Rare Hummel Figurines (Most Valuable Collectibles Guide)
Paul Williamson – September 10th, 2020
Paul Williamson – September 10th, 2020
Do you enjoy browsing for porcelain figurines at local estate sales? If so, consider looking for Hummel figurines. Adding these charming porcelain figurines to your collection is a real delight, and the rarer they are, the better. In fact, finding one or more rare Hummel figurines is an extra-special treat.
Whether you plan to sell your collectibles, or just want to be better informed about your Hummel collection, keep reading. We’ve got you covered on the 10 most rare Hummel figures and their estimated prices, how to identify several factors that affect Hummel figurine values, and where to find these iconic collectibles.
Hummel figurines‘ fascinating history began in 1909 with Berta Hummel, a little girl with uncanny artistic ability. She was born in the Bavarian part of Germany and spent her childhood in this expansive region.
At age 18, Hummel enrolled in Munich’s acclaimed Academy of Applied Arts and graduated in 1931. Rather than pursue an artistic career, however, she entered the Convent of Siessen after developing a friendship with two Franciscan sisters. In 1934, the novice nun Berta Hummel took the new name of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel.
As a Franciscan nun, Sister Maria was encouraged to continue her artwork. After several German publishers printed her creations as postcards, porcelain company owner Franz Goebel began to take an interest in the Sister’s work. With Sister Hummel’s approval, Goebel created a line of charming child figurines. The Sister collaborated with the Goebel company’s master sculptors and skilled painters to execute the colorful designs.
In 1935, the Goebel Hummel figurines made their appearance at the Trade Fair in Leipzig, Germany. They were wildly popular from the start, spurring the Goebel company to commence design work on over 30 more figurines.
With the onset of World War II, Goebel ceased the production of Hummel figurines for several reasons. In 1946, right after the war’s end, Sister Hummel died of tuberculosis at age 37.
To honor her talent and dedication, Goebel resumed Goebel Hummel figurine production. He ensured that every piece was up to Sister Hummel’s high standards. The new Hummel figurines were ready to hit the market during the same year.
As part of Franz Goebel’s distribution strategy, he placed Hummel figurines in varied shops throughout the region. United States troops assigned to West Germany’s military bases purchased the figurines and sent them home as delightful keepsakes.
In a logical marketing move, Goebel blanketed regional U.S. Army base exchange stores with Hummel figurines. That strategy opened up a new market for these charming little collectibles.
During the 1970s, the Hummel figurines market experienced drastic growth. United States-based collectors formed a group to stay current with new releases. During the late 1980s, the group renamed itself as the M.I.
Hummel Club and expanded its membership internationally. The club continues to be active, and members receive several appealing perks along with purchase incentives.
Hummel figurines remain extremely popular with collectors throughout the world. Certain authentic Hummels, especially early models in excellent condition, command prices of several hundred dollars and up.
With that said, however, most Hummel figurines have seen a drastic price drop compared to the 1970s’ price spikes. Although that’s not good news for collectors, it enables budget-minded buyers to enter the Hummel collectibles market.
Hummel figurine manufacturing has experienced some ups and downs during the past two decades. In 2008, Goebel stopped producing M.I. Hummel figurines, opting to concentrate on making home accessory products.
Early in 2009, Manufaktur Rödental GmbH took over the Hummel figurine operations after obtaining Hummel’s production facilities and copyrights. In 2013 this firm declared bankruptcy, leaving room for the international management group Hummel Manufaktur GmbH to assume oversight of Hummel figurines in 2014.
Unfortunately, Hummel Manufaktur GmbH declared bankruptcy in 2017. German businessman Bernd Foertsch stepped in to acquire the Hummel figurines operations. Foertsch expressed a desire to restructure Hummel figurines operations, emphasizing a focus on direct sales and partnerships with the extensive collectors’ community. He planned to drastically reduce Hummel figurines production to encourage a sense of exclusivity.
