I am familiar with the name of M.I. Hummel which represents some of the finest German porcelain figurines I have been able to purchase but there is a new name (to me) very similar to hers in figurines, Berta Hummel, that bears a striking resemblance very much like the M.I. Hummels. I did a little research into this look-alike and found some valuable information as being more careful as to what I should look for in future purchases. The following may help you as well, I hope.
Berta vs M.I. Hummel
Berta Hummel (1909-1946) was the artist’s name before she adopted the religious name of Maria Innocentia Hummel in 1931 after she entered the Catholic congregation as a postulant, hence M.I. Hummel.
“Berta Hummel” is another extension of the Goebel company which has been producing the M.I. Hummel figurines, plates and other items associated with this name since 1935. The difference that I see between the two is that these are produced in the Far East (ie. – China, Thailand) instead of Germany but also under the supervision of the Goebel company. Here is an example from Goebel of Spring Blossoms, BH 3/2/0 made in China. I noticed that the Berta Hummel figurines have the “BH” and then the number of the item. The box these come in also has a printed label quite different showing the phrase “StudioHummel“.
“Until 2007, a line of figurines called Berta Hummel was produced in Asia. Less expensive than the M. I. Hummel figurines made in Germany, they were approved by Hummel’s nephew, not by the convent that has always had approval rights on M. I. Hummel designs. Berta Hummel figurines were based on drawings that Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel made before she became a nun. They superficially resemble M. I. Hummel figurines, but should not be confused with them and have very little re-sale value” (Viator, 2008).
The Berta Hummel figurines are very nice but you can tell there is a noticable difference when they are side by side. The M.I. Hummels are fired in a kiln multiple times at very high temperatures during a multiple step process of glazing, painting,
You may also find recently that there are a number of other companies that were granted a limited license for their Hummel related products. As a few that I have found, here are some that include:
Another major offshoot of the Hummel figurines is this example from the Danbury Mint version of the M.I. Hummel Chick Girl (57/I) called Gentle Moment. The main differences I see here are that the Danbury Mint version has painted dots on the white sleeves as well as flowers on the skirt whereas the M.I. Hummel is plain but has spots painted on the head scarf that the Danbury Mint version does not. The manufacturer’s information on the bottom of each figurine is also quite different but the Danbury does have inscribed 57/1, is stamped The Danbury Mint Exclusive, Hummel Manufactur, Made in Germany. A description of the chicken house base and the little girl is, “The base with henhouse, fence with egg sign, and tree is cold cast porcelain / earthenware. The little girl with chick figurine is matte finish ceramic.” Note that the chicken house scene has a small gold sticker showing that it is made in China.
As a side note, I have noticed that earlier M.I. Hummel versions of the Chick Girl, 57/0, have only two yellow chicks in the basket but the larger version, 57/I and the bookend Chick Girl 61/B have three yellow chicks.
The Danbury Mint advertises one of their items, The M.I. Hummel Christmas Village”, as “meticulously crafted of cold-cast porcelain, a special blend of powdered porcelain and resin prized by artisans for its ability to capture the tiniest details and textures.” The original German made M.I. Hummel figurines were made from porcelain slip poured into a mold, then fired at high temperature as many as four times.
- ARS AG – miHummelLicensing.com
- Danbury Mint – Danburymint.com/Collectibles/SearchResult?Keywords=hummel
- Goebel – Goebel.de/en/content/history-love-porcelain
- Manufaktur Rödenta – HummelFiguren.com
- Viator, J. (Oct. 2008), “Farewell” to “Merry Wanderer”… – link
- Willabee & Ward – WillabeeandWard.com/prod/B5D/0390-0024/M-I–Hummel-Magnets