We see lots of Hummel figurines in our downsizing business! With so many different editions spanning over 75 years, there are endless combinations of collections that have been lovingly gathered and displayed in homes across the world.
But as interest in collecting as a hobby wanes, so does the value of collectibles that would have brought hundreds of not thousands of dollars in the past.
Here’s a review of how these adorable figures came about, and a snapshot of the value of Hummels in 2022.
A Brief History of the Hummel Collectibles
Hummel’s Humble Beginnings
Fresh out of art school in South Germany, Berta Hummel was a talented artist who wanted to spend her days combining her artistic talents and her religious beliefs. She made this goal a reality by joining the Convent of Siessen, a Francisican order with a focus on the religious perspective of the arts. After her vows, she became known as Sister Maria Innocentia, and began her career as one of the most widely recognizable artists across the world.
Sister Maria created wholesome and charming drawings that featured school children with rosy cheeks as the primary subject. These cheerful depictions became loved by many. Initially her designs were included on greeting cards. Luckily for collectors, these sweet cards led to Hummel’s drawings being depicted as ceramic figurines.
Franz Goebel, owner of W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik, first saw Sister Maria’s work in 1933 on a set of Christmas notecards. While his company typically produced porcelain dinnerware and beer steins, Franz saw an opportunity to expand business into the world of figurines after seeing Hummel’s charming work. Sister Maria granted Goebel permission to use her drawings to create these collectibles with one caveat: all designs must receive a final approval from the convent before manufacturing. By 1935, production of the porcelain figurines was in full swing, immediately loved by the many. While Sister Maria faced an untimely death in 1946, her legacy lives on through the collection of drawings she left to the convent, which are still being used to create new figurines to this day.
Popularity and Spread
Despite their immediate popularity when production began in 1935, Hummel figurines saw a temporary lapse in production during the Nazi occupation of Germany during WWII. Luckily, production had resumed by 1946, and the figurines quickly became popular among U.S. servicemen stationed in Germany. Upon their return home, many brought the collectible figurines along as souvenirs. In fact, they became so popular with servicemen that the figurines were offered for sale as part of the Army Base Exchange system.
The 1970s and 80’s saw a huge spike in interest and prices for these prized collectibles, and they have remained popular ever since. The wide availability and the sheer number of traditional figurines, collectible plates, special editions including a Swarovski crystal series, international editions, and commemoratives series have delighted collectors with plenty of options to obsess over, specialize and grow their collections.
Value of Hummels in 2022
The short answer: Generally speaking there are many more Hummel figurines out there than there are people who want them. Anyone who regularly purchased figurines during the heyday of Hummel collecting will almost certainly not recoup their investment. Values have plummeted in recent years as collections are released into the secondary market. For example in the 2010’s, an average resale price for a typical figure was in the $80 range, but now in the 2020’s, a lot of the same type of figures sell for $50-75.
But as with any collectibles, you will find some die-hard enthusiasts who are actively looking for specific editions. If you are downsizing a Hummel collection, it can be fun to research those sought-after editions that can still bring in big bucks at online auctions.
Which editions are still selling for top dollar? We researched verified online or estate auction sales in the month of May, 2022:
Hummel Figurines that recently sold for over $100:
Apple Tree Girl
Umbrella Girl/ Boy
Ready to Play
Follow the Leader
Hummel Figurines that recently sold in the $200 to $300 range:
Rock a Bye
Harmony in 4 Parts
Land in Sight
Strike Up the Band
Hummel Figurines that recently sold for over $300:
Follow the Leader
Ring around the Rosie (Large)
Can I Play (Large)
Teeter Totter Time ($1275!)
If you have popular editions like these that you think have value, you may want to offer them in an online auction like eBay.
Tips for Selling Your Hummels
Selling Hummel Figurines on Ebay:
Obviously, research recent sold prices first! Don’t be deceived by asking prices though, because they may differ dramatically from verified sold items.
Once you’ve typed the name of your item into the search box, Go to the filter options on the left hand side of the screen. select “Sold Items” under the “Show Only” option at the very bottom of the box.
Note that even in this view, the sale prices that say “or Best Offer” may not have sold for the price shown.
Be sure to factor in the time, effort and expense involved in posting, packaging and shipping your collection before you go the online auction route.
Selling Your Hummels in an Estate Sale or Local Auction House:
In our experience, the majority of Hummel collections we come across include more widely available figures that are not in high demand. As a real life example, consider the seller’s proceeds from a collection we took to a local auction house in the Washington DC area in 2020:
- 6 Goebel Hummel figurines. Includes “Listen to Santa Claus.” $45
- 3 Goebel Hummel figurines: Child w/ deer or dog $40
- Lot of 7 Goebel Hummel figurines $35
- 10 Goebel Hummel figurines $55
- 10 Goebel Hummel figurines $60
The $235 total was offset by the auction house commission ($40) and the cost of handling, packing and transporting to the auction ($80).
The total profit in this instance was $115 for a collection that probably cost thousands to acquire. So, not a huge payday for this collector, but our client had the satisfaction of knowing that his mother’s cherished collection had found its way into the hands of someone who wants them.
If you don’t have the time and energy to sell your collection, donation may be an option as well. We recommend that you call ahead to be sure your local donation center is accepting small collectibles.