Hummel, the name is one of the most popular in porcelain figurine collectibles. Started by Goebel more than 70 years, the Hummel figurines are the creation of talented sculptors translating the drawings of Sister M.I. Hummel, a talented artist from Bavaria.Perhaps no other figurine has had the same longevity. They became popular in America shortly after World War II when soldiers returning home from Germany brought back these figurines of Bavarian children in their charming everyday activities. They have become very popular in America as well as throughout the world as collectible pieces of art.
However, Goebel Germany has stopped production on October 31, 2008. Demand had dropped to one third of expected sales. They plan on selling the Hummel figurines as long as their inventory lasts.This is sort of a sad ending to one of the longest contracts between one of the greatest children’s artists and a porcelain company. The original artist, Berta Hummel (Sister M.I. Hummel) became so locally popular for her drawings of local children as well as children from her childhood memories, that the Goebel Company sent a representative to meet with her to try to compromise a contract to translate these beautiful children’s paintings into porcelain figurines.
Berta Hummel was impressed enough that she signed with Goebel, and part of the agreement was that she had to accept each new product line of the figurines. Goebel stood by this agreement for the lifetime of their production. Even after Sister M.I. Hummel’s expiration at an early age, the Goebel factory still abided by the original contract. Each figurine is marked with the M.J. Hummel signature. In the world of collectible figurines, M.I. Hummel figurines stand at the top of the line. Now it seemsunbelievable that this original agreement made more than 70 years ago will no longer exist.
Well, the agreement between Sister M.I. Hummel and Goebel may no longer exist, but the good news is that started in February 2009, the production has resumed in Rodental (original production location) after ceasing in October 2008. Manufaktur Rodental GmbH has taken over all the necessary rights and manufacturing facilities from former manufacturer Goebel Porcelain Factory. Rodental will be producing much leaner, with approximately only a thirty (30) person work force, but is concentrating more on quality rather than quantity. So much so that it has hired former employees that were used by the Goebel company to maintain the integrity and quality.
One only has to hope for the success of Rodenthal. The original art of Berta Hummel is something that captures the heart, and they have been beautifully translated by some of the best porcelain artists into figurines. Now with a change in owners, the future is unknown. Will they still hold the same prestige? Will the new figurines hold the same quality and craftsmanship? Will the value of the older Goebel figurines increase or decrease? What will be the price for new figurines? These are all unanswered for now, but one thing Rodental has going for it is the ever enduring art of Berta Hummel that emanates from all Hummel art. This most beautiful art depicting Bavarian children in their everyday activities is for sure enduring and lives in the hearts of all.