Blog

Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Dennison Halloween Ghost Invitation, Victorian Couple, Unused w/Envelope

Dennison excelled in small form factor ephemera. This tri-fold ghost invitation first appeared in the 1922 Bogie Book. Everything is exquisite about this item from the unsettling expression on the ghost or ghoul to the distended lettering. Given hot this sub-genre of collecting is right now, I'll be surprised if the ending price doesn't blow past the guide value of $65. The condition is near-perfect as is the seller! 

Vintage 1930s Halloween Invitation, Cat w/Big Eyes, Witch, Stars, Unused w/Env

Many of the ephemeral items produced for Halloween were not marked. Some companies - Dennison comes to mind - were quite disciplined about marking their products, whereas companies like Whitney rarely marked such items, aside from their postcard output. Gibson was a middle of the road firm when it came to marking. One characteristic to look for if you think something might be Gibson is the presence of a slanted exclamation point. Although not a foolproof method of identification, it is a handy one. This particular invitation is one of Gibson's best. The artistry and use of unusual colors make this stand out. These were sold with stock number 1860 during the 1930s. 

Vintage 1920's German Halloween Pear Man Candy Container

I was driving with some friends yesterday morning and mentioned that I had seen this listing and felt the candy container was a good one for the price. They logged on to eBay and bought this about three hours after I had seen it. I feel this seller got lucky that I mentioned it. He had only two poor photos and a description only Piet Mondrian would appreciate. I don't think anyone else would have taken the $550 plunge with such scant information. 

Vintage Halloween Invitation Fold-Open Pumpkins, Witch Scary Cat, Owls, Bats

I haven't seen this invitation offered for quite some time. This was produced by Whitney during the later 1920s. It is one of their stronger designs. Dennison produced many tri-fold designs, but it was atypical for Whitney to do so. The art is compelling and I like the use of color. (The green bat - yes green - is a truly nice touch!) Small paper has been a very hot sub-genre for about 18 months - and I expect it not only to continue to be so but to get even hotter. These small artistic gems are finally getting the recognition due them. 

This brought an incredibly strong, albeit unsustainable, $90.15. 

Scarce Original 1927 Beistle Halloween Party Easel Back Fortune Wheel Game Witch

Beistle issued several versions of this party staple, Fortune Wheel for Hallowe'en Parties. The one offered here is the third and last iteration, produced from 1932-1935. It differed from its predecessors by lacking a honeycomb base and attached fortune flaps. The first and second iterations were produced from 1928-1931. The first was ~11.75" high whereas the second, smaller one measured ~9" high. In terms of rarity from hardest-to-find to most common, the order would be 2, 1 then 3. The one offered by this seller typically fetches $225 in near-perfect condition, which this is not. The seller dismisses the reproductions issued by Beistle itself as "cheap." I don't agree with that characterization. The reproductions are well made and issued with care shown to the collector's market by having them marked in such a way that it is impossible to confuse old from new. I applaud Beistle's consideration of the secondary markets. 

Vintage Halloween Invitation, Haunted Pumpkin House, Scary Cat, Ghost, Bats

This awesome invitation was issued by Whitney in the early 1920s. I have never seen it before. I love the 3-D effect given by the protruding steps and the open door. The hatch work at the window can be seen in other fantastic Whitney products - namely the highly desirable and oh-so-hard to find "House of Fate" fortune cards. Eight examples of the latter can be found on page 278. Another thing that makes this listing special is the seller. She has long been associated with vintage Halloween items and is very knowledgeable ... friendly and honest too!

02/14 Update: The small paper item sub-genre is on fire! Who would have ever projected this would end up fetching $222.50 with multiple bidders near that level? Maybe it is time I part with my House of Fate cards! 

1940's Halloween Black Cats on Stockade Fence Cut Outs Stand-Ups Interlocking

These fence table decorations, largely made by Whitney, are nearly impossible to find in mint condition. This complete set of four pieces was made during the late 1920s and sold with stock number 2348. This set has the typical weakness to the section hooks, plus appears to have some color toning issues. Still, overall this is a very desirable decoration that has a SGV of $275. What makes it more desirable than some others is that each section is different. To save money, Whitney often produced fences with either identical sides or with only two different designs per four-piece set. The seller has started this low with no reserve. This augurs well for ending at or above SGV. 

02/08 Update: The listing ended well below SGV - $209.50. 

Vintage Halloween Place Card, Skeleton Ghost in Front of Shed, Full Moon, Unused

This is an extraordinarily high price to pay for this attractive, but not overwhelmingly so, place card. Not attributed to any particular manufacturer, the subject matter is cool, but I don't understand the ending price. That is the price level for a good Dennison place card or one of the Beistle place cards with a flip-out base. I am thrilled for the seller, a wonderful person and knowledgeable seller, but $140 and change for this - really? 

vintage halloween 2 party games

Be cautious here. These games were made sometime after 1980 and don't have the collectible value of the first iteration version made in the United States. The next iteration was made in Japan. This iteration is one I haven't seen before, and was made in Taiwan. The styrofoam middle is also something new to me. It screams "crap." Unpunched games from the 1920s and 1930s are desirable and hard-to-find. This isn't that. 

Vintage die cut embossed halloween decorations germany 5 pieces

Although it is a great feeling to expand one's collection of German diecuts by five in one fell swoop, it is important to pay attention to condition in formulating an appropriate bid. Except for the JOL, which doesn't have a great deal of value, the lot is made up of items that have a battered look - lots of wear and tear. Because of the condition, I feel the prevailing bidder overpaid. German diecuts, by and large, are relatively common, so when evaluating condition one should take a very hard stance so as not to do what this bidder did - overpay - only to have to upgrade at a later time. 

Vintage Halloween Black Cat Drum Decoration

I believe this item is something handmade, not commercially produced. (It is for this reason I place this post here rather than in the "Fakes, Etc." section.) Although the photos show an item that looks like it has some age to it, I can't be certain. What I do know is that this has zero collectible value. 

01/31 Update: Someone liked this well enough to have paid $34.99. 

Vintage 1920's Halloween Embossed Black Pumpkin Head JOL Made In Germany

This diecut was made in two sizes and at least one variant. This appears to be the smaller of the two based on the teeth. (You can see the difference in the teeth with the larger size on page 171.) The variant is that this size was also produced with a printed paper backing for the eyes, nose and mouth. This variant, also shown on page 171, is exceedingly rare. I've only seen it one time and I bought it straight away. 

(2) Early Halloween 7 3/4" Jointed Crepe Figures WITCH & SCARECROW. c1930s NR

The seller is off by up to three decades as to when these were made. Both the scarecrow and witch "whimsies" were made by Beistle during the 1950s. (An owl was the third design of the set.) Only later, almost certainly under license, were these designs made in Japan. The designs marked as being made in the United States have sustained collector interest. When the ones marked "Japan" do sell, they bring half or less of what the older ones made in the USA bring.