M.I. Hummel Is Back In Business

Please note – important updated information posted on March 14, 2014M.I. Hummel Exits U.S. Market

Well this is certainly great news for Hummel figurine collectors! As we all know back in October 2008 Goebel discontinued production of M.I. Hummel figurines in order to focus its resources on their home accessory brands. Thankfully Goebel has now reconsidered that decision and production of Hummel figurines will soon resume.

Full story below:

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – September 8, 2009

RÖDENTAL, GERMANY — Udo Troeger, a ceramics craftsman, labors on a porcelain figurine at the M.I. Hummel factory, working alone under low-hanging fluorescent lights. A blaring radio fills the silence amid rows of empty desks.

That Mr. Troeger, or anyone, remains at work represents progress for Hummel. The 74-year-old company, maker of a line of sentimental porcelain figures popular with collectors, is trying to make a go of it under new owners, having been shut down from October 2008 to late February as a consequence of the economic downturn and the bankruptcy of its parent company.

Hummel is rehiring dozens of its artists and new management is cautiously upbeat, mindful of the troubles that put its former owner, Goebel Porcelain Factory, in bankruptcy in 2006.

“We’ve had a good start,” said Dagmar Treuner, product manager for Manufaktur Rödental, the newly created company that owns Hummel. “We’ve had to hire more workers to keep up with demand.”

Now, the plant has a staff of 111. But the hundreds of layoffs are hard to forget when vacant, bright-green painting stations fill entire rooms at the plant in Rödental, a small town amid patches of forest and farm fields 200 kilometers, or 120 miles, east of Frankfurt.

As Goebel, the former parent company, reorganized, it decided to shutter the Hummel factory and let go all 230 employees so that it could focus on producing its glass and porcelain accessories.

Employees and collectors took the news with disbelief, given that Goebel had been making the figurines since 1935.

“It was a difficult time for everyone,” said Mr. Troeger as he worked. “The emotion from collectors was unbelievable.”

“The decision was basically from one day to the next — everyone was completely caught off guard,” said William Nelson, an American who has spent more than 20 years managing the M.I. Hummel Club in Ebersdorf bei Coburg, Germany. The fan club counts more than 13,000 members worldwide. “People were shocked, disappointed, disbelieving and many said the interest was too great for Hummel to cease forever.”

Jörg Köster, the director of Höchst Porcelain near Frankfurt, stepped in, founding Manufaktur Rödental, which acquired Hummel’s copyrights and production facilities. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Goebel had tried to maximize revenue from M.I. Hummel by increasing production, manufacturing at times hundreds of thousands of figurines a year. It didn’t work.

“The old strategy was, in part: how many figurines do we have to produce to employ all these people?” Mr. Köster said.

The strategy backfired — figurines collected in warehouses and on retailers’ shelves faster than they were purchased, deflating prices as supply outstripped demand.

“Instead, you need to realize it’s a specialty market and limit production, growing slowly and carefully,” Mr. Köster said.

“We don’t want to reach those levels again,” he added. “We’ll be manufacturing a fifth of that.”

The recession has been hard on several other venerable hobby and collectible firms. Märklin Holdin, a maker of model trains in Göppingen, Germany, is operating under bankruptcy protection from creditors after it failed to secure new credit from banks. The Irish porcelain and crystal maker, Waterford Wedgwood, has filed for bankruptcy protection after failed attempts at a restructure or a sale.

At Hummel, Mr. Köster is relying on longtime employees like Mr. Troeger, 55, who has 40 years of experience molding, casting and assembling the delicate pieces that make up each figurine.

The appeal of the porcelain figurines — like the best-selling “Merry Wanderer,” a walking boy carrying an umbrella and bag, or “Goose Girl,” a bonneted girl with a pair of pet geese — is a combination of childhood nostalgia and the urge to collect. They don’t come cheap: Prices begin at around €100, or $145, and can go up steeply from there. “Forever Friends,” which features two sisters staring at a swan and her chicks, and made in 2006, went for $1,650 recently on eBay.

The figurines are inspired by drawings of children done by a Franciscan nun, Sister Maria Innocentia, born Berta Hummel, which were published as cards and in books and caught the eye of Franz Goebel in 1934. Mr. Goebel was granted rights to produce look-alike figurines, and after her death in 1946, her convent created an artistic board to supervise and advise the manufacturing process.

Everything is done by hand — from the various casting molds to the drawn-on faces — and one figurine takes anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks to produce.

