Hummel Variations

         The topic for this page was an obvious choice to have you consider looking for interesting variations that make these figurines “rare” and therefore, perhaps more desirable due in part to the fewer number available to be searched out and find a prominent place in your collection.

This page was updated on 5 March 2021.

Variations

HUM 6 – Sensitive Hunter

       Molded by master sculptor Arthur Möeller in 1935, this was certainly one of the very first figurines to be shown at their initial introduction to the world at the Leipzig Fair in Germany and was known then as “The Timid Hunter”. Here are two major variations to further examine with this little “hunter”.

       The first noteworthy distinction came with the Full Bee TMK-3 trademark when the lederhosen straps on the back went from being parallel to one another to crossing each other forming an X when viewed from the back side. The TMK-3 trademark had both versions and would make an interesting conversation piece if both of this trademark were in your possession.

       The second distinction came about in 1981 when all of the sizes had a change in color of the rabbit from a vibrant orange to a dark brown color. Notice also that there are some differences in the position of the rabbits ears being more spread apart in the later models. The orange rabbit on the left is a Last of the Bee TMK-5 trademark and the brown rabbit on the right is a Missing Bee TMK-6 trademark. It is interesting to see these differences side by side and only then do you notice some of the smaller variances between the figurines of the same model.

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 72 – Spring Cheer

     Height – 5″ to 5½”
     Designed in 1937 by master sculptor Reinhold Unger, this figurine was originally called Spring Flowers. It was modeled from the artwork called Just for You, H 271. There have been some significant variations in Spring Cheer over the years of its production. It was initially released wearing a yellow dress and no flowers in the right hand. During the period of the Stylized Bee TMK-3, the figure was produced with a green dress and flowers in the right hand having been restyled in 1965 by master sculptor Gerhard Skrobek who added the flowers to the right hand. This is the way the more recent versions are found. Some of the old versions without flowers were left over and were painted with a green dress to match the newer models. The one in the middle is the rarest of the two green dress models and is worth $1,200 to $1,500 in 2013 prices according to Von Recklinghausen. Records show that this figurine is Temporarily Withdrawn (TW) from production as of December 31, 1984. The suggested retail price for Spring Cheer was $55 in the 1984 price catalog. The girl in the middle shown sold on 11 October 2020 for $70. This proves that there are still some good examples of rare Hummels at relatively affordable prices available!

     A more recent off-shoot of these little figurines that is similar but differs slightly is HUM 793 – Forever Yours created by master sculptor Helmut Fischer in 1994. This was an M.I. Hummel Club piece for the 1996/1997 year. Some of the more noticeable differences are the eyes, smile, hair, circles on the dress and the missing flowers at her feet.

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 175 – Mother’s Darling

    Master sculptor Arthur Möller designed this figurine in 1945 with the old name of “Happy Harriet” and it has had minor restyling since then. The older models in the Crown TMK-1 and Full Bee TMK-2 have pink and green colored kerchiefs while the newer versions have light colored blue ones. The Stylized TMK-3 can be found in both. This figurine is found only in the 5½ inch tall size and was permanently retired by Goebel on 31 December 1997 and will not be produced again. Differences in value are based on earlier trademarks and not so much as the color of the kerchiefs except where they indicate to collectors which are the older pieces without having to examine the bases for the trademark.

       There have been a few located with the kerchiefs both being colored green but I was unable to find any information on this oddity. The one shown here was on eBay with a Stylized Bee TMK-3 trademark and had a Buy It Now price of $70 with a shipping charge of $12.99 on 2 March 2021.

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 203 2/0 – Signs of Spring

  Master sculptor Arthur Möeller modeled this figurine in one size only at first beginning with the Crown TMK-1 trademark. In the mid-1950s, a smaller version was issued with the 4-inch tall HUM 203 2/0 incised mold number. It was this size in the Full Bee TMK-2 trademark that Signs of Spring was created with two shoes for some reason. This did not last very long as it was decided to go back with the right foot to be shown as shoeless and has since remained that way. The Full Bee TMK-2 version may be found with both shoes and only one shoe. The two shoe version is considered rare and has a value estimated as three times that of the same Full Bee TMK-2 version with one shoe.

     Another variation of this HUM 203 – Signs of Spring was located in Arizona with four posts in the fence instead of the usual three. It was initially sold by a little German girl to a soldier stationed near the Goebel factory who later sold his collection of 39 figurines to a local antique shop including this very rare item. This unique figurine made its way into the Robert Miller collection.

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 218 – Birthday Serenade

      This model was first created by master sculptor Reinhold Unger in 1952. The early models have an incised 1952 copyright date with the boy playing the flute and the girl with the accordion. Later models were created by master sculptor Gerhard Skrobek in 1964 with the reverse instruments as shown in these two photos. The change was made at the request of the Sießen Convent. The larger size HUM 218/0 is considered rare but was put back into production in 1964 and bears, in error, the 1952 copyright date that should have been corrected to 1964. The newer version also has the boy with an additional tie. Both versions may be found in the TMK-3 and TMK-4 trademarks. Also of note, the one playing the accordion is also the one singing. There are perhaps only a handful of figurines that went through such a drastic change within the mold as this one and retained the same mold number.

      There is also a similar correspondence which exists with the two models of the Birthday Serenade lamps where they show up in the 9¾ inch tall HUM 231 – Birthday Serenade lamp where Reinhold Unger created it in 1953 only to be remodeled by master sculptor Rudolf Wittman in 1976 with the instruments reversed. The slightly shorter lamp of 7½ inches tall HUM 234 – Birthday Serenade lamp was also designed by Reinhold Unger in 1954 with the same design and a revised version was also modified with the reversed musical instruments by Rudolf Wittman in 1976.

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.

 

HUM 337 – Cinderella

  Master sculptor Arthur Möller designed this figurine in 1956 as a Full Bee TMK-2 sample with more samples produced during the Stylized Bee TMK-3 period but it was not introduced into production until 1972 being redesigned by master sculptor Gerhard Skrobek during the Last Bee TMK-5 period. The older version has eyes wide open looking above the bowl while the newer version is looking into the bowl. Both versions may be found in the Last Bee TMK-5 trademark. Also, hair is more pronounced in the newer version and the round spots on the dress are raised a little to provide a place to paint. You may also notice that the shoes appear quite different with the older version looking a bit smaller with the bird sitting more on the side of the shoe. One of the samples was found with a fourth bird sitting on the little girl’s left shoulder and commands a respective higher premium. Aside from these small differences, the figurine has changed little.

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.

 

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.