Give thanks for what you have
The Making of Hummel Pieces.
All the items in the collection are of a type of ceramic made from a mixture of feldspar, kaolin and quartz resulting in a high quality earthenware. They are each fashioned in molds taken from original hand sculpted master models. These master models are figures based upon the original designs of the late Sister M.I. Hummel. The designs are released to the company by the Siessen Convent and the resulting three dimensional renderings must be approved by the convent before they are put into production and released for sale to collectors. Each is cast (sometimes in several pieces which must be painstakingly assembled by hand), hand finished, fired and then released for sale. It is long, careful process entirely by hand and one which results in the finest quality product.
Identifying Genuine Hummel Figurines
A positive way of ascertaining the authenticity of a Hummel figurine is to employ a short checklist used by advanced collectors and dealers which will quickly tell you if its the real McCoy or a copy-cat:
For the avid Hummel collector the above checklist will suffice. For those not as experienced then keep reading for a more detailed explanation. The wisest and happiest collector is often the most knowledgeable about all aspects of his or her collecting field.
Step-1 --- Look for the famous M.I. Hummel Signature
The most important mark of all of them is the M.I. Hummel signature incised, usually, on the rear upper surface of the base or on the rear edge of the figurine. Look for it before buying any figurine that is offered as a genuine Hummel. It should be clearly visible.
Step-2 --- Check the Incised Model Number
With the figurine facing to the front, turn the base up towards you. At the top of the base there should be an incised(indented) number which, for the series of M.I. Hummel figurines. (I sure hope you have a handy reference available or at least a picture) Because the figurine being examined should match the picture shown for that model number. In addition to the name and picture, the production record next to the picture will show what size that model number and size indicator should be. The height may not match exactly, as many older models varied from the current specified height.
Step-3 --- Determine the Trademark Classification
Trademarks (TMK) have been divided into six broad groups for convenience in determining the approximate age, the date the figure was made, and the relative value. Each group has many minor variations. What a lot of people doesn't know is that the timespan in which each mark was used overlaps the timespan of the next earlier and later marks. There are no exact cutoff dates. Exceptions seem to be the rule. Secondly, the time period that each trademark was used has been verified as being much longer than previously thought. The best example of this is the TMK-3, Stylized Bee. Examples have been documented that prove this mark was used as early as 1956 and as late as 1972. It overlaps the TMK-2 by two years and the TMK-4 by eight years. I will make a link to the various trademarks here at a later date. As soon as I can scan 'em and put 'em up.
Step-4 --- Carefully Examine Any Article for Damage
This step is becoming increasingly important and yet more difficult to execute in fact. Be especially alert for repair materials that do not show up under black light, and also the fact that damaged pieces that have been professionally repaired.
In detecting restored pieces...even the most expertly restored Hummel figures or articles are detectable, but is sometimes difficult or impossible for the average collector. The two most reliable methods are examination by long-wave ultraviolet light and examination by X-ray. Until very recently one could rely almost 100% on ultraviolet light examination, but recently some restorative techniques have been developed that are undetectable except by X-ray examination.
When using Examination by Long-Wave Ultraviolet Light an undamaged piece will appear uniformly light purple in color, the value of the purple varying with color on the piece. A crack or fracture with glue in it will appear a lighter color (usually orange or pink), patches will appear almost white, and most new paint will appear a much, much darker purple.
When using Examination by X-Ray, I hope you have a good friend as a doctor or dentist and that you can convince to help you. When you look at the x-ray note the uniformity of the mold, with no breaks or lines apparent. Similar to looking at a x-ray of a bone with a hair-line fracture.
Now for proper pricing of the restored pieces.... For imperfections or repairs, a discount from the Current Price List figures from 25 to 75 percent is in order. This is the price range reflected in actual sales. Broadly interpreted, allow a spread of 20 - 30 percent discount for minor nicks or touch-up not readily noticeable, advancing to about 50% for major portions broken, reglued, or professionally replaced. Finally, allow from 70-90% discount from the Price List for "basket cases". Of course auctions is a totally different animal.
Step-5 --- Check for Overall Quality Everyone has different standards of excellence. But there is one isolated indication of substandard quality that is rarely found. It is customary in the ceramic trade to grind a diagonal line through the company trademark to identify substandard quality that is either to be sold at discount or broken up. The Goebel Company does not sell seconds. However, occasionally a Hummel piece is encountered in the secondary market with such a slash line that can be readily seen or felt by passing a fingernail across the trademark. These should be rejected by most dedicated collectors when found. They will always leave a nagging question in the owner's mind and are difficult to dispose of later.
Hope you enjoyed my little site and by all means....DO have a Nice Day!!!