spacious studio of her own, is forced to move into new quarters serving as both bedroom and studio. The previous studio was made into an activity room for all of the remaining 40 sisters.

   One can imagine how the sisters in these evening gatherings would lament what had befallen their beloved home, the convent. One day, on esister was especially upset over the conditions and expressed herself to Sister Hummel.

   Sister Hummel suddenly left the room, only to return shortly to surprise the sister with a drawing of a little yellow duck. the duck is paddling its feet as if for dear life, its little neck and head high in the air. Under it Sister Hummel has written: Hold your head high....and swallow! She posted the drawing on the outside of the door where the sisters were staying.

   This waas but one of many anecdotes about Sister Hummel which have been preserved. She was known as always positive, always supportive toward others. I have been told that even in the times when she was so physically frail, her heart and mine were strong and always full of cheer.

   Many of her originals tell stories. Through them, she teaches even today what she believed to be right and wrong. These works of art also tell of sadness, hope, and joy. Whatever the subject, one can feel the love of the creator, because somehow she had the ability to weave her heart and soul into her art.

   Her Life Ends Prematurely

   It's sad that these terrible times took their toll on Sister Hummel. She contracted a lung infection which was probably the result of too little food and otherwise poor living conditions.

   Her illness would be diagnosed as chronic tuberculosis. It created a debilitating and extended period of poor health. She tried hard to continue her work during her illness, but often to no avail. The war finally ended, but help came too late for this special human being.

   Sister Maria Innocentia Humme, OSF, died on November 6, 1946. She was put to rest in the graveyard of the Convent Siessen by the sisters of the order on November 9, 1946. She was only 37 years old.

   One of the sisters who was there tells this story of the day this special lady was laid to rest:

   "During her illness, Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel had wished that it should snow on the day she was buried. On November 9, 1946, while her body was carried to its final resting place, snow began to fall in big, happy flakes from a single cloud in an otherwise blue sky until the earth was covered with a whiet veil, representing the veil of Innocence"

Reproductions of Hummel Art

Real, Fake or Reproduction?

Strangely enough, there are only a few hundred pieces of Hummel art that are not reproductions. Some reports place the number of original sketches by Sister Hummel between five and six hundred. All others are copies or reproductions of these original creations of hers. The reproductions take many forms, such as the best known, genuine "M.I. Hummel" figurines made by the W. Goebel Co., the prints, posters, and cards made by Verlag Ars Sacra, Joseph Muller, and Emil Fink publishing companies, the dolls also made by Goebel in the likeness of some piece of original Hummel art, the transfers used on plates, candles, and eggs by Schmid, and the copies made by various firms in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and elsewhere.

Many collectors have come to regard a reproduction as something bad, cheap, illegal, dishonest, or inferior. The American Heritage Dictionary defines "reproduce" as follows: "To produce a counterpart, a image, or copy of." There seems to be no implication of undesirability.

Certainly the first reproductions of great consequence were very desirable. The invention of movable type made possibly the first replicas in the form of the limited number of Guttenberg Bibles made in the mid-fifteenth century. The making of reproductions in the form of etchings and engravings by great artists, such as Rembrandt and Durer, was another great stride in the wider distribution of original art in either limited or unlimited editions so that masses rather than the classes could own and enjoy it.

Figurine reproductions of Hummel art accomplish the same end. By adapting Sister Hummel's works of art to a three-dimensional form by a carefully controlled molding process, creators of these "reproductions" have given millions of collectors a chance to carefully preserve all the warmth, sentiment, and the action of her original creations. In fact these reproductions are done so well many people regard them as they would an original piece of art. To support this position, even the United States Customs classifies them as "original works of art" as shown earlier in this book. Since "M.I. Hummel" figurines have taken on the status of pieces of original art themselves, they, in turn, are now being copied. Unfortunately, most of these copies are not made to the same high standards as the "M.I. Hummels" and are unlikely to ever be classed as "works of art."

The story of the figurines made by Herbert Dubler, Inc., during World War II in New York is a good example of such reproductions. They were made, according to published information, under a license from the Siessen Convent and for which royalties were set aside. Almost everyone who has seen them agrees that they do not compare favorably in execution, workmanship, or materials to those made by Goebel. This face, perhaps, could somewhat be accounted for by wartime shortages.

