Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Halloween Decorations From Early 1900’s

I’ve received a lot of emails about this listing, with many writers curious as to why it brought such a high price. Well, at least two sharp-eyed bidders saw the treasure in this lot and were willing to go high to mine it. The primo item is the exceedingly rare Dennison diecut of the witch and skeleton in a hot air balloon. (The one in the collection is shown on page 144.) The seller provided low-end, haphazard photographs. One of the underbidders asked for, and received, better photographs and detailed descriptions of the diecuts that really mattered: the aforementioned hot air balloon, the green cat and purple and yellow owl. All of these were made by Dennison around 1930. Dennison material, including small paper, from this period is exceedingly rare and highly desirable. I’m not surprised this odd lotting brought what it did.

Antique Early 1900’s GHOST DANCER Halloween Bobble Toy German Scarce Halloween

This has a strangely lumpish look to it. The detailing present in other similar items I’ve seen is absent in this item. This is especially noticeable with the feet. All unquestionably vintage such items I’ve seen have slightly pointed heads, rather than the smooth one this item has. Overall, the molding looks primitive. Ask the seller lots of questions.

06/12 Update: This questionable items was included as part of a two-item lot. That lot sold for $125. I remain unconvinced as to its vintage nature.

08/25 Update: The same seller sold another one of these ghost dancers as part of a three-item lot on August 22 for $381, strengthening my belief that the dancer is not a vintage item.

1940`s Die Cut Black Cat Witch Jack O Lantern Dennison Place Card #12

Dennison small paper is on fire. This well-designed place card was first issued in 1926 with a stock number of H463. These were sold singly; they weren’t packaged. I don’t think this ending price is sustainable even though this place card doesn’t surface in complete condition often. For some reason, many of this design too-easily separates along the scored line, resulting in two fragments. If you have one that has never been folded, don’t fold it. Why take the risk of it separating?

E. Rosen Company Pumpkin Pops Mechanical Countertop Display, mid-1930s

eBay is generally such a wasteland that it is bracing to see a truly high-quality item properly included in their Vintage Halloween category. This is only the third time I’ve seen this complete item offered for purchase, but those three times involve only two different complete examples. What do I mean? Well, the first time I saw this great Rosen mechanical design was in 1997 when it was auctioned. I acquired it then for the collection. The second example was sold in late 2015. This second example is now being offered for sale again.
Rosen didn’t produce many mechanical lollipop holders. They are all ingeniously designed with fun graphics. In my opinion, the best one is the Spooks Pop mechanical with the haunted house as the central image and ghosts popping up from the bushes. I feel this is the next best design. (You can see the ones in the collection on pages 116-118.)
Any collector with an affinity for the best in paper would be proud to have this item as a centerpiece of their collection. It will be fun to see where this ends. It deserves some big dollars. By the way, I have concluded based on some information contained on the bottom of a Rosen Valentine Pops box that the Rosen mechanical and non-mechanical "Pops" boxes were not meant as retail countertop displays, but were actually sold to the end-consumer. I included this new insight as part of the errata for my book maybe two years ago.  

05/14 Update: This item brought $1,444.69.

1940`s Witch In Cauldron Tally Card By Dennison

Sometimes the way eBay reports ending prices is misleading. This is an example. A casual browser would assume this Dennison item sold for $500. When you dig a little, one discovers it sold for $200, still a hefty premium to what this design typically fetches. Dennison introduced a trio of these “Novelty Tallies” with mechanical action in 1928. (They can all be seen on page 258.) This witch emerging from her cauldron is the most interesting of the three.


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.