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Hummel Trademark Identification Guide

By Jon Warren

TMK What???

Find the Age of your Hummel using this Guide

To find out how old your Hummel figurine is, look on the underside and find the Goebel trademark stamp, usually imprinted in blue. This is the official trademark stamp of Goebel. It will be found on all authentic Hummel figurines.


The look of the trademark has varied since 1935. Most of the known marks used over the years are shown here. Nevertheless, from time to time, an undocumented variation may surface.

Compare the trademark on the base of your Hummel to the date stamp chart below.


  • 1935-1949 aka TMK 1
  • 1950-1956 aka TMK 2
  • 1957-1963 aka TMK 3
  • 1964-1971 aka TMK 4
  • 1972-1978 aka TMK 5
  • 1979-1990 aka TMK 6
  • 1991-1999 aka TMK 7
  • 2000-Present aka TMK 8

Collectors use the TMK designations to indicate which trademark is stamped on the base of the figurine they have. This information, if you can supply it to us, is helpful in appraising and making an offer for your item.

History and Explanation of Marks and Symbols

The "wide-crown-WG" trademark was used on the first M.I. Hummel figurines produced in 1935. On the earliest figurines it was incised on the bottom of the base with the "M.I. Hummel" signature on the top or side of the base. Between 1935 and 1955, the company occasionally used a © mark on the side or top of the base of some models. It is seen occasionally to the right of the "M.I. Hummel" signature. The "crown" appears either incised or stamped. When both are used on the same piece it is known as a "double crown" mark.

From 1946 through 1948 it was necessary to add the stamped words "Made in the U.S. Zone Germany." This mark was used within various types of frames or without a frame, underglazed or stamped over the glaze in black ink.

In 1950, four years after Sister M.I. Hummel's death, Goebel wished in some way to pay tribute to her fine artistry. They radically changed the trademark, instituting the use of a bee flying high with a "V". (Hummel means bumble bee in German and the V stands for Verkaufsgesellschaft or distribution company). This mark, known as the full bee trademark, was used until 1955 and appeared --- sometimes both incised and under-glazed---in black or blue and occasionally in green or magenta. In addition, the stamp "Germany" and later "West Germany" appeared. A (R) appearing beside the trademark stands for "Registered".

Sometimes the molds were produced with a lightly incised circle on the bottom of the base in which the trademark was centered. It has no significance other than as a target for the location of the decal. Some current production figurines still have this incised circle even though it is no longer used for that purpose.

Always searching for a mark that would blend aesthetics with professionalism, the company continued to modify the trademark. In 1956, the company---still using the bee inside the V---made the bee smaller, with its wings parallel with the top of the V. In 1957, the bee remained, although once again rising slightly above the V. In 1958, the bee was smaller still and it flew deep within the V, reflecting the changing trends in modern design. The year 1959 saw the beginning of stylization and the wings of the bee became sharply angular.

In 1960, the completely stylized bee with V mark came into use, appearing with "W. Germany". It was used in one form or another until 1979. In addition to its appearance with "W. Germany" to the right (1960-1963), it appeared above the "West Germany" (1960-1972) and to the left of the "three line mark" (mid-1960s to 1972). The three line mark was used intermittently and sometimes concurrently with the small stylized 1960-1972 mark. It was the most prominent trademark in use prior to the "Goebel bee" trademark.

It became apparent that the public was equating the "V and Bee" mark only with M.I. Hummel items, not realizing that the mark included the full scope of Goebel products. It was decided to experiment further with marks. In 1972, satisfied that it now had a mark designating a quality Goebel product, the company began using a printed "Goebel" with the stylized bee poised between the letters "b" and "e".

Since 1976, the Goebel trademark on Hummel figurines has been imprinted on top of the glaze (called a "decal." It is possible for two figurines on the primary market to have differing decals.

In 1979, the stylized bee was dropped and only the name Goebel appears. The year of production will be on the base next to the initials of the chief decorator.

In 1991, the W. (West) was dropped, with only the word "Germany" remaining, since Germany is once again a united country. The original "crown" has been added to the (TM7) trademark.

In the year 2000, the beginning of a new Millennium, the trademark was once again changed. The "bumblebee" symbol, to honor the memory of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, was reinstated to the (TM8) current trademark.

The information in this article is a concise documentation of all W. Goebel trademarks used on "M.I. Hummel" figurines. Yet, it is always possible that a few undocumented variations may exist.

This article has been read 17323 times. Last read on 6/4/2023 1:11:47 PM

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