Several factors affect the valuation of each Hummel figurine. Consider all of the factors together before assigning a specific piece’s value.
Each authentic M.I. Hummel figurine features the Goebel trademark on the reverse side of the piece. Although the trademark has periodically changed, it’s a reliable way to verify an authentic Hummel collectible.
Eight different trademarks correspond to the respective Hummel production eras. There are also variations within each individual era. Many trademarks feature the classic full bee that was common to many Goebel pieces. The full bee stamp indicates that the figurine was crafted before 1959.
Hummel Trademarks and their Eras (TMK List)
Every Hummel figurine displays a mold number on its underside. Incised during the production cycle, the mold number is the primary factor in Hummel figurine identification.
Think of the mold number as each figurine’s style number. A mold number consists of the Hummel’s identification number followed by a slash and a second number. The second number indicates the figurine’s size.
When searching for rare Hummel figurines, note that some pieces’ names have changed over the years. Therefore, identify each piece by its Hummel identification number.
Some Hummel figurines appear in multiple sizes. For example, the iconic “Apple Tree Boy” and “Apple Tree Girl” were both produced in a standard size as well as a larger 32-inch size. As with any Hummel figurine, the rarity of a certain size generally means it will command a higher price.
Although single-character Hummel figurines have always been popular, multiple-figurine groups continue to have an impressive following. Part of their appeal likely stems from the multiple figurines’ complex designs.
In other words, the artisan must have the skill to flawlessly execute each figurine while creating perceived interactions with the other figures.
Limited-edition Hummel figurines bring higher values than pieces with much larger production runs. Retired figurines—ones that are no longer on the market—command better prices than pieces that are currently in production. A rare Hummel figurine can bring a value of $1000 or more.
Generally speaking, older Hummel figurines are more rare, and they tend to have higher values than recently produced figures. However, when taking all of the valuation criteria into account, a new Hummel might be worth more than one of the early models.
A quality Hummel figurine will be in good condition (or excellent condition) and won’t show any cracks or crazing. You won’t see any chips, and the figurine will be completely intact with no broken pieces. A figurine that meets all these criteria will carry the highest price. If the piece has its original box (including its packaging materials), it will have an even higher price.
Hummel figurines that were previously damaged and then repaired bring lower values. Even if the repair isn’t apparent, a certified appraiser can detect the glue by viewing X-ray results.
If you’ve wondered about the value of Hummel figurines, the more rare they are, the higher value they bring. The following are the 10 figurines that have been named the rarest Hummels over the years, along with their estimated prices. Most of these rare Hummel figures are early models that have become favored collectibles over the years. Use this information to inform your Hummel figurine price guide.
Pre-TMK 1935 Sample
A very early design, this delightful figurine features a rakish-looking boy playing the violin. His dog has its ears cocked, seemingly listening to the little tune.
Pre-TMK 1935 Sample
This rare Hummel features a charming little boy playing a tune on his violin. He appears very intent on getting the song just right.
Pre-TMK 1935 Sample
The Bookworm Hummel figurine depicts a colorful little girl thoroughly immersed in her picture book. She thoughtfully places one finger on her cheek, as if something has caught her attention.
A very early Hummel design, the Merry Wanderer is still a sought-after figurine. This iconic Hummel depicts a young boy with a bag in one hand and an umbrella in the other. Although recent versions are only worth about $200, early models from 1935 are extremely rare and often worth thousands of dollars. If you can find an early version of this collectible at an estate sale for a reasonable price, snatch it up as soon as you can!
This rare Hummel features a little girl in full celebration mode. She holds a large flower pot that contains a lovely blooming plant. A good-sized yellow bird is perched on top of the plant, singing his heart out to anyone who will listen.
This Hummel figurine shows a little boy dressed simply, but he sports a magnificent pair of angel’s wings. He also joyfully plays his angelic trumpet.