The nun’s nephew, Alfred Hummel, who runs the Berta Hummel Museum in the small Bavarian village of Massing where she was born, remains an adviser.

“There’s a lot of heart and soul involved,” Mr. Hummel said. “It’s not like selling cars.”

Manufaktur Rödental is hoping this year’s additional significance — the 100th anniversary of Sister Maria Innocentia’s birth, marked by a multifigure special edition piece depicting a parade of Bavarian children — will help to spark just that.

Employees, though, are as cautious with their hopes as they are with the delicate porcelain.

“It would be nice just to keep working,” Mr. Troeger said as he assembled a palm-sized ceramic wagon that will be part of the anniversary figurine. “And, at the moment, it looks as though we can continue.”

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne Johnson March 13, 2014 at 2:48 pm

my club member # is 0818477 and have been a member for 22 years. I renewed my membership on 9/24/2013. I have not received a new membership card and have not received the club member hummel for that renewal. In fact I still have not received the club member figurine for the 2012 year. I have never missed renewing my membership. I have called several times and have sent e-mails and I keep being told that I am on the list. I also ordered a hummel in December and have not gotten that either. I would appreciate it if someone could resolve this and send me the figurines that I have not received. Thank you very much. Joanne


Anton March 13, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Unfortunately it looks like M.I Hummel is slowly ceasing operations. This news story contains some details.

This portion of the article caught my eye:

The fate of the Hummel collector’s club is still in flux. Membership payments made after Oct. 22 may be refunded, and “an appropriate transition for the members of the Hummel Club is still being discussed with the purchaser.”


Rose smith April 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I am interested in selling Hummel Figurines. Are you buying any figurine’s…? E-mail enclosed. Looking forward to a response. Thank you for your time.Rose SMITH


Anton April 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

Hi Rose, just sent you an email.


Rose smith April 8, 2014 at 9:44 am

Hello! Just wanted you to know that I did not receive your E-mail that you said you sent. Maybe you could try again, but if not I am going to give you my cell phone number. 904-521-2008 would appreciate an answer. Thank you Rose smith


Anton April 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I just re-sent it, if it still doesn’t show up you should contact hotmail tech support to find out what’s wrong.


Susie April 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm

member # 0911437 16 yr member
paid 52.00 twice and checks were cashed.
Never received Birthday for 2012 or 2013 and received letter stating free gift was coming for my troubles and that never came either. Really upset my checks were cashed and did not receive 2012 or 2013


Anton April 30, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Very sorry to hear that and I wish the club would make things right. As far as I know they’re out of business now in the United States.


Hannelore Edgington May 23, 2014 at 9:19 am

Member#1118418 Member since 4/2003
My credit card was charged for 2014, I have not received my Club Year 36 figurine “Parlor Pal” from last year. I also try to call the 800 number and can’t get through. I would like to have my money credited back to my account.


Barb Grexa June 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm

My # is 0377205 and I am a charter member of the MI Hummel club. My dues were always automatically taken out every year by EFT, They were NOT taken out for 2014 and I’m greatly disappointed. I received NO notice that they were going out of business. You would have thought that they would have notified everyone on their mailing list, especially charter members!!! Is there a phone number where we can talk to someone???


The Prudent Collector June 30, 2014 at 9:58 pm

We agree that it’s extremely disappointing that the club has handled things in this fashion. Our understanding is that there is no way to get in touch with U.S. representatives of Hummel as they ceased all U.S operations back in March.


Cara Freshcorn July 25, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I have never received my Hummel either and would like a refund, if not the Hummel


Greg Seibold August 19, 2014 at 8:27 am

I have various Goebel/Hummel figurine from the 1950’s thru 1974. Where in NC can I get assistance in selling them.

Greg Seibold


marcia April 7, 2015 at 1:19 pm

I have tried call new number since recing visa bill not getting any response I want what was promises or my money back can’t afford the run a round


Micha Fedoroff June 13, 2015 at 9:34 am

I had been an MI Hummel collector for years, even was president of a local chapter here in Southeastern Michigan. I had let my membership lapse for a few years due to family circumstances. However, my husband renewed my membership and had it on auto renewal, for which I finally received some membership materials in Nov.2014. However, now I have 2 membership #’s and do not know for which to renew. I just love MI Hummels, being from Germany myself, I consider them a part of my roots. Thank you for bringing these precious figurines back.


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