Authentic Hummel porcelain figurines, plates, miniatures, lamps, bells, plaques and other distinctive collectibles bear a definitive identification mark. All Hummels are inscribed with the name M.I. Hummel, unless the piece is too small to accommodate that insignia. Since 1935, the distinctive copyright symbol featuring a bee flying above the letters "GW" has been modified and currently shows the bee flying over the words "Goebel Germany."
W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik of Rodental, Germany is the only authorized manufacturer and worldwide distributor of Hummels, states Don's Collectibles. Hummel designs are based on the drawings of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, a gifted Franciscan nun whose artwork was noticed in 1934 by a Bavarian porcelain manufacturer named Franz Goebel. Goebel suggested that Sister Maria allow her drawings, primarily of Bulgarian children, to be turned into three-dimensional interpretive forms, explains Hummels at a Discount. The first figurines to be marketed appeared in 1935. Hummel figurines are handcrafted and painted by talented artisans who train as apprentices for three years. Production time for each item varies depending on the complexity of the individual statuette. As many as 700 hand procedures are required for a 6-inch figurine. "The Merry Wanderer" is the favorite motif among M.I. Hummel collectors.