These are not vintage items. Around 2003 for just one, possibly two, seasons Beistle allowed another firm to offer reproductions of the eight-member black cat band. As I point out on page 54, these reproductions can be identified by their white accents, two bottom slots on each for a folded cardboard stand and orange/brown backsides. These reproductions have zero vintage value.
As of this writing there are over 8100 items listed on eBay in the Vintage Halloween category. Only ~3% of these listings are worth a second glance, and this surely is one of them. I’ve only seen this for sale one other time - when I purchased it in 2007. The one in the collection is more visually appealing in that the highlights are orange rather than light blue, but if you are someone who wants rare and amazing items in your collection - this listing is for you. Rosen produced a small but very desirable array of mechanical candy boxes and holders. (Look at pages 116-118 for some others.) This small segment of the market is surely within my top five loves. In 30 years of collecting I’ve only located seven different examples. There is at least one design I don’t yet have. I saw it in another collection several years ago. I’ll be watching how this listing fares with great interest.
10/02 Update: This rare item sold for the opening bid of $1,195, a relative bargain in these bubbly days. I wonder if the price would have been higher if the seller would have started it at a much lower price?
This well designed place card has all the hallmarks of a top Dennison design. These include frenetic energy, disparate elements working harmoniously and a sense of humor. Although you don’t see this design often, they typically trade for FAR LESS than this seller is asking - an astounding $185! (One sold on 09/22 for $22.50.) The design first appeared in their 1923 Bogie Book with a stock number of H16. For some reason, the stock number changed to H21 in 1924. These were sold in shops singly. They were not packaged.
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 6 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 nice condition. The last one ended on eBay almost exactly one year ago and sold for an astounding and unsustainable price of $347.98.
10/02 Update: This sold for a somewhat more reasonable price of $255.
Someone asked me to post photos of my German porcelain collection. It is probably my favorite segment of the vintage Halloween market. It has taken me 30 years to gather together these wonderful items. Enjoy!
Tom and Deb C, aka stnick22, are long-time collectors who typically shower us collectors with a cascade of vintage goods auctions around this time. There are a number of their 88 lots that I hope to add to the collection, but thankfully I already own this incredibly rare set. I bought it sight unseen over the phone many years ago from a famous dealer in Chicago named Bindy Bitterman. (Bindy even made a cameo in the fairly recent documentary on the now-famous street photographer, Vivian Maier.) I discovered Bindy had two complete sets from long-time collector and publisher of the not-forgotten Boo News, Dawn Kroma. Even though the photos accompanying this auction are super, they don’t do the individual pieces justice. The pieces are really beautiful. Frankly, this is THE party set to own. I’ve only seen a handful come up for sale in 30 years. The last complete set sold for ~$2300 some years ago now, but in a very tatty box. I can’t wait to see what this example fetches.
10/02 Update: This set fetched an impressive $2,762.40.
This result is truly crazy! If someone wants the one in my collection, I’ll sell it for $335 plus shipping with the option to buy the mate for the same price.
Wow, the eBay listings now are an embarrassment of riches after a long drought of mainly common, lower-end items. The various German mini-diecut sets are amongst my favorite to collect. The artistry in such small form factors always amazes. Look at this owl managing to look angry and befuddled at the same time. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen this item. The condition is as amazing as the seller, who has my full confidence. Others from this set can be found on page 185.
It is nice to see a truly rare item listed on eBay. This is a large and imposing diecut! Here is what I have to say about this superb diecut in my third edition, made at the zenith of Beistle's creative powers: “A touch of mystery swirls around this object. All the catalogs I have examined, Beistle publications and the many ones put out by wholesalers over the years, indicate this embossed diecut was sold as one of a set of four. There were five large diecuts with scalloped edges made beginning in the early 1930s. (The other four can be seen in Diecuts.) Some catalogs show that at times this skeleton in the graveyard was sold with the seated cat while others show it was at times sold with the arched-back cat. The others, owl and broomed witch, remain constants. The point is that the skeleton in the graveyard is itself a constant in these publications, so why doesn’t it ever turn up?” Look at how the branches of the Wizard of Oz-like trees end in creatures. Dark and creepy!
09/21 Update: A long-time collector snatched this up for $2500. I think he did very well indeed.
I have seen a handful of Aleinmuller hats for sale during the last 30 years but all save this one had significant condition issues. The paper used was of thin stock that simply hasn’t worn well through the decades. Most of the time there are significant chunks missing, major tears and/or creasing. This Aleinmuller hat is in the best condition I’ve ever seen. Hats like this are hard to display unless you have ample wall space - something I no longer have - so it isn’t for me. However, if you’ve coveted a colorful, busy Aleinmuller design, you mustn’t let this hat escape your grasp.
09/27 Update: This changed hands for a surprisingly reasonable price of $203.50.
Beistle produced three large witch diecuts during the late 1950s. Each is extraordinarily difficult to find in collectible condition. This one seems to be in exceptional condition, making the purchase price a relative bargain in these days of an overheated paper market. Look on page 159 to see the other mates to this diecut. My favorite is the one in the middle with the worn soles. It is also the one that eluded my grasp for the longest time.
Beistle produced this rare Mystery Answer Board for a single season - 1932. I feel this version is more aesthetically pleasing than the larger white-backed Witch’s Mystery Answer Game they produced the year before. I can’t remember when I last saw this for sale. Even so, paying $400 for this item when it is in such poor condition is hard to understand.
Gibson produced a tally to match this well-designed place card. I wonder if they made a similarly-themed invitation, too? You can see the more ornate tally on page 270.
This is a very intriguing item. I have never seen it, or anything similar, before. I am curious as to the purpose of the holes punched in the base. What was this item designed to hold that such venting holes would be required? (If a reader has a theory - like Ross Perot - I’m all ears.) The imagery is super. I especially like the rare graveyard scene. (Graveyard scenes are surprisingly uncommon in the overall iconography of vintage Halloween.) I got a kick out of the directness of the seller when stating, “This is not a grand showpiece, but an interesting piece nonetheless considering it’s a rarity.” AMEN to that! I would love to have this as part of the collection, but the condition is too rough for me.
I love that this fine seller included a photo of the 1920s German hangers she has in her collection. She is selling the owl with black accordion paper. I have never seen the JOL and the Brownie before. I once had a small collection of these but found them too challenging to display. (Anything part of the collection must be displayed - a primary rule for me.)