Friday, January 13, 2012

Mystery of the Hummel Figurine

On December 27, 2011 I posted a piece about our Redemptoristine tradition of displaying the infant Jesus in many places in the monastery - some as big as a baby doll and some as small as this 5" Hummel figure. I told the story of how I received it as a gift over 50 years ago and have long wondered about its origin and value. Someone else, googling around to find out about their similiar baby  Jesus was brought to this blog and sent the following:

I was searching "google" for information about my bisque Hummel Infant Jesus and your Blog came up.  Because you told how you acquired your Infant Jesus, I'll tell you how I acquired mine.

My Hummel is exactly like yours, but mine is the "large" figurine -- it's about 11.5" long.  I bought it in the fall of 1953 through my German teacher at Mundelein College, Chicago, a darling little German nun (BVM) whose name I now forget, but it probably is in my "year book", if I could ever locate that after all this time.   She was well acquainted with Berta Hummel's religious order and had an arrangement to purchase the "Infants" at cost -- both the small one ($3 I think) and the large one ($6, as I remember).  Most of my classmates who bought one, bought the small one.  But I (and possibly one other student) bought the large one -- mine was my Christmas gift to my Mother -- so I needed to be generous.  She displayed it with her Christmas decorations every year.

Following my mother's death about 6 years later, I reclaimed the Infant Jesus and have displayed it with my Christmas decorations since.  It has survived the move from Chicago to Iowa to California, earthquakes, and 5 kids.  I used to hang it above the fireplace, but now I display it on the mantel in a woven oval basket filled with gold-colored garlands, rolled up, to make a "bed of straw." 

My figurine has the name "Hummel," and the "v" and "bee" stamped on it, indicating that it was made between 1950 and 1955.  It also has the numerals: 78/6 on the back -- I have no idea what this means.  It's the same light beige coloring, and has the two holes in back, as yours.  I have a memory (which I no longer trust) that my German teacher said that Berta Hummel never made any figurines, except this one of the Infant Jesus -- as all her other works were drawings (and the typical figurines were made by other artists, based on her drawings).  The Infant Jesus figurines, which you and I have, are (supposedly) made from molds of the original work of Berta Hummel.

Many thanks,

Also, I have no idea of the value of your Infant Jesus, or mine.  My one "google" search was fruitless in this regard.  But, I know that mine is as "priceless" to me as yours is to you.

Thank you for your Blog, and wishing you God's blessings in this New Year.


This correspondence got me searching again and came up with this. Here's the link: I found a complete description of my small Jesus and a perfect picture. It was made between 1952-1959. Unfortuantely no value was given because the item was sold off line. 

Perhaps this bit of research and exchange of memories will excite those who collect Hummels and prompt them to to share stories and information.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

Oh Hildegard, I so wish my friend Margaret was still living. She was in Germany after WW2 and had quite a collection of Hummels. she would have loved to talk with you about them. I miss her, and unfortunately in this situation, I don't collect anything!