Hummel figurines were a prized possession of World War II soldiers, but the market has turned soft nowadays
In 2000, an Umbrella Girl Hummel sold on average for $700 to $800, and today, the same Hummel averages $100.
The dramatic drop in value could reflect changing tastes. Or, simply the collectors are at an age where they are downsizing, or they passed the collection on to their heirs, who of course, don’t want grandma’s and grandpa’s old stuff. Whatever the reason, the mass liquidation of Hummel collections has flooded the market, forcing prices down.
The Hummel porcelain figurine is a perfect example of a generational trend. Back when I was a kid, several of my friends’ parents would collect them. They were prominently displayed in the living and dining rooms, and we all knew not to touch them. I didn’t know the history of the figurines. I only knew what I was told — that they were very valuable.
For my grandparents, the Hummel represented a time in history when the country was rebounding from World War II. In the 1930s, Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, of Germany, was gaining popularity for her pastoral drawings of children. Franz Goebel, a porcelain maker, acquired the rights to turn her drawings into figurines, and began marketing them to U.S. soldiers stationed in Europe. Popularity grew in the United States, with prices peaking in the 1970s.
As my grandpa always told me, “Never hang on to something longer than its intended use.” Too many times I have seen collectors put their life savings into a collection, banking on the idea that it will rise in value, only to see the particular market crash and lose 90 percent of their initial investment.
In collecting, rarity can force prices up when it’s a desirable piece, and just the opposite is true. I would advise any collector or collector’s heirs to pay close attention to the market prices of the collections they hold as they can be as volatile as the stock market.
It’s relatively easy to monitor markets now with the huge amount of information online. Check out free auction websites like eBay, 1stdibs and etsy. Or, watch for free appraisal fairs, where you can bring your items to experts who will assess value and provide options for liquidation.
By the way, if you’re cleaning out a loved one’s estate and think you’ve come across a Hummel, don’t be fooled by the knockoffs made of plastic, plaster, chalkware, or if there is a sticker attached. A genuine Hummel is made of porcelain with distinctive markings, most of which have a “V” or a Bee on it. There are a total of eight different Hummel marks that have been done since the company first began marking them. There were thousands of reproductions made and most are worth even less than an authentic Hummel.
Erik Hoyer co-owns EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale and J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale. An Arizona native, he opened AZAuctionman in 2007, which later became EJ’s. A certified auctioneer and member of the National Auctioneers Association, his favorite part of the business is hearing the stories behind the collectibles.
View the article here: http://www.azcentral.com/story/home/2015/05/15/sweet-hummel-figurines-used-cbt/27393401/
Sue Kern-Fleischer, SKF Public Relations, (602) 810-1404 cell
Erik Hoyer, EJ’s Auction & Consignment, (623) 878-2003