RORY: And a couple years ago Mom drove us in to shop, and she couldn’t find a good parking place and all of the parking lots were a total rip-off, so she kept making U-turns and cutting off taxis and we were being screamed at in so many different languages that we just turned around and drove home and bought a Hummel at the curio store in Stars Hollow.
Hummel figurines, often just called Hummels, are a series of porcelain figurines based on the drawings of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, a German nun from the Franciscan Order. These sketches began to appear in Germany and Switzerland during the 1930s, mostly pastoral scenes of children.
Porcelain-maker Franz Goebel acquired the rights to turn the sketches into figurines, the first line produced in 1935. Introduced at the Leipzig Trade Fair, they quickly found American distributors. The popularity of Hummels grew after World War II as American soldiers stationed in West Germany began sending them home as gifts.
Nostalgia was a big factor in the figurines becoming popular, and they were commonly purchased during European travel as souvenirs. During the 1970s, prices began to skyrocket, and the M.I. Hummel Club was founded in 1977. Today a genuine Hummel would cost over $100 for a small piece, to more than $1000 for a larger and more elaborate one.
Lorelai bought a Hummel in 2000, presumably before the show opens in September of that year. Although I can see how Lorelai would appreciate the kitschy appeal of these collectables, I cannot recall actually seeing a Hummel on display in their house.