MBL's Blog

Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Rare 1925 Beistle HALLOWEEN Witch Fortune Wheel Decoration & Game Crepe Intact!

It is nice to see a quality, vintage, Beistle item pop up amongst all the dreck that has recently become Ebay. I feel that few collectors know that this Fortune Wheel for Hallowe'en Parties game manufactured by Beistle from 1928-1931 was produced in two sizes. This is the exceedingly rare smaller version that measures 9" high by 6.25" at the base. (The larger version, more commonly seen, measures 11.75" high by 8.25" at the base.) I feel the fair market value for this smaller version is $375 in near-perfect condition, whereas the fair market value for the larger version is $325 in near-perfect condition. If you are interested in having an exceedingly rare Beistle decorative item, snap this up. 

HALLOWEEN JACK O' LANTERN VINTAGE WOOD WOODEN CRANK STYLE NOISEMAKER GERMANY

This is a newly produced item, probably made with an intent to deceive new collectors. The wood ratchet alone has no connection to Halloween and the painted disc bears none of the fine detailing you should expect from a truly vintage item. One tip-off that one should be wary of this listing is that the seller states that it was purchased in Germany. As I have pointed out so often, Germany made their Halloween items strictly for export through the 1960s. Nothing would have remained in the country. Unfortunately, Halloween material has gotten so expensive that Germany-based con artists looking for easy scores began manufacturing supposedly vintage items in the mid-1990s, with the subsequent crap showing up at large antiques shows, like the one held in Atlantic City. I remember visiting a Germany-based dealer's booth there in the mid-1990s and noting what was on his table. Sure enough, I began seeing those very designs begin appearing in antiques stores and in the listings mailed by the two most prominent dealers selling holiday items at that time, Jenny Tarrant and the late Paul Schofield. Not only were they fooled, but so were many collectors who should have known better. Sadly, these many years later when visiting other collections, I almost always see these fakes staring coldly out from the display cases they were placed in by their new owners. 

All-Original Vintage Halloween Paper Mache Pulp Cat Jack o Lantern, USA 30s-40s

Wow, another stellar result from one of my favorite sellers. I am wondering what is driving these baffling results for items that are relatively common. (This style of lantern was made for many, many seasons both with an orange and a black finish.) Given auction results elsewhere, I feel the fair market value for one of these in this condition is right around $200, so the buyers duking it out for supremacy overpaid by a considerable margin. When you examine the bidding history you find that it was the same 3 fiercely determined bidders driving the price from a not unreasonable level of $223 right into the stratosphere. This demonstrates the potential pay-off for sellers committed to the auction format, rather than slapping head-shaking BIN prices on things you see listed repeatedly with no significant price change. You need just two, or in this case three, people determined to prevail for surprising results. All in all, kudos to the seller for her commitment to the auction format and for routinely offering truly vintage items to share with the rest of us. 

Antiqre Early 1920's German Accordion Noisemaker

I do not see this item's connection to Halloween. The Germans made a number of these accordion-style noisemakers, but the ones that were meant for the Halloween market have the expected iconography, lacking in this example. Given that this is merely an item manufactured for use anytime, the value is significantly below the BIN price. 

Fun Facebook Group...

I've not been a regular dweller on Facebook, except lately. A short while ago Jennifer Fisher started a fun group called Vintage Halloween. Here is the mission statement: This Halloween Facebook Group, Vintage Halloween, is for collectors of Vintage Halloween, those who like to decorate for Halloween (especially vintage style), artisans of Halloween, and all things spooky! I've had a lot of fun keeping abreast of posts on this great group. The membership, by email invitation, already numbers 261 and is rapidly growing. Give it a look and join up! 

Vintage German Halloween Pumpkin Candle Holder

I understand that this incredibly rare candle holder was offered by the seller for a BIN of $70! How I wish I would have seen that. I would have pounced on it with nary a second thought as this item should fetch ~$525. This was made between 1908 and 1932 and was part of the adult-sized porcelain set, pieces of which are among the rarest of all such porcelain items. I have one in the collection, but would have loved to have had a matched set. I do not understand how someone seeing this offered at a fraction of its value would not have simply bought it, rather than bid the silly $25 opening price. Pretty short-sighted...
In any event, it is heartening to see such a high-quality item amidst all the dreck that has cluttered this category for too long. 

04/16 Update: This ended even more strongly than expected, at nearly $610. Boy, if you had had an opportunity to grab this at the BIN price of $70, don't you feel foolish? (The clueless seller must be wondering what happened.) 

AWESOME VINTAGE TIN TOY MID-CENTURY HALLOWEEN JOL BEAN TOSS GAME

This is a modern reproduction, with no collectible value. The originals were made from a thick cardboard. Unfortunately, these have been reproduced for years with the reproductions I've seen all made from the thick cardboard. This tin version is a new iteration on a reproduction. I am amused by the seller's casual statement that he/she is unsure of the item's age. 

HALLOWEEN VINTAGE CARDBOARD PUMPKIN MAN - SMALL HANGER OR TAG - MADE IN USA

This is one from a set of eight small diecuts Beistle issued in the 1950s, all lightly embossed. (This seller has two others from the set up on Ebay now.) The set is definitely idiosyncratic, as it contains this smoking JOL, a skull with what could be a checked racing cap, a disturbing clown face and a pirate black cat face among four other designs. Prices on diecuts from this set have strengthened quite a bit over the last two years. I wouldn't be surprised if this crests $50. To see the complete set, check out page 140. 

04/16 Update: This ended about where I would have expected it to end: $52. The skull with checkered hat ended quite a bit higher than expected at nearly $71.