Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

New Lantern Design from Tim Ramzyk of Pulp Novelties

Wow! I just received Tim Ramzyk's 2016 Halloween pulp lantern and LOVE it! As you know, it is rare that I tout anything but vintage items on this blog, but take a look at this scary lantern alongside two others I am so proud to own - a devil head and a witch head. Tim is a Wisconsin-based artist who meticulously and painstakingly hand molds his own designs from a heavy, durable pulp. Including 2016's Nosferatu (The Vampire), he has 6 designs in very limited quantities at price points that are in a few words, way too cheap! The other designs are a witch, a devil, a skull, a JOL and a black cat. Just as I have always been, I am in awe at the workmanship and the true craft he brings to pulp design. I proudly have three of his treasures on exhibit in my main display room. (For those who I've been lucky to host at my home, you know that in order for something to be placed in that room, it has to carry its own weight. These do, easily.) 

Now, Tim is only making 14 Nosferatu (The Vampire) lanterns for 2016 with similar quantities of his five other designs. The price for Nosferatu is $95. (It measures ~7.5" high by ~6.5" deep.) The price for either the devil, JOL or black cat is $68. The price for either the skull or witch is $80. Having seen the meticulousness of these wondrous and limited edition objects, I can surely say these prices are way too cheap. (Hurry, order these quickly before Tim comes to his senses and raises them!) 

By the way, Tim has created a steel stamp of his logo and has permanently branded his creations, as he has a healthy respect for protecting the vintage market. He numbers and dates each of his creations. 

For those who know me, you know that I rarely buy anything Halloween unless it is vintage. I've made an exception - and you should too. Snap these up before they are ALL GONE by contacting Tim directly at He lists these as well on eBay and Etsy. 

Old Halloween Honeycomb Hallowe'en Dancing Witch 7-24 inch Stretch Org. Package

Beistle made this design for many seasons (1928-1937) so they come up for sale with some regularity. They typically change hands for $60 so the ending price here is puzzling. Yes, the presence of the near-plain glassine envelope is unusual but does it justify the huge premium seen in the ending price? I don't think so, but two determined bidders felt differently. I wonder if the underbidder is more relieved than unhappy? I know I'd be. 

08/31 Update: The underbidder contacted me to say that she was indeed relieved not to have been the prevailing bidder. She bid her max amount never thinking someone would come in anywhere near that figure. 

But here is the view of the buyer who is quite happy with the purchase - and isn't what collecting is all about? "Your recent blog post, regarding the witch dancer and its original glassine envelope, has prompted my response. I was the prevailing bidder in this auction.
This is the earliest packaging I've seen-in all probability 1927-1929. Later output was housed in plain, unprinted glassine envelopes. Dull as it may be it is quite extraordinary to view nonetheless in its near mint condition. The glassine envelope is void of tears and crumpling -it's apparently perfect-which in my opinion is remarkable in and of itself.
This uniquely rare packaging variant in conjunction with a mint, unused, witch dancer certainly justifies the price realized. In my opinion this was a steal. In fact, if the underbidder hadn't been active, the prevailing bid would have been $71.99 -chump change."

Vintage Halloween Pulp Pumpkin JOL Lantern : White Small Skull

The seller is right - this lantern doesn't come up for sale too often. There isn't too much to remember it by. Plain as can be with minimal styling and with no insert ever produced for it, the unknown manufacturer didn't let any corner go uncut. Some collectors like the shock of white this does provide in a display cabinet otherwise dominated by black and orange, but I don't care for this lantern. My records indicate these typically trade in the $300 range - quite a bit for something so ho-hum. 

1920's Rare Beistle Devil Diecut, Jointed

It is satisfying to see some real treasures amongst the dross that makes up this eBay category! I have seen this non-embossed diecut come available only a handful of times in my nearly 30 years of collecting. This diecut was produced by Beistle during the mid-1920s. There is a somewhat slightly more common variant Beistle produced without the tail, but I find it less interesting. The condition issues the seller conscientiously notes aren't concerning. If you appreciate iconic Beistle imagery, don't let this great piece slip by. I like the design so much I've included it in the Inner Sanctum section of the 3rd edition with a guide value of $325-375. 

Complete Set 6 Dennison Owl Cut-Out Vintage Halloween Decorations with Box, 1923

Dennison is rightly best known for the myriad of superbly designed boxed sets of seals, cut-outs, illuminated silhouettes and the like they produced from about 1913 through the 1960s. (The best of their production happened from about 1916 through 1930.) Some of their slide boxes are difficult to find while others more steadily become available. As this fine seller states, complete near-mint or better boxed sets are becoming harder to find. This particular set tends to be seen more than others and the guide value reflects this. These typically trade for $95. 