They are not good reproductions of original Hummel art, but neither are they fake. A "fake" implies fraud. These reproductions by Herbert Dubler, Inc., and those from Japan, Taiwan, or elsewhere are not so much "fakes" as they are inferior representations of Sister Hummel's work. Like eggs, there are good reproductions, mediocre reproductions, and "bad" reproductions. Sister Hummel's originals have been rendered in all of these degrees of quality.

Since the words "Hummel reproduction" have come to mean something made to look like the "M.I. Hummel" figurines, this seemingly widely accepted meaning has been used in this book. Many examples of such reproductions have been made in the past and are currently being made.

Figurines are not the only Hummel art that has attracted similar but not identical copies. Similar enough to attract the eye of the buyer but not dissimilar enough to deter any legal action are greeting cards, calendars, and other paper likenesses drawn in the Hummel "style and manner." For example, Henry Mainzer, Inc. produces a line of Christmas and greeting cards that on first glance appear to be photomechanical copies of original Hummel drawings. However, they contain the name of no artist and no copyright date.

As with other reproductions, some are good values while others may vary widely in quality. For example, a Mainzer 1977 calendar was seen and purchased because of its similarity to Goebel's annual Hummel calendar. Close inspection showed items to have visuals defects that would not be tolerated by any first-rate publisher. However, this example may have been an extreme exception. The prudent approach is to bypass such bargains unless you have real expertise in appraising reproductions.

However, avid knowledgeable collectors seek out reproductions for two reasons. First, because they supplement a collection of authentic articles and may even enhance it since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Second, these reproductions add meaningful contrast and, in some cases, may even make a separate, interesting collection. Dubler figurines are acquiring status as collectibles, although they will never be works of art in years to come.

Many collectors wonder if they same thing will happen in various forms of Hummel art. There appears to be a better-than-even chance that it could in isolated cases, but probably not "across the board." Even if most "M.I. Hummel" collectors wanted only one Herbert Dubler figurine to supplement their collections for contrast, there are so few "dublers" available that they could become worth more than comparable "M.I. Hummels" in the secondary market. The demand versus the supply will provide the answer in the future.

What is a Hummel Trademark and what does TMK mean?

Find the Age of your Hummel using this Guide

To find out how old your Hummel figurine is, look on the underside and find the Goebel trademark stamp, usually imprinted in blue. This is the official trademark stamp of Goebel. It will be found on all authentic Hummel figurines.

hummel

The look of the trademark has varied since 1935. Most of the known marks used over the years are shown here. Nevertheless, from time to time, an undocumented variation may surface.

Compare the trademark on the base of your Hummel to the date stamp chart below.

chartchart
  • 1935-1949 aka TMK 1
  • 1950-1956 aka TMK 2
  • 1957-1963 aka TMK 3
  • 1964-1971 aka TMK 4
  • 1972-1978 aka TMK 5
  • 1979-1990 aka TMK 6
  • 1991-1999 aka TMK 7
  • 2000-Present aka TMK 8
Collectors use the TMK designations to indicate which trademark is stamped on the base of the figurine they have. This information, if you can supply it to us, is helpful in appraising and making an offer for your item.

History and Explanation of Marks and Symbols

The "wide-crown-WG" trademark was used on the first M.I. Hummel figurines produced in 1935. On the earliest figurines it was incised on the bottom of the base with the "M.I. Hummel" signature on the top or side of the base. Between 1935 and 1955, the company occasionally used a © mark on the side or top of the base of some models. It is seen occasionally to the right of the "M.I. Hummel" signature. The "crown" appears either incised or stamped. When both are used on the same piece it is known as a "double crown" mark.

From 1946 through 1948 it was necessary to add the stamped words "Made in the U.S. Zone Germany." This mark was used within various types of frames or without a frame, underglazed or stamped over the glaze in black ink.

In 1950, four years after Sister M.I. Hummel's death, Goebel wished in some way to pay tribute to her fine artistry. They radically changed the trademark, instituting the use of a bee flying high with a "V". (Hummel means bumble bee in German and the V stands for Verkaufsgesellschaft or distribution company). This mark, known as the full bee trademark, was used until 1955 and appeared --- sometimes both incised and under-glazed---in black or blue and occasionally in green or magenta. In addition, the stamp "Germany" and later "West Germany" appeared. A (R) appearing beside the trademark stands for "Registered".

