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M. I. Hummel Figurines Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My Hummel Figurine has a hole is it defective?
A: No. Every M. I. Hummel Figurine has a hole somewhere on the figurine. The hole allows the air to escape from inside of the hummel figurine during the firing process. Without the hole, not only would the hummel explode during firing, it would also damage many other hummels in the firing rack.
Q: Who authorized Goebel to manufacture M.I.Hummel figurines?
A: Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel and the Convent of Siessen. Goebel's exclusive relationship began in 1934 when the endearing drawings of the talented Franciscan nun came to the attention of Bavarian porcelain manufacturer Franz Goebel. He proposed to the Convent and to Sister Maria Innocentia that her artwork be translated into three-dimensional form. The first figurines were introduced in 1935.
Q: What are the origins of M.I.Hummel figurines and what do they depict?
A. M.I. Hummel figurines were originally based on the artwork of Sister M.I. Hummel who loved children. Most of her artwork is comprised of only children, although she did draw many inspirational and religious works of art as well. Since many of her drawings were in black and white and only depicted the front of her subjects, the collection was expanded to include interpretive figurines. Interpretive figurines, like all M.I. Hummel figurines, must be of a child or children and include subject matter that Sister Maria Innocentia would have seen in Bavaria, Germany, circa 1930's and 1940's. Sr. Hummel died in 1946 at the young age of 37 of tuberculosis.
Q: What involvement does the Convent of the Siessen have with Goebel today?
A: To maintain high artistic standards set by Sister Maria Innocentia, the Convent continues to approve every M.I.Hummel collectible before Gobel begins production. The royalties the Convent continues to receive from Goebel endow charities and benevolent programs throughout the world.
Q: How are M.I.Hummel figurines made?
A: Figurines are handcrafted and hand-painted by highly skilled artisans who have been trained by Goebel, beginning with a three-year apprentice program. Each figurine is assembled from several individually molded parts, up to 30 for complicated figurines, and then fired at intense temperatures three times.
Q: How long does it take to complete a single figurine?
A: The production of each figurine is a very long and detailed process of handcraftsmanship. The production time varies according to the size and complexity of each figurine. For example, a six-inch figurine can require as many as 700 hand operations and can take as long as several weeks to complete.
Q: What are some of the most popular M.I.Hummel figurines?
A: The Merry Wanderer (Hum 7) is by far the #1 favorite motif among collectors. In fact, The Merry Wanderer is so well loved, it became the so-called "mascot" of The M.I. Hummel Club and now is part of its logo. Another popular motif is Heavenly Angel, one of the earlier religious motifs first modeled by Goebel Master Sculptors in 1935. This motif was so popular, it was introduced on the 1971 Annual Plate in bas relief and later was introduced in a multiple of sizes to keep up with demand.
Q: How can I tell if my figurine is authentic?
A: There is only one manufacturer of M.I.Hummel figurines, plates and bells. Authentic figurines will have an incised M.I.Hummel signature on the base. Then turn the figurine upside down. If you don't find the Goebel backstamp there, the figurine isn't authentic.