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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

1930's Vintage Halloween Witch in Cauldron Die Cut - Rare Glow in Dark

This seller comes up with the most wonderful items! It’s nice to see some interesting items popping up on eBay, as there has been too much junk of late. As stated in the listing, this witch falling into a cauldron glow-in-the-dark decoration is a companion piece to the Jitterbug Jones decoration shown on page 293. I don’t know which firm produced this innovative item. I thought I had a photo of the placard that would have been attached to this originally, but I can’t find it. This is the best one (of the three) that I’ve seen for sale. I’ve never seen one in-person - they are that rare. It’ll be fun to see what this fetches. Its RSIN would definitely be a 1.

03/11 Update: Thanks to a fellow collector who may have the only compete example extant, I can relay what is printed on the placard that should be attached to this diecut: “Turn off the light And ghostly bright A grinning skull Glows thru the night.”

03/14 Update: This sold for an eye-popping $960! It wasn’t even complete. Irrational exuberance?

RARE Vintage Halloween nut cup party decoration

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.

Vintage Halloween flying owl--wings flap-

These owl decorations were made by Gibson in the early 1930s. They were made in two sizes. These appear to be the smaller of the two sizes. The larger design measures ~7.25" high by ~6.75" wide by ~11" long. The larger one typically trades for $65. 

06/05 Update: The prevailing bidder got a bargain scooping these up for $56.69. 

Huge 1930s Dennison HALLOWEEN DIECUT Stand-Up BLACK CAT * Over 25” Tall

The seller states this very tall black cat tabletop decoration with a 3-D effect was made by Dennison. Dennison was darn particular about marking their wares and they were clever about it, sometimes incorporating it into the small filigree or line work present in a significant minority of their goods. This doesn't appear to be marked. When I first pulled up this listing, I thought for sure it was actually a Beistle item. However, there are a number of key differences: the recessed eyes/nose/mouth and the lack of any facial detailing to name two. I can't find any reference to this kind of 3-D tabletop decoration in any of my Dennison Bogie Books, Price List pamphlets, etc. so this is a mystery. I love the way this seller takes such great care to point out whatever imperfections exist in the items he is auctioning. 

03/02 Update: The seller was gracious enough to contact me directly, alerting me to the fact that this cat was shown in Dennison's 1934 Halloween Parties booklet. I had forgotten about those pages. Seeing something in 3-D is sure a lot different than seeing it on a page. Dennison must have been irritated with their chief holiday competitor when Beistle essentially ripped off the design and began marketing their own line of these kinds of items. Even though Dennison was first, I like the detailing of the Beistle line better. 

03/07 Update: This rare Dennison cat sold for $150.49. 

Vintage 1930s rare 14 inch HALLOWEEN Jitterbug Jones & WITCH 2 GLOW-IN-THE-DARK

I'd love to know the story here. When this lot ended at $636.99, I didn't believe it. I called a close friend and fellow collector to get her reaction. She said maybe it is time to sell our collections if people are willing to pay such a high price for items with such obvious condition issues. Not only are both items missing their placards, but the amount of wear, plus the presence of tape remnants, is a turn-off. However, the seller relisted the pair less than a mere two hours later. So, did the prevailing bidder get cold feet? These really shouldn't go for more than $200-$250 total. 

09/22 Update: I received an email from the prevailing bidder today explaining that she had inadvertently placed a mistaken bid amount by inserting a third digit in her haste to bid. The seller graciously accepted this explanation and didn't bind the bidder to the placed bid. Doesn't this truly indicate that the seller is fair-minded? 

Halloween BAT with WINGS 1940s

Here is another listing from the same seller with the winged ghost decoration. This devil bat was made by Beistle only from 1925-1931. Given its six season production run, these are extraordinarily difficult to find complete. Typically, the wings are ripped and/or the feet are missing. Often, the horns are long gone. I love just how evil this diecut is! The manufacturers made party decorations for adults back then, and this design exemplifies this fact. In my view, this is one of the VERY best examples of this incredibly desirable Beistle masterpiece. If you don't own one, bid on this one for sure! 

