Recently, I saw a Gilmore Girls rerun and one of their characters said something like: “They want to know who's going to pay for the Hummel.” To which another character replied: “The what?”
To answer her question, Hummels, are the figurines or ceramic pieces designed by Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel and produced by W.Goebel. The most popular and most highly prized Goebel figurines are Hummels. It made me smile to see Hummel figurines referenced in pop culture. It told me that Hummels have really “made it;” they've stood the test of time!
Not all Hummels appeal to me, but I do have several in my collection. Hearing that reference made me want to re-explore Hummel figurines, and that's what led me to the 10th edition of The No.1 Price Guide to M.I. Hummel: Figurines, Plates, Miniatures, & More. The first full color edition of the book, this guide includes thousands of listings and great photos of the various figurines. I read that it is recognized as the most complete compilation of M.I. Hummels. That alone makes it a great reference to any pottery figurine collector!
There are several things I really like about this book. First, I like that it gives you the background of Hummels, discussing Sister Maria Innocentia and how she came to illustrate the figurines for the Goebels. It also discusses the sculptors who worked on these figurines. Apart from that, it discusses the stamps and marks of the pieces, both of which are considered very important information to any collector. Stamps and marks tell you whether or not your piece is genuine. Sometimes it also tells you whether or not your piece is a second. So this clear presentation of history and information makes this book a great tool to understanding Hummel or Goebel collecting. I also really liked that it tackled more than just Hummel figurines, but it also discussed plates and miniatures, many of which people know to be Goebels, but don't realize are Hummels.
The next thing I like about this book is that it is quite easy to use when you want to catalog your collection. The inside cover features the eight Hummel marks, for quick reference. The pieces themselves are listed in the numerical order that they were issued by Goebel. This makes the book very systematic, and as you use it, you will find that the system makes accessing the information much easier. I don't have a much of a collection, but I imagine that no matter how large your collection is, this book can help make the cataloging process simpler.
Now before anyone thinks this is another perfect book, I'll be very honest and tell you that not everything was done perfectly. First, the prices that the book lists for the figurines are not accurate. The edition hasn't taken into account the fact that the market for Hummel figurines and other collectibles has changed in the past few years, and though you can still get quite a nice price for them, you may not be able to get what the book says you can. However, these prices do give you a good idea of your collection's value, and that's important too.
The second thing that wasn't done perfectly was the production of the book itself. I've had this several months, and the last few pages have started to fall out. I admittedly am not the most careful with my books and this is a paperback so you don't expect it to last too long, but it does get tricky keeping those pages in.
Despite being less than accurate with the price and not being able to withstand my carelessness, The No.1 Price Guide to M.I. Hummel: Figurines, Plates, Miniatures, & More is still an excellent reference book. It really teaches you about Hummels, including styles or designs that were never approved! I would definitely buy this book, or a future edition again, and I do recommend it for any collector, whether they like Hummel figurines or not!
Interested in Hummel figurines? Click here to learn more about this book and what others have to say!