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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

July Break

Hi Faithful Readers,

eBay has been such a crapfest these last few weeks that I’ve struggled to find anything on which to comment. I am going to take a break from blogging for the month of July. There are so many fun things to do outdoors that being cooped up tending to the blog is unappealing. Have a Happy 4th! I’ll return with some posts on August 1st.

Doily or mat, witches, bats, Great condition

The prices these individual non-embossed paper doilies have been bringing boggle my mind. Produced during the 1920s - probably by Whitney - they were sold in glassine envelopes in quantities of 10 per envelope. I have a complete set of these in the envelope. You can see it on page 282. I’d be happy to sell the package for $900 plus shipping. (I’d also sell the green set for $900 plus shipping.)

Vintage 1920’s Dennison Halloween Die Cut Reference Bogie Book NICE

The seller is offering this 1926 Dennison Bogie Book as a BIN for $125 and is willing to entertain offers. This edition is typically found in bad shape due to the low quality of paper stock Dennison inexplicably used for this particular edition. This looks to be in nice shape, so the asking price is reasonable. If you can snag this for $100-125, it is a bargain.

Facebook Halloween Scam

I was alerted this morning by a collecting friend to a scam that occurred on one of the Facebook groups dealing with vintage Halloween. Apparently someone posted vintage Halloween things for sale, collected money from several people and then vanished, laughing all the way to wherever they live their miserable existence.

I have nothing to do with social media. Not only does it trivialize life, but unless the corporations that own these entities are going to pay me for using my personal information - no thanks.

This scam underscores how important it is in being selective with whom you do business these days, especially for such expensive items like truly available and truly vintage Halloween. Here is my advice:

  • Buy from people on proper selling sites like eBay with solid feedback, not these quasi-selling sites like FB. Having recourse is a prime consideration.

  • Buy only from people you know or from those to whom you’ve been referred.

  • Ask me. I’ve been collecting for over 30 years and know the market and its sellers. I’ll tell you the sellers with whom it is great to transact business.

SCARCE 1920's Embossed Halloween Jack o' Lantern Pirate Diecut Decoration

This seller priced this too low. This large pirate JOL face diecut was on eBay for only a few minutes before it was gone. (I saw it and clicked to buy it but it was already gone.) The seller referenced my book, pointing out that smaller yet similar ones appeared on page 181, yet oddly priced this at ~half of sustainable guide value. If it would have been listed with an auction format, I know it would have brought many more dollars.

Vintage Heavy Embossing Pulp Cat in Costume Halloween Decoration Germany 15.5"

I’m glad to see this not uncommon diecut garner such strong dollars, certainly due to its condition. I recently acquired a near-mint German fence diecut complete with four figures. This diecut is quite long, about 28” or so. It is exceedingly rare. I’ve looked for one for years, but never found one good enough to be part of the collection. I finally found one being sold along with many other fine things out of an old collection near Philadelphia. Its acquisition has caused me to begin planning for a massive overhaul of two large walls currently covered with diecuts. My intention is to deaccession about one-third of my German diecuts, keeping only the rarest and those in the very best condition. The overhaul will be a big chore, one that I haven’t been eager to start. When it is done, I think I’ll gain more satisfaction from having fewer diecuts spread a little farther apart. So, stay tuned. I’ll be selling lots of German diecuts in a few months.

Dennison 1920s Nut Cup Place Card Jack O'Lanterns unfolded Black & Orange Graph

eBay has been such a wasteland of late that I’ve struggled to find anything to write about, so it refreshing to see this fun and rare Dennison nut cup. They first issued this item in 1928 with a stock number of H566. I’m happy to see such a strong result but not surprised given the paucity of quality items lately and how well respected the seller is in the collecting community.

Rare Halloween German Antique Diecut Witch 2 piece 3D effect Black Cat Crow 9”

It’s heartening to see rare diecuts like this surface amongst the vast array of crapola that has largely become eBay. I first saw this diecut when I acquired one for the collection in September 2015. I think it was amongst the designs made in 1935 for export to Canada. It is quite an eye-catcher with the white hair. The use of a crow is also unusual. As I type this, the price has been bid up to $392.79. I expect it to go much higher. Good luck!

06/12 Update: I felt this should have brought more. It ended at $1,312.

Very Fine Vintage Halloween Devil Bat Die Cut German Germany

The Germans were known to make subtle variations in their later diecuts. Notice how the teeth differ from the example shown on page 136. There are other variations as well. Can you spot them? This is arguably the most visually arresting design the Germans produced. I count this design amongst my very favorites. I’ve seldom seen a better example.

05/30 Update: This sold for $2,376.

Vintage HALLOWEEN Greeting Card Invite Black Cat Witch & Bat Mary Lyon School

I recently posted a photo of the one in the collection that was acquired in April 2017 in the Acquisitions section of the site. Prior to that time I’d never seen this Dennison invitation design. This is a sweet, intricate invitation. Based on the day and partial date written inside, this was sent out for a party in 1930. Here is what I wrote about this in the Acquisitions section: “This is one of the gems of the small paper collection. Beginning in 1929 when this was produced, Dennison was hard hit by the Great Depression, as were so many other firms making non-essential items. They responded by making fewer holiday items in fewer numbers - and lived to tell about it. (Dennison is still in business today, albeit through mergers.) Prior to acquiring this invitation I had never seen it before. I know of one other in a collection. It is unused. When opened, there are partial pine trees at the left and the right, with a lined area where a party host would delineate the party details. It measures 4” high by 3.5” across, closed. Acquired in April 2017. RSIN: 1”

05/21 Update: This sold for $247.16, lower than I would have expected.

VNTG 1920s-50s LITHO TIN WOOD HANDLE HALLOWEEN BELL NOISEMAKER WITCH BLACK CAT +

This tin litho clanger has superb graphics and is bigger than most. This item is elusive. I looked for one in this kind of condition for nearly 30 years before acquiring one. Tin has been one of the cooler genres these last 10 years although there have been recent signs of re-invigoration. The rare tin items have routinely brought strong prices - as I expect this will do.

05/21 Update: This sold for $566.56. Naturally, two determined bidders escalated this well beyond the sustainable level of ~$350.

1930`s Die Cut Dennison Invitation 2 Black Cats On Fence #5

This is an exceedingly rare and desirable invitation produced by Dennison around 1930. The bonus is that is is unused. (Finding near-mint, unused small paper items like this one doesn’t happen as often as finding them ragged and written upon.) I like how the colors and the energy of the fighting cats contrast with the mellowness of the interior. This deserves to bring meaningful dollars.

05/23 Update: This sold for a shocking $549.