Hummel Variations & Mistakes

         The topic for this page was an obvious choice to have you consider looking for interesting mistakes and variations that make these figurines “rare” and therefore, perhaps more desirable.

Mistakes

As an example of a simple mistake, the following HUM 5 Strolling Along, in an early trademark 2 Full Bee, is one I had not seen before but warrants closer inspection when you are looking over your collection or another that may be for sale. I don’t know if the value is increased due to it having left the factory with this mistake, but it is worth having in your collection to show on those special occasions. See if you can find this mistake as it not quite so obvious.
Hint: What country is it from?

Some of the figurines that show up with mistakes from the factory, could and do at times, bring in higher prices due to the rarity of the item. Here is one example that I doubt I will ever see again but is well worth keeping an eye out for in the future, if you can afford it, that is. This one is HUM 331 Crossroads with both a TMK-3 and a TMK-5 skipping the trademark between. It would appear that the later trademark was added since this figurine has the incised circle to show where to place the earlier trademark and has the black stamped copyright. I have seen a lot of TMK-1 and TMK-2 transitional pieces but would not know what to call this one.  The asking price was $750 plus $14 shipping.

TMK-3 and TMK-5 HUM-331 Crossroads

 

      Every now and then, on a rare occasion, you will find an example of a figurine that missed the expert eye of the person in quality control where the paint didn’t cover everything it was supposed to. Here are two such figurines that caught the eye of the collector. See if you can find where the mistakes were made on HUM 226 The Mail Is Here and HUM 119 Postman. When you consider how many figurines have been produced since the first one was introduced, with the number of steps and people it takes to create just one, mistakes have been found, but not very many. When they do, and you are privileged to own one such rarity, consider yourself fortunate to have a great conversation piece. The HUM 226 The Mail Is Here was offered for $169.99 and the HUM 119 Postman had a starting bid of $119.

 

       Not only do you look for errors in the paint applied, but also check how the pieces were put together at the factory. Some of these figurines that made it to the public have brought a lot of attention from the experts in this field as well as a lot of money to be exchanged for ownership of the very rare pieces. One of these is an excellent example of a rare crown marked HUM 99 Eventide to the left where you will notice that the one in error has the sheep directly in front of the children. For comparison, the one with the sheep to the children’s left is correct.

       I was lucky to find an example of less extreme in one of my TMK-2 HUM 99 Eventide of misplaced sheep.  The little boy, in this example, has his left foot sitting squarely on the head of one of the sheep. You may also notice that there is more room from the edge of the base in one and not in the other.   Although the one I have is clearly not as valuable as the other photograph shows, it does indicate the variation you can find from one figurine and another. It did however, generate a bit of fun conversation at one of the Hummel club meetings I attended.

Mistake or Modification?

TMK-1 / TMK-2 handle out
TMK-1  handle in

One of my favorite figurines is HUM 71 Stormy Weather in the larger 6¾ inch size. I have a few of this figurine in different trademarks but noticed that one of the TMK-1/TMK-2 transitional pieces had the umbrella handle pointed outward while all the rest had the handle angled away from the little girl. There were other differences in this certain Stormy Weather as well. He was missing the vertical straps to hold up his pants and the flowers were quite different as well. Also, the little girls right pig tail was positioned at a different angle as well.  I took this one and another “normal” TMK-1 Crown figurine to a Hummel Club meeting and it was decided that it was possible this was an earlier sample from the beginning of this model HUM 71 and when World War II ended, Goebel may have been desperate in finding pieces they could sell, found this one tucked away on a shelf and marked it with the Full Bee stamp along with the incised Crown not noticing or disregarding the differences between it and the more “up-to-date” examples. Maybe or maybe not, but it sounds possible.

I found this example to your left that does have the regular lederhosen straps as well as the same flower but the handle is pointed out and the girl’s hair is different.  You will also find that the newer and smaller HUM 71 2/0 Stormy Weather versions have the umbrella handle pointed out much like my earlier version of this figurine. I will add a photograph of my “strange” figurine when time allows.

The Internationals

The famous authors and Hummel collectors, Robert and Ruth Miller, made famous a good number of variants within the vast number of figurines produced. There is even an article in the 1996 Winter Hummel Insights magazine, “How Does He Like His M.I. Hummels? . . . Rare!” to describe this. The Millers quickly brought worldwide attention to an “International” set of figurines they located and helped to determine a hefty price as to their value. Here are a few of those you may find if you are lucky and have a sharp eye for this type of figurine. The second Goose Girl, Hum 947, sold at auction for $3,910 and the Hum 968 Lost Sheep sold for $3,335. There are many more like these but there were only one or a few produced of each as we understand.

Variations

HUM 35/0 – Good Shepherd

The world of M.I. Hummel figurines is just full of surprises and here is one that had me scratching my head as to whether it was real or not. It is!  This rare version of the HUM 35/0 Good Shepherd holy water font has the phrase in black lettering on the back, “Made in Holland”. The person selling this interesting figurine on eBay says that “This extremely rare version of the Good Shepherd religious holy water font was made by Goebel for the Dutch market.” You may find other figurines that have this similar phrase and now you know that you just might have another rare item indeed.

HUM 99 – Eventide

As mentioned above, I found an interesting example of the figurine HUM-99 Eventide in an earlier trademark where one of the sheep didn’t have their tail flush with the edge of the base as indicated in all of the catalogs and books I have access to. Here is a comparison of a difference between the two in my collection where you can see that the little boy in the left side actually has his left foot resting squarely on the head of one of the sheep. Compare the foot placement to the other to the right. This is the only one I have found like this. Both of these figurines are TMK-2 Full Bees and are a topic of fun discussion when guests visit.

