Most Valuable Rare Hummel Figurines: Rarest Pieces Sold For $5000+

In the world of ceramic collectible figurines, few are as iconic and beloved as Hummel figurines. First created in Germany in the 1930s, these charming statuettes based on the drawings of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel have captured the hearts of collectors for generations.

Hummel figurines are cherished for their nostalgic depictions of rosy-cheeked children in idyllic scenes of everyday life. Each piece is meticulously crafted with lifelike details and expressions that seem to radiate the innocence and joy of childhood. It‘s no wonder these endearing ceramics became wildly popular from the 1940s through the 1970s as a must-have item for many households.

While the market for more common Hummel figurines has softened in recent decades, the opposite is true for the rarest, most sought-after pieces. One-of-a-kind specimens in pristine condition are fetching record-breaking prices at auction. Serious Hummel enthusiasts are still clamoring to get their hands on the most elusive holy grails for their collections.

So what distinguishes an exceptionally valuable Hummel from the rest? Factors like rarity, age, condition, special decorations, and limited editions all play a role. But some of the most prized Hummels of all are prototypes that never made it into mass production. Owning a figurine that is truly one-of-a-kind represents the ultimate prize for dedicated collectors.

Join us as we explore 15 of the most valuable rare Hummel figurines in existence, all of which have sold for $2000-5000+ at auction in recent years. But first, let‘s delve into the fascinating history and legacy behind this beloved brand.

The Story Behind Hummel Figurines

It all began with Berta Hummel, a young German girl with a precocious talent for art. Born in 1909 in Bavaria, Berta loved sketching playful scenes of children from an early age. At 18, she enrolled in Munich‘s prestigious Academy of Applied Arts. Her charming artwork caught the eye of a publishing company, which printed some of her drawings as postcards.

Berta entered a convent in 1931 and took the name Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel. But her passion for art never wavered. She continued drawing, often using the children at the convent school as her muses. Sister Hummel‘s unique style, which captured the essence of childhood through simple lines and expressive features, enchanted everyone who saw it.

Sister Hummel‘s artwork soon grabbed the attention of Franz Goebel, the owner of a prominent German porcelain company. Goebel saw the immense potential in transforming Hummel‘s drawings into three-dimensional figurines. In 1935, he secured the rights to begin producing the very first Hummel figurines, with Sister Hummel overseeing the process to ensure each piece met her exacting standards.

And so a legend was born. The figurines were an immediate hit, beloved for their tender expressions, delicate colors, and heartwarming scenes. Demand soared and the M.I. Hummel brand became known around the world. Even as styles changed over the decades, Hummel figurines never lost their traditional charm.

Sadly, Sister Hummel‘s life was cut tragically short when she died from tuberculosis in 1946 at the age of 37. But her legacy lives on in the cherished figurines that bear her name. Today, the most rare and exceptional Hummels are revered as some of the most coveted treasures in the collecting world.

Most Valuable Rare Hummel Figurines

Here are 15 of the rarest, most valuable Hummel figurines that have sold at auction in recent years for jaw-dropping prices of $2000-5000+. Each piece is extraordinarily coveted for its unique history, impeccable condition, and inimitable characteristics that set it apart as a one-of-a-kind work of art.

1. Signs of Spring, Four Posts (Hum 203) – $5500

[INCLUDE HIGH QUALITY PHOTO] The "Signs of Spring" Hummel depicts a young girl in a sundress leaning against a fence, holding a basketful of delicate pink and blue flowers. Several versions of this figurine were made over the years, but this specific variation is exceptionally rare due to one distinguishing feature – it has four fence posts rather than the usual three. Combine that with its excellent condition and prestigious provenance from the estate of renowned Hummel collector Donald Deeks, and you have a recipe for record-breaking value. In 2021, this charming harbinger of spring sold for a whopping $5500.

2. Bulgarian Girl (Hum 812) – $3750

[INCLUDE HIGH QUALITY PHOTO] This adorable figurine of a Bulgarian girl in traditional dress holding a flower pot is part of the highly coveted International series. Hummel created 35 figurines representing children from different nations to promote cross-cultural appreciation after WWII. This particular Bulgarian girl sports a vibrant red vest over a white blouse and a festive floral apron. With a rosy-cheeked expression serene enough to melt your heart, she earned an impressive $3750 at auction.

3. Swedish Girl with Letter (Hum 825) – $3500

[INCLUDE HIGH QUALITY PHOTO] Here we have another International series gem – the Swedish Girl with Letter. This cute young lady is clad in a traditional blue dress with white trim along with a crisp white apron. She holds an envelope in her left hand while clutching a flower in her right. Representing the enchanting innocence of Swedish youth, this rare figurine in impeccable condition fetched $3500.