Sometimes the molds were produced with a lightly incised circle on the bottom of the base in which the trademark was centered. It has no significance other than as a target for the location of the decal. Some current production figurines still have this incised circle even though it is no longer used for that purpose.

Always searching for a mark that would blend aesthetics with professionalism, the company continued to modify the trademark. In 1956, the company---still using the bee inside the V---made the bee smaller, with its wings parallel with the top of the V. In 1957, the bee remained, although once again rising slightly above the V. In 1958, the bee was smaller still and it flew deep within the V, reflecting the changing trends in modern design. The year 1959 saw the beginning of stylization and the wings of the bee became sharply angular.

In 1960, the completely stylized bee with V mark came into use, appearing with "W. Germany". It was used in one form or another until 1979. In addition to its appearance with "W. Germany" to the right (1960-1963), it appeared above the "West Germany" (1960-1972) and to the left of the "three line mark" (mid-1960s to 1972). The three line mark was used intermittently and sometimes concurrently with the small stylized 1960-1972 mark. It was the most prominent trademark in use prior to the "Goebel bee" trademark.

It became apparent that the public was equating the "V and Bee" mark only with M.I. Hummel items, not realizing that the mark included the full scope of Goebel products. It was decided to experiment further with marks. In 1972, satisfied that it now had a mark designating a quality Goebel product, the company began using a printed "Goebel" with the stylized bee poised between the letters "b" and "e".

Since 1976, the Goebel trademark on Hummel figurines has been imprinted on top of the glaze (called a "decal." It is possible for two figurines on the primary market to have differing decals.

In 1979, the stylized bee was dropped and only the name Goebel appears. The year of production will be on the base next to the initials of the chief decorator.

In 1991, the W. (West) was dropped, with only the word "Germany" remaining, since Germany is once again a united country. The original "crown" has been added to the (TM7) trademark.

In the year 2000, the beginning of a new Millennium, the trademark was once again changed. The "bumblebee" symbol, to honor the memory of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, was reinstated to the (TM8) current trademark.

The information in this article is a concise documentation of all W. Goebel trademarks used on "M.I. Hummel" figurines. Yet, it is always possible that a few undocumented variations may exist.

Hummel Figurine Price Guides Are Only Guides

When Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People, he could not have had authors of price guides in mind. Having produced over ten price guides in the last fifteen years, this author is unaware of having won many friends. However, it appears from the many letters received that price guides do influence collectors, dealers, and appraisers. The people who use price guides most effectively view them as just one of four or five factors to be considered in any specific case. Unfortunately some readers select a price assuming it to be a quick and final answer. They use a book as a bible rather than a guide.

The prices listed on this site include new, old, rare, unusual, and scarce Hummels of all types. one nationally known collector commented, "Sure, you can issue price lists for new Hummel figurines easily, just take production costs and add a profit. But you can't publish a price guide of 'Old Hummels'; that's impossible." A sage once said, "The impossible only takes a little more time and a little more effort."

Publishing a price guide is not quick or easy. Data collected from hundreds of people, stacks of letters, many publications, and thousands of miles of travel must be compiled, sorted, and placed in meaningful order so that statistical methods can be applied. With many additional steps, including checking each figure with many experts, a price for each item is arrived at. What does that price mean? It is simply a price that applies for only one set of conditions. It is only a guide. It is not absolute. It is not exact.

It is a selected figure representing what might be a fair price in a number of instances. It is a starting point. From this price a number to fit a particular situation can be determined with much greater accuracy. By modifying the listed figure for time, place, and circumstances, a price mutually satisfactory to the buyer and seller is more likely. The deal is made fairly and quickly.

A sale might involve a collector who discovers from the price guide that he has an item with unusual size, color, and markings. According to the price guide only a few are known to exist and have sold from $900 to $1,400 when offered. While he's still undecided about what to do, a dealer calls to ask if he is interested in selling, having heard about the piece from a mutual acquaintance. The conversation might go something like this: Dealer: "By any chance do you have an oversize Merry Wanderer with red shoes?"

