Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.


Tom and Deb C, aka stnick22, are long-time collectors who typically shower us collectors with a cascade of vintage goods auctions around this time. There are a number of their 88 lots that I hope to add to the collection, but thankfully I already own this incredibly rare set. I bought it sight unseen over the phone many years ago from a famous dealer in Chicago named Bindy Bitterman. (Bindy even made a cameo in the fairly recent documentary on the now-famous street photographer, Vivian Maier.) I discovered Bindy had two complete sets from long-time collector and publisher of the not-forgotten Boo News, Dawn Kroma. Even though the photos accompanying this auction are super, they don’t do the individual pieces justice. The pieces are really beautiful. Frankly, this is THE party set to own. I’ve only seen a handful come up for sale in 30 years. The last complete set sold for ~$2300 some years ago now, but in a very tatty box. I can’t wait to see what this example fetches.

10/02 Update: This set fetched an impressive $2,762.40.


Here is a fresh example of a seller throwing a lot onto eBay with a BIN, seemingly ignorant of the worth of the individual pieces. Some clear-eyed buyer swooped in about 23 minutes (yes, only 23 minutes!) after the listing appeared, purchasing this nice lot with a sure smile on their face. The two shades from the 1916 Peggy's Halloween Party Set, the two Gibson shades, the box of Dennison seals and the two boxes of the harder-to-find Gibson seals were the stars of the lot. Just one box of Gibson seals may have brought what the entire lot fetched. The seller left money on the table. 

Vintage 1916 Peggy's Halloween Party Box Holiday Decorations!!! Collectible!!!

Now, here is a boxed set one doesn't see too often. As I write in my book on page 114:

"This is the earliest boxed Halloween party set produced, and it wasn’t done by any of the big names. Barse and Hopkins Publishers of 28 West 23rd Street in New York City produced this wondrous set of fifty-two pieces in 1916, all contained within a box with a lid instantly captivating and oh-so-memorable. This complete set consists of four lamp shades, eight doilies, eight bon-bon dishes, eight invitations, eight place cards, eight consequence cards and eight suggestions/note folders. The extant directions/advertising sheet reveals a number of interesting facts. Barse and Hopkins created six different Peggy boxed sets: Pansy Party Box, Blue Bird Party Box, Thanksgiving Party Box, Card Party Box, Children’s Party Box and, of course, this Hallowe’en Party Box. The designs were all “newly drawn and copyrighted.” Pieces were not sold separately. I believe this accounts for how hard it is to find even a piece or two from this set for sale. I feel this set was available for one season with a very limited sales distribution. Barse and Hopkins was primarily a book publisher, so these party boxes were certainly a sideline business, and a short-lived one at that. Interestingly, Beistle issued their first boxed Halloween set in 1918, a set that seems to be heavily inspired by this Peggy’s set. How formally inspired Beistle was is not known, but the Beistle designers had to have seen a Peggy’s Halloween Party Box given the number of similarities. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Beistle could hardly have flattered more strenuously.

Be aware that many of the pieces shown in this listing were never part of the set, so please bid accordingly. The last time a complete set in FAR better condition was sold on Ebay it fetched ~$2300. I expect this to go for much, much less. 

10/20 Update: It fetched $293.88 showing just how important condition and completeness matters.