09/25 Update: Items from Beistle's Golden Age have been white-hot for many years and keep setting record prices. Here is another record: This superb example sold for $1,025. 

HALLOWEEN Vintage US Stand-Up 3-D Table Decoration Moon Owl Scarecrow

Although creatively Beistle was in a downswing at the time this was produced in the mid-1950s, there were still glimmers of their imaginative prowess, as evidenced by this 3-D fold out decoration, one of a set of three. (The complete set is shown on page 231.) The other two, a haunted house scene and a graveyard scene, tend to fetch more money when they come up for sale, but all are cleverly designed and make great display items. Because each needs to be expanded to stand, wear is evident on the items in even above average condition. This seems to be in near-mint condition, so should command strong dollars at the auction's conclusion. 

03/15 Update: And strong dollars were, indeed, obtained. This item in such great condition pulled in $172.50! 

Rare Lg Johnny Pumpkin Head Halloween Die-Cut by Beistle

I am glad to see these very odd Beistle creations finally getting their day in the sun. Beistle issued several different sizes from 1919-1921. A very nice and representative selection is shown on pages 122-124. Here is some of the text describing the Johnny Pumpkin decorations from my new third edition: 
Beistle issued the family in these formally designated sizes, all non-embossed on flat stock, medium weight cardboard: five inch, eight inch, eleven inch, sixteen inch and twenty inch, although there are variations to size of as much as one and one-quarter inch with nearly all of them. The smallest size was made for several seasons more than all of the others. This smallest size had three iterations and was generally sold in envelopes with quantities ranging from five to ten per envelope. This size is commonly seen today. The other sizes are much less common with this proviso: the bigger they get the harder they are to find.
Beistle didn’t take great care in differentiating designs within sizes. Sometimes the differences are obvious but sometimes the differences are just a matter of how much neck line, or lace or collar shows. Beistle was seemingly not prepared for the success of this line and cranked them out with limited quality control relative to exactly how the designs by size were replicated. This becomes more obvious the more examples one gathers together to compare.

Vintage Halloween 1920's Gibson Dancing Cat Centerpiece with Original Envelope

You know the season is upon us when great items like this pop up on Ebay. This Gibson interlocking table decoration was made in the later 1920s. Typically, these kinds of items are missing one or more of the "end hooks." This looks to be complete and in awesome condition. These typically trade for around $175. 

09/05 Update: It seems that this is the year for pre-1935 Beistle, Dennison and Gibson table decorations and diecuts. Prices have surged this season. This great centerpeice fence fetched $237.50. 

vntg Halloween witch paper lantern Germany unusual very good/exc. condition

This witch hanger, one of a largish set, is a well-designed and fun item - but oh-so-fragile. The latticed paper comprising the "body" of the witch is delicate and very prone to tearing. One tear and the integrity of the lattice is severely compromised. It is for this reason that I sold the ones I had in the collection. It was simply too stressful hanging them. When they aren't hung, they don't appear to be too interesting, sealing my decision to sell. However, if you have a place to hang these and forget them - be sure to bid on this and the other lots from this set this seller has up right now. All of these hangers were made in Germany in the 1920s. 

1920s Beistle vintage Johnny Pumpkin w/owl 11 in. stand up Halloween decoration

I hope to see many more Johnny Pumpkin iterations listed this season, as I've always liked them. The seller has pointed out several condition issues with this item. Here are two more: The protrusion at the top of the head is missing. Although not always part of the design, it was with this particular one. Also, this item has had its fair share of sun, or exposure to light, as it is quite faded. If you want to see a nice assortment of Johnny Pumpkin designs, check out pages 122-124 of my newly published third edition. 

08/06 Update: Even with numerous condition issues, this item fetched $45.77, a very strong result!