Collector: "No, this one has green shoes, but otherwise it is just like the book says."

Dealer: "I have a good customer that's been waiting for years to find one like you describe. How much do you want for it."

Collector: (After a moment's hesitation) "Fourteen hundred dollars."

Dealer: "All right, on one condition. I will send you a cashier's check for $1400 providing you give me five days to make sure the figurine is as you describe it."

Collector: "That's fine with me. I'll hold it if I get your check before next Tuesday."

What happened? Why was the dealer willing to pay more than some collectors had paid in the past. At least one good reason might have been that his customer had told him he would pay up to $1600 anytime for such an example. With little risk involved the dealer can make a fast, small profit. He's happy, his customer is happy, and the seller is ecstatic. In the seller's opinon the author of the price guide is a great fellow with conservative prices.

A final example of a possible sale might be as follows. The very same collector with the "$1400" figurine with green shoes might spend hours calling dealers and writing out-of-town ones listed inthe Buyer's Guide. Finally, getting impatient and disgusted, he might give the piece to a commission auctioneer to sell who agrees to retain 25% of the proceeds as his comission. The auction is on a bad day. Only the mailman and a few hardy individuals are out. Nobody at the auction cares especially about the Hummel figurine or its value. It goes for $50 on two bids. Now the collector is certain the author of the price guide knows nothing about pricing Hummel figurines. In both cases, although fictional and extreme, the price in the book was only a guide. The figure had to be modified by the conditions at the time of the sale.

Other Adaptations of Hummel Art

M.I. Hummel porcelain figurines are only one adaptation of Sister Hummel's art. Other collectible adaptations are Hummel dolls, plates, prints, pictures, postcards, calendars, books, bells, boxes, and candles.

M.I. Hummel dolls are made exclusively by the W. Goebel Company and were added to the line in 1955. W. Goebel had been making other dolls since 1871. These dolls are made with vinyl plastic. Doll collectors report that these dolls can be bought in the United States, but can be purchased for considerably less in Germany, where is seems the majority of Hummel dolls are sold.

M.I. Hummel plates entered the Goebel line in 1971 with their first limited edition annual (Christmas) plate. That same year, Schmid Brothers, Inc., of Randolph, Massachusetts, introduced a Berta Hummel Christmas plate. Since that year both companies have continued to produce commemorating plates plus at least one limited edition each year. Schmid also introduced a limited edition Mother's Day plate in 1972 and has issued one each year since.

Paper prints, pictures, and postcards adapted from Sister Hummel's original paintings actually predate the production of figurines. Josef Muller and Emil Fink, both publishers, entered into separate agreements with Sister Hummel and her convent for the rights to reproduce her works in the early thirties. Paper calendars based on Hummel are are made by W. Goebel, Emil Fink, and Josef Muller.

Three books reproducing drawings and paintings of Sister Hummel are The Hummel Book, by Hummel and Seemann, copyrighted by Emil Fink Company in 1934, The Hummel published and copyrighted by Josef Muller in 1939, and a rare, out-of-print biography by and American Franciscan nun entitled Sketch Me, publisher and date unknown.

Hummel bells, boxes, and candles for the most part are distributed by the Schmid Company using transfers or decoupages of reproductions of Sister Hummel's art. These adaptations can be identified in the same way as the reproduced Hummel Prints, by the signature of Sister Hummel found in many forms. If the picture has been cropped, the collector must learn to recognize genuine Hummel adaptations, look for the Schmid name, or trust his dealer.

There are many Hummel-like products on the market of every type and form imaginable. The principal, authorized adaptations of Sister Hummel's can be identified by checking for the facsimile signature, the company, or by learning to recognize the distinctive style of Sister Hummel's art.

What are "M.I. Hummel" Figurines?

M.I. Hummel figurines are small ornamental figures made of porcelain, the highest grade of ceramic. These three-dimensional figurines are adaptations from original drawings and paintings of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel. These adaptations are all approved before production by the Franciscan Convent at Siessen, Germany, where Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel lived until her death in 1946. All master models created from Sister Hummel's originals are and always have been subject to convent approval since they were first issued in 1935. A special licensing and royalty agreement between the convent and the Goebel company specifies this approval.

