Guides & Articles
Hummel Marks & Trademarks Reference Guide - Date and Authenticate Your Hummel Figurine
Welcome to The Prudent Collector where we we have prepared a guide showing you how to date and authenticate your Hummel figurines according to their trademark stamps.
A Hummel figurine can be dated by the marking or trademark on the underside of its base. This mark is also referred to as the backstamp, stamp, or figure. This is very important as Hummel values are determined by age as well as scarcity. An older version of a figurine can command a much higher price than one which was made at a later date. It's also important for authenticating a figurine as one lacking one of the following marks is quite likely to be a forgery.
The following markings are the standard backstamps you are most likely to see on the vast majority of Hummel figurines. However be aware that according to the M.I. Hummel company, sometimes rare and undocumented variations have been known to surface.
From the first figurine in 1935 until 1949 the following 3 trademarks were used. These are referred to as the Crown Marks and are Trademark 1 or TMK-1. The letters "WG" below the crown stand for William Goebel, the founder of the Goebel company.
After the end of World War II the United States permitted Goebel to export figurines which had previously been prohibited for exportation. These figurines were marked in various related ways: "Made In US Zone", "Made In US Zone - Germany", "US Zone - Germany", "US Zone", "Made in US Zone" and "Made in Germany". These stamps indicated that the figurines were produced in the occupied zone of Germany. All of these markings are considered to be of the same importance as TMK-1 crown marks by collectors.
From 1950 to 1955 the trademarks changed to designs incorporating a bee. These backstamps are TMK-2. These stamps are sometimes referred to as the Full Bee Mark by collectors.
Between 1956 and 1959 the trademark design was changed slightly each year. They still incorporated the bumblebee, albeit in a smaller size. These are also within the date range of TMK-2.
From 1960 to 1972 the trademarks changed to a different bumble bee design. These are referred to as the Stylized Bee Mark and signified the move to TMK-3.
Between 1964 and 1972 yet another variation was used - still incorporating the stylized bee but adding three lines of text. This marking is sometimes called the Three Line Mark and is TMK-4.
From 1972 to 1979 the mark was changed to the last and final mark to include the now famous bee. It is known as the Last Bee Mark - TMK-5.
From 1979 to 1990 the V as well as the bee were removed from the design. This mark is sometimes referred to as the Missing Bee Mark - TMK-6.
In 1990 the mark was revised to reflect the reunification of Germany. This trademark was used until 1999. It once again incorporated the famous crown and is TMK-7.
The current trademark is TMK-8 which has been in use since 2000. As you can see the famous Hummel bumblebee is back in prominent form!
To summarize, when purchasing a Hummel figurine for your collection knowing which mark it possesses is very important as the value of a Hummel figurine varies according to its age. It's also important from the standpoint of authentication as you certainly want to be assured that you're buying a genuine figurine and not a fake or forgery. We truly hope this guide on dating and authenticating your figurine proves helpful to you.
What you see here is a sampling of all the Hummel collectibles available on eBay - many rare and retired! If you don't see the Hummel figurine you're looking for search here for even more!