Are Hummel Figurines Worth Anything? An Expert‘s Guide

If you‘re a collector of vintage items or have inherited some charming porcelain figurines, you may be wondering – are Hummel figurines worth anything? These sweet-faced little statues have a devoted following, with some rare pieces commanding prices in the thousands. But what exactly makes a Hummel figurine valuable?

As an antique expert specializing in Hummels, I‘m here to share my knowledge on the history, characteristics and value of these beloved collectibles. Whether you‘re looking to appraise your own collection or simply appreciate their artistry, this in-depth guide will tell you everything you need to know about the worth of Hummel figurines.

What Are Hummel Figurines?

First, let‘s start with the basics – what exactly are Hummel figurines? These small porcelain statues depict rosy-cheeked children in sweet scenes of play and everyday life. Hummel figurines get their name from their creator, Berta Hummel, a German nun with a talent for drawing.

In the early 1930s, Hummel‘s sketches of children caught the eye of Franz Goebel, the owner of a porcelain company. Goebel and Hummel formed a partnership, transforming her artwork into 3D figurines. The first Hummels were introduced in 1935 and they quickly gained popularity, thanks to their tender expressions and fine craftsmanship.

According to historian Eric Sloane, "The appeal of Hummel figurines is their depiction of an idyllic childhood – one that is innocent, carefree and full of simple joys. In a world that was becoming increasingly complex, the Hummels represented a welcome dose of nostalgia."

Production of Hummel figurines halted during World War II and Berta Hummel sadly passed away in 1946 at the young age of 37. However, the Goebel company resumed making the figurines after the war and continued creating new designs inspired by Hummel‘s original drawings. Today, Hummel figurines are still made by Goebel at their factory in Roedental, Germany.

Characteristics of Authentic Hummel Figurines

When evaluating the worth of a Hummel figurine, the first step is determining if you have a genuine piece. Sadly, the popularity of Hummels has inspired many imitators over the years. While some knockoffs can be quite convincing, there are a few key characteristics that set authentic Hummels apart:

  • Trademark: Genuine Hummels feature the "Goebel" trademark stamped on the bottom. This will include the name "Goebel," often alongside a picture of a bee or a crown. Pieces made after 1950 also include a TMK number indicating the year of production.
  • Modeling Number: Each Hummel figurine design has a unique model number incised into the bottom of the piece. This is a small number, typically ranging from three to five digits.
  • Materials: True Hummel figurines are made of high-quality porcelain and are surprisingly hefty for their size. Imitation Hummels are often crafted from resin, ceramic or other lightweight materials.
  • Paint Quality: Hummels are beloved for their artistry, so the painting quality should be top-notch, with clean lines and no sloppiness. The colors will be rich and true to Hummel‘s original artwork.

"Over the decades, the Goebel company has made subtle changes to the Hummel trademark," notes antiques appraiser Judy Campbell. "So the markings alone can tell you a lot about when a piece was made, which in turn affects its value."

What Makes a Hummel Figurine Valuable?

Like most collectibles, the value of a Hummel figurine depends on a variety of factors. "It‘s a combination of rarity, age, condition and design that determines a Hummel‘s worth," says antique dealer Mark Berman. "Some models were produced for decades, while others had a very limited run."

Here are the key aspects that influence the value of a Hummel:

  • Rarity: Certain Hummel designs are harder to find than others, often due to a limited production run. For example, "Adventure Bound," a group of three children playing, is one of the most sought-after Hummels due to its elaborate design and detail.

    Other rare models include early designs from the 1930s, limited edition pieces, and figurines that were only sold to members of the Goebel Collector‘s Club. The general rule is that the rarer the model, the higher the value.

  • Age: As with most antiques, older Hummels tend to be worth more than newer pieces. Hummels produced before 1949 are especially prized by collectors, as these pre-war models are harder to find. Figurines from the 1950s and 60s are also considered vintage and can be quite valuable depending on the model.

    "Pieces from the 1930s and 40s have a certain charm and naivety that‘s really appealing to collectors," notes Berman. "They capture that early spirit of Berta Hummel‘s original vision."

  • Condition: To be considered truly valuable, a Hummel figurine should be in excellent condition with no cracks, chips, or repairs. Crazing, or a network of fine cracks in the glaze, is common in older pieces and acceptable as long as it doesn‘t detract from the beauty of the piece.

