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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage HALLOWEEN Greeting Card Invite Black Cat Witch & Bat Mary Lyon School

I recently posted a photo of the one in the collection that was acquired in April 2017 in the Acquisitions section of the site. Prior to that time I’d never seen this Dennison invitation design. This is a sweet, intricate invitation. Based on the day and partial date written inside, this was sent out for a party in 1930. Here is what I wrote about this in the Acquisitions section: “This is one of the gems of the small paper collection. Beginning in 1929 when this was produced, Dennison was hard hit by the Great Depression, as were so many other firms making non-essential items. They responded by making fewer holiday items in fewer numbers - and lived to tell about it. (Dennison is still in business today, albeit through mergers.) Prior to acquiring this invitation I had never seen it before. I know of one other in a collection. It is unused. When opened, there are partial pine trees at the left and the right, with a lined area where a party host would delineate the party details. It measures 4” high by 3.5” across, closed. Acquired in April 2017. RSIN: 1”

05/21 Update: This sold for $247.16, lower than I would have expected.

1940’s Halloween Place Card Scary Black With Owl Face In Flame HTF

Here is another relative bargain, although not as pronounced as the item directly below. This has to be one of Dennison's most inspired designs. The artist packed a lot of detail in such a small item, meant to be used as a place card. This first appeared in 1928. As I point out on page 257, "Notice the cat's face in the flame and the candle's expression. Although not particularly scarce, this iconic, diminutive Dennison masterpiece consistently sells at or above the cited value. It was sold with stock number H565." These have routinely changed hands in a range of $135-200 during the last 18 months, so the prevailing bidder did well.

vintage GURLEY O-PEE-CHEE Halloween Candles FULL CASE Lot of 12 NOS New

Candles are an excellent genre for those starting out in our fun hobby as they were typically nicely molded and remain affordable. The buyer of this lot got a solid deal as they were able to acquire a dozen nice candles and its unusual box for only $150. I say the box is unusual primarily because it represents goods sold in Canada. I am not sure if I've seen this particular iteration before. There were a good number of holiday candle manufacturers. Gurley was arguably the most skilled purveyor of these now-vintage candles as their designs were numerous and often inventive. 

Gurley Candle, 4" Cat on Fence, Creasent Moon, Exc Cond..

Candles are a genre that hasn't caught fire (bad pun...I know...) over these many years, lagging the overall market like common tin litho noisemakers. This sale price for arguably one of the better Gurley designs is surprising. These typically bring $18-20, so to have one bring in more than double is unusual. I feel that candles, tin litho noisemakers and the more common pulp JOLs are great entry points for new collectors. They are plentiful, cheap and low-risk relative to getting stuck with a fake. (As I point out on page 87, the Gurley name was resurrected in 2006 and the new firm began producing candles using new molds.) Look to pay guide values for items within this genre. This result was great for the seller, but the buyer could have waited and gotten it at half the cost. 

Vintage Emkay Witch O Lantern Halloween Candle in Box #268

Candle boxes weren't often kept so the manufacturing and/or marketing details for such ephemeral items have largely been lost, making this listing exciting - if for no other reason. I haven't seen this particular candle design often, but I love the name the manufacturer dreamed up, Witch-O-Lantern. The asking price with a BIN option seems reasonable. 

06/17 Update: It sold for a "bargainish" price of $25. 

VINTAGE HALLOWEEN MECHANICAL DIECUT TALLY~1920's~PROBABLY WHITNEY

This mechanical tally is such a cool item! The kinds of things produced in those long-past decades really had ingenuity. The maker is harder to pin down. Whitney seldom marked anything beyond their postcards, so the tip of the hat goes to that firm, out of business in the early 1940s, to be the maker. However, it could be from another manufacturer like Volland, Henderson Line, Rustcraft, etc. Both Beistle and Dennison can be eliminated, as can be Gibson. However, bottom line is that this is a great item that will strengthen any collection of tallies. I've never been able to locate one for the collection, evidenced by the one in my third edition coming from the inestimable Bobbie Lasky collection. (Bobbie is one of a handful of top-tier Halloween collectors in the United States.) 

Vintage Antique Rare Halloween Candle Black Cat Place Cards Dennison

This has to be one of Dennison's most inspired designs. The artist packed a lot of detail in such a small item, meant to be used as a place card. This first appeared in 1928. As I point out on page 257, "Notice the cat's face in the flame and the candle's expression. Although not particularly scarce, this iconic, diminutive Dennison masterpiece consistently sells at or above the cited value. It was sold with stock number H565." 

04/16 Update: This great piece of ephemera changed hands for $100.99, slightly exceeding sustainable guide value of $85. 

Antique Vintage 1920's USA Dennison Halloween Cat Face in Flames Candle Die-Cut

I have always liked this little gem made by Dennison beginning in 1927. (Its smaller companion piece can be seen on page 257.) There is so much to find compelling in its detailing. However, these are hard-to-find, but not impossible to find. Given its poor condition overall, the seller is much too aggressive with the opening price. If you have always coveted this piece, wait for a better example offered at a lower opening price.