Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

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. 

Vintage Antique Halloween Lantern 4 Panel Die-Cut Pulp Cardboard Crepe Paper

Given the overall condition of this lantern, the ending price was far in excess of what was expected. Although it is true that authentic versions of this German lantern are not easily found (This lantern has been reproduced beginning in the mid-1990s.), the condition of this particular item wasn't high. If you look at the recorded bidding history, it seems that the price plateaued at $227, then was ratcheted upward to its ending level of $540 by two bidders, one of whom has zero feedback. I feel the correct level for this lantern in this condition would be ~$275. 

Pair of Very Early & Rare c. Feb. 1911 Halloween Trick or Treat Lamp Shades

These are bottoms for the small-sized Spook Lamps, early table decorations and lanterns. The smaller ones could also be used in conjunction with place cards. (You can see the factory made openings on one of the four panels per bottom.) Unfortunately, what is being offered for auction are remnants. Missing are the top sections containing the candle holder and the four support struts for each lantern that would attach to each bottom. Complete Spook Lamps are hard to find, as they were fragile to begin with. Most have not made the journey through over a century of time well or at all. 

Vintage Old German Halloween Devil Satan Face w Black Cats Die Cut Pressed Paper

The Germans produced a total of twelve tiara or diadem designs during the 1920s. All of them are hard to find in collectible condition, but this is arguably the toughest and the most eye-catching. This devil design brought only an ~18% premium to sustainable guide value, smaller than I would have forecast given that one hasn't surfaced in some time. Undoubtedly, if this had been offered for sale in August, it would have fetched far more. 

Vintage Mechanical Halloween Advertising Piece. Chases Fine Candies. RARE & HTF

The seller doesn't state an opinion as to when this was produced, but I think this interesting and large item was made during the later 1950s through the early 1960s. The benign imagery is representative of that period. The Chase Candy Company has been in business since 1876, always based in St. Joseph, Missouri. (Their best known product is the Cherry Mash.) Given the simplicity of the design I feel $595 is on the high side. However, the seller is open to offers, so if you have room this may be a good acquisition. 

11/10 Update: This sold for $545 to a very good home in Pennsylvania. 

Awesome - Vintage Beistle Four-Sided Skull Halloween Lantern - 1930's

This four-sided skull lantern was produced by Beistle in the early 1930s. When buying such items, always ensure that the bottom piece is intact (or as this seller writes, "in tack."). They are often missing making it problematic for the lantern to stay standing. Sustainable guide value for one with its bottom piece and with no staining is $125, so this seller is quite an optimist, if not a careful speller. 

VINTAGE 1930's HALLOWEEN Tin Party Noise Maker,w/ Witch, Black Cat, Skeleton

This whimsical and energetic tin litho shaker was made by an unknown manufacturer sometime during the 1920s I think, rather than the 1930s. The same design was used in an exceedingly rare set of cymbals, a set I have yet to obtain. Looking at the blog post below, you'll find that I feel selling in October is not optimal, leading me to wonder what this great item might have brought if it was sold in August, let's say. 

Vintage 7 Foot Halloween Banner - A Beistle Creation - Unopened - Pre 1960

Although this is not an item from Beistle golden age, it is still a nice banner. Being inside an unopened package with its original header card, this should have brought more money. I attribute the fact that it didn't to the well known phenomenon of "I've spent my vintage Halloween budget by early October" syndrome. The best time to sell vintage Halloween is from early May through the end of September. Although some lots here and there may sell well outside of this time frame, most don't bring what could be considered full value. Casual sellers of vintage Halloween material reflexively think that listing such items in October makes sense. It doesn't. Collectors generally have their displays out by mid-to-late September and have exhausted their budgets by the end of that month. The month of October is typically a great month to be a buyer - no doubt as the prevailing bidder on this banner feels. 

Happy Halloween 2016

Well, another Halloween is nearly in the books. This season has gone by so fast that it seems as if I began putting out my decorative things just yesterday.
There have been a fair number of very good vintage Halloween items up for sale on eBay this season, although some of the prices collectors are willing to pay stretch the limits of credulity. I've been able to add a great deal to the collection this cycle, especially as my collecting interests turn away from German compo candy containers and toward the rarer paper goods produced by Beistle, Dennison and Gibson. Over the next few years I'll reduce my candy container collection to my favorite 50-60, selling the others through my annual auctions held in early May. (I have already begun setting great finds and de-accessioned items aside for the 2017 event. Remember that my auctions are open only to those who have purchased a copy of the third edition of Vintage Halloween Collectibles.) 
Today will be a busy one for many of us. Look for my next update tomorrow. The happiest of Halloweens to you and yours!!


I tell you, as more of the 1930s Hallmark paper ephemera surfaces, it grows on me more and more. Their designs are clever and involved. Just look at this invitation! I love the trompe l'oeil aspect. My typical policy is not to buy any such item with writing inside, so I passed on this, but wonder if I made an error. My interests have been gradually changing - away from candy containers and lanterns and much more decidedly toward paper items made by Beistle, Dennison and Gibson. I have added 1930s Halloween items produced by Hallmark to my search list, so hope to find unadulterated examples to add to the collection. 

Beistles Halloween Party Helps 3 Novelty Place Cards In Envelope Witch/Cat/Ghost

Beistle issued these in at least three packaging variants. One was under their "Party Helps" line with an envelope containing the three place cards shown in this listing. The stock number was 527. The second variant was for an envelope containing four place cards (still just the same three designs...) with the stock number of 757. In the envelope of four in the collection, the fourth is a duplicate of the owl. The third variant was an envelope with a plastic front containing six place cards with a stock number of 657. Interestingly, there are not two of each design but two ghosts, one witch and three owls. One could surmise then that the owl is the most common of the three designs and the witch the least common. I don't know if that is correct, but if you happen to have either of the final two variants, please check the contents and let me know the design distribution.