MINT Rare Whitney Halloween 4 Piece Table Decoration JOL Vegetable People Fence

It is wonderful to learn from this listing that this highly stylized four-sided centerpiece was made by Whitney. I've long suspected this was the case but could never point to any old catalog or price list to definitively settle the question. Through the auspices of this listing, we also learn the stock number Whitney assigned to this early fence, 77. This is an item that seldom comes up for sale, and never, to my knowledge, in the stellar condition of this example. (Even the one in the collection has some toning issues.) I like this seller and hope to see many more quality listings from them. Guide value is $200, but I suspect this will do far better than that as it is the only mint example I've ever seen. 

Vintage Halloween Cardboard Decoration Skeleton Beistle Dennison USA

This great set was produced by Beistle during the early 1930s. The gem of the lot is the packaging, because as with so much packaging, it was typically tossed out right away. For one to survive in the condition this new seller is offering is unusual and should be snapped right up. The package measures ~22" high by ~12" wide. Guide value for the set is $175. Skeleton diecuts have been on a roll lately, so it'll be instructive to see where this ends. 

Vintage Halloween Cardboard Decoration Pumpkin Mask Beistle Dennison Sealtest

Beistle didn't use this image much, so this advertising item for Sealtest Ice Cream is unusual. They used this JOL on two variants of the same Jack-O-Lantern Fortune Game as well as a tabletop decoration with a flip-out base. (The latter item is exceedingly rare and can be seen in The Inner Sanctum section on page 124.) Compared to many of their masks, this design is a cut above. 

Halloween Snaggletooth Witch Head By Dennison

This is one of Dennison's more subdued and restrained designs compared to much of their output from this period, 1928-1931. (This first appeared in their 1930 Price List pamphlet.) Because the onset of the Great Depression was affecting such non-essentials as party decorations, Dennison produced greatly reduced quantities of such wares at that time. What that means for today's collectors is that many of the diecuts from this period are hard to locate. This has an RSIN of 2. It can be seen on page 144 of the third edition. 

Rare set Beistle Tally Bridge Halloween Ephemera 9 complete Cards w/original Box

This was an interesting mixed lot. The somewhat battered box and its incomplete contents (5 of the 10 tallies that would complete the set) were randomly paired with 4 tallies, two of which I haven't seen before. The four tallies were made by an unknown manufacturer and are more interesting than the Beistle tallies. Beistle's output was typically crafted with care and intricately detailed, however, these tallies, made for many seasons, don't fall into those categories. I watched this lot with interest, wondering what price it would fetch. I feel the ending price was right on, surely helped by the two not-seen-before specimens. 

Great Original 1915 Dennison's Bogie Book Halloween Decorations w/ Envelope

OK, WOW! For avid Halloween paper ephemera collectors, seeing this listing should cause your hearts to race and your sphincters to seize. Seeing this quality listing amongst so much eBay dreck made my day. This is certainly the best listing I've seen come along in well over a year. 
Completing a set of customized Dennison Bogie Book envelopes or enclosures is high on my list. They surface so rarely they warrant an RSIN of 1, except for the 1919 enclosure that has been assigned a 2. (I am proud to own enclosures for 1909, 1914, 1915, 1917 and 1919. I have never seen enclosures for any of the other years Dennison Bogie Books were produced so cannot even be sure they exist. You can see these extant enclosures in my third edition.) From the ones I do own, this 1915 enclosure is the most cleverly designed and memorable of all the others put together. This is the ONE to own. Less interesting by comparison is the actual 1915 Bogie Book itself. This issue is not easy to find and the condition seems to be acceptable. I'm glad the seller included a shot of the Bogie inside its enclosure to show the cleverness with which this was produced. The guide value for the enclosure alone is $500, but there was only a single data point to support that specific valuation. In my view, the sky's the limit, so I'll be buckled in watching where this listing ends. 

08/23 Update: The air wasn't too choppy. Guide value for both items is $775 and it ended at $838. I feel the buyer got a very good deal overall considering the rarity of the enclosure. 

One Vintage Halloween ROSEN 50s TRIX OR TREATS sucker card MINT unused condition

Rosen made three distinct sets of their Trix or Treats cards. Set A consists of six cards, while Sets B and C consist of five cards. This is a card from Set B, the best of the three sets, produced during the late 1940s into the early 1950s. The RSIN for any one from this set is 3 and guide value is $70. Turn to pages 90-91 to see all cards from all sets.