MBL's Blog

Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Mickey Mouse Disney Halloween German Diecut JOL Band 15"~MINT~NR

This great Mickey Mouse-like band member is from a set that has always had a special place in my thinking. The design with the JOL-creature playing a horn was the first German diecut I ever purchased, subsequently upgraded several times. I was in Seattle, shopping at a long-defunct shop called Antiques Bela V. I asked the owner if she had any Halloween and she looked at me as if I was crazy. (This was early September of 1989. Back then, dealers didn't put out their Halloween wares until mid-October.) The set is a great one to have and this example looks to be in tip-top condition. If you love diecuts, snap this one up!

Early Never Used Halloween Trix Or Treats Skelton-Pumpkin Sucker/Lollipop Holder

I am glad to see Trix or Treats cards from Set B continue to bring sustainable prices. The seller mischaracterizes the manufacturing time lines. The first set Rosen issued was Set A, comprised of six designs. These are larger, more colorful cards and were issued in the 1930s. Set B, from which this card comes, was released beginning in the later 1940s. As with Set C, issued in the early 1950s, five designs comprise a full set. By and large, although cards from Set C are more difficult to find, cards from Set B typically fetch the most money. A full accounting of these sets can be found on pages 90-92. 

vintage drummer figurine- handwinding - papermaché head - Germany

Readers of this blog know that I feel next to nothing being offered by dealers based in Germany is authentically vintage. The Germans made everything for export; nothing was retained to be discovered in a "warehouse find" after the Berlin Wall fell. Truly vintage Halloween winding mechanicals are exceedingly rare. I haven't seen one I feel is unquestionably authentic since I personally examined a collection in Los Angeles in 2009. 

Vintage Halloween Early Jack o Lantern Decoration 20s Germany, RARE Round Bottom

Ziz may understate the rarity of these round-bottomed German JOLs. I feel they are first generation creations, made for a short time until the Germans figured out that flat-bottomed iterations would be easier to display and use. As such, these are desirable. 

I'll have a number of very nice German JOL's and a German owl JOL in my auction on this very site. The preview for the auction begins tomorrow. There will be a total of 78 lots. As a thank you to those who have purchased a copy of my new third edition of Vintage Halloween Collectibles, bidding is open only to them. Be sure to check out the auction gallery tomorrow. 


This is just the clumsily shorn top from a very rare and desirable Rosen Owl Pops box from the 1930s. Turn to page 116 to see a complete example. As merely a fragment of an item, the value is quite low. 


It is too bad to see that some poor soul dropped $300 on this fantasy item, made no earlier than circa 2000. The gimmick employed by those who wish to pass these along as authentic is the inclusion of an old box, a tactic employed since at least 2003 when I first saw it occur at the Atlantic City show. If you want old, genuinely authentic items, be sure to check out my auction on this site. The preview begins Sunday morning with the auction formally beginning at 9:00 AM on Sunday, May 3rd. The auction is open only to those who have purchased a copy of my newly published third edition of Vintage Halloween Collectibles

Vintage Halloween Ghost Decoration

This scary Beistle winged ghost was issued in 1925 in two variants: white or orange honeycombed paper wings. Both are valued equally. This example has the typical damage: both knots are missing as is a section of the base. I understand the typically missing knots, but have long wondered why the bases are typically truncated. 

Vintage Halloween Beistle Placecard

Beistle issued these mechanical place cards in at least two packaging variations around 1930. The one shown on page 220 held four: two owls, one ghost and one witch. Beistle assigned this variant stock number 757. The second held 6 place cards, three owls, two ghosts and one witch. This small package has a cello front and was assigned stock number 657. I guess Beistle made a surfeit of owls! 


This small composition Veggie person was made in Germany during the early 1920s. Most of this ilk were meant to stand on round cardboard bases, hence the glue remnants on the bottom. I don't feel that the absence of the base is a material factor in valuation with this category of figurals. The buyer got a very solid bargain, given that sustainable guide value is $135. An identical example is shown on page 81. 


I've written about this seller before. She has long been on my list of those with whom I do not do business, both under her former Ebay handle of shadowtown and under her current handle, trappedintheshadow. A collecting friend was the prevailing bidder and contacted me seeking my input. I said that the seller has long sold Halloween items I question, concerned about their true age. I stated that this foursome was almost certainly not the real deal, specifying that they would probably be on thick paper and have a glossy, shellacked texture. (These traits are characteristic of many Halloween items this seller offers for sale.) Sure enough, my suspicions were validated. The buyer contacted the seller and was immediately offered an apology and a full refund. Is this an M.O.? Is it a calculation that occasional returns are simply the cost of doing business? I certainly don't know. What I do know is that I will continue to do no business with her. 

Vintage Large Gibson Halloween Die Cut Out Scary Witch Table Neckwear

I'm really glad to see unusual Gibson items getting the attention they deserve. This "Table Neckwear" place card was made during the early 1930s. It exemplifies the cleverness with which Gibson approached their designs. An example showing how this would look on a table decorated for Halloween is shown on page 269. This traded for double guide value, either an indication of a serious uptick in Gibson prices or an idiosyncratic result resulting from avid bidders. 


I am disappointed that this seller doesn't define his use of the word, "vintage." This cat head lantern was made in Germany during the 1950s. The mark on the lantern's bottom, "Container Made in Germany," tells us the general manufacturing date. The Germans only used this mark during that decade. So, is something made during the 1950s vintage? In some cases, use of this generic term to describe something made during that time is probably not inappropriate. However, given the price difference in German lanterns made during the 1920s and those made during or after the 1950s, this seller should take care to define the word. This lantern typically fetches between $55-$95, depending on the enthusiasm of the bidders. Its value doesn't come close to the BIN price. 


It is too bad that this seller, who has been offering solid items for too-low BIN prices, is offering this item. This is one of the best known fantasy pieces that began washing ashore in the mid-1990s as truly vintage Halloween candy containers and other composition items were rapidly escalating in price. These typically are offered without a bottom, but the presence or absence of a bottom indicates nothing. There are no vintage counterparts to this well-done fake, making it, more precisely, a fantasy piece. As such, it possesses modest decorative value, about one-tenth of what this seller hopes to get. 


This is the last nearly-annual issue Dennison published touting their Halloween party goods line. They tentatively began the practice in 1909, and didn't issue another issue until 1912. From that year through 1935 Dennison issued an annual issue except for the years 1918 and 1932. Their names and formats changed over the years, as did, most importantly, their utility in assisting modern day collectors in piecing together when products were first produced and then for how long. The publication title changed from Bogie Books to Party Magazine to Parties to Hallowe'en Suggestions to The Party Book to Hallowe'en Parties. The issues through 1924 are the most detailed. Those published during or before 1921 are the most coveted, reflected by realized prices.  


This is one of a trio that comprises a full set. The seller is correct in stating that this 3-D table decoration was made by Beistle. The complete set, made in the mid-1950s, is shown on page 231. This is the one that typically brings the most money when sold. 

04/20 Update: Surprisingly, this fetched only $89.88.