An interesting facet of any hobby is that of studying items that are unique or rare. M.I. Hummel collectors have found a fascination and excitement in finding variations and rarities in the figurines available worldwide. There are many factors that come into play when deciding whether a figurine is rare or not. The age of an item is an influencing aspect but so is the size of a figurine, but not always. Perhaps the more significant feature in determining the rarity of an item would be the number of pieces known to have been produced as a certain style or in how it differs from a typical piece.
The figurines have been produced since 1935 but there was a definite reduction in the numbers produced during and shortly after World War II. Although the actual number of items created before the war is not known, there are certainly fewer available today with the TMK-1 Crown mark as compared to the other trademarks. Also, those suspected as being unique were found to be otherwise when another was discovered. It is interesting to note that from time to time a rare figurine has surfaced that was previously unknown much to the delight of the proud new owner. This happens more often that you might suspect and sustains the interest and excitement for the serious collector.
The following ten categories are good examples of M.I. Hummel figurines that are very different and unlike anything you would expect from the usual variety. These are the Rare Hummels! Click the image below to visit that type with many more figurines. Also, be sure to visit the What’s New web page to see what has been added recently to this site that you may have missed.
This page was updated on 1 July 2021.
M.I. Hummel Rare Figurines (HUM 1 – 99)
There are many M.I. Hummel figurines and a small relative proportion have something different that qualifies them to be referred to as “rare”. This category is a general one for those figurines more typically represented than the next selections following. As to the little figurine shown here of Prayer Before Battle, it can be considered rare due to the red line that appears on painted on the base. Only a representative few of each mold like this are in existence denoted as the artist’s sample to use as the perfect example. (Click)
M.I. Hummel Rare Figurines (HUM 100 – On)
There are many M.I. Hummel figurines and a small relative proportion have something different that qualifies them to be referred to as “rare”. This category is a general one for those figurines more typically represented than the next selections following. As to these little fellas shown here, they are considered rare due to the little one holding the sheet music sporting a bow tie. He’s not supposed to have one which makes this a highly sought after item. (Click)
The International M.I. Hummel Figurines
The “Internationals” have brought world wide attention to the these little figurines due to the scarcity of being able to find one. This is mainly because each one is a sample that was turned down by the Sisters at the Convent and were never put into production, even after trying again in 1990. Master sculptors Arthur Möller and Reinhold Unger created these in 1940, not from the sketches by Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel but as a test to see if they showed children in different European country’s native clothes, they would increase their sales in those countries. A few collectors have the majority of these but a new collection has just come up for auction and your chance to have one in your own home is now possible. Click on the little girl in the beautiful dress to see 28 of the famous Internationals offered for sale on 16 January 2021. (Click)
The M.I. Hummel 2,000 & 3,000 Series
These “newer” versions of the Hummel collection are based on the previous figurines but not actually a direct model from the Sister Hummel sketches or drawings. Many of these are variations of those with earlier numbers from 1 to 1,999 and have won the hearts of many collectors world wide. (Click)
The Colorful Faience Figurines
No other Hummel figurines come close to the colorful expression or glossy shine that those early Faience boys and girls exhibit. These samples were very limited in number and the auction and resale prices show this clearly. More of these turn up from time to time so keep a watch on this segment of the rare M.I. Hummel figurines. (Click)
The Older MEL M.I. Hummel Figurines
These few Hummel figurines are classified as the “MELs” since they have those three letters inscribed on the base and are found to be early samples between 1939 and 1940 with three a few years later. Some of these were presented to the Sisters at the Convent for their consideration or they may also be test examples to see how they looked after creating them from the sketches. Apparently, the “Mel” designation must have been a catch-all label intended as a way of marketing these as rejected or even used to designate experimental items. These 8 MEL figurines may be one-of-a-kind or of very few numbers so that they are highly collectable as well. (Click)
The Mamas and the Papas
These 4 samples were made by master sculptor Arthur Möeller and were not approved by the Sießen Convent for production. They were each listed as a Closed Number on 18 February 1948 and will not be produced again. It was not considered typical of Sister M.I. Hummel’s work, although they are an exact replica of one of her early sketches. These early samples do have the familiar M I Hummel signature and were part of the Robert L. Miller Collection. Mr. Miller valued each at between $15,000 and $20,000 in 2003. (Click)
Possible Future Edition (PFE)
There are Hummel figurines that have not made it to production since they may be one-of-a kind samples created as part of a selection to be presented to the Sießen Convent for their approval or any number of other reasons. These are specific figurines that were purchased either from the Factory Archives or were duplicates and no longer needed but carry the title of “Possible Future Edition” (PFE). It is also possible that they may just be waiting in line for the next figurine to be announced. (Click)
Hummels with Pots/Bowls
An old Goebel document references at least fourteen figurines that have an attached pot or a bowl as a sample to be introduced to the Siessen Convent. These were never put into production and thus have been highly sought out due to this rarity. Three of these came up for auction early in 2021 and were made available to be placed in someone else’s collection. (Click)
The Beswick Company of England created at least eleven different examples of the M.I. Hummel figurines during the years 1940 and 1941 (Wartime Hummels), some with the M I Hummel signature on the back. They are easy to distinguish from the regular Hummels due to their glossy Faience finish and the different trademark on the bottom of the base. These are quite rare and highly collectable as well. (Click)
It was during early part of World War II that all work at the Goebel factory in Germany came to a halt in the production of figurines. The demand was still there and Dr. Herbert Dubler and Ars Sacra had already established a New York based distribution company. In 1940, Germany stopped sending products for Dubler to sell. Faced with the huge demand for Hummel items, Dr. Dubler decided to create new products that closely followed the original art of M.I. Hummel and were designed and manufactured in New York City. These 35 Herbert Dubler and the 12 Beswick examples are known as the “Wartime Hummels”. (Click)
Olszewski Miniature Hummels
Designed by Robert Olszewski, these 26 authentic, miniature M.I. Hummel figurines are made in bronze and then painted, and all are less than one inch tall. “It takes more than 50 steps to paint a hand poured bronze Goebel Miniature. Final glazing preserves the color and finish of the original M.I. Hummel figurine.” (Click)
Have fun collecting!
Blackwell Auctions (2021). Blackwell Auctions. Retrieved from https://www.gotoauction.com/sales/view/254997.html
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. New York, N.Y.: Portfolio Press.
Recklinghausen, H. A. V. (2013). Official M. I. Hummel Price Guide, 2nd edition.