Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Antique Vtg Papier-Mâché Paper Mache Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Halloween RARE

This rare lidded JOL with closed features sold for $1000. (eBay's system shows it sold for $1200 but in checking the actual ending price the figure was $1000.) I wonder if $1000 is the record for this rare and very attractive JOL? At 10" high the piece is a stunner and would easily be a cabinet's centerpiece. Although nearly all of the US pulp JOL output is not uncommon, there are the few strays that either weren't produced in great numbers or didn't tend to survive intact. I believe this item checks both of those boxes. 

04/18 Update: Sadly, the buyer, a stalwart and ethical person, let me know the seller was anything but. The seller cancelled the sale after my friend paid for the item in full. The seller refunded the price saying his wife objected to the sale after the fact. Shouldn't he have just said to her, "Sorry, what's done is done."? Naturally, that assumes the reason given was the truth. Could it have been he simply got a better offer? 

Another 04/18 Update: After scrolling through the eBay listings just now looking for something to comment on, I see this same item has been listed by the same seller for $10,000 OBO. The seller is certainly not someone with whom I'd want to do business! Where is eBay in all this? Shouldn't they step in and stop this listing? 

Fairman - Vintage Halloween Postcard

There must have been a connection between the printer of this postcard, Fairman Company of Cincinnati and New York, and Gibson of Cincinnati. The art on this postcard (and another similar card the same seller had up for sale) is oh-so-similar to a couple of shades shown on page 44. In doing cursory research I haven't unearthed a connection, but wouldn't be surprised there is one. 

04/14 Update: Thanks to the sleuthing of a regular reader, CR, who also loves to explore the nooks and crannies of connections between manufacturers of early Halloween, there does appear to be a firm connection between Gibson and Fairman. CR found a publication called Where to Sell Your Manuscripts by E.F. Barker copyrighted 1915. On page 46 is a listing of post card and novelty makers. Fairman is listed at 200 Fifth Avenue, NY. Gibson is also listed at that same address. Additionally, CR found another publication, Directory of Directors of the City of New York 1913-1914. Charles R. Gibson is listed as being president, treasurer and director of CR Gibson & Company; treasurer and director of Fairman & Company and treasurer and director of Gibson Art Company. 

rare 1930s beistle large owl embossed

This large perched owl diecut was produced by Beistle for numerous seasons beginning in 1932. It is one of the set of large, scalloped-edged diecuts they issued. (Others are a broomed witch flying over a town, an arched-back clack cat, a seated black cat and the very elusive skeleton walking through a graveyard.) All except the last one listed surface enough that sustainable guide value is not often exceeded and then by modest amounts. SGV for this embossed item is $180. Be careful not to overpay except, at times, for very rare items or items in near-mint or better condition.  


In my wildest dreams I would not have projected that this rare invitation would have gotten close to $350 much less actually ending at $520.99. Made by Whitney in small quantities during the 1920s, it is one of a set of at least three. The design is pretty darn awesome! Whitney had an odd design sensibility that makes many of their scarce products today coveted by many. Take a look at their boxed set of "Novelty Spinning Place Cards with Fortunes" shown on page 273. That is an odd one! 

Vtg 1920’s JOL Pumpkin Head Green Bow Tie Halloween German Skittle Game Piece

This seller realized bafflingly high prices for nearly all seven of the skittle pieces they listed, with this one ending at the most baffling amount. (As this is being written, the same seller has listed an additional five skittles.) These items are quite common, surface regularly and typically fetch between $65-85. As a shout out to a long-time collector who chafes at these items being described as skittles, it is quite possible they were meant to be table decorations only. When I first began collecting, I had several (even then) long-time collectors and dealers advise me as to what I was seeing. (Remember that back in 1988 there were no references solely devoted to our fine hobby.) Paul Schofield and Mary Lou Holt described this set to me as skittles and described how they were used. I accepted the conveyed information and never thought too much more about it. However, I accept that they may have been incorrect. 

Vintage Halloween Witch Pumpkins Tin Noise Maker w Red Wood Handle T Cohn Nice!

This 1930s tin litho noisemaker is fairly common. What makes this example of this T. Cohn item different and somewhat more desirable are the colors. This is normally seen in black, orange and white. The use of green is powerful and really makes the design pop. SGV for this item is $25, but I could see this bringing somewhat north of this price point. 

04/08 Update: This sold for $29.99. 

Vintage Victorian Halloween Party Witch Cat Fortune Telling Cards Black Cats

The seller got a little enthusiastic in describing these as Victorian. Queen Victoria dropped in 1901, so these aren't even Edwardian. Produced by Whitney sometime during the 1930s, they'd most accurately be described, in terms of British royalty as Georgian. I have this diminutive boxed set in the collection. On the lid is a cat wearing a witch's hat sitting on a broom in the unquestionable Whitney style. The text on the box reads, "Witch-Cat Fortune Cards. They reveal the past present and future." I've seen the game on average once per decade since 1988, so it is a rare one. The price paid seems high given there is no box, but perhaps the buyer had a box and needed the cards. 


It would be nice if this desirable and exceedingly rare diecut would be in better condition. (When I first began collecting 30 years ago, lots of dealers referred to diecuts as "die casts." Having this seller use the term was a real throwback for me.) This unembossed party sign was produced by Gibson during the 1930s. As with so many of their products, it is unmarked but the use of the slanted exclamation point is a telltale sign of Gibson's parentage. I've seen this diecut 2-3 times over the decades, so it is a great one to have if you like Gibson. (I love Gibson products!) SGV is $250 for one in near-perfect condition. RSIN is 1. 

04/02 Update: This sold for $304. 

WHITNEY PUMPKIN CAR CAT WITCH INVITATION 1920's unused near mint no reserve

Whitney produced some of the most endearingly odd Halloween small paper, especially during the 1920s! This is one of a trio of invitations Whitney issued with a pumpkin car theme. While this one is being driven by a cat, the others are driven by a witch and an owl. (They can be seen on page 280.) It took me many years to finally acquire the trio in near-mint or better condition. It is a tough slog. How great is it that this fine seller is offering this rare treasure in a true auction format with no reserve? Don't even hesitate in snapping this gem up!  

04/02 Update: This sold for $203.50.