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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Where Did All the Hummels Go?

It is January with bone-chilling cold in snow covered North Central Washington. There is beauty to the whiteness of the deep snowfall and a quietness that enfolds the area. Looking out my office window, I see a frozen cascade of snow and ice that hangs expectantly from the eave. There is tension in the view. Will the roof edge hold? Will we be faced with roof repairs in the springtime? As Scarlet O’Hara would say, “I’ll think of that tomorrow.” For now, I will enjoy being able to see the snow, the peacefulness that surrounds me and the warmth of a good household heating system.

January is a slow month for appraisal requests and even phone calls. Yesterday, I had two calls that finally broke the silence. I greeted these calls with anticipation and a willingness to spend the time that the callers seemed to need. One of the calls was from a young man who was helping his elderly grandfather dispose of items that were purchased after World War II. His father had been stationed overseas in the military. In his off-duty hours, he shopped for family members back in the States. He, as many service men, was attracted to Hummel figurines, a variety of collector plates, wooden pictures and other similar items. I suggested sources and options for the grandson to explore as possible sources for distribution and/or selling. He then asked, “Why don’t I see any Hummel figures for sale on eBay?” As gently as possible, I told him why—no market. He agreed that he knew that must have been the reason. We talked a little about the way the market has shifted, and that Hummels no longer have the attraction that they had after World War II. I remember a few years ago that Chintz china had a strong market for a brief moment as well. I began to wonder if Hummel porcelain figurines could show a market resurgence. Would the Hummel market surge as the figurines were brought forth from attics, basements and closets? Or, would we experience a flood on the market and the little porcelains would sink into oblivion? What fun—IF a Hummel market surge occurred! It would make a cold January hot if only for a brief moment in time.

My very best for the New Year to you all.

Sally A. Ambrose, ISA CAPP

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