MBL's Blog

Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

3 Vintage Cardboard Halloween Lamp Shades! JOLs, Cats, Fairies, Rats. Mint!

These fairy motif lampshades were originally part of Beistle's 1923 party set. The set was issued in three packaging variations: as a booklet, an enveloped set and a boxed set. I'll have the booklet variant as one lot in my auction that begins May 3rd. It is the very one photographed for and appearing in my third edition on page 217. The preview will begin on April 26th. The auction is open only to purchasers of my third edition. If you haven't yet purchased your copy, now would be a good time to do so. 

Vintage Tin Metal Noise Maker Toy.....'Witch & Pumpkin'

I think this was a bargain for $12.72. As I write about such items in my third edition: "These scrap items were typically made at the end of a shift using whatever could be salvaged from the leftover tin litho. They were then sold as irregulars, garnering at least a little money for the manufacturer from what otherwise would have simply gone to waste." 

Vintage Halloween Embossed Diecut Devil Bat German Germany

This is only the second time I've seen this offered for sale. A seller listed two of these some years back on Ebay and I was able to acquire the one in the collection at that time. The two that seller listed were mirror images of one another, just as this is the mirror image of the one shown on page 136. Looking carefully at it, I notice some minor surface paint differences from mine, underscoring that these diecuts were made at a time when hand flourishes were not discouraged. The Germans made this very late in their production of holiday items for the export market. These "last year" designs were almost exclusively exported to the population centers in eastern Canada and are among the most interesting, out-there designs the Germans made before WWII - and arguably ever. The seller started it at $2000 and a bid was received within the hour. It will be very fun to sit back and see what this fetches. 

03/25 Update: This fine diecut brought a record high of $3,100. 

VERY FINE+ Vintage Halloween Paper Mache Pulp Jack o Lantern Decoration 40s-50s

1950s pulp JOLs made in the U.S. were so ubiquitous when I began collecting back in the later 1980s that I decided to pursue other genres. So, to this very day I don't have a single one in my multi-thousand item collection. Seeing the magnificence of this impressively large specimen does make me realize how compelling these can be in a display. My long-time friend, ziz, has scared up a real treat with this one.
I will auction some great items, some more rare than others, on this very site beginning May 3rd. The preview for the ~70 lots is set to begin on April 26th. Some of these lots will be comprised of super pulp JOLs like this one, so stay tuned!

Halloween Pumpkin Jack O Lantern Lot Vegetable People

The seller writes rather oddly about this set, "Have no idea on his age." Let me help. These items have little age - they are proverbial newborns relative to the age of authentically vintage items. These blobby, Schmoo-like forgettables are just the thing to have if you want targets to test out that new hunting rifle. The seller further writes, "A must for your Halloween collection." Um, I think not. 


Please see the item directly below, as it is of the same ilk. The seller, who writes that they have been collectors for over 40 years, inexplicably puts this very desirable German suit case (or purse) candy container made from 1916-1921 up on Ebay with a BIN of $75, a fraction of what this would have brought using the auction format! The size is somewhat smaller than the iteration more commonly seen, so who knows what it may have brought. Wow! Kudos to the buyer who was a fast mover, surely disbelieving in their incredibly good fortune. 

Old Vintage Halloween US Metal Toy Mfg. Company Skeleton Noisemaker

I wonder why sellers who are only vaguely familiar with an item use the BIN method rather than the auction method? This coveted skeleton noisemaker, made by U.S. Metal Toy during the early 1960s, typically fetches no less than $225. Even though the seller may have purchased it for a dollar, why wouldn't they do some research before picking a figure out of the air and letting it go for half of what they would have surely gotten if they had simply auctioned it? 


The celluloid market has strengthened quite a bit over these last few months. This is a splendid item! I feel the price was quite reasonable. It may have even done better if it was offered as an auction rather than a BIN. Although I appreciate celluloid, its inherently flammable nature deters me from collecting it. However, when you can see a thoughtfully curated collection, like that owned by my close friends, Tammy and Barry, appreciation for the artistry of design makes me wonder if I've made the correct decision. As I write on page 110, "The fragile nature of this medium makes finding near-mint or better examples difficult, as most extant items have some dents and/or cracks." 

HALLOWEEN Vintage US Stand-Up 3-D Table Decoration Moon Owl Scarecrow

Although creatively Beistle was in a downswing at the time this was produced in the mid-1950s, there were still glimmers of their imaginative prowess, as evidenced by this 3-D fold out decoration, one of a set of three. (The complete set is shown on page 231.) The other two, a haunted house scene and a graveyard scene, tend to fetch more money when they come up for sale, but all are cleverly designed and make great display items. Because each needs to be expanded to stand, wear is evident on the items in even above average condition. This seems to be in near-mint condition, so should command strong dollars at the auction's conclusion. 

03/15 Update: And strong dollars were, indeed, obtained. This item in such great condition pulled in $172.50! 

Vintage (1950s) tin tambourine Kirchoff "Life of the party", cats on pumpkin

I don't know that I've ever seen this tambourine with a decorated rim. It is wonderful! I just checked both versions of this tambourine in the collection (both shown on page 214) and neither has this very pleasing decorated rim. Kirchhof used their Life of the Party moniker in the 1950s on most of their tin party products. (This is a quick and certain way to date Kirchhof items.) Although not always true, most of their output in the 1950s and beyond cut corners here and there to save money. Some designer didn't get the memo with this item.