This rare Hummel features a serene-looking little boy who sports a long shepherd’s coat. Two baby lambs accompany him; one is slung over his shoulder and the other sits at his feet. Both lambs appear to be gazing at each other.
The Goose Girl Hummel depicts a little girl who is intently focused on the two geese that are pressed up against her. They appear rather insistent, as if they are looking for a snack.
This rare Hummel features a calm-looking girl sitting outside of a church. She dons a basket on her arm with her eyes closed and her hands clasped, as if she’s in prayer.
With this rare Hummel figurine, we see a determined-looking little musician. The little cellist strides along with his walking stick and a cello on his back. In fact, the cello is almost as big as he is.
Although these Hummel figurines are not necessarily the most rare Hummels, they are very popular with collectors. View some valuable tidbits about each figurine, along with its actual auction selling price.
Each singular figurine sits perched in an apple tree. You’ll occasionally find these early models sold as a matched set. Prices vary by date and condition. Size is also a factor, as both figurines were distributed in three sizes.
This landmark Hummel figurine showcases seven mischievous youngsters. Designed in 1955, the “Adventure Bound” figurine is one of the early models, but it did not reach the United States market until the early 1970s.
The figurine was produced in relatively small numbers, making it an exceedingly rare Hummel. Its rarity makes it very desirable in collectors’ circles. Some “Adventure Bound” multiple-figurine groups have sold for up to $9000. However, keep in mind that these pieces were produced over several decades, meaning that each piece’s value depends on its condition and age.
This quirky rare Hummel figurine features a boy with a fruit basket. His inquisitive dog appears ready to snatch the basket’s contents for a snack. However, as the name implies, the contents are not for the dog. The classic vintage Hummel figurine has fetched thousands of dollars at auction.
During the 1940s, Hummel briefly crafted a line of figurines that showcased varied European countries. Each character appeared in their country’s traditional attire. This Serbian boy and his lamb have brought good prices at auction.
Like the Serbian Boy, the Hungarian Girl is another character in the European series. This rare Hummel features a charming little Hungarian girl. The figurine is also quite popular among Hummel collectors.
This multiple-figurine group consists of four charming little girls playing the classic “Ring Around the Rosie” game. In excellent condition, this complex (and very popular) rare Hummel has sold for $6,000 at auction.
This clever multi-figurine group features three little boys going over their lessons together. When these pieces are in great condition, Hummel collectors quickly snap them up.
In this figurine group, three charming little girls gather together in their school attire. This multi-figurine group is also a favorite among Hummel collectors.
The eBay online auction selling prices are useful in determining rare Hummel figurines’ values. These selling prices pertain to the sale of standard-sized Hummel figurines, not the larger 7-inch or 8-inch models.
To obtain a figurine’s selling price, view the eBay homepage. Click the word “Advanced” to the right of the blue search bar. Type in your search term and check the “Sold Listings” box. Again, click the blue search bar for the relevant results.
|Hummel Figurines||Highest eBay Selling Prices|
|Umbrella Boy and Umbrella Girl Set||$270|
|The Heavenly Angel||$99|
When searching for vintage Hummel figurines, always visit local estate sales first. In a stroke of luck, you may happen upon someone’s personal Hummel collectibles.
Antique shops, especially those that represent numerous dealers, are also good choices. Surprisingly, upscale thrift shops showcase their share of Hummel figurines, as these stores often receive leftovers from nearby estate sales.
In addition, browse the Hummel figurines in three well-known online marketplaces. Etsy, Ruby Lane, and Collectors’ Weekly showcase vintage Hummels owned by sellers throughout the United States.
The eBay and Live Auctioneers online auction platforms regularly post Hummel figurines as well. Finally, performing a Google search for Hummel figurines will result in a display of varied sources.
Now that you’ve gathered information on rare Hummel figures, you’ll know what to look for when visiting your next estate sale. Whether you’re adding Hummel figurines to your existing collection or starting one from scratch, you’ll be delighted when you find the exact figurine(s) you want.