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Collectible Figurines Including Hummels
Collectible figurines have many things to consider when determining a value. A referremce book is merely a starting point. Bt it can just give aclues. One must look at the condition of each piece, the marking that can indicate authenticity and age, and the quantity produced. Yes, the books are essential, but so is your close examination of each piece.
Intro Image: This is an Amazon image.
There are many figurines out there. Some, a few, are collectible. Most are good buys only if you plan to enjoy them yourself, but not as an investment.
Collectible figurines include Hummels and those made prominent figurine makers, including other Goebel items. A prestigious name makes the difference. The quick check is to look for identifying marks. Top level companies usually place their name or their mark on all pieces they produce. Then look the company up in a book on collectible figurines.
Hummels originated with the drawings of Berta Hummel, who became a nun, and thereafter was referred to as Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel. These are often found listed as M. I. Hummels or as M. J. Hummels. They originated in Germany, and were for many years produced in three dimensional form by Goebel of Germany.
Goebel ceased operations, so the company no longer produces Hummels, but the rights have been purchased by another European company.
Goebel used a bee, crown, V, and its own name during different periods of years. The mark is significant, since production amounts are different for each period. The mark is one attribute collectors consider, since it dates the piece within a few years, and the production quantity for that period determines the rarity of the piece.
Increased demand allowed Goebel to expand into related items using the images of Sister M. I. Hummel. These include such items as Christmas orniments.
Price lists can show quite high values, especially for lower numbered Hummels made in the early years. However, online auctions do not normally bring those lofty sums. In fact, it is not unusual to obtain a Hummel in an online auction for a fifth, and occasionally a tenth, of the listed value.
Buying and relisting for profit has several pitfalls. First, the condition is important, so the figurine must be photographed from every angle. Not showing a side leaves the question in potential bidders, minds, "What is being hidden?" The mark certainly "must" be shown. Another problem is the cost of shipping, and the care in packaging that is necessary.
Remember, no matter what a book lists the value of a collectible to be, it is really worth what others are willing to pay.
Condition of a Figurine and Its Importance
In collectible figurines, condition is important. Any flaw reduces its value to almost nothing. Perhaps this is a contributing factor in what collectible figurines bring at auction. No matter how many photographs are used, the bidder can never be quite certain of the condition until the item is examined in person.
Chips are unacceptable. Some figurines indicate a repair has been made, Unfortunately, no repair can concurrently repair the value. Chipped figurines are permanently reduced in value, and that reduction is significant. Since some repairs are difficult to spot in a photograph, skepticism prevails
Crazing is also unacceptable. Crazing is always difficult to spot in a photograph.
Light reflections often produce bright spots. A serious collector must know there is no chip at that white spot. Occasionally, multiple images allow the piece to be viewed from alternate angles, and those bright spots can be concluded to be reflections. But, in other cases they cannot be resolved to not be damage.
Many people who list figurines add words they hope will assist you in making a determination of the condition. Their words are only as good as their reputation. Check the details of the comments others left, and see if there are issues with honesty.
Breakage in shipping is a problem. Returns should be accepted, but you may have to return the damaged piece for inspection. Sellers usually require this to prevent someone from photographing a similar damaged piece, and claiming the one shipped arrived in damaged condition. The seller may require postal insurance, which would make a false claim a much more serious issue.
Few boxes have survived, but is one exists it is a plus.
In summary, no flaw is acceptable if you plan to resell the figurine.
Do you look at the stamp on the bottom?
Do you consider all Hummels as authentic, or only those from the original drawings?
A few years ago prices dropped. It looked like bargains on Ebay, prices were about a tenth or so of the book prices, but the reality was the prices had dropped. If the piece had the box, t was worth a little more, but nowhere ear the book value.