Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

rare vintage Beistle Halloween embossed skeleton diecut decoration

After several years, another of these most-elusive of diecuts surfaced. I awoke to a flurry of emails about this item, and encouraged everyone who wrote to jump on it. The seller, afflicted with a recent negative on eBay, offered it for $3000 or best offer. I don't know the seller, but felt the diecut looked right from the several photos, most of which were pretty low quality. There is a mystery about this diecut, first produced by Beistle in 1932. It was one of a set and was shown as part of that set for many seasons beginning in 1932. While all the others from this set surface with some regularity, this one doesn't. While I know one was sold for a pittance at a show in Ohio in 2017, when this diecut gets the proper exposure it has sold for as high as ~$3500. I'm glad to know that a friend of mine who has been searching for this diecut for many years was the buyer. I know it will have a treasured spot in his already impressive collection, which I am dazzled by annually when I get a chance to visit. I can't wait to see how this precious object is worked into his displays!  

Vintage Halloween Witch Centerpiece Whitney Co. Ma. Late 1920's Diecut

eBay has been a real desert for months, so it nice to see a few really nice things pop up these last few days. This wonderful four-sided centerpiece fence comprising two designs was produced by Whitney during the 1920s. I have an envelope this set was sold in, so know Whitney assigned it a stock number of 2477. As I write in the section showing various fence centerpieces, "The presence of all tabs for each interlocking section significantly increases the value of the overall centerpiece." Sustainable guide value is $200, which has already been exceeded. It will be interesting to see where this ends. 

02/14 Update: This sold for the phenomenal sum of $379.99!  


eBay has been a desert with nary an oasis for the serious collector in sight for seemingly too many months, but then comes along this rarest of Beistle hats. Although the condition is poor, any member of this set of four hats made by Beistle is impossible to find. Beistle marketed the four collectively as New Moon hats, producing them from 1933-1937. Two prominently feature a black cat and moon while the other two prominently feature a witch and moon. I own only half the set and have been hungrily searching for the other two for years. (YEARS!) Quantities were probably limited by the Great Depression. (Turn to page 239 to see the two in the collection.) It will be instructive to see at what price this ends. 

02/14 Update: This sold for $405. 

Old Rare 1920s German Pumpkin Face Cdbd Suitcase Squeaker w/ Candy Container

I think this is an item made in Japan during the 1920s as an homage to the first-rate German pieces with a similar look made from ~1916-1921. The German pieces have eyes that lean toward each other rather than away as with the piece up for auction. None of the German items from this set have crepe paper sides. (Most Japanese candy containers liberally use crepe paper.) Its value is about half of what a German-made item would bring. I would opine that at its current price, it is already fully valued, if not more so. 

02/08 Update: This sold for $316. 

VINTAGE 1960 Beistle HALLOWEEN SKELETON Riding Horse Die-Cut Party Decoration

One of these in better condition sold in October 2014 for $294.50. At that time I commented that this diecut was a divisive one with collectors aligned pretty evenly along the hate/love continuum. This was issued by Beistle from 1960-1962 when they were nearly out of gas creatively. They soon after began their descent into the mire of mediocrity. This excellent eBay seller has three of the harder-to-find diecuts from this era up for auction now. Like comic books at the end of a run generally being hard to get as the production numbers dwindle, Beistle made relatively few of these diecuts, and on typically thinner stock than earlier designs. Stylistically, these are less interesting being more "cute" than memorable. That said, I have one in the collection. I applaud the unknown artist for his color choices - if nothing else! 

02/06 Update: This sold for $400, significantly higher than expected. 

Vintage Rare Halloween Paper Mache Pumpkin man

I suspect this listing didn't last long. The seller placed a BIN price of $125 on it, well below what this might have brought. This 19.5" high JOL pirate diecut is among the largest diecuts the Germans made. (The size mate to it is a JOL woman with broom. Both are shown on page 183.) The RSIN is 2, so it doesn't often surface. The colors are bright and from the many good photos included in the listing, I don't see troubling condition issues. Congrats to whomever the buyer was - they got a good deal! 

Halloween Tin Litho Clapper Noisemaker Witch, Owl, Bats, Cats & Skull

Although a regular reader wrote that another one of these sold last year for around the same amount, I don't recall ever seeing this particular design before. (I must have missed the listing.) I was the prevailing bidder. I like the boldness and the cartoonish quality of the graphics. It reminds me of something Bugle would have produced. I'm looking forward to receiving it. 

Antique Halloween Witch & Moon *GERMAN* Glass Candy Container *GLASS FLASK*

The seller has all three of these perfume bottles up for auction right now, all starting at a very modest $2.50 each. These milk glass perfume bottles were made in Germany during the early 1930s. Although they were originally sold with cork stoppers, I've seen these stoppers rarely. These typically fetch $80-100 each. 

01/30 Update: This sold for $182.49. 

1920's Halloween Tamborine Noise Maker

This unmarked printed paper tambourine with a decorated tin rim was made during the 1930s. As I write on page 213, "Several collectors have said they have found this tambourine sold as part of a "Gypsy Woman" costume boxed set issued by Collegeville in the 1930s."


In reading this seller's clear description, I saw where someone was questioning whether this was old or one of the Bethany Lowe reproductions. It is, of course, a truly vintage item. The Lowe reproductions are flimsy looking and have none of the gravitas the truly old tin parade lanterns have. The seller stated that she wasn't sure if this had been repainted. It looks all original to me, based only on the photographs. The starting price seems to be one that fully values the item, a strategy that is one I wouldn't have chosen. 

Set 5 Vtg c 1920 Original Beistle Halloween Party Favors Stand Up JOL Decoration

This lot of Johnny Pumpkin figures was made by Beistle between 1923 and 1925. The "family" was made in sizes ranging from 5" to 20.25". This lot contains the smallest of the family, and perhaps the hardest-to-find variation. The smallest Johnny Pumpkins had three variants. This is the third variant - being smaller, brighter and possessing a folding prop that is part of the original art, rather than the glued-on easel always found with the other sizes. The packaging is plainer than the example in the collection, perhaps indicating this was manufactured earlier in the date range. The ending price was higher than guide, but that could be a function of the lot surfacing when almost nothing of quality was available on eBay.