MBL's Blog

Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

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.) 


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. 


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. 


This seems to be a pristine example of this super diecut. Beistle issued a set of twelve designs, similarly colored, starting in 1932 and continuing for two decades. Given the level of embossing I can see in the photos, this is one of the earlier pressings. I feel the buyer, definitely possessing a discerning eye, scooped this up for a bargain price. Kudos!!

Vintage Hand Crafted Paper Mache Halloween Black Cat Figurine

This is a stunning German nodding candy container made between 1910-1914 or 1919-1920. One identical to it can be seen on page 65. I still think the cited value of $650 is correct for an example in perfect condition. This is not, given the visible crack along the seam and the apparent lack of a mechanism enabling the head to nod. (This style of item was molded from two irregularly bordered halves then glued together. The crack along the side seam isn't too big of a deal as long as the break is stable, something I can't determine from the photos.) The missing nodding mechanism should be able to be replaced, with the attendant risk that the interior of the head could be damaged in attempting a replacement. Keep these considerations in mind if you are inclined to bid. Notice the great detailing of the cat's abdomen. (How I wish it could legitimately remind me of my own!) 

04/13 Update: This finished with a prevailing bid of $325, pretty much in line with expectations given the condition issues. 

Vintage DEVIL Halloween TAMBOURINE Tin Noisemake by Kirchhof 1950's Tamborine

This is a strong result for this nice looking tambourine. Kirchhof reissued many of their older designs in somewhat brighter colors and somewhat thinner tin in the 1950s under their "Life of the Party" manufacturing line. When you see this notation on Kirchhof products, you know right away that the item is from ~1954-1959. The original design was produced in the 1930s with a dirty yellow background and an orange rim. I actually prefer this color variant as it really stands out on a wall. (I hang all of my tambourines.) These typically don't bring more than $45-55, so this is a good result for the seller. 

Ohio Art Halloween Tamboreen

My level of amazement when a seller positions something as being in "great shape" when it actually is ready for the scrap heap should be lower than it is given how many dubiously described items I see virtually every day. This seller has an opening bid of $55, when this common tambourine in perfect condition typically doesn't bring that. The face of the tambourine is missing and is seems to have a serious case of rust on the interior of the rim. Good luck is all I can muster.