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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Unique Vintage HALLOWE'EN Stunt Game Boxed Card Set *16 Stunts* Beistle

This seller slapped a BIN price of $150 on this rare boxed game and it was gone in 20 minutes, a great indication of how much the seller left on the table. This is a desirable game produced by Beistle in two versions in 1931-32. One was a boxed set like this one while the other was an otherwise identical enveloped set. The stock numbers were different - 876 and 875, respectively. Neither surfaces much.

VINTAGE 1930s HALLOWEEN TRICK OR TREAT CANDLE LANTERN JACK-O-LANTERN, WITCH ETC.

Beistle produced this colorful lantern during the late 1920s. You’ll sometimes find these identical lanterns marked in such a way that you know they were produced in Germany - an artifact of a little understood arrangement that Beistle had with German manufacturers during the 1920s. This example has its oft-missing bottom, enabling the lantern to stay open and actually function as a lantern. It seems to be in beautiful condition.

ANTIQUE 1918 BEISTLE HALLOWEEN PENNANT BANNER

This pennant banner is one of the first - if not the first - such design Beistle produced. (Finding banners hard to display, I haven’t made an effort to collect many of them.) The value I derive from this auction listing is to see what basic designs Beistle initially produced. Some were quickly ditched (spider web, stand-alone broom, corn shock and ears of corn), while others clung on through the early 1930s. Many of the images here were also in Beistle’s earliest enveloped party sets.

Halloween Die Cut Owl Moon Spooky Vintage

This is one of six “rocker favors” that Beistle produced from 1930-31. They were sold as an enveloped set with a stock number of 760R. Each can be flared at the bottom enabling the rocker to stand. These Beistle rockers haven’t surfaced much over the last 2-3 years.

03/28 Update: This sold for a reasonable $45.

ANTIQUE VINTAGE HALLOWEEN CARDBOARD CREPE PAPER ACCORDION BAT HANGING DECORATION

I’ve been away for nearly a week on vacation and have taken few opportunities to wallow in eBay’s listings. Imagine my surprise when amongst all of the crapola, I see this exceedingly rare item in nice shape! This sinister devil bat diecut was produced by Beistle during the interval of 1925-1931. I haven’t seen one in this condition for many years. (Typically, one of the horns and at least one foot are long gone.) The orange honeycomb wings look essentially unused. Beistle also made this item with black honeycomb wings. This deserves to bring a very strong price, indeed.

03/05 Update: And it sure did bring a strong price - $970 - perhaps a record.

Very rare antique witch die Cut

Beistle issued a trio of broomed witches diecuts during the late 1950s. This is arguably the best design of the three. (You can see the others on page 159.) This trio is almost impossible to find in collectible condition for some reason. They are large on thinner paper stock. I don’t think Beistle produced many of these in the grand scheme of things. A good paper restorer could probably work wonders on this damaged example.

02/21 Update: I almost keeled over when I saw that this damaged diecut sold for $510. I agree that a competent paper restorer should be able to make this look near-new, but that would cost ~$200, making the total investment over $700, significantly over what this diecut has sold for in near-mint, unrestored condition.

03/07 Update: This same diecut in better condition sold yesterday for the shockingly low price of $103.51. I have to chalk it up to the vagaries of eBay.

Beistle Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Cut-Out Puzzle (14 pieces) #1809

A long-time collecting friend of mine scooped up this exceedingly rare Beistle treasure for the laughably low price of $136.16. (The clueless seller had listed it in the Halloween Modern category causing people like me, who seldom troll those dispiriting listings, to miss this treasure. I’ll be adding a daily perusal of this category from now on.) The lantern this uninspired Beistle creation - a puzzle for simpletons - depicts, was produced in 1930-1931, so the enveloped set was surely one of the last items they produced with the diamond mark. So, at this point, I know now that Beistle used the stunning art of the lantern, which was made in two sizes, only on one other item - this puzzle.

1925 SET OF 3 Beistle Nut Cups Honeycomb Favors Baskets RARE VTG Halloween

I feel $1200 is an enormous sum to pay for this trio of favor baskets. Beistle produced four designs of this size from 1927 through 1931. The best design, the witch wearing a dress decorated with skulls, is not amongst this trio. Even at $300 each, the envelope isn’t worth the remaining $300. It might be if it was something to look at, but being a plain glassine envelope limits its appeal and brings the “wow” factor down to nothing.

Vintage Beistle Company Halloween Honeycomb Die Cut Decoration, 1925

Wow, people were asleep at the switch here, including me. This is one of those increasingly rare, true bargains for a great piece of truly vintage Halloween memorabilia. This is one of four favor basket designs Beistle produced from 1927-1931. (I think it is the least interesting of the four designs. The best is the witch wearing a skull-festooned dress.) You can see them all on page 225.

BEISTLE SIDE OF GLASS PLACE CARD COMPLETE SET WITH ENVELOPE no res

To me, this is a previously unseen packaging variation of these place cards meant to hang from the top of a glass. These same designs were issued by Beistle as early as 1918 in an enveloped set of six given stock number 584. In that earlier set, the contents distribution was three witches, two cats and one ghost. In this larger set, the contents distribution was six witches, three cats and one ghost. So, although the numbers are different the relative scarcity remains the same - the ghost being the hardest one of the trio to get. I felt the ending price was pretty high - certainly good news for the fine seller. (I’ve done business with this seller and look forward to doing more!) Looking at the prices obtained for the singles from this set that he sold in other listings, their prices, too, were dazzlingly high.

Vintage Halloween Party Hat, 1920,s Made in U.S.A

Beistle issued three “domino hat mask” designs between 1926 and 1931. Most of the time they were just stand-alone masks as shown on pages 236-237, but occasionally they were stapled to a random band hat, as in this listing. The entire bottom section of the mask is missing, so this is more of a substantial remnant than anything else. Virtually all of its collectible value has been eliminated due to its poor condition.

11/13 Update: …And yet this sold, in these bubbly times, for $86!

Vintage Halloween Dance Program Card Witch Black Cat Bat

This Beistle novelty card was issued for a single season. It is the very first time I’ve seen one “in the wild.” Lavin states this was released in 1932. The conundrum here is that the day and date of the party written on the inside limits the years this would have been used. The nearest years with October 16th being a Saturday around 1932 are either 1926 or 1937. Perhaps Marilyn Smathers’ family was frugal and kept this Dance Program card for 5 years, using it as an invitation. The Great Depression was gripping the country tightly at that time, so that may be a possible explanation. Another is the release date cited by Lavin is incorrect. Who knows? What I do know is that this is exceedingly rare. I pondered for some time as to whether I’d be satisfied having this for the price it would take to acquire it, given its condition - slight tear at the top, edge chipping and marred by writing. I’ve decided against trying to acquire it. It’ll be informative to see what this rare item fetches. As of this writing it has been bid up to $565.77.

10/28 Update: This brought $752.44. A close friend acquired this, so I’ll have a chance to see on what I chose not to bid!