Hummel Marks. TMK & Bee Mark

Hummel Marks from TMK-1 to TMK-8

The Crown Mark, The Full Bee, The Stylised Bee, The Missing Bee and other Hummel Marks.

The first three hummel figurines Puppy Love, Little Fiddler and Bookworm were marked FF15, FF16 and FF17.

When they were first created the figurine series designation or mold numbers had not yet been set up.

When Goebel reached a licensing agreement with Sister Maria and the Convent in 1935, the early figurines were then marked HUM1, HUM2 and HUM3.

The Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel Signature

The Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel Signature

The signature of Sister M.I.Hummel is incised on the base of almost every Hummel piece.

When the Convent and Sister Hummel made the historic contract with Franz Goebel, it was agreed that her signature, her personal stamp of approval, would appear on every piece.

It still does so today and the only exception is if figurines are without bases or do not have any adequate surface to display the signature.

The identifying marks on the UNDERSIDE of Hummels tell the Hummel Model Number (HUM), the size indicator (Arabic and Roman Numerals), the year of release (usually the year after the production year), and sometimes the paint and/or painters code numbers (incised Arabic numbers or script initials).

Hummel Marks TMK-1 to TMK-8 …

TMK-1 The Full Crown (1934-1950)

In 1935, the "Wide Crown – WG" trademark was added. On the earliest figurines it was incised on the bottom of the base. This mark is known as the "Crown Mark".

Hummel Marks TMK1- The Full Crown Mark Hummel Marks TMK1 - The Full Crown Mark Hummel Marks TMK1 - The Full Crown Mark

Between 1935 and 1955 the company occasionally used a C inside a circle beside a W within a G mark, this was stamped or incised on the edge of the base.

When both of these markings are found together on one figurine, this is called the "Double Crown" mark.

From 1946 thru 1948, "Made in the US Zone Germany" was added.

TMK-2 The Full Bee (1940-1959)

In 1950 Goebel paid tribute to Sister Hummel and the trademark was changed to a bee flying high within a V. The name Hummel in German means bumblebee and the V stands for "Verkaufsgesellschat" or Distribution Company. This new mark was called the Full Bee and was used until 1955.

Hummel Marks - The Full BeeIncised
Hummel Marks - The Full BeeStamped
Hummel Marks - The Full BeeHigh

There are twelve variations of the Bee mark to be found on Goebel-produced M.I. Hummel items, but the differences between them are not considered particularly significant.

The Full Bee mark, also referred to as TMK-2 or abbreviated FB, is the first of the Bee marks to appear.  The mark evolved over almost twenty years until the company began to modernize it. It is sometimes found in an incised circle.

Hummel Marks - The Full BeeSmall
Hummel Marks - The Full BeeBaby
Hummel Marks - The Full BeeVee

Each major change is pictured at right but each of them are still considered to be the Full Bee (TMK-2).

The very large bee flying in the V remained until around 1956, when the bee was reduced in size and lowered into the V.  It can be found incised, stamped in black or stamped in blue, in that order.

The Goebel Company still produces the work of Berta Hummel today.

The next changes are mind boggling and this is where collector’s get confused.

  • In 1956 the trademark was modified to a smaller bee with it’s wing tips parallel with the top of the V.
  • In 1957 it changed again with the bee slightly raised above the V.
  • In 1958 the bee was smaller yet and it flew deep within the V.
  • With all of these changes to the trademark, they are all still considered to be a tmk-2.
  • The year 1959 saw the beginning of the "Stylized Bee", which has sharp angular wings

All prototypes must still have the Convent approval before being produced. Sister Maria’s love of children and art has allowed the generations to cherish and adore the pert faces of all M I Hummel figurines.

TMK-3 The Stylized Bee (1960-1972)

Hummel Marks - The Stylized Bee Hummel Marks - The Stylized Bee

In 1960 the Stylized Bee was introduced. This new trademark was a bee with sharp angular wings, the wing tips are parallel with the top of the V.

The Stylized Bee, sometimes abbreviated as Sty-Bee, appeared in three basic forms through 1972. The first two are both classified as the Stylized Bee (TMK-3), but the third is considered a fourth step in the evolution, the Three Line Mark (TMK-4). This form of bumblebee was used one way or another until 1979.

TMK-4 The Three Line Mark

Hummel Marks TMK4 - The Stylized Bee

A new trademark was introduced and ran concurrent with TMK-3. This new trademark looks the same as TMK-3, but now to the right of the V, the company added three lines of print which reads, © by Goebel, W. Goebel, W. Germany.

This trademark is known as the Three Line mark or TMK-4 and was used until 1972.

TMK-5 The Last Bee (1972-1979)

Hummel Marks - The Last Bee Hummel Marks - The Last Bee

Developed and occasionally used as early as 1970, this major change is known by some collectors as the Last Bee mark as the next change in the trademark failed to incorporate any form of the V and Bee.

This time they started printing the name Goebel with the Stylized Bee and V above the name and positioned between the letters b and e. This new mark is better known as the "Last Bee Mark" and was used until 1979.

Generally the mark was placed under the glaze from 1972-1976 and is found placed over the glaze 1976-1979.

TMK-6 The Missing Bee (1979-1991)

Hummel Marks - The Missing Bee

In 1979 a new trademark was introduced which is easy to distinguish. The Goebel name remained, but the company removed the Bee and V from above the name and added W. Germany under the name.

In conjunction with this change, the company instituted the practice of adding the date to the traditional artists mark after the artist finished painting the piece. Because the white overglaze pieces are usually unpainted, it would be reasonable to assume that the date is omitted on them.

This trademark is know as "The Missing Bee" or TMK-6 and was used until 1991.

TMK-7 The Hummel Mark (1991-2000)

Hummel Marks - The Hummel Mark

In 1991 another trademark change was needed. The Goebel name and Germany remained and the W. was deleted. Also the original crown was added under the word Germany.

This mark is of historical import as this time the change was not only symbolic of the reunification of the two Germany’s in the removal of West from the mark, but very significant in another way.

The mark illustrated here is for exclusive use on Goebel products made from the paintings and drawings of M.I. Hummel. Other Goebel products will bear a different mark than that used on Hummel pieces.

New collector’s sometimes confuse this mark as a tmk-1 Crown. This new trademark was used until the year 2000.

TMK-8 – The Modern Hummel Geobel Mark

TMK 8 Very large bumble bee

In 2000 the trademark was changed once more.

The only item that remains is the name Goebel, but they added a very large Bumblebee. This Bumblebee is to honor the memory of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel.

This trademark is still being used today.

Always remember that the first thing to check on Hummel figures … is the presence of the Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel signature mark as pictured above. At least then you will start on the right track.