Authentic M.I. Hummel figurines are only made by the W. Goebel Company and can be distinguished from any other figurines in a very simple way. A genuine M.I. Hummel figurine must have a facsimile signature incised somwhere on the figure or edge of the base. Unless this incised facsimile signature is on the figurine, it is probably not a genuine M.I. Hummel Figurine. Although the W. Goebel Company did vary many of their other marks, collectors can be grateful that in the application of the facsimile signature they were both consistent and persistent. Some of the very small designs only two or three inches high are difficult to mark so that the resulting signature is indistinct on some but it should be there and it worth the hunt.

M.I. Hummel figurines are not only signed but are probably one of the best marked ceramic objects that have been made since porcelain was rediscovered. This excellent marking makes collecting them a joy because of the story that unfolds when one learns to read the marks on the bottom of every piece. Because of the nearly infinite combinations and variations of markings, in almost every instance two important questions, "Who made it?" and "When was it made?" can be answered with some assurance. Since 1870, the W. Goebel company has used more than twelve different trademarks although some of them are a minor variation of one theme.

The marks of interest to M.I. Hummel figurine buyers are those from 1935 to date. In this article, all trademark information have been condensed to conform to the manner in which most collectors are already using it today.

These trademarks have been applied as conscientiously as the facsimile signature "M.I. Hummel." In the early days the trademarks were also applied by incising. Later trademarks are stamped in blue ink after the first firing and before the final firing so that they are under the glaze and practically tamper-proof. A study of the pictures of the actual figurine back stamps shows that for many years only an insignia rather than the name of the manufacturer was used. The use of an insignia rather than a name is a common practice among porcelain manufacturers. In 1950 this insignia became the "Full Bee." Since the words "Das Hummele" mean "busy bee", an association between this logo of the W. Goebel Company and Hummel figurines evolved to the point of confusion for many buyers. All Hummel trademarks are the logo of the W. Goebel Company itself and are used by them on all their products from figurines to dinnerware.

Signatures on Original Hummel Art

Berta Hummel (later Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel) signed her original drawings in a number of different forms in the lower left or right corners. These signatures can be seen clearly in most two-dimensional reproductions. Generally, the most common form of her signature is a cursive "M.I. Hummel". An example of which is Angelic Sleep.

No examples of this style of signature have been seen on her children or non-religious subjects. The Goose Girl was the only titled drawing and box-style signature encountered.

Companies who reproduce two-dimensional versions of Sister Hummel's art usually add a monogram or symbol of copyright registration. This symbol often appears near the signature but is not part of the original drawing. Ars Sacra Verlag, Josef Muller, one of the licensees, uses the letters A & R worked into a monogram. The Emil Fink Verlag reproductions do not appear to have anything similar in the picture area or face of the reproduction.

Many prints, cards, or picture reproductions are cropped by the publishers in order to obtain a different composition or treatment. This cropping frequently eliminates any evidence of the Hummel signature.

Collectors familiar with Sister Hummel's style probably are not confused by the absence of a signature on some reproductions. However, the novice might find it disturbing not to be able to distinguish between a cropped piece reproduced from and original Sister Hummel painting and Hummel-like paper products such as those published by Alfred Mainzer of Long Island City, which are not copied from original Hummel art. Until the beginning collector is able to distinguish original reproductions, he might wish to collect only those items in one form or another with a Hummel signature on them.

The Enduring Appeal of Hummel Art

Is Hummel art considered great art? By the criterion of widespread acceptance, the creations of the youthful artist who later became a religious nun, affectionately known as "hummele," certainly merit recognition. If popularity underpins greatness in art, then her oeuvre undeniably qualifies. Hummel Art, recognized and adored by millions, spans the gamut from postcards costing mere cents to figurines fetching thousands of dollars. Created less than fifty years ago, Sister Hummel's works are not only celebrated worldwide as exemplary art but also highly sought after by collectors.

Sister Hummel, like many pivotal figures in art history, was deeply influenced by her spirituality. This profound religiosity infused her work, as seen in pieces like Madonna in Red, making religious-themed Hummel art especially coveted. This fervent collection persists despite a broader decline in religious engagement, highlighting her capacity to evoke deep emotional resonance through her devout representations.

