Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

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. 

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. 


This lot prompted a number of emails. I wrote each person the same thing - that I would pass on the lot since the condition was poor. Even so, the lot brought strong dollars. These House of Fate fortune cards were made by Whitney during the 1920s. Each of these is different than the 8 examples in the collection. At first glance, the 3-4 base designs look similar. When you really examine them, though, minute differences appear differentiating each from the other. I'm curious as to why Whitney would have done this. Perhaps we'll never know. Whitney went out of business in 1942. 


This is a great image and part of a set of five scalloped-edged, sizable diecuts Beistle began producing in 1932. Given their large size, these typically surface in poor condition. This one seems pretty nice. (Tape residue on the reverse doesn't bother me at all.) The rarest one from the set of 5 is the skeleton walking through the graveyard. It has been several years since one has surfaced. It sold for ~$3400. 

Dennison Halloween Lady Clown with Owl in Front of Full Moon Die-Cut 1920s

This seldom-seen design of a woman in an extravagant ruffled collar with an addled owl behind was first made available to the public in 1923. It was sold in two forms: a slide box of 6 cut-outs with a stock number of H-94 and a slide box of 20 seals with a stock number of H-656. They weren't sold for more than two seasons. I was able to find a box of cut-outs for the collection only ~2 years ago and have not yet located the box of seals. I feel the starting price is quite reasonable. 

Beistle Halloween Hallowe'en Place Cards Witch Broom Decoration Envelope 1920s

Beistle issued at least two packaging variations containing these place cards meant to be suspended from the edge of a glass. Both have the same stock number, 584, but one enveloped set contained six place cards whereas this one contained ten place cards. However, both should contain an assortment, whereas the set on offer here contains all witches. A proper assortment would contain three designs - a witch, a black cat and a ghost. 



This witch mechanical tally first appeared in Dennison's 1928 Price List pamphlet. Dennison produced three designs of what they marketed as "novelty tallies." This one is more intricate than the other two designs, a cat head and a JOL. All are hard-to-find in working condition. You can see all three designs on page 258. These also had a dual purpose of being a place card.

12/07 Update: This sold for $240.50, a wholly unsustainable price. 


This is not an old piece. Blumchen and Company is a firm that imports many newly made holiday items from Germany. They do not sell truly vintage Halloween items. Established in 1985, they at one time sold a smattering of truly old Halloween items, but that hasn't been the case for many years. The good news is that the buyer didn't waste that many dollars on this decorative object. Do your research before buying anything in our fun hobby. It has gotten too expensive overall not to educate yourself before committing dollars to a purchase. 

Wonderful Six Sided Halloween Lantern Not Marked Germany New Old Stock Nice

If collectors have any one lantern in their collections it is this one. It is VERY common for a couple of reasons. This lantern was produced for many, many years. Also, a substantial quantity of true new/old store stock was discovered about 12 years ago, so finding near-mint or better examples is easy. (Generally, when a seller uses the term new/old store stock for purportedly vintage Halloween items, be suspicious.) So, with that said, this seller was lucky to get $300 for the lantern. They nearly always trade for $150, so the buyer had to be someone newer to the hobby.