At the Beginning:
M.I. Hummel products are the result of a partnership between Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, Franz Goebel and the Convent of Siessen in the 1930s. He saw her artwork and decided the world needed the gentle innocence of children she portrayed.
Born in Bavaria in 1909, Berta went to the Academy of Applied Arts in Munich. After graduation in 1931 she entered the Convent of Sieseen -- an order that emphasized the arts and soon was producing religous art cards for several German publishers. When Franz Goebel saw her published artwork, he realized these drawings could translate into the new figurines he wanted to produce.
Berta took the name Maria Innocentia Hummel in 1934.
The agreement with Goebel was that Sister Hummel would have the final approval of every piece and it would be incised with her signature. To this day, each M.I. Hummel piece must have the approval of the Convent of Siessen.
1935 -- Puppy Love:
The first figurines was introduced in 1935 and were immediately successful. Puppy Love has the distinction of being the first piece, Hum 1.
World War II:
Hummel figurines were only allowed to be made for export during the war, but Goebel still continued with a few new models. The effects of the war reached the Convent as the fuel shortages caused Sister Hummel to work in a cold, unheated space and because of her fragile health died in 1946.
After the war American soldiers discovered Hummels and sent the figurines home. They also started gaining popularity with the German people who wanted to start decorating their homes again.
Goebel Collectors Club/M.I. Hummel Club:
In 1977 the Goebel Collectors' Club was born with over 100,000 collectors joining the first year. The name and scope of the club was changed in 1989 to the M.I. Hummel Club and would focus on Sister Hummel's artwork. The club is now international and today has nearly 175,000 members, including more than 10,000 Charter Members.
Like most popular items that are collected, there are Hummel look-a-likes. Check for the marks on the bottom, the sure sign of an authentic Hummel figurine.
Still Lives on Today:
There are not many companies or collectibles that are instantly recognizable to everyone, even non-collectors. There has never been a doubt what a Hummel is and even though hundreds of different pieces, with numerous size variations have been made over the years -- the popularity of these charming Bavarian children has not diminished.
Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel may have died at a young age in 1946, but her art has lived on, delighting hundreds of thousands of collectors today.
Collector Editions, Summer 2006
Price Guide to M.I.Hummel Figures, Plates, MIniatures and More
*The experts pick Robert Miller's The No. 1 Price Guide to M.I. Hummel Figurines, Plates, Miniatures, & More as a terrific resource. But the best recommendation of all, is the fact that the guide is up to edition #10 -- available in August 2006.