Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

VINTAGE 1930's Gibson HALLOWEEN Owl and Black cat, Pop up card

For a Gibson item, the art is curiously flat and uninspired. (Without it being marked, I would not have guessed it was Gibson.) What I do like about this is the slight 3-D effect as a result of the place card's design. Clever design, ho-hum art. If you like small paper items with a 3-D design element, check out Lot 95 in this year's auction. It is arguably the best small paper lot I've ever been able to offer. The auction's preview period goes through Saturday. The auction begins this Sunday and will end the evening of May 7. 

Vintage Halloween Jack O' Lantern 4 Sided Cardboard Die Cut Lampshade & Oil Lamp

This shade doesn't come up for sale as often as it used to. This shade was made in Germany, probably for Beistle. There are three different shades all made about the same time during the late 1920s. The owl and cat shades are pretty dull in that all sides are identical. The artist seems to have spent the most time designing this shade as the JOL's expressions differ on each side. Guide value is $125, but one hasn't surfaced in some time, so who knows what this will bring. The oil lamp the seller is including is immaterial. 

Vintage Halloween Noise Makers lot of 4

Someone got a solid deal buying this lot. The star is the round Kirchhof rattler/clanger combo, a form I've not seen before. Kirchhof made that noisemaker, as well as its companion piece that can be seen on page 204, for one season only in the early 1930s. Its RSIN is 1, so you know it simply doesn't surface often. When you do see them, they are almost always in poorish condition - faded, scuffed, dented. (I don't know why.) SGV for that item alone is $325, so bravo to the prevailing bidder. 

RARE VTG Jack-O-Lantern Halloween Lamp Light BEISTLE Honeycomb Cat Witch

I haven't seen one of these true gems listed in some time. Although in rough condition, it is nice to see one of these survivors on its way to a good home. Beistle issued this lantern masterpiece in 1930-1931. I feel it is a physical manifestation of the acme of their art. Beistle used this art on an 8" version then never again. SGV is $1,200, but given its overall condition, I think this will be hard-pressed to meet that level. 

Witch flying Goose tin Tambourine noisemaker Halloween decoration J. Chein 1930'

Chein produced this tin litho tambourine during the 1920s over many seasons. Toward the end of the production run, the dies were worn enough that the goose's eye is either quite small or missing altogether. Given the prominent eye and the crispness of the imagery overall, I know this noisemaker was made quite early in the run. Is there a value premium with this early-run item? Yes, in that those with less crisp graphics suffer a 20-25% decrease from SGV of $225. 

The Annual Auction's Preview Period Begins April 23rd!

Hello Readers! 

I’ll be soon conducting my third annual auction of vintage Halloween collectibles right here on the site. Unlike so much material seen elsewhere, the items to be auctioned are all vintage and as described. I guarantee it!

The preview period begins the morning of Sunday, April 23rd.

The auction itself begins the morning of Sunday, April 30th.

The auction for most lots will end at 9:00 PM on Sunday, May 7th. The final ten lots will end at 9:30 PM. (All times reflect that I am in California.)

This year there will be 122 lots, which will offer a wide variety of vintage goods from modestly priced items to those that will tantalize even the most advanced collectors. There will be games, noisemakers, German JOLs, postcards, diecuts, small paper, candy containers, and more!

Approximately 24 of these lots will be comprised of items photographed for and appearing in all or some of my three editions of Vintage Halloween Collectibles. I rarely de-accession items as I am a collector rather than a dealer, but I simply can’t keep everything. 

As a thank you to those who have purchased a copy of my third edition of Vintage Halloween Collectibles, I will be accepting requests for bidder numbers and bids only from purchasers of that book. It is never too late to order your copy!

If you have a new email and/or phone number, or are unsure as to whether I have this information, please contact me so I can update contact information. 

I hope that you’ll be a participant!

Happy Halloween!                Mark B. Ledenbach

Vintage Halloween Gurley Candle Lot x7 Witch Ghost JOL Black Cat

Vintage candles are a great entry genre for new collectors. There are many different ones, all with invitingly low price points. In this lot, the black cat at the left and the larger witch are the best of the bunch, alone justifying the price at which the entire lot changed hands. Be careful when storing these. Some friends were unhappy to discover their candles had congealed into one multi-colored pool from being stored in an outdoor shed in a plastic tub. 

Vintage Halloween Candy Container, Black Cat w/ Bulging Eyes, Germany, Cardboard

This candy container was made in West Germany during the early 1950s. Whenever you see the mark, Container Made in Germany, you know that the marked item was made from ~1950 to ~1955. (That is assuming the mark is genuine, of course.) I like this design. The one from the collection can be seen on page 71. These typically trade for $100. 

04/20 Update: This candy container ended at $97. 


I have never seen these Whitney designs before. Typically, they are on a circular base with rats running around the perimeter and stand with the help of a wire-backed prop. This standee form is unusual and rare. (Basically, at this stage I feel that anything I haven't seen before is rare! :)) I would have liked to see the reverse of each. I know that many Whitney designs were recycled during the 1990s. Although I feel these are older, seeing the backs would have helped. Whitney was pretty good about marking their postcards, but were awful about marking much else. Were these marked in any way? 

Vintage Halloween JOL man pulling cart Candy Container Dolly Toy

This brought a very strong price considering its condition. Dolly Toy made a small number of Fibro Toys and were pretty disciplined about marking their wares. Unusually, this candy holder is never marked. I know it was made by Dolly Toy as I have one of their catalogs showing it for sale. With the cat and witch wheeled candy holders, be cautious of reproductions. The reproductions use thinner, high-gloss paper stock. 


This candy container looks more squat than it should. (It could be just the angle.) The complete mark on the underside is hard to discern. I think it says "Container Made In Germany." If that is so, that mark was used exclusively during the early 1950s. 

04/13 Update: This sold for a mere $148.50, so the marketplace had its suspicions as to age as well. 

antique Witch Halloween candy container

The workmanship of this container is so poor that I feel this is something made in Japan not Germany. The hands, rather than being composition, are merely clumps of spun cotton. The drab swaddling of crepe paper throughout also denotes a lack of finishing skill so unlike most German-made items. Being an item made in Japan, the overall value doesn't approach this seller's opening price of $300. 

04/16 Update: The market is typically uninterested in such items, shown by the seller has relisted this with an opening price of $150 or a BIN of $200. I feel fair market value is $80.