MBL's Blog

Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage German Mini Die Cut Cat On Pumpkin

This is one from a set of six very desirable German mini-diecuts made from 1945-949. Most have the black paper prop seen on this one. These are typically marked as being made in one of the zones administered by one of the victorious allies after WWII. This example doesn't have this mark, which although atypical, doesn't diminish its cachet. The seller has been on my approved dealer list for a long-time. You can buy with total confidence from Scott! 

antique Halloween decorations Beistle's Halloween Clocks

This is another example of how white hot early Beistle items are in the marketplace. Beistle made this clock for only a single season - 1923 - and those that have survived the nearly 100 years tend to be in rough shape, mainly due to the large form factor and irregular borders. The seller, thanks to at least one eagle-eyed viewer, revised the listing to highlight that the clocks weren't mint, but they sure were as close as I've mostly seen. (The real star of the lot was the envelope. These ephemeral items were nearly all tossed aside. I still haven't found one for the collection.) I placed a few bids, but the final price was a fully valued one. 


Early Beistle paper has been white hot for some many years now. (Nothing points to this lessening!) The latest evidence is this auction result. Beistle began manufacturing these Johnny Pumpkins in 1919 and continued their creation only through the 1921 season. Here is what I wrote about this product line (appears on page 122): "Beistle issued the family in these formally designated sizes, all non-embossed on flat stock, medium weight cardboard: five inch, eight inch, eleven inch, sixteen inch and twenty inch, although there are variations to size of as much as one and one-quarter inch with nearly all of them....Beistle didn't take great care in differentiating designs within sizes. Sometimes the differences are obvious but sometimes the differences are just a matter of how much neck line, or lace or collar shows. Beistle was seemingly not prepared for the success of this line and cranked them out with limited quality control relative to exactly how the designs by size were replicated. This becomes more obvious the more examples one gathers together to compare." The one selling here for $136.49 was in very rough shape, yet still brought what it did. 

Vintage Halloween Advertisement Owl Pick a feather out of my wing!

This is an exceptionally rare fortune game made by Gibson in the later 1920s. I have only seen it offered for sale one other time in 28 years, and that one was in poor condition, missing several of its feather fortunes. Gibson didn't venture too often into the games category, and when they did they typically made drawing and tongue twister varieties. (This may be the sole Halloween fortune game this venerable firm made.) This is a large, eye-catching game, measuring ~14" h x ~14" w. Gibson items are much more rare than equivalent items made by Dennison or Beistle. The market has been slowly waking up to this fact. I project that prices for Gibson items in near-perfect condition will escalate more rapidly than other manufacturers over the next few years. 

12th Annual Halloween Hard Cover Edition Dennison Bogie Book 1924 Hard to Find

As you know, Dennison issued their Bogie Books, using different names and formats as the years marched on, in 1909, then again from 1912 through 1917, from 1919 through 1931, then from 1933 through 1935. Dennison often issued hardcover editions of their annual booklets. These are desirable. Of the hardcovers, the more commonly seen are those that once were part of a library system. These are known as ex-library editions. The one being sold here is that kind of edition. The most coveted and most expensive of the hardcover editions are those that were never part of a library system. These are known as trade editions. Given that this one is an ex-library edition and is in OK condition, I feel the price is too high. A reasonable price to offer is $250. 

Halloween Candicontainer

I was the buyer of this rare candy container, a nice Christmas season treat for myself. Pieces with this paper litho over cardboard design are some of the most difficult to find for sale -  much more difficult to locate than the JOL patterned items shown on pages 58-60. So, I was quite happy until I opened the package. The seller packed it extremely well, so it arrived in the condition in which it was sent. However, there was a pronounced crinkling to the surface paper along a vertical line directly below one of the places where the black cord was attached. Accompanying this crinkling, was a slight indentation as well. I immediately contacted the seller indicating I wanted to return it for a full refund and heard....nothing. Over the next month, I sent numerous emails and heard...nothing. Even to this very moment, I have never received even one reply to my emails. Unfortunately, I had to get Paypal involved. They investigated and found in my favor. Only yesterday did I receive a refund through their protection program. The seller did not disclose this defect, even though it is obvious enough that he should have. In short, I will not do any future business with this seller. If you find yourself interested in something this seller is selling, make sure you ask a lot of questions and hope that you will hear more than I did...nothing. 

3 Paper Mache Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins Vintage Halloween ~Tiny~ Candy Containers

Whomever bought this lot bought one truly vintage item, one reproduction and one fantasy item. Can you tell which are which? Let me help...The JOL on the right with the green eyes is the real deal. The middle JOL with the yellow eyes is the reproduction. Notice the differences in the surface texture between this one and the vintage JOL. The white JOL is a fantasy item. Note that the problematic items have bales, an element never present on the pulp nut cup JOLs. Also, the paper nut cup itself is present on the vintage item, whereas the openings on the others seem too big for the crenelated paper cup. The buyer should be unhappy spending what they did on this mixed lot. Buyer, if you are reading this, get your money back. 


Here is a fresh example of a seller throwing a lot onto eBay with a BIN, seemingly ignorant of the worth of the individual pieces. Some clear-eyed buyer swooped in about 23 minutes (yes, only 23 minutes!) after the listing appeared, purchasing this nice lot with a sure smile on their face. The two shades from the 1916 Peggy's Halloween Party Set, the two Gibson shades, the box of Dennison seals and the two boxes of the harder-to-find Gibson seals were the stars of the lot. Just one box of Gibson seals may have brought what the entire lot fetched. The seller left money on the table. 

German Vintage DieCut Halloween Pumpkin Lady Collectible

The buyer of this desirable diecut got a bargain. This heavily embossed item was made in Germany during the 1920s. This design typically changs hands for $135 or more. Too often sellers deprive themselves of better dollars by listing things as a BIN without any real idea of what they are doing. They would very likely have received more by offering this through an auction format with a modest starting price. 

Vtg Lot 6 Halloween Tin Noisemakers, Paper Mache & Jack O' Lantern Witches, Cat

This seller is an incredible optimist! They are offering this lot of six items - none even close to perfect - for only $995! The sum of the parts here is maybe $225 on a good day. Each of these items is common, with the best piece of the lot being the "putty knife" clanger showing a broomed witch. That was made by T. Cohn in the 1930s and typically sells for $60. 

7 Old 1930's Halloween Party Place Card Candy Nut Cups w Original Box - Whitney

I was fortunate to get mint examples of these superb 1920s Whitney nut cups from this seller a couple of months ago when he was selling individual items for $40 each.(Some also double as place cards.) These are exceedingly rare. I've not seen most of these ever before, so I was thrilled to get them. Whitney designs tend to be rather static overall, so these are a welcome departure from the norm. Whitney was out of business by 1942. 

Witch Cardboard Halloween Decoration with Broom Wand with a Cat Head Bat & Moon

I have long searched for this diecut, but have been foiled over the years by the same issue dogging this listing - poor condition. Beistle made a set of three witch diecuts in the late 1950s. (All are shown on page 159.) Each witch looks decidedly grumpy. Each is depicted with odd touches: one has green shoes, one has a humped back and one, this one, has shoes that need to be re-soled. Interestingly, if you look closely at each in the set, what appears to be the artist's initials can be discerned. 

01/04 Update: This diecut sold for $92, less than one third it surely would have fetched had the condition been near-perfect.