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In California you can find a shop called Goebel Miniatures where they produce miniature renditions of the M.I. Hummel figurines. These miniatures are about the size of a dime. This shop is the only shop and the sole producer of these little miniatures.
A few years before this shop came about, an artist by the name of Robert Olszewski made several miniature replicas of Hummel figurines in gold. He was not aware that he needed to get permission from Goebel in order to do this. Before Goebel found out about Robert's work and stopped him, he had made the following five miniatures:
Robert had also made a few solid gold bracelets with each one of the above named miniatures attached. These bracelets and the unauthorized miniatures have since become highly sought after and are worth alot of money.
Goebel recognized Robert's talent and realized there was a market for the miniatures. The interesting result was the birth of the Goebel Miniatures Shop where Robert was hired under contract with Goebel. As of 1994, Robert no longer works for Goebel.
When the very first Hummel miniatures were released in 1988, they all got a circular backstamp trademark which carried the mold number, the year and the name Olszewski along with Goebel's name. These are also highly sought after.
People are sometimes surprised at the cost of these little miniatures. What most people don't realize though what is all involved in creating these little treasures. First of all, they are not made of earthenware, but of bronze instead. It also takes the artist about 200 hours or more to carve the new creation in wax. The wax sculpture is then converted into a sterling silver master mold. From this silver mold the plaster molds are made and the moulten bronze is poured into these. The final steps is the painting and packaging.
Goebel Miniatures has made many other types of miniatures besides just the M.I. Hummels. Of the M.I. Hummels there was a series that they call "Kinder Way" It was a set of six little Bavarian buildings and settings that were all connected by little bridges and are named as follows:
In early 1992 Goebel announced that the Kinder Way Bavarian Village settings would be permanently retired. They also announced that the production of the M.I. Hummel figurines miniatures would also be suspended indefinitely. To this day, Goebel has no plans to resume production of these cute little miniatures, although there have been at least three produced since 1992 as special editions only. They are:
M.I. Hummel miniatures are cute and different and add extensively to any Hummel collection. Robert Olszewski's work is also highly sought after, so if you have any miniatures by him, you may want to consider hanging onto them!
Evelyn Whitaker writes articles for Deutsches Haus which is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Deutsches Haus offers German collectibles, souvenirs, gifts and foods.