by Dr. Lori Verderame
Germany’s Goebel Porcelain Factory introduced the popular Friar Tuck series of collectibles in the early 1950s. Unlike the firm’s popular Hummel figurines which date back to the early 1900s and are based on the drawings and other artwork of Sister Hummel, the Friar Tuck series were made for tables and kitchens as functional pieces and they were not intended to be used as simply decorative objects meant to be placed on display in curio cabinets, china closets, and on fireplace mantles. The Hummel figurines made by Goebel are decorative collectibles and the Friar Tuck series pieces are made by Goebel for everyday kitchen use. Some of the Friar Tuck pieces featuring portly figures of monks in their traditional garb complete with a rope belt are found in the form and widely collectible salt and pepper shakers, toothpick holders, sugar bowls and creamers, kitchen clocks, mustard and relish dishes, decanters, egg timers, kitchen counter thermometers, etc.
The Friar Tuck series were not based on drawings by Sister M. I. Hummel like other piece by Goebel. The Friar Tuck figurines were, in fact, technically not Hummel figurines at all even though they have a similarly sweet and endearing look and were made by Goebel. Both ceramic lines are made by the Goebel company, but the Friar Tuck series collectibles should not be confused with Hummel figurines.
What to Look For
These popular figurines in the form of young and old monks are quite valuable objects when collected in complete or full sets as well as when amassed as individual pieces. The sugar bowl and creamer sets of Friar Tuck pieces regularly command hundred of dollars or more in excellent condition. Friar Tuck pieces are typically found in brown and the related Cardinal Tuck figures are similar in form but are, appropriately wearing red costumes.
When understanding pottery marks, don’t be confused by the standard Goebel mark on Friar Tuck figurines. While it is similar to the mark used by Goebel for its Hummel figurines, there are other specific marks on these figural collectibles like mold numbers and the like that characterize the Friar Tuck line.
Goebel realized that the popularity of Friar Tuck collectibles and tableware objects would impact the market for related pottery items. Another well received Goebel figurine line after Hummel and Friar Tuck was the Cardinal Tuck figurines which were produced, some in limited editions, featuring a red robe. This was a change away from the brown robed Friar Tuck figurine pieces.
Unique Friar Tuck objects sell well in the market including those marketing and advertising signs used by shop owners to sell the Goebel line. Original packaging for these figurines also help drive up value.
While the Friar Tuck line was very popular in the 1950s upon its debut following the Hummel line of figurines made of earthenware porcelain and hand painted glazed ceramic. Goebel discontinued the Friar Tuck line in 1988.
Get an online appraisal of your Goebel Friar Tuck piece from Dr. Lori.