Beyond their religious significance, Hummel's artworks appeal to a wide audience for their vibrancy, dynamism, and narrative quality. They evoke nostalgia, capturing moments of childhood experience with relatable depth and emotion. For instance, Stormy Weather vividly portrays the mixed awe and fear of a thunderstorm, enabling collectors to revisit their own past emotions. Other pieces, like Doll Mother and the Pharmacist, resonate by invoking memories of childhood aspirations and experiences.

Hummel art's collectibility isn't limited to its emotional or aesthetic appeal; practical aspects play a role too. Its affordability and perceived value attract a segment of collectors, though this may overlook the deeper messages within the art. The vast array of Hummel creations, from figurines to plaques, offers something for every collector, with the sheer diversity ensuring that each piece can evoke personal memories and emotional connections.

Moreover, Hummel art transcends mere decorative appeal, aligning seamlessly with contemporary lifestyles just as it did decades ago. Far from a fleeting trend, it holds a timeless allure, growing more captivating with each addition to a collection. The process of collecting Hummel pieces often intertwines with personal milestones and memories, enhancing their sentimental value.

In recent times, the allure of Hummel art has expanded to include its potential as an investment. Amidst fluctuating markets, collectors eye Hummel pieces not only for their aesthetic and emotional appeal but also for their capacity to appreciate in value. This investment aspect, while not unique to Hummel art, adds another layer to its enduring fascination.

In summary, Hummel art's appeal is multifaceted, rooted in its capacity to evoke deep emotional responses, its accessibility and value, and its adaptability to modern tastes and lifestyles. Whether seen as a reflection of nostalgia, a spiritual journey, or a prudent investment, Hummel art continues to captivate and collect a diverse following, ensuring its place in the hearts of many and potentially in the annals of great art.

What Is Hummel Art?

For the purposes of this site, Hummel art is any fine, decorative, or useful art form adapted from an original creative work by Berta Hummel (later Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel). The counterparts of these originals have appeared in numerous forms for over forty years. The three dimensional figurines are the most famous conceptions of her pastels and paintings.

Her original works are all over the world. Some of them are in the house where she was born in 1909, and in which her mother and brother still live. Primarily, these are the ones she drew before entering the convent in 1933. More of her original drawings and paintings are in the Franciscan Convent at the Seissen in West Germany. Dr. Herbert Dubler of Verlag Ars Sacra, Josef Muller of Munich wrote that they owned most of the originals for which they hold the two-dimensional rights. Some originals also exist which Sister Hummel gave as gifts during her relatively short life. Recently an original Sister Hummel made in 1939 at the request of some young girls surfaced in St. Louis.

The three-dimensional conversion of her originals into figurines was so well executed under her supervision while she was alive that they are now classed as works of art themselves by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Most of the remaining Hummel art is two-dimensional expressions of her originals produced by photomechanical processes to preserve line and color. In this category are prints, pictures, calendars, and cards.Transfers have also been made to apply to articles such as music boxes, plates, bells, eggs, candles, and innumerable other collectibles.

Bas-relief is another form into which Sister Hummel's pictures have been adapted, principally for a series of annual plates. Production of these plates has usually been limited to the year of issue. Prints, pictures, greeting cards are a few of the two dimensional replicas that are very popular even in modern times.

Hummel-like art is the term used in this article for items often referred to as reproductions. This broader term is used because variations are so wide that there is a question of whether or not they were inspired by Sister Hummel's work. Some appear to have been more likely issued with the objective of capitalizing on the worldwide appeal of her work and the approved adaptations. These "unauthorized" reproductions are usually dissimilar enough to avoid infringing on existing copyrights. Some Hummel-like examples are in two-dimensional cards and prints, but most of them are figurines of varying quality and appearance. Currently only figurines licensed by the Franciscan Convent in Seissen to be produced by the W. Goebel Company of West Germany are genuine "M.I. Hummel" figurines. Each one must be so marked in an incised facsimile of Sister Humme;s script signature. Any piece without this signature is either Hummel-like, Hummel Inspired, a reproduction, or other imitation.

