Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Bugle Toy Halloween Noise Maker Tin Wood Handle

Bugle made some wonderfully eccentric tin Halloween designs - so different from their "kill-me-I'm-so-bored" paper over cardboard horns. This shaker from the 1920s with a very high dome doesn't come up for sale in this condition often, so it was great to see it at this barren time of the year. It came in right at sustainable guide value of $100. 

Vintage Devil Satan Paper Mache Halloween Lantern

I've seen these oddly colored devil head lanterns occasionally over the decades and remain unimpressed. They just don't have the impact the traditionally toned ones have for me. I do believe F.N. Burt made these with varying odd colorations, probably late in the overall production run. As with all inserts I haven't examined personally, I assume it is newer. Sustainable guide value for this lantern with a typical look is $350. I can't imagine, even during an optimal listing time, that this would get more than a fraction of that value, even if it didn't have a carved bottom. 


There are a couple of quick ways a collector could immediately determine this tin litho tambourine was manufactured during the 1950s. First, this Kirchhof noisemaker is marked, "Life of the Party," a mark only used during this time. Second, the colors are much brighter than the original design. (Look at the bottom of page 215 to see the original design issued during the 1930s.) The price of this older tambourine design tends to hover around $60, whereas the "Life of the Party" releases tend to bring less, sometimes much less. 

Group of 6 Different Antique Halloween Placards with Moon and Black Cat

This well-designed complete set of six place cards was made by Whitney during the 1930s. I have long appreciated the differences in each one of the six including the different expressions of the moon. In order to make it easy for each to stand on a table, the sides of each card bend inward - a nice touch. This set used to surface more regularly than now. It is a tough set to find with no extraneous markings or missing pieces. Sustainable guide value is $185 for the set. 

01/17 Update: The set brought $227.50, a nearly 23% premium to SGV. One hasn't surfaced in some time, so if another were to come up for sale in the same condition, I would expect the price to normalize to the $185 SGV. 

Beistle Halloween bat diecut and tissue

Man, I haven't seen one of these offered for quite some time. This rare devil bat diecut was made by Beistle for a few seasons bracketed by the years 1925-1931. It was sold in two variations: with either orange or black crepe paper wings. This diecut is impossible to find in truly mint condition given the way it was designed. Knowing this, the one being offered here is darn nice. The imperfections the seller has endeavored to highlight are all minor. Sustainable guide value is $400, but early and rare Beistle items have routinely been bringing well in excess of guide during the past year. It will be fun to see what this listing fetches. If you don't own this yet, don't let this slip through your fingers. 

01/17 Update: This great item brought $485. 

Welcome to 2017!

Hi Faithful Readers, 
Well, the 2016 holiday season has come to a close and we are on to the new year. I just trolled through the eBay listings and found almost nothing to comment upon - not uncommon during this time of the year. 
As the most coveted vintage Halloween items continue their sustained price ascent, unscrupulous dealers are redoubling their efforts to peddle newly made crapola as old to fool trusting collectors. One troubling and accelerating trend is the marrying of old elements with new elements to create a "vintage" item. The genre most affected by this is anything having a mechanical/clockwork feature. If considering such a purchase, be sure the entire item is old and complete. So many, especially those being sold that look new, have been "Frankensteined" together. I don't know if I've seen a single example during 2016 that didn't raise at least one eyebrow. 
Don't be an easy mark. Do your research and buy from dealers only after checking around with other collectors as to these dealers' reputations. 
I am already busy preparing for my annual May auction, with all lots consisting of truly vintage Halloween items. The auction is open only to those who have purchased a copy of my third edition of Vintage Halloween Collectibles. If you haven't invested in a copy yet, consider doing so before long. 
Look for more frequent updates to the blog now that the holidays are in the rear view mirror. 


Vintage Halloween Haunted House 1969 Empire Light-up Orange Plastic Blow Mold

I like many of the blow molds produced in the late 1960s but this one is my favorite. The designer was really talented in incorporating a skewed perspective to the haunted house. Nicely detailed and compact, this is one of the first ones I place in my front garden window each season. Although not rare, finding one with no fading or other condition issues is a pleasant surprise. Sustainable guide value is $65, but given that the seller is offering this with free shipping, this may be one to pick up. 

One Vintage Halloween DENNISON party invitation PUMPKIN HEAD Book THE CALL

The date on this nicely designed Dennison invitation is interesting. This item first appeared in a Dennison 1928 Price List pamphlet. This rather battered survivor has an inked date of 1938 which means that either Dennison sold these for ~10 seasons or (more likely) that the original party giver was a pack rat who held on to the pack of invitations until another party opportunity arose. I give more credence to the latter possibility because this design is seen seldom enough that it warrants an RSIN of 2. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hello Faithful Readers!
At this time of the year not much is listed that I find worthwhile to comment upon, so I typically take a blogging break for most of December. If I find something to write about I'll create a post, but don't be alarmed if the site is relatively dormant until the first week of January. 
I am actively planning for my annual May auction - an event that is only open to those who have bought a copy of my third edition of Vintage Halloween Collectibles. If you are one of those fine folk, please drop me an email conveying your email address and phone number - especially if either or both have changed. Many buyers forget to include one or both. I want to ensure that every buyer can be notified when the auction is about to get underway. 
Thanks! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Vintage Early 1900s Blindfolded Girl Stand-Up Table Top Halloween Decoration

Whitney made a wide variety of these well-designed place cards during the 1920s. Many have mechanical features. Often there are mice shown running around the circular base, although this example has only a short printed sentiment. This seller had a number of these place cards up for auction that I had never seen before. All had damage so I passed on bidding, but was delighted to add to the database of now-known designs. (To see more, look on page 276.) 

Vintage Halloween Pumpkin Clapper Made In Germany Jol 2 Sided 1920's - 30'

The Germans made and exported several designs of these identically two-sided clappers during the 1920s. As I write on page 196, "All consist of heavily embossed diecuts stapled to both sides of a cardboard paddle. The diecuts for this line were finished in such a way as to make them appear distressed, giving rise to the often erroneous conclusion that the diecuts are in poor condition." Sustainable guide value for these clappers is $100, so this auction ended nearly right on the money. 

Vintage Large Die Cut Jointed Halloween Scarecrow Decoration! 3'

This overly large scarecrow diecut was made by Beistle from 1960-1962 and illustrates the plunge in derring-do the company experienced in wanting to roll with the times. Silly and benign displaced challenging and memorable design by this time in Beistle's history. Their Golden Age for Halloween was 1918-1940, followed by a period punctuated with some creativity from 1941-1955 then followed by a long decline in artistic vision exemplified by this doofus.