Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.


I typically don’t pay much attention to the hard plastic segment as I’ve never collected it, but I learned something from this listing. Who would have guessed that Rosen sold these four pieces together as a “Halloween Circus?” The existence of the box, tattered and beaten up as it is, adds significantly to the knowledge of how these companies sold these once low-priced items. I’m sure Rosen never guessed what kind of prices they’d bring decades later on the secondary market!

10/21 Update: This lot fetched $565.

E. Rosen Company Pumpkin Pops Mechanical Countertop Display, mid-1930s

eBay is generally such a wasteland that it is bracing to see a truly high-quality item properly included in their Vintage Halloween category. This is only the third time I’ve seen this complete item offered for purchase, but those three times involve only two different complete examples. What do I mean? Well, the first time I saw this great Rosen mechanical design was in 1997 when it was auctioned. I acquired it then for the collection. The second example was sold in late 2015. This second example is now being offered for sale again.
Rosen didn’t produce many mechanical lollipop holders. They are all ingeniously designed with fun graphics. In my opinion, the best one is the Spooks Pop mechanical with the haunted house as the central image and ghosts popping up from the bushes. I feel this is the next best design. (You can see the ones in the collection on pages 116-118.)
Any collector with an affinity for the best in paper would be proud to have this item as a centerpiece of their collection. It will be fun to see where this ends. It deserves some big dollars. By the way, I have concluded based on some information contained on the bottom of a Rosen Valentine Pops box that the Rosen mechanical and non-mechanical "Pops" boxes were not meant as retail countertop displays, but were actually sold to the end-consumer. I included this new insight as part of the errata for my book maybe two years ago.  

05/14 Update: This item brought $1,444.69.

Vintage Halloween E Rosen Tweety Pops Black Cat Candy Container Tub 1950s/1960s

This listing is a good illustration of how design sensibilities changed (degraded?) from the 1940s through the 1960s. Take a look at the Halloween Owl Pops bucket on page 51 from the late 1940s. It is much more intricately detailed with more subtle colors. The bucket up for auction now is from sometime after July 1963 as it has a zip code. The imagery is cute, colors are bright and the entire thing is forgettable.

04/11 Update: I was surprised that this item brought $127.50. It seems like a lot to pay for something like this.

04/16 Update: The same seller listed another one of these which sold today for $102.50. I think that price is still too much for this.


As of this writing there are over 8100 items listed on eBay in the Vintage Halloween category. Only ~3% of these listings are worth a second glance, and this surely is one of them. I’ve only seen this for sale one other time - when I purchased it in 2007. The one in the collection is more visually appealing in that the highlights are orange rather than light blue, but if you are someone who wants rare and amazing items in your collection - this listing is for you. Rosen produced a small but very desirable array of mechanical candy boxes and holders. (Look at pages 116-118 for some others.) This small segment of the market is surely within my top five loves. In 30 years of collecting I’ve only located seven different examples. There is at least one design I don’t yet have. I saw it in another collection several years ago. I’ll be watching how this listing fares with great interest.

10/02 Update: This rare item sold for the opening bid of $1,195, a relative bargain in these bubbly days. I wonder if the price would have been higher if the seller would have started it at a much lower price?

Vintage Halloween trix or treats sucker holder card ghosts in graveyard E. Rosen

The five Rosen Set B cards are the best overall of their Trix or Treats cards. (You can see the other sets on pages 90-92.) The sellers are very knowledgeable, long-time collectors who I had the true pleasure to meet in Pennsylvania at an event in 2003 called the Halloween Opera. Bid with confidence.

09/18 Update: All five cards from this set realized exceptionally strong prices! This particular card fetched $130.50.


This Moon Pop mechanical was produced by Rosen during the 1950s. It was sold as part of an omnibus Moon Pops boxed set comprised of 45 Trix or Treats cards, 9 suckers and 9 of these mechanicals. (What makes it a mechanical is that part of the witch's cape can be moved up and down.) The graphics are interesting. Because it was meant to stand, it can be part of en eye-catching display. 

05/09 Update: This sold for $403.50 with a number of bidders going FAR beyond SGV of $50. This is a result that I don't understand. These Rosen items come up with some regularity. The seller was quite fortunate. 

Halloween Witch Black Cat Cardboard Candy Holder E. Rosen Company Lantern

I have never seen this Rosen candy box before. Every once in a while some new Rosen-made artifact surfaces to my surprise. They were surely prolific with their designs! Rosen-made items are difficult to date with accuracy. They left few clues to help collector/curators like me. The acme of Rosen paper is surely their various "Pops" boxes. Check out pages 116-118 for a nice selection in the collection. 

Rosen Valentine Mechanical Box Sheds Light

OK, why in tarnation am I profiling a Valentine's Day item on my Halloween blog? The answer, faithful reader, is that I have long been puzzled and bothered about the fantastic and ultra-rare Rosen mechanical "Pops" boxes you can find on pages 116-118. For what purpose were these sold? Because of their rarity and the number of suckers each could hold, I thought they must have been retail countertop displays. However, I suspect now, thanks to this Rosen Valentine Pops box, that reasonable conclusion is wrong. 
Some good friends acquired this box. Like virtually all of the Pops boxes I have seen, the graphics are interesting and the mechanical feature fun. One spins the dial at top and possible names of your Valentine appear in the small space at the end of one of the boy's hands. (One of the dog's eyes change, too.) While spinning, instead of the constellation of old-timey names like Ethel, there is one blank space. Now, look at the photo taken of the bottom of the box. You can see that it suggests, "If your pal's name does not appear on Dial, you can print the name in blank space." This instruction would not appear if the Valentine Pops box was meant to be a retail countertop display. Based on this, I think all similarly constructed Rosen mechanical boxes were meant to be sold to the end-consumer, not to be used as a retail countertop display. 
Unfortunately, this find sheds little light on when these boxes were produced. I am still assigning a production date of the mid-1930s to the earliest boxes. 


This Halloween Owl Pops bucket was produced by the E. Rosen Company of Providence, Rhode Island using waxed bucket blanks provided by the Lily-Tulip Corporation of New York, NY. We know that this was almost certainly produced before 1952 as Lily-Tulip moved their operation to Springfield, Missouri in that year. Rosen produced a number of ephemeral items with superb graphics in addition to what most collectors know them for - their Trix or Treats cards. If you collect Rosen items, this is a must have! 

Vintage E. Rosen Company Pumpkin Pops Display, Halloween, Eyes Roll

This listing underscores the peril of listing an item with a BIN when you don't have much of an idea what it is that you are selling. If this seller had listed this as an auction style listing, it surely would have reached a price in many multiples of what his ill-chosen BIN price brought. This Pumpkin Pops mechanical point-of-sale sucker holder is exceptionally rare. This is only the second time I've seen a complete example for sale. (The prior time was in 1997 when I purchased the one in the collection from Dunbar Gallery.) Even with the unfortunate damage, this is a prize, and the person who snatched it up for a song is surely singing a very sweet tune. Refer to pages 116-118 for other examples of these wonderful Rosen creations. 


This is a rare enough Rosen candy box that I've never seen one before. Rosen made exquisite candy boxes as well as point-of-sale containers that are quite sought after. Even though the condition of this compelling box is somewhat problematic, it reached a solid price of nearly $200. I wonder what other Rosen treasures remain undiscovered?