Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Antique Whitney's Halloween Novelty Spinning Place Cards w/ Fortune BOX ONLY

This box is that rare Whitney non-postcard item actually marked. Even though this box is empty, it makes a great display piece. As I write on page 273, “The contents are fairly plain, consisting of twelve place cards, twelve wood spindles and two sheets with six fortunes per sheet.” The box is in nice shape with a single break along one long edge and no distressed corners. This is worth acquiring.

1920's Antique German Halloween Die Cut Candy Box-- Rare & Hard to Find

This is just a poorly married item. Some untalented end-user simply glued a tatty German diecut to a box. The arched-back black cat diecut doesn’t even fit on the box top properly. This seller, one of the earliest collectors on the scene, really should know better. It is disappointing to see this kind of junk listed as something worth collecting. It has decorative value only - nothing approaching the price this seller is dreaming to get.

Vintage Halloween Invitation Box Only Jack O Lantern Pumpkin Orange Black

This is a really great box. I've not seen it before. The JOLs along the edges and the use of the fat font are reminiscent of Dennison. However, Dennison was disciplined about marking their goods, so I tend to think it wasn't produced by them. (By the way, Dennison wasn't perfect about marking their items. A few, like the "Whoopee" diecut on page 144, escaped the factory unmarked.) This box has super graphics and would have made a splendid addition to my collection. I wish I had seen it in time! 


This is an exceedingly rare Dennison bob bob box that was first advertised in their 1919 Bogie Book. They issued two designs with the same stock number, H49. (Both can be seen on page 262.) Although I now have the other design, this box featuring sprites has eluded my avaricious grasp. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be satisfied with the condition of the one on offer. 

Vintage 1920's Halloween Black Cat & JOL Candy Box Margaret Burnham's Inc.

I have taken a real liking to seasonally produced candy boxes from local and regional candy makers. They are typically quite rare. Being essentially ephemera, few were kept and fewer still remain in collectible condition. I had never seen this design before or was even aware of Margaret Burnham's. The selling price of $66.99 should be considered a real bargain. 

Vintage 1960's Salerno Trick or Treat Halloween Cookies Box haunted house

Although this is a very cool item, with a design strongly reminiscent of the mid-1950s Brach's candy boxes, it is a far inferior design. The Brach's box was intricately designed with many nice touches - a discarded witch's broom and dilapidated shutters just to name two. Time was spent designing that box. This is not as good. The detail is lacking and the colors are unattractive. This seller has this priced much too high. Items from this era, by and large, don't bring significant dollars. I feel fair market value for this item, in this condition, is $75-95. 


Original boxes showcasing the various ways German diecuts were bundled and sold are quite a hot sub-genre at the moment. I sold one in my May auction (I'll be conducting another auction on this site in May 2016, again only open to those who have purchased a copy of my third edition.) for $425 and this very energetic box fetched $488.14. I've only seen this box design twice in 25 years of collecting. This very box, identifiable from the written markings, was sold on Ebay in early 2013, according to the photographic archives I've assembled, and now once again in 2015. An identical box, in better condition, sold in October of 2013. Other than these two examples, I've not seen this box design before. Kudos to both the seller - one of my favorites - and the buyer. 

vintage halloween decorations

As I point out on page 145, most of the value for this set is in the box alone. The diecuts, two of which are missing from this lot, are so common and pedestrian that they bring $2-4 each on a good day. Given that the diecuts are not shown here completely, leaving you to your imagination as to their actual condition, and that the box is in less-than-mint condition, the minimum opening bid price of $49.50 seems high. I feel the seller would have been better off taking more complete photographs and starting the listing at no more than $9.99.