Fakes, etc.

I'll begin populating this page with photos of reproductions, fakes and fantasy items as I see them listed on eBay, Etsy and other such sites. Hopefully, collectors will refer to this page to minimize the occasions reproductions, fakes and fantasy items are unknowingly purchased. If you see something on this page that was sold to you purporting to be a vintage item, immediately send it back for a full refund. 

old Vintage Paper Mache clay? Halloween BLACK CAT CANDY Bucket Antique MARKED HS

This item was made by Stamm House no earlier than the mid-1990s. They were known for their solid craftsmanship. Based on old molds, their designs characteristically featured strong detailing, bright inserts and faux wear. Although these new items definitely have good value in the secondary market, $89 seems an excessive price to pay when the truly vintage item the mold was derived from can be had for not much more. 

Vintage Halloween Candle Holder Scary JOL

This is a poorly made fake. Tip-offs include overly large eyes, bright inserts, ridged nose, air-brushed features, bent-metal candle insert rather than a stamped circular form and weird protrusions at the bottom. I haven't seen this particular iteration before, so it just proves that new fakes are being made all the time. Caveat Emptor! 

06/26 Update: I was sorry to see somebody wasted $53 on this POS. 


Unfortunately, the buyer of this item flushed money down the drain in the belief that this was as described - antique - when it was made in the last 10-15 years. This is one of the styles issued by Jamieson Studios of Canton, Ohio. Their output was and is higher-end, but that can't overcome the fact that this is a decorative item with no vintage Halloween value. (By the way, why would anyone bid on this with such a astronomical shipping cost? I have hefted the one in my folk art collection and it is pretty light-weight!) 


Here is another fake from a seller that has long been on the list of those with whom I do not do business. Curiousimp has been selling fakes for a while, some better rendered than others. Last month, someone contacted me through the site thanking me for highlighting this seller's problematic items. He shared with me the following, which I've lightly edited. "There are a dozen or more Ouija collectors that were victimized. Some boards sold for over $1500 and some as little as $100. Nothing has happened to him. I've talked with the FBI, both attorney generals, local police and others. The only thing anyone can do is sue. He's out of Florida. Even if I win, there's zero chance he'll actually pay. He has been selling fakes for at least 4 years. Not until the hardcore collectors started talking and sharing what they had did it unravel quickly. Curiousimp has been quiet on Ouija board sales but I suspect he's moved on to something else. Before Ouija boards he had and still does reproduce vintage packaging for fireworks. You'll find some fireworks forums that call him out for faking items. Thanks again for helping to get the word out there." 

04/16 Update: I'm glad to see that this travesty brought only $51, although each of those dollars was wasted. 

Vintage Halloween Pumpkin Man Candy Container c1920 Germany MINT

Here is another fantasy item offered by the same seller referenced immediately below. There is no record of this sloppy, unattractive and ill-formed candy container prior to 1995. As that year progressed, this POS began showing up on the holiday lists circulated by people like the late Paul Schofield and by Jenny Tarrant. The only value I can see with this hunk-o-junk is to toss it in the air when conducting a seance to contact Annie Oakley. This is truly one of the worst of the crapalanche that began in 1995 when German "artisans" began making things to fool collectors. 

Antique Beelzebub Krampus Devil candy container / rarity - Germany

This item, like all Halloween items being sold from Germany today, is a fantasy item meaning there is no vintage counterpart. If you scroll through the listings, you'll see this exact devil head being used as part of many items. The Germans have been working hard since ~1995 to flood the US market with these decorative objects in the hope they will fool collectors into thinking they are old. Unfortunately, they have succeeded to a large degree. I visit many collections throughout the US and see too many polluted with these kinds of items. One rule to keep uppermost in your mind as you consider buying things for your collection: if a Halloween item is being sold from Germany, it is merely decorative, not collectible. 

