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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
Antiques Corner

Fancy Feathered Friends

Click here for larger image.
Click here for larger image.

Question: These 3-inch-tall owls are marked with "Goebel" and "W Germany," and each one has a unique serial number. What can you tell me about their history and collectability?

Answer: Although Goebel porcelain items are not as collectible as the company's famous Hummel figurines, you'd be wise to hang on to these feathered friends. They were made by W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik of Oeslau, Germany, now Rodental, Germany. Franz Detleff Goebel and his son, William Goebel, founded the company in 1871. Hummel bisque figurines, based on the drawings of Sister Maria Innocentia (Berta) Hummel, a Franciscan nun, were first made by Goebel in 1935 and became popular among U.S. soldiers returning from Europe after World War II. In addition to Hummel figurines, Goebel made items such as animal figures, ashtrays and bookends. The Goebel trademark on your owls, known among collectors as the "missing bee mark," dates these examples to 1979 to 1990. They are readily found on Internet sites priced about $15 apiece.

-- By Tom Hoepf, associate editor of Auction Central News

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