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St. Nicholas

Hummel 2012

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Ole' St. Nick here was first released in the fall of 1997. Modeled by master sculptor Helmut Fischer in 1996. It has an incised 1996 copyright date along with the trademark 7 mark. Produced in a limited edition of 20,000 pieces worldwide, with 10,000 for the U.S. His companion is Hummel 473 "Ruprecht". St. Nick here stands 6 3/4" tall and is approximately $700. OOH! and as you can see...he was signed by Ottilie Fakob.

You see him here giving out his presents to the little child, which by the way is based on Hummel 476, "Winter Song"...so let me tell you a little bit about St. Nick here.

Santa Claus is one of our most enduring traditions. The legend of a gift-bearing Christmas visitor exists in many forms, in many lands. Even in our fast-paced, high-tech society, where some fear that children grow up too quickly, youngsters still press their faces to the window on Christmas Eve, searching the sky for a team of flying reindeer.

So what are the origins of the Santa Claus legend? The character evolved from Nicholas of Patara, a Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor who lived during the fourth century. The original St. Nicholas is a shadowy figure -- little is known about his life. Some writings reveal that he was a pious child and upon the early death of his parents, he devoted his life to serving God.

It is said that during a voyage to Palestine, St. Nicholaas quieted a storm at sea and became patron saint of sailors in Eastern Europe, Italy and Greece. Other miraculous achievements are attributed to St. Nicholas, and is some way we can detect glimmers of the Christmas legend.

One story relates how St. Nicholas' generosity saved three poverty stricken sisters. The saintly man gave each girl a dowry by tossing bags of gold through the smoke hole of their home. Thereafter, he was considered the patron saint of maidens. Could this be the origin of the belief that Santa comes down the chimney with gifts? It seems likely. One version of the tale even adds that a bag of gold fell into a stocking hung by the fireplace to dry, prompting the Dutch custom of filling stockings with Christmas trinkets.

Another miracle firmly established St. Nicholas as a hero to the young. He restored the lives of three boys and became the patron saint of children. And as St. Nicholas' notoriety spread, his legend mixed with local folk tales, notably the pagan Father christmas character. The customs vary, but typically the gift giving St. Nicholas arrives on his day -- December 6th --the anniversary of his death. He is dressed in the costume of a bishop, sometimes in red or green fur trimmed robes. he brings small toys and sweets, biscuits, and gingerbread to bestow upon good children.

Of course you already know about his assistant, "Ruprecht". And if not check him out on our site. And so Dutch settlers brought the tradition of "Sinterklaas" across the Atlantic to their new homes in America and luckily left "Ruprecht" behind. Germans brought their Christmas customs to America, notably the beloved Christmas tree. Eventually, as immigrants shared traditions, a uniquely American Santa Claus emerged, reflecting the melting pot that was America.

And contributing strongly to the American evolution of Santa was the publication, in 1823, of Clement Moore's poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." It began "Twas the night before Christmas..." This popular poem established St. Nick as a Christmas Eve gift giver, traveling in a reindeer-drawn sleigh, carrying toys made by elves -- ideas most likely donated by Russian and Scandinavian immigrants. It also depicted St. Nick as the plump, dimpled, lovable character we know today.

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Last Updated: 1DEC01