Vintage Halloween paper Cats Musicians

This are not vintage items, but designs that have been recently revised and released by Beistle. There are at least two ways to immediately know these are not vintage: they are double-sided and the white backgrounds were never part of the original designs. These have minor decorative value only. 

halloween lantern

Not having something in-hand to examine is almost always an impediment, but I don't feel this is a vintage item. The material from which the JOL is crafted isn't consistent with anything I've seen in authentically old items. The bale, in terms of how it is somehow fastened to the inside as well as its thickness, is also not consistent with vintage items I've examined. The inserts look new. The fabric leaves do appear to have some age to them, but overall I feel there is enough doubt with this item that I'd ask a lot of questions before placing any bid. 

Rare Halloween Paper Mache Removable Pumpkin Head w/Spring Legs Riding Rooster

This is an item recently made, perhaps by a folk artist. The creator used old springs for the legs. The rest of the detailing lets you know it is of recent manufacture: the too-smooth finish, the illogical wear patterns and the riveted base.  Although it is a nice piece of craftsmanship overall, I object to these kinds of items as they are not indelibly marked somehow so that newer collectors aren't fooled into spending money on them thinking they have some age to them. I contacted the seller to tell her I didn't care for her skeevy description. This is part of her response: Vintage" is a catchall word that means "not brand-new." Sellers often describe an item as vintage if they don't know how old the item is, but figure it was made at least a decade ago. Hmmm...that is a much looser definition than is commonly used and seems to indicate the seller doesn't think this item is too old herself. 
I sure do wish eBay would pour some of their considerable resources into policing their categories. Listings like this can be confusing to newer members of our fun hobby. 

This faux vintage item sold for $78.77, a waste of money. 


Unfortunately, someone spent $38 on this reproduction. This is not a vintage pulp JOL. It looks like a quality reproduction, perhaps one done by Stamm House, but it is a reproduction nonetheless. I know that Cindy Vogel, an advanced collector living large in Pennsylvania, alerted this seller to these facts, but the seller rather rudely turned a deaf ear. Things to note: the fake wear patterns, the overly thick bale, the unfinished bottom and the fact that it is not pulp. 


I saw this listing and knew that it was not an old item, or one even particularly well made. However, thanks to both Janelle Henry and Angel Cullen, who posted about this on the Vintage Halloween FB group, we now know that this is a bit of folk art made in China for "Yvonne & Julia -Spinning Wheel." The seller has done the right thing and has ended the listing. 

Vintage Halloween Cardboard Black Cat Noise Maker/Rattle

This is a modern fake. The cat's faces have been copied from an authentic item. The dull finish is the hallmark of fakes put out by curiousimp or shadowtown, both long-time suspect dealers on eBay. Other things wrong with it are the overly thick middle section and the brightly colored patterned paper encircling it. Since the references do not show the middle, the faker had to improvise and they got it wrong. The buyer should contact the seller for a refund. 


This fantasy item began appearing about 5 years ago. Typically, the JOL face with its overly broad mouth is in perfect condition whereas the ratchet is not. What has been done is the new JOL face has simply been glued or attached to an otherwise forgettable yet vintage ratchet. Married pieces in this ratchet genre are so ubiquitous that it is a genre I completely avoid. There is no vintage counterpart to this face. These have been cranked out (pun intended) indiscriminately and have zero collectible value. 

Old Cast Iron Halloween Ghost Costume Little Girl With Pumpkin Figurine

The first photo shows a ubiquitous fake bank patterned after the authentic and authentically rare doorstop shown below the first photo soon being auctioned by Bertoia. The seller states that the fake bank is 6" high. Here is the verbiage from Bertoia's describing what is their lot #326 in the auction taking place on March 12th: 
Very desirable Halloween Girl cast iron doorstop made by Littco Products of Littlestown, PA. Appealing young girl in her Halloween costume holding Jack-o-lantern, rare, one of only four original examples known, fabulous piece. BOOK EXAMPLE. Provenance: Jeanne Bertoia Collection 14 1/4" x 8 1/2". (Exc.-Pristine Cond.)
The lot has been estimated to sell for between $20,000-30,000.