Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Metal Halloween Noise-Maker Featuring Black Cat, Witch and Pumpkin

The tin litho noisemaker segment has been moribund for years but has been lately showing signs of life. This was one of the first market segments I collected, so these “green shoots” are welcome. This is a desirable noisemaker. Bugle produced this sometime during a 20 year span beginning in the late 1920s. I don’t believe I’ve seen this particular form with this imagery before. I show a clicker and a rectangular shaker on page 212 with this same imagery, but this round shaker is a previously unseen form for me. As I write this it has already been bid up to $93.02 with over five days remaining, so others have keyed in on this rarity.

08/12 Update: This sold for $255.33!

Vintage Bugle Toy Halloween Noise Maker Tin Wood Handle

Bugle made some wonderfully eccentric tin Halloween designs - so different from their "kill-me-I'm-so-bored" paper over cardboard horns. This shaker from the 1920s with a very high dome doesn't come up for sale in this condition often, so it was great to see it at this barren time of the year. It came in right at sustainable guide value of $100. 

Vintage Halloween Wooden Handle Ratchet Tin Noisemaker Made In USA

This ratchet was produced by Bugle Toy of Providence, Rhode Island. Item for item, Bugle made the most interesting, avant-garde designs of the major manufacturers. The overall number of their tin designs was small but collectors covet them, so prices have been firm, very different from most tin litho noisemakers that have seen sharp price declines. Sometimes Bugle had the wood handle at the witch's hat, as in this example, and sometimes at the base of the JOL. Placement is not material to value. 


These two lithoed paper over cardboard horns were produced by Bugle Toy of Providence, Rhode Island. The seller is correct in pointing out that textile spindles were reused in the manufacture of these noisemakers, an early and laudable example of recycling. Bugle was an odd company. They made memorably wacky tin litho Halloween noisemakers, different from their coma inducing designs on paper. It seems likely that a key art designer left the firm and was replaced by a hack, but who knows? Bugle tin litho items sell quickly, whereas most of their lithoed paper designs linger in the marketplace. 


The mysterious Bugle Toy Company of Providence, Rhode Island produced memorable tin litho Halloween noisemaker designs but seriously faltered in terms of their lithoed paper output. The ho-hum imagery on this horn is representative of their aesthetic. What does make this listing interesting is that this is a marked piece. Whether out of embarrassment or not, it is uncommon for their lithoed paper items to be marked.  


Piece for piece, I think Bugle Toy of Providence, Rhode Island made the quirkiest tin litho items around. The firm's design sensibility seems off-kilter, no doubt helping to make their tin litho items as collectibles as they are today. Bugle also produced lithoed paper over cardboard noisemakers, but these seem to have been produced by a wholly different firm as these items are devoid of creativity, bland and eminently forgettable. 

Vintage Halloween METAL Noisemaker - Wizard & Kids & Witch by BUGLE TOY MADE USA

Although not a prolific producer of tin litho Halloween noisemakers, Bugle Toy of Providence, Rhode Island, was an imaginative one. Virtually all of their designs pushed the envelope away from the anodyne or overly cutesy imagery so common then and toward idiosyncratic, memorable imagery. This aesthetic has made Bugle tin items highly collectible and collected. As I write on page 189, "This firm's output was much smaller relative to the others mentioned here. What their line lacked in breadth was compensated for by cleverness. (This applies to their tin items only. Their lithoed paper output is unmemorable.)" Check out page 212 for a nearly complete inventory of their tin designs. 


Bugle Toys of Providence, Rhode Island, made some of the more interesting tin Halloween noisemakers of all the largest manufacturers of such items. Their tin designs typically conveyed energy, rather than the stolid designs of Kirchhof, T. Cohn, U.S. Metal Toy, etc. Look at this design, for instance. The witch is trying to hide from a ferocious cat which seems to be in mid-jump. Now, unfortunately, the kinetic energy of their tin designs did not transfer to Bugle's paper litho designs. These tend to be so dull as to glaze the eyes. Too bad this noisemaker, a rare form, isn't in better condition. 

02/05 Update: Condition aside, this was bought for $79.99 as a result of a BIN sale. 

Vintage Halloween Noise Maker, BUGLE TOY COMPANY - RARE - tin metal, wood handle

The rather mysterious Bugle Toy Company of Providence, Rhode Island turned out some of the quirkiest and best designed tin litho Halloween noisemakers of all of the bigger manufacturers. I think that T. Cohn's designs generally lacked fizz, US Metal Toy often went the cutesy route and Kirchhof turned out solid, varied work during their long heyday from 1928 through the 1950s. However, Bugle Toy almost always had an interesting take on design. This almost certainly makes their items coveted. Given the relative coolness of the tin market these last 5 years, prices of Bugle items have generally held up. Just look at everything that is going on in this great noisemaker. Each panel is interesting. The artist used every opportunity to use the space, including the ring of bats encircling the handle. If you like tin, I hope you also like Bugle!

Pair Rare Bugle Tin Halloween Lithographed Frying Pan Noisemaker Witch Black Cat

I just made an offer through Ebay for these two noisemakers, sending the following message along to the deluded seller with the offer: Your pricing has elicited many laughs throughout the collecting community. On what, pray tell, are you basing these ridiculous asking prices?  My offer was for $60.00 and it received an auto-reject. I find sellers like this one annoying. This particular seller has listed quite a few lots of vintage Halloween items with the same pie-in-the-sky pricing wholly unconnected to any semblance of reality or condition. This is another example of how Ebay has devolved into more of a junk store.