MBL's Blog

Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Halloween German Paper Mache Candy Containers NR

Someone wasted $200 plus shipping on this foursome. Contrary to the seller's claim that these are "vintage," whatever that means, these items weren't made prior to ~2000. They have decorative value only. I hope the buyer kissed those dollars goodbye before sending them down the drain. (I notice that the seller, as is so often the case, offers no definition of the word "vintage.") 


Original boxes showcasing the various ways German diecuts were bundled and sold are quite a hot sub-genre at the moment. I sold one in my May auction (I'll be conducting another auction on this site in May 2016, again only open to those who have purchased a copy of my third edition.) for $425 and this very energetic box fetched $488.14. I've only seen this box design twice in 25 years of collecting. This very box, identifiable from the written markings, was sold on Ebay in early 2013, according to the photographic archives I've assembled, and now once again in 2015. An identical box, in better condition, sold in October of 2013. Other than these two examples, I've not seen this box design before. Kudos to both the seller - one of my favorites - and the buyer. 


This mechanical tally is such a cool item! The kinds of things produced in those long-past decades really had ingenuity. The maker is harder to pin down. Whitney seldom marked anything beyond their postcards, so the tip of the hat goes to that firm, out of business in the early 1940s, to be the maker. However, it could be from another manufacturer like Volland, Henderson Line, Rustcraft, etc. Both Beistle and Dennison can be eliminated, as can be Gibson. However, bottom line is that this is a great item that will strengthen any collection of tallies. I've never been able to locate one for the collection, evidenced by the one in my third edition coming from the inestimable Bobbie Lasky collection. (Bobbie is one of a handful of top-tier Halloween collectors in the United States.) 

Tin jack o lantern circa 1880-1900 approx.

This design was made in Toledo, Ohio starting in ~1905. It is the most common of the designs. Denuded like this, the sustainable value isn't more than the current bid level. (Since the profiling of one of these on American Pickers, prices have greatly risen, but I don't feel this increase is sustainable.)

Vintage Die-Cut Black Crow Halloween Decoration 7.5" Germany

Ebay has largely become a junkyard but now and then a wonderful piece does turn up - like this exceedingly rare German crow diecut. Heavily embossed, this design simply doesn't surface often, especially in this seemingly flawless condition. The mate to it, showing a crow in three-quarter profile, is much more common. Made during the 1920s, both members of the set can be seen on page 172. 

07/27 Update: Wow!! This rare diecut brought a very strong $440. 

Paper Mache Pulp Devil Lantern FN Burt 1930s VF+, Near Mint, Original Insert

This great lantern is being offered by a very knowledgeable collector and a long-time friend, so you can bid with absolute confidence. F.N. Burt Company of Buffalo, NY was a prolific producer of pulp goodies for a wide range of holidays. I feel their Halloween items were some of their best output. This devil head lantern with its original insert is a desirable and eye-catching one to have amidst your displays. Too many sellers these days offer poor photos, then stipulate that said photos are part of the description, so I appreciate Jason's clear pictures. 

07/27 Update: This super devil head lantern brought a very strong $393.89. Kudos!

Vintage Halloween Beistle Owl Tell Your Fortune Game

This is an extraordinary result for a somewhat common fortune and stunt game in this condition. These nicely designed games were issued by Beistle from 1955-1961. In unused condition, these typically fetch around $100, so someone really wanted this well-used item. As in nearly all such instances, this result came about by just two determined bidders. If you look at the bidding history, these two ratcheted the price up between them to this level, certainly making the surprised seller ecstatic. 

I'm Back...

Hi Readers, 

I just returned from a fun road trip through California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Nevada. (We put nearly 3000 miles on the car in 10 days seeing some majestic country.) 

I've just completed a quick update on the blog and will endeavor to update it 4-5 times per week now that I'm back. 

Don't forget to pick up a copy of my third edition of Vintage Halloween Collectibles. Our season is very quickly arriving!! 

Best, MBL

Antique 1920s J Chein & Company Cat Head Tambourine Hard To Find

This tambourine is in pretty rough shape, so I am surprised someone was willing to pay $225 for it. Sustainable guide value for one in near-mint condition is $250, and this one is in fair to good condition only. Especially when buying tin items, condition matters. These were made in great quantities during the 1920s, and even though that was a long time ago, many are still around that would display better than this one. If you are going to pay top dollar, insist on top quality.