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History of the Hummel Trademarks

Trademark 1 The Crown Mark (TMK-1, CM)

The Crown Mark (TMK-1 or CM), sometimes referred to as the "Crown-WG", was used by Goebel on all of its products in 1935, when M.I. Hummel figurines were first made commercially available.  Subtle variations have been noted, but the illustration to the left is all you need to identify the trademark.  Those subtle differences are of no important significance to the collector.  The letters WG below the crown in the mark are the initials of William Goebel, one of the founders of the company.  The crown signifies his loyalty to the imperial family of Germany at the time of the mark's design, around 1900.  The mark is sometimes found in an incised circle.

Trademark 2

The Full Bee (TMK-2, FB)

There are actually twelve variations of the Bee marks to be found on Goebel-produced M.I. Hummel items, but the differences between them are not considered particularly significant.  They will be detailed as a matter of interest.    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.  The history of the transition and illustrations of each major change can be seen at left.  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, through its evolution.

Trademark 3

The Stylized Bee (TMK-3, Sty-Bee)

A major change in the way the bee is rendered in the trademark made its appearance in 1960.  The Stylized Bee (TMK-3), sometimes abbreviated as Sty-Bee when written, as the major component of the trademark 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).

The large stylized bee was used primarily from 1960 through 1963.  Notice in the illustration that the "W. Germany" is placed to the right of the bottom of the V.  The color of the mark will be black or blue.  It is sometimes found inside an incised circle.  When you find the large stylized bee mark, you will normally find a stamped "West" or "Western Germany" in black elsewhere on the base, but not always.

The small stylized bee is also considered to be TMK-3.  It was used concurrently with the large stylized bee from about 1960 and continued in this use until about 1972.  Note in the illustration the "W. Germany" appears centered beneath the V and Bee.  The mark is usually rendered in blue and it too is often accompanied by a stamped black West or Western Germany.  Sometimes referred to as the One Line Mark..

Trademark 4

The Three Line Mark (TMK-4)

This trademark is sometimes abbreviated 3-line or 3LM in print.  The trademark used the same stylized V and Bee as the others, but also included three lines of wording beside it, as you can see.  This major change appeared in blue color.

Trademark 5

The Goebel Bee or Last Bee Mark (TMK-5)

Actually  developed and occasionally used as early as 1970, this major change is known by some collectors as the Last Bee mark because the next change in the trademark no longer incporarated any form of the V and the bee.  The mark was used until about mid-1979, when they began to phase it out, completing the transition to the new trademark in 1980.  There are three minor variations in the mark shown in the illustration.  Generally the mark was placed under the glaze from 1972-1976 and is found placed over the glaze 1976-1979.

Trademark 6

The Missing Bee Mark (TMK-6)

The transition to this trademark began in 1979 and was complete by mid-1980.  As you can see Goebel removed the V aand bee from the mark altogether.  Many dealers and collectors lamented the passing of the traditional stylized V and bee and for a while called the mark the Missing Bee.  In conjunction with this change, the company instituted the practice of adding to the traditional artist's mark the date the artist finished painting the piece.  Because the white overglaze pieces are not usually painted, it would be reasonable to assume that the date is omitted on them.

Trademark 7

The Hummel Mark (TMK-7)

In 1991 Goebel made a move of historical import.  They changed the trademark once again.  This time the change was not only symbolic of the reunification of the two Germanies by removal of the West from the mark, but very significant in another way.  Until then they used the same trademark on virtually all of their products.  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.

Information taken from Luckey's Hummel Figurines and Plates: ID and Value Guide

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