MBL's Blog

Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.


This is a wonderful item, showing some rare Dennison creations available almost certainly in the early 1930s. Because these are not actual diecuts but instead printed images comprising a salesman sample, to display them is impractical. It is for this reason that I wasn't a bidder. For me, the value of this listing comes from the data imparted by the inclusion of stock numbers on each page. 

Vintage Halloween Pumpkin Face Ring Game

I learned something from this listing. There seemed to be differences between this game and the one in the collection, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what they were. So, I went on an expedition through my displays trying to find the game so I could compare one to the other. The one in the collection is an earlier version than the one in the listing. The former's last patent date is February, 1, 1927 and there is verbiage that others are pending. The latter's last patent date is September 6, 1927 and the verbiage about pending patent dates is missing. The differences between the two versions are interesting: * The rubber plugs are attached to the box bottom by pushing out (I assume) perforated discs on the box bottom, whereas in the earlier version they are glued to the box bottom. * The rubber rings are red versus black. * The instructional verbiage inside the lid includes assembly instructions, logically missing from the earlier version. They also replace "five" with "5" and other such substitutions. 
Now, does this affect value? I'd say no, because from a presentation perspective the very real differences don't amount to much. How much more common is one version from the other? I'd love to know that. Having never realized that there were at least two versions, I've never really paid attention, but will from now on. READERS: If you have this game, please check which version you have and contact me with that information. 
Now, a word about this seller. Recently, I had the pleasure and good fortune of meeting Matt in person on my annual visit to Kansas. He is a conscientious collector, sure of what he likes and what he wishes to collect - and someone who prizes knowledge. He is well-versed in the better references and is careful to understand the many pitfalls and hazards in the marketplace, as vintage Halloween memorabilia gets ever-scarcer and more expensive, and those wanting to separate fools from their money seem to wildly proliferate. It it precisely with this kind of informed collector that I enjoy interacting. I appreciate his honesty and candor. I don't hesitate even for a moment in buying from and selling to Matt. You shouldn't either. 

1933 Vintage Halloween Mask - Sunshine Bakers Promotion

This is certainly an odd item. Prior to viewing this listing, I had never seen a Beistle marketing tie-in. Did they actually license Sunshine Bakers to stamp their verbiage on the reverse, or was this something done without formal permission? Were these JOL masks purchased in large quantities from a wholesaler like Shackman's? Beistle, like so many firms back then, didn't keep meticulous records. Hence, it is near impossible to definitively answer questions like these. Even their vaunted archives really are just a few filing drawer cabinets haphazardly storing items thrown in without a great deal of thought. 
The mask, in and of itself, is rare. Given the verbiage on the back, this item becomes even more rare. I was distressed by the condition, so never considered bidding, but in my estimation the buyer got a good deal. 


Wow! Three bidders, intent on adding this fine plate to their collections, drove the bidding into the stratosphere to an entirely unsustainable $123.50. I am happy for the seller, but would counsel the underbidders to bide their time. These plates show up regularly, and typically fetch $30-40. A bit of advice to newer collectors: understand the relative scarcity of the items on which you are bidding. If something is common, seldom bid over guide value as another will surface in one forum or another. Try not to overpay as the prevailing bidder here most definitely did. 

1930's Halloween tin litho slide whistle Hoarder's estate #179

When I was a new collector I saw these fairly regularly. Times sure have changed! I haven't seen one being offered for sale for quite some time. The RSIN for this now is 2, with a sustainable guide value of $150. Kirchhof made this nicely designed slider in the early 1930s. I can't think of similarly designed tin litho noisemakers, so if you don't have this yet in your collection, this item looks to be in collectible condition. 

06/27 Update: It is surprising that this didn't fetch more, at $108.05. As referenced above, they don't surface as much as they once did. Guide value is $150, so the buyer got a bargain. 


I enjoy seeing these wonderful vintage Beistle items on Ebay. When Beistle manufactured and assembled these early mechanical items, they primarily used these primitive pot metal fasteners seen here. By 1929 they had moved to predominantly using grommets. There are exceptions to these general guidelines as manufacturing was much more free-form back then than it is today. This Horrible Witch mechanical diecut was made during the mid-1920s. 
Look at the Beistle JOL garland at the bottom of page 145. Another reference dates this as being manufactured several decades later, but the use of the early fasteners mitigates against that assertion.  

vintage halloween Rare Die cut Man In Moon

This is one of a set of four diecuts Beistle issued in the mid-1950s. The set is hard to find, but this example is in poor enough condition that I feel collectors should pass it by. Why? The set was distinguished by a little-used novelty of having a separately attached image made from a black light construction paper give a cheap 3-D effect to the overall diecut. The bat that should be with this diecut would have been attached where the holes are located in the left middle of the item. Please see page 158 to view the entire set. 

1940 Halloween Tambourine Vintage T. Conn Witch on Pumpkin 6 Inch Diameter

I was surprised at this listing. The seller is someone who was one of the earliest collectors of vintage Halloween memorabilia - a true trailblazer. When I was a fresh-faced collector in 1988, this seller was already an old hand at the hobby. This seller is savvy, so I was surprised that she offered this rare tambourine at such a bargain. (That this was a bargain is demonstrated by just how quickly some lucky buyer snapped this up.) Also, she should know that there was no such firm called T. Conn making these items. It is T. Cohn. 


This astonishing result is what happens when you have one bidder bound and determined to add something to their collection. If you look at the bidding history, the one bidder simply wished to top all bids, and took this common diecut home for the unsustainable price of $202.50. This Beistle diecut, made for many seasons, typically changes hands for $75. Congrats to the seller, long one of my favorites, for this score.