Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.


This very odd mechanical decoration was made by a company whose mark is so miniature on the piece that it cannot be discerned. The vampire clown pushing a JOL in a wheelbarrow is such a weird combo that this particular diecut hasn't received the collector "love" it deserves. This particular item shouldn't bring much because of the extensive damage. Not only is the tip of the hat missing, the item is soiled and the "foot wheel" at the front shouldn't be there. If you look on page 284 you can see the original wheelbarrow's wheel has been clumsily replaced with the damaged "foot wheel." This is one of a set of four designs this unknown company produced - and definitely the most bizarre. You can see the others on page 284. 

Vintage Tin Halloween Toy Cymbals

Someone got the bargain of the year with this lot. The seller foolishly listed this exceedingly rare set of cymbals with a BIN of $25. The seller must now realize that they made a serious error when the listing ended in less than five minutes. How serious? The set would have surely realized $700-900. 


Tin has been one of the coldest genres in the hobby for well over five years. Mint tambourines and the most unusual tin litho items are the sole things commanding substantial dollars, by and large. This exceedingly rare item surfaces perhaps once every two years. Unmarked, the graphics are whimsical and fun. The design is odd in that the handle is plain Jane. All of the effort and money was put into the two clapping disks. Made during the 1920s, sustainable guide value is $275. 

Rare Vintage Metal Halloween Witch Moon Broom Candlestick Handle

These dual-purpose candle holders could be used on the table or hung on walls as sconces. These surface a bit more often now than they used to, but I've never seen versions where the crescent moon is only an outline. All others I have seen have silver moons. Does this make a material difference relative to value? In my opinion, no. Sustainable guide value is $175 each. 

large 15 inch German Halloween embossed BLACK jack o lantern saxophone die-cut

The ending price for this diecut was much higher than I would have expected. Although this is a diecut made for one season (1934 or 1935) and shipped only to eastern Canada, the sustainable price for one in near-mint or better condition is $650. The condition of this item is decidedly below near mint mainly due to its washed-out coloration. Collectors, have patience when a rare item comes available. Buy only the best, then limit yourself to a reasonable expenditure. 


I love these early place cards as sometimes the imagery is so odd. Why would a frog be shown resting in front of a roaring fire? Given an amphibian's love of wet conditions, it makes no sense whatsoever, which also makes the card so memorable and desirable. The fact that it sold for a song (or a ribbet...) is sort of a shame. I wish that I would have seen it in time. I would have loved for it to be part of the collection! 


Although this sub-genre of German figurals is not universally loved, I've long appreciated Veggie people. I feel the very best set issued was the six member band of which this is the centerpiece. Although all of its members are hard to find, this bass drummer seems to be the hardest to find of all. This is only the second time I've seen it for sale. The one in the collection came from a long-time collector and dealer's estate. I picked it up in 1994. 

Antique Halloween Skull Die Cut Beistle USA 1930'S Human Skull in Cauldron

I can't recall seeing one of these up for sale for many, many years. This skull table decoration with a flip-out base was made by Beistle from 1930-1931. The one in the collection is unmarked, but this one has the diamond mark that was discontinued right around this time. This is a rare item with a sustainable guide value of $375. Given that one hasn't surfaced in some time and the propensity for some collectors to spend foolishly, who knows what this will fetch. I will be watching. 

10/23 Update: As I suspected, this flew right by sustainable guide value, fetching $460. 

Vintage Beistle Halloween Die Cut Cat Decoration.

I returned yesterday from a quick trip to southern California. One of the many activities during the trip was visiting the home of this fine seller. He specializes in figural advertising but dabbles some in Halloween. I had the opportunity to personally examine this smiling Skairo diecut made by Beistle in 1931. Aside from some raised paper at some of the fingertips, the diecut is amazingly bright and free of most of the issues that plague these very large diecuts. If one wasn't already part of the collection I would have endeavored to snap it up that evening. If you've been looking for one, you'll be hard pressed to find a better example. 

10/25 Update: This great item brought $461.89. 

Vtg Halloween Flying Witch Seals Stickers In Tiny Box Like Dennison Fabulous!

This small box of seals was produced by Whitney during the 1920s. The market leader for such boxed seals was Dennison by a wide margin, followed by Gibson and their simpler yet somewhat quirkier designs. Whitney was definitely out of their element in making these sets. The art is flat and uninteresting. They rarely marked these boxes, whether out of shame or expediency I cannot say. Dennison boxed sets were produced in relatively high numbers and had a national distribution. Gibson less so and Whitney even less so. Although hard to find, especially complete, these typically change hands for around $100 per box, so the buyer paid a premium here. 

Rare Vintage Halloween Complete JOL Jack O Lantern Target Game with Box 1930's

I am blown away by what this game brought. The Jack-O-Lantern Target game was produced by Parker Brothers from 1929-1932 and almost never comes available for sale. As with most games, the most interesting aspect of it are the graphics on the box lid. Although nearly complete, missing only at least 7 cork bullets and the advertising card, the condition of the box is so poor that $1525 seems quite high. I bought the one in the collection at an auction in Minnesota in 2000. I have seen only a few since, all with much better boxes than this one. They all sold for significantly less than this one. 

Vintage Halloween Beistle Luhrs Full Size Jointed Skeleton w/ Original Envelope

It is great to see some nice items being offered this season. This large envelope containing "The Perfect Hallowe'en Decoration" was produced by Beistle during the early 1930s. The value for this set lies almost entirely with the envelope. It is one that rarely surfaces in this shape. Sustainable guide value is $175. 

10/16 Update: It may be that time of the year when most collectors have spent their vintage Halloween budget , as this fine enveloped item brought only $132.50. 

Vintage Halloween Witch Riding Black Cat Diecut by Dennison C1920s-1930s

This non-embossed diecut with an energetic air was produced by Dennison and first appeared in their 1928 Price List pamphlet. Dennison had an unusual design aesthetic starting in 1928 and continuing through the very early 1930s. They ditched their fairy motif and adopted almost a Deco look with lots of movement implied in the design. The colors they used for their boxed items made at this time tended to be brighter with a very playful, non-threatening air. Dennison items made at this item are typically hard-to-find. The Depression settled in by early 1930, affecting most businesses. Dennison was no exception. They produced fewer but cooler new  designs during this period than in the previous 4-5 seasons, and in smaller quantities. This diecut falls into this category. Relatively few were made, meaning that few are available today in collectible condition. 

10/16 Update: Surprisingly, this fetched only $51. Whomever acquired this got a true bargain. 

Vintage halloween Beistle Horn

We know now that Beistle did not produce these paper-litho horns. In fact, there is no record that Beistle authorized the use of the their imagery in the production of these horns. If you examine the horn's artwork and compare it to the items with a fairy motif that Beistle actually produced, there are enough stylistic differences to lead to a conclusion that these types of horns were produced with no license from Beistle. The leading culprit in producing unlicensed items at that time was Japan, so I believe these horns were made there.