Olszewski’s Hummel & Disney Figurines

In the 1990s, as I began collecting miniatures, I learned about Robert Olszewski. He was famous for creating tiny replicas of famous pieces. But, living in the U.K., it was difficult for me to see his work. Therefore, I did not buy a lot of his pieces. As result, my Olszewski collection consists of only some Hummel and Disney figurines, and one piece from The American Frontiers Collection.

Who is Robert Olszewski?

Artist Robert Olszewski became interested in miniature figurines after making a dollhouse for his daughter. After leaving teaching in 1978, Olszewski pursued making miniatures full-time. Eventually, his work received national attention. But, Olszewski had made several unauthorized miniature replicas of Hummel figurines. Specifically, he had failed to get the necessary permission from the Goebel company to recreate their pieces. (Btw, these unauthorized Olszewski replicas are worth a lot if you can find them.)

Fortunately, the Goebel company recognized Olszewski’s talent and put him under contract. Olszewski and Goebel created the Goebel Miniatures Studio. Initially, the first Olszewski Hummel figurines had a circular stamp on the bottom. This stamp included both Goebel’s name and Olszewski’s name. However, the Studio later removed Olszewski’s name. If you can find a Hummel with his name, it is pretty valuable.

Olszewski rare figurine stamp
Not a Hummel figurine, but an early figurine. Notice, the stamp shows Olszewski’s name along with Goebel.

My Miniature Hummel Figurines

In a previous post, I discuss how I became interested in Robert Olszewski figurines. Today, I have three Hummel figurines in my collection. Although the issue date for each is 1988, I bought them between 1991-1995. Also, I placed my Hummel figurines in the Olszewski display piece called Bavarian Kinderway Cottage. (The display piece is available on Amazon for about $50 and on eBay for $45. Unfortunately, I do not recall what I paid for it. ) The display came with a dome, which I have removed in the photos below due to the glare.

Bavarian Cottage display
Olszewski Bavarian Cottage display. Unfortunately, I don’t recall what I paid for the display.

Stormy Weather ($115)
Stormy weather miniature
This is Olszewski’s Hummel figurine Stormy Weather.
Close up of Stormy Weather miniature
Close up of Stormy Weather Hummel figurine.
Merry Wanderer ($95)
Olszewski Merry Wanderer in miniature
Olszewski Hummel figurine, The Merry Wanderer.

The Merry Wanderer in miniature
Closer view of The Merry Wanderer Hummel figurine.
Little Sweeper ($90)
The Little Sweeper in cottage
This is Olszewski’s Hummel figurine Little Sweeper.
Olszewski Little Sweeper
Close up of Little Sweeper figurine
The American Frontiers Collection

While at Goebel Studios, Olszewski created several non-Hummel figurine lines. One of the figurine series is The American Frontiers Collection (1987). The piece that caught my eye from this line was his “The End of the Trail” miniature. Consequently, I bought the miniature for $80 in 1991 (a hefty sum in those days). In my opinion, it is a beautiful replica of the James Earle Fraser sculpture. The miniature is of a weary Native American rider on a horse and captures the sorrow of Fraser’s original piece. If eBay is a guide, the miniature I bought is worth double what I paid for it.

Olszewski Miniature of The End of The Trail by James Earle Fraser
My favorite Olszewski piece, The End of The Trail.
The End of the Trail miniature side view
Closer look at The End of the Trail.

In addition to the American Frontier Collection, some other Olszewski’s non-Hummel series included: Historical, Wildlife, Doulton, Americana, Women, Children and more.

Post Goebel Work

Robert Olszewski won several awards, including “International Collectible Artist of the Year.” In 1994, he left Goebel Miniatures Studios and opened privately owned Olszewski Studios in California.

Disney Figurines

In 1995, Walt Disney Company commissioned Olszewski to prototype figurines for their Enchanted Places Program. Olszewski continued to work with Disney to design and create other lines, like Steamboat Willie, Main Street, U.S.A, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Cinderella’s Castle.

My Disney Pieces

In the early 1990s, I collected two Olszewski Disney figurines and two display pieces. Both work well as home decor items.


Fantasia Living Brooms ($85)/The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ($80)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice in miniature
The display is Fantasia Living Brooms. The display piece is under a dome, which I removed to photograph.
Mickey Mouse miniature by Olszewski
Close up of Olszewski’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice for Disney
Pinocchio ($85) and Geppetto’s Toy Shop ($105)
Olszewski's miniature Gepetto's Toy Shop
The display is called Geppetto’s Toy Shop. Unfortunately, my Toy Shop has a broken store medallion. The medallion is a separate piece from the main toy shop and needs to be placed in a groove.
Pinocchio walking
Notice the detail in this Olszewski Disney figurine of Pinocchio

Cost

Robert Olszewski miniatures – whether Hummel or Disney figurines – are not cheap. However, when you understand how involved the process is to create these small-scale works of art, then the cost makes sense. I read that the artist spends 200 or more hours just to carve the new creation in wax. Moreover, each wax figurine is an original. Next, the wax sculpture is converted into a sterling silver master mold. From this mold, plaster molds are made and molten bronze is poured into them. After that, the artist must paint the miniature. A detailed explanation of the process is in the book, The Goebel Miniatures of Robert Olszewski by Dick Hunt (1989).

I listed what I paid for each Olszewski miniature. If you want to buy Olszewski Hummel or Disney figurines, some are easier to find versus others. Specifically, the Mickey, Pinocchio, and The End of the Trail figurines are difficult to find. However, the Hummel miniatures are readily available on eBay and Etsy.

Article Sources: http://EzineArticles.com/555045, olszewskistudios.com, The Goebel Miniatures of Robert Olszewski by Dick Hunt

Ananda

My passion is small-scale stuff, from small toys to miniatures to small home decor items. If you enjoy collecting and viewing miniatures and other little things, I hope this website will provide you helpful information and useful links.

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