MBL's Blog

Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Fun Facebook Group...

I've not been a regular dweller on Facebook, except lately. A short while ago Jennifer Fisher started a fun group called Vintage Halloween. Here is the mission statement: This Halloween Facebook Group, Vintage Halloween, is for collectors of Vintage Halloween, those who like to decorate for Halloween (especially vintage style), artisans of Halloween, and all things spooky! I've had a lot of fun keeping abreast of posts on this great group. The membership, by email invitation, already numbers 261 and is rapidly growing. Give it a look and join up! 

Vintage German Halloween Pumpkin Candle Holder

I understand that this incredibly rare candle holder was offered by the seller for a BIN of $70! How I wish I would have seen that. I would have pounced on it with nary a second thought as this item should fetch ~$525. This was made between 1908 and 1932 and was part of the adult-sized porcelain set, pieces of which are among the rarest of all such porcelain items. I have one in the collection, but would have loved to have had a matched set. I do not understand how someone seeing this offered at a fraction of its value would not have simply bought it, rather than bid the silly $25 opening price. Pretty short-sighted...
In any event, it is heartening to see such a high-quality item amidst all the dreck that has cluttered this category for too long. 

AWESOME VINTAGE TIN TOY MID-CENTURY HALLOWEEN JOL BEAN TOSS GAME

This is a modern reproduction, with no collectible value. The originals were made from a thick cardboard. Unfortunately, these have been reproduced for years with the reproductions I've seen all made from the thick cardboard. This tin version is a new iteration on a reproduction. I am amused by the seller's casual statement that he/she is unsure of the item's age. 

HALLOWEEN VINTAGE CARDBOARD PUMPKIN MAN - SMALL HANGER OR TAG - MADE IN USA

This is one from a set of eight small diecuts Beistle issued in the 1950s, all lightly embossed. (This seller has two others from the set up on Ebay now.) The set is definitely idiosyncratic, as it contains this smoking JOL, a skull with what could be a checked racing cap, a disturbing clown face and a pirate black cat face among four other designs. Prices on diecuts from this set have strengthened quite a bit over the last two years. I wouldn't be surprised if this crests $50. To see the complete set, check out page 140. 

VINTAGE HALLOWEEN DECORATION BLACK CATS GO STOP DETOUR

This seems to be a pristine example of this super diecut. Beistle issued a set of twelve designs, similarly colored, starting in 1932 and continuing for two decades. Given the level of embossing I can see in the photos, this is one of the earlier pressings. I feel the buyer, definitely possessing a discerning eye, scooped this up for a bargain price. Kudos!!

Vintage Hand Crafted Paper Mache Halloween Black Cat Figurine

This is a stunning German nodding candy container made between 1910-1914 or 1919-1920. One identical to it can be seen on page 65. I still think the cited value of $650 is correct for an example in perfect condition. This is not, given the visible crack along the seam and the apparent lack of a mechanism enabling the head to nod. (This style of item was molded from two irregularly bordered halves then glued together. The crack along the side seam isn't too big of a deal as long as the break is stable, something I can't determine from the photos.) The missing nodding mechanism should be able to be replaced, with the attendant risk that the interior of the head could be damaged in attempting a replacement. Keep these considerations in mind if you are inclined to bid. Notice the great detailing of the cat's abdomen. (How I wish it could legitimately remind me of my own!) 

04/13 Update: This finished with a prevailing bid of $325, pretty much in line with expectations given the condition issues. 

Vintage DEVIL Halloween TAMBOURINE Tin Noisemake by Kirchhof 1950's Tamborine

This is a strong result for this nice looking tambourine. Kirchhof reissued many of their older designs in somewhat brighter colors and somewhat thinner tin in the 1950s under their "Life of the Party" manufacturing line. When you see this notation on Kirchhof products, you know right away that the item is from ~1954-1959. The original design was produced in the 1930s with a dirty yellow background and an orange rim. I actually prefer this color variant as it really stands out on a wall. (I hang all of my tambourines.) These typically don't bring more than $45-55, so this is a good result for the seller. 

Ohio Art Halloween Tamboreen

My level of amazement when a seller positions something as being in "great shape" when it actually is ready for the scrap heap should be lower than it is given how many dubiously described items I see virtually every day. This seller has an opening bid of $55, when this common tambourine in perfect condition typically doesn't bring that. The face of the tambourine is missing and is seems to have a serious case of rust on the interior of the rim. Good luck is all I can muster. 

RARE Vintage Halloween 2-Sided Paper Mache Pulp Jack o' Lantern with Stem, 1950s

It isn't often that I scribble down my thoughts relative to pulp JOLs as I have never collected them. When I began scouring shops and such back in 1988, American pulp JOLs were so commonly seen that they never piqued my interest. Over the years, prices for this genre of items have progressed modestly. This result is definitely an exception. Yes, this particular form isn't seen as often as the others, but I still don't understand the result. I chalk it up to the stellar reputation the seller has cultivated over her many years of honing her savviness in the vintage Halloween arena. Cindy is a true delight and is someone I am proud to call my friend. I think the fact that she (and her omnipresent gold doily...) was selling this enhanced its value by a solid 75%. 

Super Large Dennison's 1931 Salesman's Sample Book, 23 Halloween Decorations

These great salesmen sample books surface once or twice a year and are a wealth of information as to what was still being peddled in a specific year. They typically will fetch about what this one did. I received many questions about this listing, with the main question being, "What do you think it will go for?" My answer was around $500. Everyone thought that figure was much too low given the rarity of many of the diecuts contained within the book. However, when you look closely, many of the diecuts were truncated in some way or were otherwise damaged by being placed in such a book. All were affixed to pages, meaning that if you were successful in extricating them, some paper restoration, and the costs associated with such work, would have to be borne to bring the diecut up to a reasonable collecting standard. As a curiosity, these books are pretty awesome, but as a source of actual diecuts to be displayed outside of its pages, not so much. 

One additional note, many of these diecuts were originally produced before 1931. Their inclusion in the book only indicates that Dennison was still actively selling the design in the 1931 Halloween season, not that the design was originally produced in that year. 

All in all, I think whomever the buyer was got a fun item at an eminently reasonable cost. Congrats!!

Beistle Skairo Halloween Jointed Bug Figure

Beistle issued two versions of Skairo. One smiles and the other scowls. These are very avidly sought after, evidenced by this example, in good at best condition, bringing nearly $315. The version sold was made in 1929, while its brother was manufactured in 1931. Beistle issued two other figures with lightning bolt-shaped bodies. You can see all of these on page 149. 

Nice Vintage Halloween Witch Decoration

This listing made me smile. This seller routinely places bewilderingly high prices on the most common of things, with no apparent consideration given for condition. This is a very common diecut that Beistle made for many, many seasons. Given its ubiquity and condition, the price I'd expect it to fetch would be south of $10.