More than a century ago a company F&W Goebel was founded which produced slate pencils and toy marbles. They then went on to make coffee pots and other useful items but it wasn’t until 1935 that F&W Goebel really made its mark on the industry. By producing delightful figurines of children; thus creating the innocent childlike memories preserved in porcelain that we know and love today – M.I. Hummel. 

Porcelain merchant

Franz Detleff Goebel was a porcelain merchant and his ambition was to have his own business. Together with his son William they founded F&W Goebel and in 1871 began to produce slate pencils and marbles.  Franz’s desperately wanted to produce beautiful objects in porcelain but did not have the finances to do so. Five years later with considerable profits and hard work his dream became reality and in 1879 his first premises was erected and the first kiln fired.

Goebel Hummel

Coffee sets & dinnerware

F&W Goebel started making coffee sets and dinnerware but as Franz grew older he realised that his son had the eye to take the company further and so the name was changed to W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik and William took over the business. This company was in Germany and William was only too aware that they needed to expand into the overseas market such as America, he sent his son Max Louis to the USA who came back with a business plan; part of this plan was porcelain figurines. William passed away and so Max took over the company. The aftermath of the WW1 had forced many Germany companies to close but Max was determined this would not happen to Goebel. In 1926 fine-grained earthenware was introduced and this versatile new material was the start of the journey for M.I. Hummel figures as we know them today.

Hummel Goebel figure

Franz Goebel

In 1929 Max Louis also sadly died but the business was then handed onto his son Franz Goebel, and son-in-law Dr. Eugen Stocke.  Franz was well aware that innovative ideas were the only way to keep the company going especially after the stock market crash; he came up with the idea of figurines of innocent children, which would appeal to customers making them forget the political turmoil. So when he noticed the artwork of a Franciscan Sister, Maria Innocentia Hummel, he knew that this was the innocent children figurines that needed to be produced to keep Goebel afloat and a success.

Sister Hummel’s talent for drawing children came from when she taught art at a girls school, surrounded by children everyday her talent flourished and was soon printed in books and onto cards, which were sold to fund the Covent’s teaching and missionary work.  Franz contacted Sister Hummel with the approval of two senior sculptors Arthur Moeller and Reinhold Unger. He assured her that should her designs be put into production that she would be shown all the clay models and have final approval on the sculpturing and painting. Her facsimile signature would also appear on each figure and Franz would be responsible for overseeing the production process. The convent and Sister Hummel allowed the rights for Goebel to produce these pieces from her original artwork and so the Hummel brand were born.

Launch of Hummel figurines

This Hummel Goebel range was launched in 1935 at the Leipzig Spring Fair and the response was phenomenal – these figurines of innocent children were an automatic success.  The “M.I. Hummel” trademark was added to each figurine with the approval of Sister Hummel and the convent’s leadership. – This trademark still appears today.  Sadly, Sister Hummel contracted Tuberculosis at the age of 37 and passed away in 1946 but she did leave behind extensive works so that Goebel could carry on producing the figurines from her drawings. The Convent of Siessen then decided to appoint an Artistic Board, even today all clay models and painted figures have to be approved. The board consists of a team of specialists that make sure that every figure is created in the correct company style and artists wishes. The Convent of Siessen, sculptors, master painters and Goebel management all ensure that each Hummel figure is to the standard that is required.

Collectors demand is growing

Over 70 years later and Hummel figures are still going strong as the demand from Collectors grows.  W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik are constantly producing new pieces to add to their range and these figures are available in various sizes.  The rarest and most expensive are the Jumbo sized ones, costing £10,899 they measure 86cm and there are only usually one or two pieces kept in stock, the rest are made to order. On average Goebel sell four or five of these a year, one particular model was the “Apple Tree Boy”. 

“I want to bring Joy”

M.I. Hummel figures were the start of W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik’s success and Sister Hummel’s personal motto “I want to bring Joy”, has without any doubt been realised through her work. Together Goebel and the Convent of Siessen. Geobel ensured that the success from the Hummel range has followed through to their recently released collections and I am sure that should Sister Hummel still be around today to witness the phenomenal success that her drawings and the figures have had on a worldwide scale she would believe - that not only had she brought Joy but a whole host of other attributes too.

How to determine value

Secondary market values are determined by several criteria including age, condition, supply and demand.

There are 4 very important factors in determining the value of your Hummel:
1). The trademark
2). The mold number
3). The size of your Hummel
4). The condition of your Hummel

Click here for more info on valuation.

other links: preferredconsumer | shophummel

Hummel price guides (USA)
Hummel price guides (UK)

Please use these links to get a value on your Hummel figurines, unfortunately I am not an expert on pottery.

Hummel value

What's it worth? Take a look at this Hummel price guide: sold listings for a value indication.

Hummel forum (11 comments)

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Rudolph - November 3, 2014

I want the christmas hummel from frobek number 66 700-14 compleet blanco help me
►reply: I see them now and then on ebay (search often for: hummel frobek, otherwise I don't know...

Monika - October 15, 2014

I have a set of 7 M.I. Hummel Prints that belonged to my Grandmother at least as far back from the 1960's that I can remember her having them. the mark after the signature is a hooked cross with an E and a heart is this authentic? They are in Gold wood frames with the backs sealed in brown paper.
►reply: I am not sure, but I think they are. Best is to compare yours with others. Click here to find them: Hummel prints

Jackie - July 25, 2013

I have a boy figurine with the goebel back stamp. Impressed on the front of base is pree13 on the base is the impressed number 19002-12 it is 5" high he carries one boot on his back and he is in a terraccota glaze. No other colours. I need information as I have never seen one before.

Jackie - July 23, 2013

I picked up a terraccota coloured geobel hummel figurine this morning and can find no information on it. on the front of the base its impressed pree 13, on the base is the b within the v w.germany, and has an impressed number 19002-12, any information would be great, thanks

Sid - May 30, 2013

I am in search of a very specific Hummel that I wish to purchase for my collection:It is called "Grandfather".If you have one
►reply: I don't have one, but you can broaden your search by using for example the German word for Grandfather. In this case, search on this site, or go here for: Hummel Grossvater. You'll be redirected to the German page on this site. Most German sellers understand English so try and contact them if you find what you're looking for.

Cheryl - May 29, 2013

I have a wayside harmony but he has an orange cravat I cant see any like this most have an open neck shirt could anybody please give me some information
►reply: Can it be discolored? I'm afraid I'm not an expert.

Billy - November 12, 2010

I have a nice hummel figurine of a girl in a tree with a dog at her feet. Who can i sell it to for good cash?
►reply: It depends on a variety of things, please take a look here and search for the 'Apple Tree Girl' to determine which one you have. How to sell I'm not sure, through auction sites or by contacting the collectors club.

Joann - November 11, 2010

I have an angel in green dress, mouth open as if singing, holding a vehicle for a candle. She is about 9 1/2 inches high. Goebel, west gremany 42 329 22 and frobek on bottom. Can you identify and give me a value? I would greatly appreciate.
►reply: Search for 'hummel angel green and you might get an impression, and you can use the links provided in the text.

Mr.h.james. - November 5, 2010

I have a hummel figurine with boy & girl waving hanker chiefs can you tell me the name & approx price? It is 6" high.
►reply: Unfortunately I am not an expert on Hummel, please try the links to valuation sites on this page.

Sharon - November 1, 2010

i have inherited to porcelain figurines that resemble german children. they are both numbered "c331" on the bottom. Can someone tell me anything about them?

Sandi - October 31, 2010

I am trying to find out how much the hummels are worth my grandmother gave me. How could I do that and where do I find out what the name of the figurine is?