I get quite a number of requests about Hummel figurines and values or I should say what people think are ” Rare and Undocumented” examples and said to be “Very valuable”. Quite often there are stories that go with these pieces that get more interesting each time these figurines change hands. Such was the case with this request for information I received.
“My grandmother collected Hummels since the 1940’s after my Grandfather brought some home with him after World War Two. I inherited them and have spent the last year trying to catalog them all. I’ve come across some that I’ve been told are extremely rare. I have not been able to find any documentation on them, possibly they were pre production pieces by Hummel. They are not marked Hummel, but were designed by Erich Stauffer, who is said to have worked for Hummel during the late 1930s. The other marking is a blue crossed-arrow with numbers below it. I’d be very interested if you have any information on these pieces”
It’s easy to see why so many people confuse these “Erich Stauffer’s” with genuine Hummels from their appearance, the are very clearly similar in size and style. That’s what leaves people to believe they’ve found some rare, but the markings are the real test of authenticity. All genuine Hummels I have ever seen were clearly marked as such, and each model’s history, production periods is thoroughly documented in multiple reference sources. On genuine Hummels, the signature of Sister M.I. Hummel can be found incised on the base of most every piece, and every authentic M.I. Hummel figurine will also have a Goebel porcelain trademark on its underside.
The “Eric Stauffer” Hummel knock offs were made for Arnart Creations in the 1950s, and were one of many decorative lines contracted out by this company and produced in Japan. Unlike Berta Hummel the creator of the original Hummel designs, “Erich Stauffer” appears to be an unknown—or more than likely just an invention used to sell figures via a German-sounding designer’s name. These Arnart Hummel knockoffs have caused a number of legends to be created over the years, probably by hopeful collectors thinking they’d stumbled on a rare prototype of a pre-Second World War Hummel from the 1930s or a one-of-a-kind presented to visiting diplomats or retiring workers. These stories are very intriguing but unfortunately none of these legends are true.
Wilcox & Hall Appraisers