Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.


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.

Antique Halloween Beistle Arched Black Cat Die Cut

I sometimes shake my head at these results. What are people thinking? This diecut surfaces regularly and typically sells for about half of this ending price. Looking at the bidding history, as is almost always in such cases, the sky-high result is due to two determined bidders. Although I am VERY happy for the seller, one of the best on eBay, my counsel to collectors - especially newer ones - is to take a breather and use a service like eSnipe so as to guard against getting caught up in auction fever. Results like this heighten my fear that my long-time hobby is getting too expensive for the typical collector. 

H E Luhrs Embossed Halloween Crow Decoration 1940 Beistle Company

I had to chuckle when this seller states with bravado that this crow diecut "is unmistakably an H E Luhrs creation." Not only has the possessive gone missing, but the assertion is, in fact, mistakenly made. As you, my faithful readers know, this is a heavily embossed diecut made in Germany during the 1920s. It has nothing to do with Beistle or Luhrs. 

1930s Halloween Pressed Cardboard Skeleton Head decoration

Here is an excellent example of a rookie seller leaving quite a bit of money on the proverbial table. This exceedingly rare German diecut was offered for the pittance of $98. SGV is $525. The Germans made a common skull and crossbones diecut without a hat, and at least two variants with hats. (The other can be seen on page 178.) Both of the hatted skulls are really tough to find, especially in the decent shape this offering appears to be in. Why wouldn't the seller have simply listed this in the auction format? 


Beistle made the 12 diecuts from this series for many years beginning in 1932. One of the ways to tell if a diecut from this series is an earlier pressing is from the depth of the embossing. This diecut's embossing appears deep and prominent indicating it was made early in the run. Does this affect value? I think in a general sense, yes, but not dramatically so. 

26 Inch Antique German DIE CUT HALLOWEEN Embossed Pumkin Head Man with Saxophone

This huge heavily embossed German diecut was one of two designs made in such a large form factor. I have yet to see one without bends or creases to the legs. Because they all had easels, they will all have a staple to the face. My feeling is that these were made as store displays to call attention to the no-doubt many German diecuts the retailer had in stock during the later 1920s. Although both designs bring strong dollars, the female cat example typically brings stronger dollars. Both can be seen on page 187. 

05/09 Update: This sold for $530, significantly lower than I would have forecast. 

Vintage Rare Halloween Paper Mache Pumpkin man

I suspect this listing didn't last long. The seller placed a BIN price of $125 on it, well below what this might have brought. This 19.5" high JOL pirate diecut is among the largest diecuts the Germans made. (The size mate to it is a JOL woman with broom. Both are shown on page 183.) The RSIN is 2, so it doesn't often surface. The colors are bright and from the many good photos included in the listing, I don't see troubling condition issues. Congrats to whomever the buyer was - they got a good deal! 


This is a very rare and very large German lantern made during the 1920s. Except for the one witch panel, it is remarkably good condition. The missing bottom connector is identical to the top connector, so if you are enterprising and creative, replicating one shouldn't be too big of a deal and wouldn't detract from its showiness. Perhaps 12 of these were found at a flea market in southern California in the 1980s. Perhaps this is one of those originally found then. (The seller is from that part of the world.) In any event, this may be an opportunity to acquire one of these eye-catchers for a reasonable price. The one in the collection is shown in my Inner Sanctum section on page 118. I acquired mine from a southern California dealer in ~1991. (She was the person who found the flea market cache.) By the way, this is the time of the year when good items seem to go more cheaply than normal on eBay. By this time, most casual collectors have spent their annual acquisitions budget, so it'll be fun to see what this brings.

10/31 Update: No bargain here. This sold for an astonishing $1,425.07.