Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.


The version shown on page 213 has a decorated rim whereas this one has a plain rim. I’m surprised there would be two versions of such an economically made design. I would love to know for sure which firm produced this tambourine. Several collectors have mentioned that they’ve found this tambourine design as part of a Collegeville “gypsy” costume from the 1930s, but I’ve never been able to independently verify that Collegeville included such items with their costumes.

Vintage Halloween Witch With Fire & Broom Celluloid Viscoloid Toy Rattle; Great!

Hands down, Viscoloid made the most memorable designs in celluloid. The array of stunning colors used and their unsurpassed molding sets Viscoloid items apart from all other makers. (Just look at those cheekbones!) I’ve not seen this particular witch before. It’ll be fun to see what price this fetches.

04/25 Update: I was staggered at the ending price of $2,938.88.

1920's L.E. Smith Glass C0 Jack O Lantern Halloween Pumpkin Candy Container JOL

I like the seller’s no-nonsense “just-the-facts-ma’am” description. Often, less is more. These glass JOL’s were cold-painted, which is why they very seldom surface in such pristine, original condition. Although these aren’t particularly rare, I can’t recall seeing one in such nice shape in a long time, totally justifying the ending value. (The bonus is that I learned something from reading about the item!)

6 VINTAGE 1920's-30's Dennison HALLOWEEN Party Cut-Out Decoration OWL on branch

This set of six Dennison owl cut-outs was sold in a glassine envelope for a single year, 1922. For that year, the stock number for the set was H-48. Beginning in 1923, the same cut-out in the same quantity was sold in a slide box with a different stock number, H-99. Subsequently, I’d say this glassine envelope form of packaging would be significantly harder to find than the slide box packaging. You can’t go wrong with the seller, one of the finest purveyors of vintage Halloween on eBay.

04/23 Update: This sold for a relative bargain: $128.50.

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 Halloween Porcelain Devil Ashtray RARE

Outside of the complete set I’ve owned since 1991, this is the first time I’ve seen this ashtray. (You can see the set on page 130.) I bought the set from a show in North Carolina in 1991. When I began to research what it was all about I found a book on “country store collectibles” that had the plate, humidor and match holder shown, but no ashtray. The photo’s caption said it was from the collection of Mary Lou Holt. I found a way to contact her to ask about the ashtray. Her initial response was that there wasn’t an ashtray. I offered to send a photo - and did so. Maybe a week later Mary Lou called to say how excited she was to now know there was an ashtray as part of the set. She told me that there were only ten plates made and speculated that there were only 10 ashtrays made since she had never seen one before. Mary Lou and I became friends. She was a great source of knowledge on many collectibles topics, including vintage Halloween. She passed away a number of years ago. I miss her still.

04/18 Update: This brought $201.50.

Vintage Halloween E Rosen Tweety Pops Black Cat Candy Container Tub 1950s/1960s

This listing is a good illustration of how design sensibilities changed (degraded?) from the 1940s through the 1960s. Take a look at the Halloween Owl Pops bucket on page 51 from the late 1940s. It is much more intricately detailed with more subtle colors. The bucket up for auction now is from sometime after July 1963 as it has a zip code. The imagery is cute, colors are bright and the entire thing is forgettable.

04/11 Update: I was surprised that this item brought $127.50. It seems like a lot to pay for something like this.

04/16 Update: The same seller listed another one of these which sold today for $102.50. I think that price is still too much for this.


This incredible invitation is part of a set of at least three produced by Whitney during the early 1920s. (One shows a cat on the stoop, while the other has an owl on the stoop. This one is the most populated and, in my opinion, the very best.) As I forecast some time ago, small paper has become a white-hot market segment. This same seller sold another one of these in September of 2018 for $495. Most collectors I know have decidedly moved on from lanterns and many candy containers to concentrate on small paper (invitations, place cards, tallies and nut cups) made by a wide variety of manufacturers and diecuts made by Dennison, Gibson and Beistle. As the first generation of serious collectors leave the stage, defined as those who began collecting in earnest during the 1960s, the market will see a relatively large influx of lanterns and candy containers become available. Few first, second or even third generation collectors concentrated on paper goods, so few collections richly featuring such items will be coming to market in the near to medium-term. My analysis routinely indicates that certain market segments will slacken while others grow even more competitive. The small paper market segment, for one, will continue to see price increases that will outstrip, maybe far outstrip, price increases seen elsewhere.

Antique German Halloween Devil Jack-O-Lantern, Compo Nose, Ears & Horns--Great!

I’ve never been particularly attracted to lanterns, but this would be one that would have a place of some honor amongst any collection. As with retailers today spanning the spectrum from Dollar Tree to Nordstrom, back in the 1920s there were the dime stores at the low end where most holiday goods were sold and posh retailers at the high end selling such things as this lantern. The Durante proboscis, the add-on horns and those ears all differentiate this from the garden-variety lantern. The seller is a collector well-known for his vintage Christmas collection and expertise. It will be fun to see what this somewhat sizable lantern fetches.

04/09 Update: This brought $1,862.87.