Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.


Beistle issued a set of four of these fairy-themed party hats in 1923, the singular year of their fairy mania. Every example of this hat I have seen seems to have that top-most bit of the wing missing. The artist was even then pushing the boundaries of Halloween imagery. I suspect these were not produced in the large quantities associated with other Beistle products from this year - like their fairy-themed Halloween Party book - as these hats almost never surface. It will be fun to see what this fetches. 

05/14 Update: This wonderful hat fetched $405, far above what I consider to be the sustainable price of $250. If you look at the bidding history, it rocketed off from about $225. 

RARE Old Vintage Halloween Cardboard Diecut Die Cut Out Cats Sign Whitney 1930's

I love this exceedingly rare Whitney party sign. From what I can determine, four constitute a complete set: two featuring owls and two featuring cats. I have two of the four in my collection, but have never been able to score the other two. (You can see the two in the collection on page 150.) I'd be tempted by this one, but the condition is problematic for me. Cool, though, huh? 

Smiling German Jack-O-Lantern Halloween Pipe Noisemaker!

Horns like this first began appearing at large antiques shows in the middle 1990s. There were several different styles - a skull, a witch face, a black cat face - that all began appearing at once. I remember seeing large quantities of these different pipe noisemakers on the table of a dealer from Germany at one of the Atlantic City antiques shows during the middle 1990s. I wondered then just how many would be sold before collectors realized they had no age to them. I'm glad this item was listed in the correct category! 


This is an exceptionally rare envelope of "black matboard" or silhouette witches that Dennison issued about 100 years ago! During their first few years of issuing packaged goods (1912-1914), Dennison's inventory numbering system is easy to understand. Once their sales of such pre-packaged merchandise took off, their numbering system became so complicated and convoluted that today there seems to be no way to understand their methodology. In the earliest years, Dennison assigned numbers only. Soon, they added an H before the numbers, sometime with a hyphen, sometimes without. (It seems so very random.) 


Here is an item that rarely surfaces. This superb and fragile lantern was made by Beistle in the early 1930s. Notice how the cat's head is identical to the imagery on one of the two versions of Beistle's "I'm a Dumbskull" game. It has been a long time since one of these was sold through Ebay so it will be instructive to see what it fetches. 

05/05 Update: This fine lantern brought $295, a very strong price indeed!

Vintage Halloween porcelain box

This is an interesting item. This is a piece from the German adult-sized porcelain tea set that was produced from 1908-1932. Few of the items from this specific set were marked, so the lack of a mark shouldn't be any cause for alarm. It's unclear what the function of this lidded container was. I surmise it may have been a tea or coffee container. Although rare, because of the chips and its lack of a clear function, I value this item at $300. A recent comparable was the exquisite and perfect candle stick holder from this same set that brought $610. The buyer did get a good deal at the selling price of $178.50.

Rare 1925 Beistle HALLOWEEN Witch Fortune Wheel Decoration & Game Crepe Intact!

It is nice to see a quality, vintage, Beistle item pop up amongst all the dreck that has recently become Ebay. I feel that few collectors know that this Fortune Wheel for Hallowe'en Parties game manufactured by Beistle from 1928-1931 was produced in two sizes. This is the exceedingly rare smaller version that measures 9" high by 6.25" at the base. (The larger version, more commonly seen, measures 11.75" high by 8.25" at the base.) I feel the fair market value for this smaller version is $375 in near-perfect condition, whereas the fair market value for the larger version is $325 in near-perfect condition. If you are interested in having an exceedingly rare Beistle decorative item, snap this up. 

04/30 Update: Wow, this brought $465!!


This is a newly produced item, probably made with an intent to deceive new collectors. The wood ratchet alone has no connection to Halloween and the painted disc bears none of the fine detailing you should expect from a truly vintage item. One tip-off that one should be wary of this listing is that the seller states that it was purchased in Germany. As I have pointed out so often, Germany made their Halloween items strictly for export through the 1960s. Nothing would have remained in the country. Unfortunately, Halloween material has gotten so expensive that Germany-based con artists looking for easy scores began manufacturing supposedly vintage items in the mid-1990s, with the subsequent crap showing up at large antiques shows, like the one held in Atlantic City. I remember visiting a Germany-based dealer's booth there in the mid-1990s and noting what was on his table. Sure enough, I began seeing those very designs begin appearing in antiques stores and in the listings mailed by the two most prominent dealers selling holiday items at that time, Jenny Tarrant and the late Paul Schofield. Not only were they fooled, but so were many collectors who should have known better. Sadly, these many years later when visiting other collections, I almost always see these fakes staring coldly out from the display cases they were placed in by their new owners. 

04/30 Update: This sold for $30.99. 

All-Original Vintage Halloween Paper Mache Pulp Cat Jack o Lantern, USA 30s-40s

Wow, another stellar result from one of my favorite sellers. I am wondering what is driving these baffling results for items that are relatively common. (This style of lantern was made for many, many seasons both with an orange and a black finish.) Given auction results elsewhere, I feel the fair market value for one of these in this condition is right around $200, so the buyers duking it out for supremacy overpaid by a considerable margin. When you examine the bidding history you find that it was the same 3 fiercely determined bidders driving the price from a not unreasonable level of $223 right into the stratosphere. This demonstrates the potential pay-off for sellers committed to the auction format, rather than slapping head-shaking BIN prices on things you see listed repeatedly with no significant price change. You need just two, or in this case three, people determined to prevail for surprising results. All in all, kudos to the seller for her commitment to the auction format and for routinely offering truly vintage items to share with the rest of us. 

Antiqre Early 1920's German Accordion Noisemaker

I do not see this item's connection to Halloween. The Germans made a number of these accordion-style noisemakers, but the ones that were meant for the Halloween market have the expected iconography, lacking in this example. Given that this is merely an item manufactured for use anytime, the value is significantly below the BIN price.