Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

THE WITCH OF ENDOR Fortune Telling Game 1929 Salem Mass HALLOWEEN Rare

Over the years, this 1929 game hasn’t gotten the collector love it deserves. With now two major exceptions, the price has hovered around $100. This ending price of $299.95 was almost certainly driven by its extremely nice condition. This game’s lid is almost always concave with significant chipping. Not this one. Even so, a very high price indeed. (In June 2016, an example in slightly lesser condition sold for a record price of $316.99.)


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.

Post-Holiday Listing Doldrums

The number of listings in the “Vintage Halloween” category on eBay has plummeted by over 1,000 items since October 31st. With the exception of a handful of interesting items, virtually everything listed in the last few days has been dross. When I find something worth commenting on, I’ll do so, but plan on concentrating on adding to the Acquisitions section of the site between now and the end of the year.

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 Antique Halloween Jack-o-lantern Pumpkin cardboard Papier Mache style

This cute happy/sad 1950s slot-and-tab JOL lantern used to surface much more often than it has these last few years. I haven’t seen one with such deep green highlights as are present with this splendid example. I really like this coloration. The condition is really clean. The ending price was nearly exactly double guide, but I can see its attraction.

Happy Halloween Readers!

Well, another season is nearly in the books. I hope you were able to purchase great things at reasonable prices. The latter seem to be very scarce on eBay! I’ll be making an effort to add to the new Acquisitions section of this site during the remainder of this year before my attention turns to preparing for my annual May auction. As always, I’ll offer high-quality, rare vintage items in 2019. I already have wonderful things put away for the event.

Enjoy the day!

Vintage 1920s-30s Gibson "Cold Facts" Diecut Sign Decoration Halloween Skeleton

Now, this is one helluva freaky, fantastic diecut. When I first saw this Gibson listing, I prayed that it would be in collectible condition. I was disappointed when it fell far short of the acceptable threshold for my collection. This is precisely the kind of odd imagery and disorienting colors I eat up. I contacted the seller who stated this was the sole example of this diecut she had available. My decision was easy not to try for it. (The ending price of $610 blew me away. I sure am glad I began collecting 30 years ago, as collecting truly vintage Halloween is rapidly becoming a hobby for the wealthy!) I will add it to my very short “Holy Grail” list and hope one comes my way.

Vintage 1920-30s Gibson "Wise Up! This is A Party" Diecut Sign Halloween Owl

This Gibson party sign diecut with their classic signature slanted exclamation point went for FAR more than I would have guessed. Prices tend to moderate at this stage of the season, but I haven’t seen much evidence of this usual trend this year. This seller had several wonderful diecuts - all of which sold for astronomical prices. Given the final photo in all of her listings, I am curious how many of each will be on offer over time.

Vintage Halloween Dennison Invitation THE CALL 1929 Rare

Dennison’s output from these years is top-notch. Their design aesthetic was amazing. It is great to see such a rare invitation in such great condition. This first appeared in the 1928 Dennison Price List pamphlet with a stock number of H580.

11/06 Update: This item sold for a ridiculous $510. Anyone wanting the mint one from my collection can buy it for $500.

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!


Beistle sure made some “out-there” designs. This demon frog hat from 1931 certainly fits the bill. The eccentric and memorable design reminds me of the coveted art done by arguably the finest folk artist working in the Halloween medium, Matthew Kirscht. The condition issues of the hat, detailed no nicely by this stellar seller, really weren’t material. I wish I had seen this listing. I would have been a player for more than the reasonable ending price.


This listing contained an item produced by a firm I’d never heard of before. One of the many joys of collecting vintage Halloween is that so much remains unrevealed. A plethora of small local and regional firms produced loads of small paper items for various holidays. Most of these aren’t marked, causing those of us who care about such things consternation when trying to attribute an item to a particular manufacturer. I saw this listing’s photos and realized I had never seen the rightmost item. Surprisingly, it is marked, but the company’s name wasn’t familiar to me. Now I have another design point of reference when evaluating small paper items. (By the way, the buyer received a rare bargain in acquiring this lot for $40.)

Vintage Saxony Halloween Die Cut Pumpkin Head Tuxedo Running Jack-O-Lantern

There were at least three diecut designs released in sets of four in glassine envelopes, produced by manufacturers in Saxony. You can see them at the top of page 170. This price of $205.50 for a single diecut is folly. If someone with deep pockets wants the trio of complete sets shown in the book, they can be yours for the bubblicious price of $3000, shipping not included.