As with any item of great popularity, there will be those who wish to make a profit on a look-alike or knock-off or reproduction or a fake item to pass off as the real thing. For example, in the wrist-watch world, you will find one of the most reproduced watches is the Rolex while in the porcelain figurine world, you will find many look-alike figurine versions of the Hummels. I recently ran across some good examples of some poor copies using the name credited with M.I. (Maria Innocentia) Hummel and Goebel’s combined artwork and thought I would share these with you.
Some of these that you may run across are discernible as copies only after you learn what to look for while others may not be quite as obvious. As an example, here is a photograph of a sticker located beneath one such figurine showing that it is an original reproduction of a Hummel. A relatively new product marketed for a lesser price is now on the shelf bearing the Hummel name as Berta Hummel. These bisque porcelain figurines are made in some of the Far East countries including China and Taiwan. Berta Hummel was sister M.I. (Maria Innocentia) Hummel’s given name before she became a nun.
As a novice collector, I am always looking to find what constitutes the real thing versus what may be a copy so as to educate myself on what to spend my money on and be able to take home with the knowledge I found a real original. I hope this article will help you in this regard.
Some of the features to recognize as the real item are as follows:
Does it have the incised name M.I. Hummel on the base toward the back or the bottom? Almost all of the figurines are required to have the impression of the name M.I. Hummel imprinted somewhere on the item. There are a few exceptions to this usually found on the very small examples where there is no room. The Goebel company is the primary producer of these fine porcelain figurines.
You may also find there are a number of other companies that were granted a limited license for their Hummel related products. Some of these include ARS AG, Danbury Mint, Hallmark, Hawthorne, Schmid and Willabee & Ward to mention a few. Don’t forget that just because it is from Goebel, it isn’t necessarily a Hummel. Goebel makes a lot of other products that are dissociated with the M.I. Hummel name.
The stamped or incised trademark may be the best clue as to the authenticity of the item. The TMK is typically found on the bottom of the figurine and is under the glaze so as to be a permanent part of the item. The TMK has been modified a number of times since 1935 and some good examples of these can be found on a supporting page at this link.
Is the quality obvious? There are a lot of Japanese and Chinese reproductions and many of these do not have the shiny porcelain appearance but are rather chalky looking with a dull finish. Here is an example of an older Hummel, The Good Shepherd HUM 35, in blue, and a copy of the same idea in orange. The details are not as finely pronounced and are clearly of lesser quality. The fake proudly announced with a sticker on the bottom that it was an “Original Hummel Reproduction, Hand Painted”.
Other links for more information on what to look for:
- 2-Clicks – 2-clicks-collectiblefigurines.com/article-guide/hummel-figurines.html
- Antique HQ – antique-hq.com/how-to-identify-your-hummel-figurine-1527
- Deutches Haus – deutscheshaus.cc/articles/berta_hummel_figurines/
- Don’s Collectibles – donsbossons.com/page5a.HTML
- Etsy examples – etsy.com/market/fake_hummels
- Etsy look-alikes – etsy.com/market/hummel_like
- Our Pastimes – ourpastimes.com/hummel-figurine-identification-5162198.html
- Reference – reference.com/hobbies-games/can-tell-hummel-authentic-67a7fa86919a4f06#
- Tips by Dr. Lori – drloriv.com/Tips/ID/21/Hummel-Figurines