Hummel ceramic figurines have drawn the attention of collectors and admirers since their introduction by the Geoble Germany Company in 1935. Based on the drawings of Sister M.I. Hummel, the figures -- mostly of children in everyday scenes -- are loved for their charm and innocence. If you are selling or insuring Hummel figurines -- or wish to acquire them -- you'll need to learn a little about their value in the marketplace.
Identify the exact figurines in question. The bottom of each Hummel has distinctive marks. You'll find various combinations of the company name, Hummel's name, copyright marks, pattern marks, figurine names and other identifying marks. Many pieces are marked with the company logo and a figure of a honeybee. Each piece has its own combination of marks that specifically identifies it.
Find your Hummel's specific listing in a Hummel reference or price book. If two figurines are nearly identical, the guide book will describe the specific details that distinguish them. Compare these descriptions -- and the photos that often accompany them -- to your piece. The listing will give an estimated retail value. Remember that condition and the presence of original packaging usually affect value.
Look on eBay under Completed Listings for recent sales of Hummel figurines. Keep in mind that you'll need to compare the exact details of the listing to your piece, as well as condition and the presence of original packaging. Unless a piece is rare and well advertised, prices for eBay collectibles tend to represent auction or wholesale value rather than retail or replacement value.
Take your figurines to a Hummel expert for evaluation. Dealers who specialize in Hummels and other 20th century figurines can identify unusual pieces and give guidance on their value. You can find Hummel dealers at large antiques and ceramics shows.
Remember that the full retail value is not usually the price that you will get if you sell a collectible. If you want to sell your Hummel pieces, you'll likely to get something closer to the wholesale or auction value. If you sell to a dealer, remember that he has expenditures of both money and time to find a buyer at full price.
In the wake of Hummels' popularity, many companies produced Hummel lookalikes. Many copies are honestly marked or not marked at all, so they are easy to distinguish from genuine Hummels. However, there are many that are exact copies of actual Hummel pieces with phony Hummel marks that are intended to deceive the buyer. Sometimes, only a Hummel specialist can identify these fakes.