Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Halloween Tin Lithograph Noisemaker Cat Faces Wood Handle HTF

This tin litho noisemaker, made by an unknown manufacturer during the 1930s, is very cleverly designed. I have my suspicions that it was made by Bugle Toy of Providence, Rhode Island, but they were disciplined about marking their tin litho items and this tin item has no mark. It has their characteristic clever design. Take a close look at it to see the almost Art Deco integration of four orange cat faces bordered by two bats and two owls. 
Tin as a genre has been ice cold for years now. This was an aggressive ending price. Does this presage an upward movement for tin litho items? 

SCARCE & VERY FINE Vintage Halloween Witch Face Diecut Decoration, Germany 1920s

My good friend has been listing a very nice collection of German diecuts these last few weeks. This has long been one of my favorite of the German designs. The Germans made a head-spinning number of Halloween diecuts for export beginning in the very early 1920s and continuing through about 1950, with a major interruption from about 1935 through 1946. Everything the Germans made for Halloween was exported. Some designs are more common than others. The rarest designs were made for a single season only, 1935, and exported to eastern Canada. Among these designs are the two devil bats, skulls with several varieties of hats, the two crawling baby designs and a Puss'N Boots, among others. This witch face isn't among those rarefied number, but is quite an eye catcher nonetheless. A much rarer variant is offered in my auction this year. The auction's preview period is happening now, with the auction itself beginning this Sunday. Check it out. By the way, you can't go wrong with this seller. She is truly one of the best out there. 


These two lithoed paper over cardboard horns were produced by Bugle Toy of Providence, Rhode Island. The seller is correct in pointing out that textile spindles were reused in the manufacture of these noisemakers, an early and laudable example of recycling. Bugle was an odd company. They made memorably wacky tin litho Halloween noisemakers, different from their coma inducing designs on paper. It seems likely that a key art designer left the firm and was replaced by a hack, but who knows? Bugle tin litho items sell quickly, whereas most of their lithoed paper designs linger in the marketplace. 

Circa 1910 Halloween Small Skeleton Ghost Black Cat Die Cut Stickers Decoration

This seller has a number of small paper items up right now, all cited as being older than they are. These two small seals were produced by Gibson and sold in the early 1920s in a boxed set of twenty. (See the top of page 264 for the set as well as the other I feel represent the very best designs Gibson made.) Complete Gibson boxed sets are quite hot now, and have been for some time. They were made in significantly smaller quantities than the slide boxes Dennison produced. 

Vintage 1940's / 1950's Halloween: CAT and WITCH PARTY GAME by Whitman

Although arguably the most commonly seen Halloween-themed game out there, I've long enjoyed the simple graphics and premise of the game. Made by Whitman Publishing of Racine, Wisconsin in prodigious quantities for about a seven year span beginning in the mid-1930s, it surfaces regularly for sale and typically brings near or slightly above the seller's opening price. If they had designed the game just a decade later, the witch surely would have looked much less fearsome. 


When I saw this listing's ending price, I thought it was too high. Interestingly, one of the underbidders let me know that she had received an email from the seller stating that the high bidder had walked away from his bid. I opined that a more sustainable price was around $400, so she offered that and it was accepted. I've seen the market value these candy boxes a bit more dearly than in the recent past. 

Early 1900s German Wooden Cat Accordion Noisemaker--- Rare & Hard to Find

This is a wonderful vintage squeaker made in Germany around 1919-1920, at the beginning of the Golden Age of production immediately after WWI. According to the seller, the squeaker mechanism still works, rare for these old toys. However, I don't think this was made for Halloween, but maybe for Valentine's Day. The price seems right for what it is. If it was truly Halloween-themed, it would command perhaps double, plus some. 


This set of nine tin litho noisemakers from a variety of manufacturers is offered at an eminently reasonable BIN price of $125. Although the two-piece rattler looks problemtatic, the others look great. I'm surprised the listing has lasted this long, frankly. US tin litho items have cooled down considerably over the last decade, yet this is still a great deal. Someone snatch this right up! 

1920's Fabricius Mercantile Halloween Novelty Catalog, Rare!

I love wholesaler catalogs as they can give an insight into when things were made and how widespread was the distribution of goods. Fabricius Mercantile was a small-fry outfit in St. Louis. Once the founder's son died in 1919, his two sons took over and renamed the business Fabricius Mercantile. It lasted only until 1936. Catalogs from them are quite hard to find. This catalog seems to be from about 1932 based on the Beistle goods shown on one of the pages. The page showing the candy containers and horns show goods predominantly made in Japan. All in all a great catalog bought for a good price.