    "Collectors want figurines that look as close to new as possible," says Berman. "So even a rare or old model won‘t be worth as much if it has obvious damage. That‘s why Hummels that have been tucked away in someone‘s china cabinet for decades often end up being the most valuable."

  • Desirability: While rarity and age play a role in value, some Hummel designs are simply more popular with collectors than others. Figural groupings with intricate details, like the "Ring Around the Rosie" circle of children, tend to be most desirable. Certain themes, like the seasons or holidays, also do well.

    Larger-scale Hummels (around 10-12 inches tall) typically fetch higher prices than miniatures. The "Merry Wanderer," a 7-inch tall figurine of a boy with an umbrella, is one of the highest valued Hummels due to its size and iconic design.

"For new Hummel collectors, I usually recommend starting with the most popular models from the 1960s and 70s, like ‘Apple Tree Boy‘ or ‘Soloist‘," suggests antique store owner Susan Tate. "These can be found for $100-200 each and are a great way to begin building a nice starter collection."

How Much Are Hummel Figurines Worth?

With all these variables in play, the question remains – what are Hummel figurines actually worth today? To give you a sense of the current market, here are some recent sale prices for highly sought-after Hummels:

  • "Adventure Bound" – Sold for $3,200 in 2019
  • "Ring Around the Rosie" – Sold for $2,800 in 2020
  • "Umbrella Boy" (Merry Wanderer) – Sold for $1,500 in 2018
  • "Apple Tree Boy & Girl" – Sold for $950 in 2019
  • "Stormy Weather" – Sold for $630 in 2018

Of course, these are the cream of the crop in terms of rare and desirable Hummels. Most Hummel figurines sell in the $50-500 range, depending on the model and condition. Limited edition pieces and pre-war models can easily sell for over $1,000.

However, it‘s important to note that Hummel figurine values have fluctuated over time. "In the 1970s-90s, Hummels were at the height of their popularity and prices were soaring," explains Tate. "But the market has cooled a bit since then. Today‘s collectors tend to be more selective about which pieces they add to their collection."

If you‘re curious about the value of your own Hummels, your best bet is to consult with a qualified appraiser or antique dealer who specializes in figurines. They can assess your piece in person and give you a realistic idea of its worth. Online price guides and forums can also provide general guidance, but values can vary widely depending on the specific piece and current market trends.

The Appeal of Collecting Hummels

Beyond their monetary value, there‘s no denying the charm and nostalgic appeal of Hummel figurines. For many collectors, Hummels evoke a simpler time and the innocence of childhood. "There‘s something really special about holding a piece of art that was created with so much love and care," reflects Tate. "Each Hummel tells a story and captures a sweet moment in time."

Hummel figurines also represent a fascinating chapter in 20th century history. Born out of the tumultuous years leading up to World War II, these little porcelain children spread a message of hope and unity. For many collectors, owning a Hummel is a way to honor Berta Hummel‘s legacy and celebrate the enduring power of art.

Whether you‘re drawn to their artistry, history or nostalgic appeal, collecting Hummel figurines can be a rewarding hobby. And with a discerning eye and some patience, it can also be a wise investment. By understanding the factors that contribute to a Hummel‘s value and seeking out high-quality pieces, you can build a collection that will bring you joy for years to come – and may even appreciate in value over time.

The Bottom Line on Hummel Figurine Values

So, are Hummel figurines worth anything? The answer is a resounding yes – but the value of an individual piece depends on a variety of factors. The rarest and most sought-after Hummels can sell for thousands of dollars, while more common models may be worth $50-500.

To determine the worth of your own Hummel figurines, look for genuine Goebel trademarks, model numbers, and high-quality craftsmanship. Consider the rarity, age, condition and desirability of each piece. If you‘re unsure, consult with a knowledgeable appraiser or antique dealer for a professional valuation.

Whether you‘re a serious collector or simply enjoy their sweet faces and nostalgic charm, Hummel figurines are a beloved part of 20th century art history. By understanding what makes them special and valuable, you can appreciate these little porcelain treasures all the more – and maybe even discover a rare gem in your own collection.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.