Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Kirchhof "Life of the party" tin tambourine l930's-40's

Whenever you see a tin litho item marked "Life of the Party," you know two things immediately: Kirchhof produced the item and the item was produced during the 1950s. Even if this witch face tambourine wasn't marked, you should deduce it is of more recent vintage by the bright colors used. Contrast it with one made with muted colors during the 1930s shown on page 215. 


There are a couple of quick ways a collector could immediately determine this tin litho tambourine was manufactured during the 1950s. First, this Kirchhof noisemaker is marked, "Life of the Party," a mark only used during this time. Second, the colors are much brighter than the original design. (Look at the bottom of page 215 to see the original design issued during the 1930s.) The price of this older tambourine design tends to hover around $60, whereas the "Life of the Party" releases tend to bring less, sometimes much less. 

01/19 Update: This brought $39.88, about the right amount. 

Vintage (1950s) tin tambourine Kirchoff "Life of the party", cats on pumpkin

I don't know that I've ever seen this tambourine with a decorated rim. It is wonderful! I just checked both versions of this tambourine in the collection (both shown on page 214) and neither has this very pleasing decorated rim. Kirchhof used their Life of the Party moniker in the 1950s on most of their tin party products. (This is a quick and certain way to date Kirchhof items.) Although not always true, most of their output in the 1950s and beyond cut corners here and there to save money. Some designer didn't get the memo with this item.