HUM 174 – She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

The little figurine spotlighted here has seen several restyled updates according to Robert Miller, notably with the eyes looking down or straight above the flower, the number of flowers, and the size of the feather in his hat. These variations have not had as much of an impact on the price as has the age of the figurine as indicated by the trademark located under the base. There are always a few exceptions and when you find a rare example, it may even be a one of a kind, as in the samples offered to the Convent Sisters for their choice of a future prototype.

Full Bee TMK-2 (left) and Crown TMK-1 (right)

I was looking for an incised Full Bee TMK-2 and the one on the left was the only one I was able to locate in a host of the other 100+ located on eBay to choose from. There were two items that immediately struck me as being quite different from the other older examples. The most noticeable is the missing yellow bird sitting atop the fence post. Another is the height of the post where the bird would be in comparison to the standard figurine.

On a HUM 174, there are two visible differences between a Crown TMK-1 and a Full Bee TMK-2. These are the hair styles and the position of the ground beneath the fence post to the boys right. The figurine on the left has the correct fence post positioning for the Full Bee but ironically has the hair style of the Crown like the one to the right. It is as though it may have been one of those samples which had an update from one but not the next and was not selected, but rather taken back to the factory and placed on a shelf.

This interesting little fella cost $39.50 with free shipping. No where else have I been able to find another HUM 174 with the nosey little yellow bird missing and there is no mention of it in any of my books or price guides. I wrote the previous owner asking if they had any history and he instantly replied that he “… knew it was missing the bird after I did some research after getting him. I think I had him listed for over a year and gradually kept reducing the price. Nobody wanted him when I had him listed as a rare Hummel missing the bird. One collector told me the factory workers were a little lackadaisical in the early 50’s and said in the past he had seen many figurines missing add on items like flowers, fruit, or birds.” He adds further that it was purchased in Germany by one of his relatives back in the 40’s or 50’s and he received it at a family reunion where they auction family items to help pay for the catering.

It can become intriguing what you might find that you didn’t expect and becomes an exciting treasure hunt when you are able to obtain a story behind your latest purchase and be able to use a great tool like eBay to contrast and compare one from another on the same screen.

HUM 192 – Candlelight

     The name of Carrier of Light can be found for this figurine in older catalogs and was originally modeled by master sculptor Reinhold Unger in 1948 with a long red ceramic candle reaching to the angel’s feet. It was later remodeled by Theo R. Menzenbach in 1958 with a short candle holder ending in the angel’s hands. The older models are typically slightly larger with a transition to the smaller candle within the TMK-3 trademark where both versions may be found with this mark. Those found with the Crown TMK-1 are considered quite scarce.

HUM 214/A – Madonna and Child

   The M.I. Hummel Nativity Set is one of the more popular groupings of the figurines, especially just before and during the Christmas season. One of the pieces of this group, the Madonna and Child, began as one piece and was soon after split due to production problems it was later produced as two separate pieces, both with the same number, 214 A, which is incised on the bottom of each piece. The one-piece unit was sold in white overglaze finish as well as in full color finish and both are considered to be rare today.

HUM 311 – Kiss Me

    It is often just a small change in design that makes one version of a figurine more valuable than another. A case in point is HUM 311 Kiss Me as shown below. It was first introduced in the United States in 1961 and was redesigned in 1963 to make the doll slightly smaller in size so that it would appear more like a doll and less like a small child. The difference here has made a difference of between $300 and $500 between the old and the new versions of this model.

HUM 314 – Confidentially

    Master sculptor Horst Ashermann designed this figurine in 1955 but it was not introduced into production until 1972 with an issue price of $22.50. Soon after the first of the figurines were available for sale, master sculptor Gerhard Skrobek redesigned Confidentially with a stronger stand for the cactus, as well as putting a bow tie on the little boy, changed his hair style and the finished texture of his clothing was modified and now shows a copyright date of 1972.

The update occurred in 1972 so the old design and the new design can both be found in the Last of the Bee TMK-5 trademark. The old style is naturally valued at a higher price due to the short period of time this trademark had the old style.  In most cases, the value of the old style in TMK-5 is more than twice that of the new style within this trademark. The earlier versions with the old style have a copyright date of 1955 in the Full Bee TMK-2, Stylized TMK-3 and Three Line TMK4 trademarks and reflect their values accordingly, especially the TMK-2 and TMK-3 since they were samples. It is currently listed as Temporarily Withdrawn (TW) as of January 1999.

As a side note, this six inch figurine is also the “mascot” of the M.I. Hummel Club Chapter of the Phoenix Roadrunners in Arizona, probably since it is the only one with a cactus.

These are but a few that you may come across and requires
a sharp eye to notice the variations of one from the others.
This page will be updated as additional interesting Hummel figurines are discovered.
Check back often!

 

References

Author. (2019). August 2019 Summary. Retrieved on 12 August 2019 from http://goodwillbuyer.com/august-2019-summary/.

Invaluable. (n.d.). Everything You Need to Know About Hummel Figurines, International Figurines. Received 4 October 2019 from https://www.invaluable.com/blog/inside-the-archives-hummel-figurine-prices/.

Miller, R. L. (2003). The no. 1 price guide to M.I. Hummel: Figurines, plates, more. 9th Edition. Cumberland, MD: Portfolio Press.

Miller, R. L., Ehrmann, E. W., & Pfeiffer, W. (1989). M.I. Hummel: The Golden Anniversary Album.

Page updated on 28 December 2020.