Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Antique Vintage Halloween Black Cat Seals in Box Gibson Art Company c1920s

This beautiful box of seals was produced by Gibson during the 1920s. Gibson's output was significantly less than their arch-competitor, Dennison, and, sadly, their distribution network was similarly circumscribed. Hence, today it is difficult to find Gibson boxed sets - and even more difficult to find such a clean and nearly complete box. My operating theory is that vintage Halloween paper (aside from napkins, table cloths and the like) will continue its rapid ascent, so if you like this genre, snap this one up. If you wish to see an extensive array of Gibson boxed sets, please refer to pages 264-265. 

10/22 Update: This fetched a strong $150.50. 


I don't know what to make of this diecut. The message is so cryptic that it makes me wonder if something is missing from it. Readers, any thoughts? 

10/12 Update: Thanks to those who wrote in! The expression "Get Hot" could mean a number of things: encouraging someone to dance faster, do better or simply make themselves comfortable. Thinking that it might tie in to a product endorsement, I wondered if this diecut was incomplete. I feel now it is complete. 

10/22 Update: A second one sold on 10/20 for $107.92. 

VTG 1920'S Halloween 'Spook Lamp', Very Rare.

These Spook Lamps almost never come up for sale, especially in this great condition. I am surprised it didn't bring more. There is a larger version measuring 12" high with a 6" shade and a 4.5" wide base. The patent date on these lamps is February 14, 1911, although I don't think they were immediately released. Still, I think they predate 1920. The one on page 188 has some different panel designs than this one.I feel the buyer got a solid bargain. 

Ceramic Pumpkin Jack O Lantern Halloween Candle Holder - Vintage Germany 1970s

Whomever scooped this breathtakingly rare porcelain candle holder up for $29.99 should be thanking sweet Jesus they were trolling through the listings when this popped up. This is arguably the most coveted single item from the many the Germans produced for their porcelain tea set service from 1908 through 1932. Prior to this listings I had seen only two examples in the same large lot that was sold to me many years ago. One has been in the collection ever since, the other, heavily damaged and missing pieces, was sold. I have a long list of people who really want this. I sure hope whomever got it was on that list. The seller was foolish. She obviously had no idea what she was selling, given that she describes this as being from the 1970s. She basically robbed herself of thousands of dollars as I have zero doubt this would have sold for significantly more than SGV given its rarity and how many collectors want it. The lesson to be learned here is simple: If you don't know what you are selling, never list it as a BIN - always use an auction format. 

bogie book dennison halloween costume seals catalog victorian 1913 decorations

This is the best example of this exceedingly rare edition of Dennison's Bogie Books I've seen. Dennison issued their first Bogie Book in 1909, apparently to the sound of a belly flop, as they did not issue a new edition until 1912. (There is only a single example of the 1909 version known to exist. You can see it on page 135.) The 1912-16 editions were printed in quite small runs compared to the later editions. By the time the 1922 edition hit the shelves, the print runs were large as these turn up frequently. If you look at the photos generously provided by the no-doubt-delighted seller, you can see that in 1913 Dennison was still largely hewing to the business strategy of providing crepe and napkins and suggesting ways to customize crepe for parties, rather than emphasizing their higher-margin boxed goods. This strategy rapidly changed, evidenced by the content of the Bogie Books in 1914 and after. Dennison found their niche in boxed items and they never truly surrendered that market dominance. The ability to gain these kinds of insights is surely one reason for collectors' love of these booklets. 

Vintage Halloween Invitation Black Cat Driving Witch Owl

The level of detail of this invitation is amazing. This was produced by Whitney during the early 1920s. Because the invitation's clasps are so intricate and delicate, it is hard to find this in near-perfect or better condition. Whitney made a trio of these car invites. While this one is driven by a cat and features a witch and an owl as passengers, the others have different passengers with one car driven by a witch and the other by an owl. The latter two appear on page 280. I am proud to now own all three in near-mint or better condition. 

Early '50's HALLOWEEN Grinning Black CAT Candy Container-Party Hat-Orange Moon

This is a large and colorful identically dual-sided slot and tab candy holder made by an unknown manufacturer. I was only able to add one to the collection perhaps 5 years ago, so these are not plentiful. When I got it I was surprised at just what a powerful display item it is! This one looks to be in remarkable condition. I greatly appreciate the fine seller being very specific about condition. 

10/08 Update: This excellent candy holder sold for an astounding $347.98. SGV is $85. 


This is a really great pop-up Beistle invitation produced during the 1920s. There is a second pop-up design that I've almost never seen for sale. Made in the early 1930s, it features a scarecrow rather than a witch. I've wondered why it is seen so rarely, and conjecture that maybe that design was never sold in boxed or enveloped sets, but instead just singly, as Dennison did with many of their designs at this same time. Readers, have you ever seen a boxed/enveloped set of the scarecrow pop-ups? (A single can be seen at the top of page 223.) 

Halloween Germany Child's Tea Set, Handled small Tea Cup Saucer, 1908-1912

It is good to see quality porcelain tea set pieces surfacing right now. This handled cup and saucer is from the smallest set created by the Germans, called the child's tea set. (There were both medium-sized sets and adult-sized sets made as well.) Both elements of this listing are hard to find. Many more small non-handled cups survived relative to their handled brethren. The saucer's are much more difficult to find for some reason. Together they make an eye-catching addition to any display case. 
I gravitate most strongly to certain genres more than others, surely like all collectors. I like paper items like diecuts, table decorations, centerpieces and boxed Dennison and Gibson items. I also covet small-paper items like invitations, tallies and place cards, plus love these German porcelain items. I have grown lukewarm on lanterns and candy containers and have never been interested in pulp JOLs, German JOLs, costumes, treat bags and hard plastic. 
I project that over the next 10 years many collections from long-time collectors will come to market. Most of these collections are heavily weighted toward candy containers and lanterns, so it stands to reason that these genres will see a medium-term dip. From all of my travels and invitations to see the collections of those who began collecting in the sixties, seventies and eighties, I can say assuredly that it was the rare such collector who collected much paper. I am projecting (and actively acting on my projections) that the market for paper and small paper will remain strong while other genres cyclically fade over the next ten years.