Learn About Collecting Hummel Figurines

Hummel figurines are fun to collect, and can even be valuable. This article lists some of the most valuable Hummel figurines, and explains why they are valuable. "For Father", "Globe Trotter", "Little Goat Herder", and "Going to Grandmas" are great examples of valuable Hummels. As with all collectibles, the condition and the rarity of a Hummel will affect its value. However, the value of a Hummel is affected by many things. For example, part of what makes Hummels so valuable is the keen eye for detail, colors, and expressions.

Hummels have been on the marketplace for a long time. In the 1930s, Franz Goebel, the founder of Hummel Figurines, thought that in a world of political turmoil, customers would respond to a product that depicted the gentle innocence of childhood. The artwork of a Franciscan Sister named Maria Innocentia Hummel was introduced to Mr. Goebel. The nun made drawings of country children that were printed as art cards. These art cards would soon be famous around the world.

Goebel wanted to produce a line of figurines based on Maria Hummel’s artwork. She was contacted at the Convent of Siessen and was shown clay models based on her drawings. Sister Hummel thought the idea of turning her artwork into ceramic models was a wonderful idea, and she granted sole rights to Goebel to create ceramic figurines based on her original artwork. Sister Hummel was a perfectionist, so she insisted that she personally approve the sculpting and painting of each porcelain piece. It was determined that earthenware, pioneered by Goebel in the 1920s, was the proper material for the new line.

In order to determine whether or not a figurine, plate, or bell is a genuine Hummel piece, one should search for definitive marks identifying the Hummel as legitimate. The mark of Sister Hummel is carved into every piece. Sister Hummel’s stamp of approval appears on every piece and under the direction of the members of the convent, approvals were made with care. All Hummels have a mold number; a number that is incised on the bottom of each Hummel figurine at the factory. Goebel’s stamp on the underside of the figurine is yet another indicator. Hummel’s trademark has changed over the years, yet every authentic M. I. Hummel figurine will have a Goebel stamp on its underside. Any variation in this stamping causes a source of great excitement for Hummel collectors.

Hummel Figurines have been collected for over 80 years, and continue to have a strong market even today.

Collecting Hummel Figurines

Hummel figurines are fun to collect, and can even be valuable. This article lists some of the most valuable Hummel figurines, and explains why they are valuable. "For Father", "Globe Trotter", "Little Goat Herder", and "Going to Grandmas" are great examples of valuable Hummels. As with all collectibles, the condition and the rarity of a Hummel will affect its value. However, the value of a Hummel is affected by many things. For example, part of what makes Hummels so valuable is the keen eye for detail, colors, and expressions.

Hummels have been on the marketplace for a long time. In the 1930s, Franz Goebel, the founder of Hummel Figurines, thought that in a world of political turmoil, customers would respond to a product that depicted the gentle innocence of childhood. The artwork of a Franciscan Sister named Maria Innocentia Hummel was introduced to Mr. Goebel. The nun made drawings of country children that were printed as art cards. These art cards would soon be famous around the world.

Goebel wanted to produce a line of figurines based on Maria Hummel’s artwork. She was contacted at the Convent of Siessen and was shown clay models based on her drawings. Sister Hummel thought the idea of turning her artwork into ceramic models was a wonderful idea, and she granted sole rights to Goebel to create ceramic figurines based on her original artwork. Sister Hummel was a perfectionist, so she insisted that she personally approve the sculpting and painting of each porcelain piece. It was determined that earthenware, pioneered by Goebel in the 1920s, was the proper material for the new line.

In order to determine whether or not a figurine, plate, or bell is a genuine Hummel piece, one should search for definitive marks identifying the Hummel as legitimate. The mark of Sister Hummel is carved into every piece. Sister Hummel’s stamp of approval appears on every piece and under the direction of the members of the convent, approvals were made with care. All Hummels have a mold number; a number that is incised on the bottom of each Hummel figurine at the factory. Goebel’s stamp on the underside of the figurine is yet another indicator. Hummel’s trademark has changed over the years, yet every authentic M. I. Hummel figurine will have a Goebel stamp on its underside. Any variation in this stamping causes a source of great excitement for Hummel collectors.

Hummel Figurines have been collected for over 80 years, and continue to have a strong market even today.

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