MBL's Blog

Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Ben Truwe's THE HALLOWEEN CATALOG COLLECTION 55 Catalogs from the Golden Age

This little gem of a reference book is darn hard to find. Ben Truwe issued it in 2003. I used it as an excellent reference to date when items were handed off to the wholesale market, both for my 2007 Second Edition and 2014 Third Edition of Vintage Halloween Collectibles. (If you haven't yet purchased a copy of my new reference, there are ordering instructions under one of the tabs along the top border of this site.) I found it to be an invaluable reference, carefully crafted and containing heaps of great information if you are research-oriented like I am. I haven't seen one surface in years, so snap this up. 


During this time of the year there are few worthwhile listings, and even then many items go for significantly less than they should (or would go for later in the year). This is just such an example. These common skittle game pieces typically bring from $45-65 each, so the buyer got a steal grabbing them for ~$26 each. 

RARE Vintage Halloween Tin Tambourine - WITCH w UMBRELLA & BLACK CAT

This listing illustrates the importance of condition when pricing an object. The seller has placed a BIN price of $300 on this tin tambourine, far above sustainable guide value of $145. If the item was in mint condition, I could better understand the desire for the seller to dream a little bit in hoping to find a buyer at that price. However, given the poor condition: metal creasing, denting, missing paint, significant edge wear - no collector should be interested in this object unless it was priced well below guide value. 
The Relative Scarcity Index number for this item in my 2014 third edition is 3, a significant change from the 2 assigned in my 2007 edition. This change indicates this tambourine is now more commonly seen. 

VINTAGE 1930's Beistle HALLOWEEN Broomed Flying Witch Die-cut Decoration Mint

This is a quality listing from a quality dealer. This diecut, made by Beistle during the 1930s, is nearly impossible to find in near-mint or better condition. As I write on page 149, "Two things make this an unusually difficult diecut to find in perfect condition: the fragile paper stock and the irregular borders with their many sharp points." There is a larger version of this diecut that I recently acquired. (Prior to its acquisition I was unaware of this size variant.) It measures 10.25" high by 14.75" long. 

01/23 Update: I was glad to see this diecut, so rarely found in this pristine condition, fetch nearly double guide value. 


Although started at a reasonable price, unlike too many of the listings in the Vintage Halloween category, this German composition candy container has some issues. The twig broom that originally was present is missing as is the brim of her pointed hat. The brooms have been reproduced and should be easy to obtain but repairing the hat will require a level of restorative skill that certainly eludes me. 

Vintage 1940s Halloween Witch Lantern & One Paper mache Witch On A J-O-L Pumpkin

The buyer of this lot didn't do well for $97. Not only is the witch lantern in the middling stage of decrepitude but the witch sitting atop a pumpkin is not a vintage item. Its level of detailing is quite poor, the paint is wrong and the pumpkin seems smaller than it should be. Also, one of the photos shows the bottom. The ring around the opening is too pristine and the white of the inner wall is far too bright. Unfortunately, this design has been heavily reproduced beginning in the 1990s, a problem with many pulp-based items. 

Two Vintage Halloween Cardboard Accordion Cat And Pumpkin Lanterns

These items, devoid of any semblance to truly vintage items, are not memorable. One of the sure-fire ways to identify these as newly made, aside from the vacant expressions, is the presence of glitter, the bane of all civilized people. (As an aside, I dislike glitter so much that I open all Christmas cards right over a large garbage can in my garage. If glitter is detected, into the can they go.) Naturally, these two things are probably not even worth the opening bid of $9.99. 

1920 Dennison's Bogie Book Witch, Ghost, Goblin cover, halloween costumes, party favors, decorations great halloween illustrations

I've begun looking on Etsy.com for vintage Halloween items and came across this gem. This is a 1920 Dennison Bogie Book, one of the more difficult issues to find in more than fair condition. The one in the collection is the rattiest by far of my Bogies, of which I am missing only the oh-so-elusive 1913 edition. Given that fact, I toyed with the idea of acquiring this one, but decided to hold out for a better copy. (I may regret this as I've been holding out to upgrade the 1920 edition for so many years, that perhaps the next time I see one I'll be eligible to collect Social Security.) The seller, puffadonna, indicates that for orders above $75, she'll offer a discount. She has priced this Bogie at $300, so I'm confident that it can be had for less. 

Antique 1930's German Die Cut Halloween Diadem ( Tiara) w/ Original Bag

This is a notable listing - so good to see on Ebay. The Germans produced 12 different diecut tiaras, or diadems, during the 1920s. Although packaged as a set, as illustrated by the envelope present, they more often were sold individually, accounting for their varied rarity and value. On page 188 of my newly published third edition, the seated cat is valued at $275. The envelope is exceptionally rare. The last one listed had with it about 6 tiaras and fetched several thousand dollars. 

01/12 Update: This listing ended at $1,331.77, a completely unsustainable result. The tiara typically fetches $275, so is the tattered sleeve worth over a thousand bucks? I don't think so...