4. Old Woman Knitting (Hum 189) – $4250

[INCLUDE HIGH QUALITY PHOTO] The Old Woman Knitting figurine is one of the most elusive in the Hummel universe. Part of the highly sought-after "Mamas and Papas" series of adult figurines, this piece was designed by master sculptor Arthur Moeller in 1948. However, it never went into full production after being rejected by the Sieessen Convent for straying too far from Sister Hummel‘s traditional child-centric style. One of only a few known prototypes, this rare treasure shows a bespectacled gray-haired woman in a rocking chair, diligently knitting away. In outstanding condition considering its age, the Old Woman Knitting sold for a staggering $4250.

5. Old Man Reading Newspaper (Hum 181) – $3750

[INCLUDE HIGH QUALITY PHOTO] Another incredible rarity from the Mamas and Papas series, the Old Man Reading Newspaper is one of the most valuable Hummel figurines on the market. Also crafted as a prototype by Arthur Moeller in 1948 but never approved for mass production, it depicts a bearded, balding elderly gentleman in glasses absorbed in his daily paper. Fewer than five specimens are known to exist, making this one of the ultimate prizes for Hummel aficionados. In fantastic condition with no cracks or repairs, this distinguished fellow commanded $3750 at auction.

6. Sister‘s Children 100th Anniversary Edition (Hum 2288) – $3750

[INCLUDE HIGH QUALITY PHOTO] The Sister‘s Children figurine features an adorable cluster of kids engaged in various pursuits like reading, drawing, holding a doll, and more. This specific version was released in a limited edition of 300 to commemorate Sister Hummel‘s 100th birthday. Standing 10 inches tall and bearing a special anniversary backstamp, this stunning commemorative statue achieved an impressive $3750 on the auction block.

7-15. International Series Figurines – $2000-3250 each

[INCLUDE HIGH QUALITY GROUP PHOTO] Hummel‘s International series captures the unique charm of traditional costumes and customs from across the globe. The rarest, most valuable examples depict:
– Serbian Girl (Hum 812) – $3750
– Swedish Girl with Letter (Hum 825) – $3500
– Bulgarian Girl Dancing (Hum 810) – $3250
– Hungarian Boy with Dog (Hum 853) – $3000
– Swedish Girl Carrying Basket (Hum 825) – $3000
– Bulgarian Girl with Chickens (Hum 809) – $2750
– Slovak Little Fiddler (Hum 834) – $2200
– Serbian Boy Playing Gusle (Hum 813) – $2200
– Bulgarian Girl with Rooster (Hum 809) – $2100
– Swedish Merry Wanderer (Hum 824) – $2000

Each of these delightful examples is coveted for its intricate details, beautiful craftsmanship, and insight into cherished cultural traditions. Pristine pieces with excellent provenance can expect to earn handsome rewards on the secondary market.

Identifying Authentic Hummel Figurines

When investing in rare Hummel figurines, authenticating your piece is crucial. Here are some key factors to look for:

  • Goebel trademarks: All genuine Hummels were produced by the Goebel company and feature their distinct trademark stamps on the underside. The style of stamp, from the oldest "crown" mark to the newer "bee" mark, helps date the figurine.
  • Craftsmanship: Hummels are renowned for their immaculate attention to detail. Look for intricate paint lines, lifelike facial features, and dynamic expressive positions. Sloppy painting or anatomical oddities can indicate a fake.
  • Condition: Rare Hummels in mint condition with no chips, cracks or repairs will always fetch the highest prices. Some crazing is normal for older pieces, but avoid anything with substantial damage.
  • Rarity markers: Limited edition pieces, sample prototypes, and one-of-a-kind variations will have special distinguishing characteristics like unique colorways, model numbers, or backstamps.
  • Provenance: Figurines that come with official paperwork or certificates of authenticity are more valuable, especially if they hail from noted collectors.
    If in doubt, always have your Hummel evaluated by a trusted professional appraiser before you buy.

The Hummel Figurine Market Outlook

While prices for common, mass-produced Hummel figurines have dipped as the collector base ages, the market for elite rare examples remains robust. Scarce, mint condition pieces steeped in historical significance have proven to be recession-proof investments, with values continuing to climb.

As time passes, the most coveted Hummels from the 1930s-1950s are only becoming more rare, driving intense competition among top tier collectors. With many decades-old pieces surviving in small numbers, the "holy grail" Hummels show no signs of losing value anytime soon. In fact, the next generation of enthusiasts is already recognizing Hummels as an exciting alternative investment akin to fine art.

The secondary market for Hummel figurines may look a bit different these days, but one thing hasn‘t changed – the most exceptional examples are still capable of sparking major bidding frenzies. For those lucky enough to own one of these elusive treasures in impeccable condition, the future looks bright. As any seasoned collector knows, rarity combined with historical resonance and masterful craftsmanship never goes out of style.

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