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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Halloween Tambourine - U.S. Toy Co. - Jack-O'-Lantern with Witch

Too bad there is so much rust on this rare tambourine, one of the better designs out there. This Art Deco inspired noisemaker was manufactured by T. Cohn of Brooklyn, New York, sometime during the 1930s. It has an RSIN of 2, so you know it doesn't surface often. Guide value in near-perfect condition is $375, but I doubt this well-loved piece will approach that figure. 

Vintage Halloween Owl, Black Cat and Pumpkins Bridge Tally - Hallmark - HTF!

The seller's description of this tally as being hard-to-find is a welcome understatement. I love paper and wasn't able to acquire one of these until recently. As tallies go, this is royalty. It is large, very colorful and a rare example of Hallmark producing an exquisite Halloween item. Because of the many pointed edges on this masterpiece, to find one in near-perfect condition or better is challenging. I would expect that this design gem would bring a price several multiples of the opening. 

Kokomold Rosbro Halloween Plastic Orange Upright Witch on a Rocket

I've never been a fan of hard plastic but will admit that many of the Kokomold designs were off-beat enough and were made in relatively small quantities that I regret passing on acquiring them when prices were so cheap. When I began collecting back in 1988, this design could have been purchased for around $15-20. The eBay screen misleadingly indicates that this sold for $600, but a BIN offer of $465 was accepted by the seller. 

Vintage Lot of 6 Halloween Die Cut & paper Hat, lanternd & blowers-USA/Germany

The star of this lot, by far, is the triangular hat. Made before WWI by a German firm, their output is maddeningly elusive. The hats were made from very thin paper stock, so they are nearly always thrashed when they surface. This hat was in the finest condition I've seen in years. I was tempted by it, but the condition still falls short of the mark for acquisition. If you turn to page 137, you can see four treat satchels that were produced by the same firm. 

Halloween Antique: JACK-O-LANTERN GERMAN WOODEN RATCHET NOISEMAKER, 1910's-20's

Exercise much caution when purchasing these decorated German wood ratchets. The plain ratchets themselves were made in huge quantities, and many remain extant. What some dealers do is marry a plain, vintage wood ratchet with a vintage, but otherwise not connected, Halloween decoration and sell the resulting union as an original. Now, I don't believe that was done for the item shown here that sold for $189, but this marrying frenzy is something to keep in mind when you are shopping for items in this genre. 

SCARCE Vintage Halloween Witch of Endor Fortune Telling Game, Salem Mass., 1929

The graphics on this game are so excellent and evocative of my favorite season that I've long been puzzled why it typically doesn't bring strong dollars. Trust me, this game looks awesome in a display cabinet. It was made by a now obscure manufacturer with fairly limited distribution muscle resulting in its RSIN of 3. 

06/24 Update: I am so glad to see that this great game finally received the love I've felt it has long deserved. It sold for $316.99, the highest price for this game according to my records. 

Vintage Halloween Plastic Roly Poly Goblin ~ Old & Cool!

Along with so many other genres, vintage Halloween celluloid seems to be on fire. (For an awesome visual display of some of the finest celluloid designs out there, look at pages 110-115.) I contacted some close friends to see if they were the prevailing bidder, but they were aced out by another friend. Maybe the next time I swing down to southern California, I can see this rare and appealing item for myself. 

Vintage Paper Mache Halloween BLACK CAT CANDY Bucket Antique YELLOW EYES GERMANY

This beat-up pulp cat head lantern made in the United States actually sold for $80! Based on my personal experience running my auction as well as following what items are currently selling for on many on-line sites, vintage Halloween prices seem to be stronger than ever. Given the plethora of collecting categories that have plummeted in value (Hummels, Jim Beam decanters, Avon bottles, "brown" furniture - anyone? anyone?...) vintage Halloween items have held up like a wedding night woody. I never stop being amazed at the heights to which prices for good items inexorably climb. 

Vintage Emkay Witch O Lantern Halloween Candle in Box #268

Candle boxes weren't often kept so the manufacturing and/or marketing details for such ephemeral items have largely been lost, making this listing exciting - if for no other reason. I haven't seen this particular candle design often, but I love the name the manufacturer dreamed up, Witch-O-Lantern. The asking price with a BIN option seems reasonable. 

06/17 Update: It sold for a "bargainish" price of $25. 

Cardboard Halloween Black Cat Sitting

When I saw that a Canada-based dealer was listing 1930s Beistle diecuts from their set with saw-toothed or scalloped perimeters I was momentarily hopeful we'd see arguably the most elusive (and mysteriously so...) Beistle diecut of all - the skeleton in the graveyard. Alas, disappointment. (To see the diecut to which I refer, turn to page 137.) The last time one was listed was late September of 2014 - and it sold for an astonishing ~$3,350. I was down at Disneyland the evening it sold. Present in my party was someone who wanted it badly, and who had placed an aggressive bid. Not prevailing upon the lot made my friend disheartened, but one will surely show up again. Beistle is the benchmark for design and quality relative to American made diecuts. Their typical output had a gravitas to them that the Dennison and Gibson diecuts generally lack. 

Vintage Plastic Halloween Witch on a Rocket

This sold as a BIN for $150. I've long derided hard plastic, believing the prices didn't reflect the overall ubiquity of the surviving and available items. (One exception is most anything manufactured by Kokomold Plastics. Their coach is one piece of hard plastic I wouldn't mind owning.) I've seen these sell time and again for between $75 and $125, so the ending price, especially when adding in the breathtakingly high shipping cost, seems unsustainable. 

Vintage Halloween OWL CANDY CONTAINER in great condtion. 1940's - 1950's

These small pulp objects that were made in the 1950s are devilishly difficult to find in collectible condition. There were a number of designs, but I'd say this owl and a small, arched-back black cat with yellow eyes are two of the harder ones to find. The owl nearly always has significant ear wear with much paint loss throughout. This looks to be in such good condition that I wonder what it would have brought through a standard auction format. This lasted mere minutes between listing and purchase.