Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Halloween German Miniature Diecut, Witch Stirs Cauldron, 1930s

This is arguably the very best design of the set to which this German mini-diecut belongs. Its intricacy while maintaining such a small form-factor is appealing. Prices this season have been extraordinarily strong, which causes me to wonder where all the money is coming from. Typically, at this point in the cycle, prices start to droop due to many, many listings and the depletion of the more casual collector’s monetary resources. I haven’t seen that repeated this cycle to the extent I forecasted. One theory is that our hobby is experiencing an influx of well-heeled new collectors. (Thankfully, I started collecting in the 1980s!)

Vintage Halloween Die-Cut Witch & Honeycomb Cauldron RARE

Beistle produced at least three table decoration designs that incorporated their signature honeycomb onto a diecut backdrop. They produced these only during the 1957-58 seasons. They were apparently not strong sellers. I don’t feel many were produced, and certainly few have survived the 60+ years since they were made. None of the three designs surface often, so this is a rare opportunity to acquire one. I’ve seen this table decoration maybe three times in 31 years of collecting. One has thus far escaped my grasp. It shows a bashful scarecrow near a honeycomb pumpkin. That can be seen on page 7 of Lasansky’s reference. The other to the set can be seen on page 228 of my third and final edition.

08/25 Update: This ended up bringing $182.49. Even though the condition of the honeycomb is problematic, I feel the buyer did well.

1930's Vintage Halloween Witch in Cauldron Die Cut - Rare Glow in Dark

This seller comes up with the most wonderful items! It’s nice to see some interesting items popping up on eBay, as there has been too much junk of late. As stated in the listing, this witch falling into a cauldron glow-in-the-dark decoration is a companion piece to the Jitterbug Jones decoration shown on page 293. I don’t know which firm produced this innovative item. I thought I had a photo of the placard that would have been attached to this originally, but I can’t find it. This is the best one (of the three) that I’ve seen for sale. I’ve never seen one in-person - they are that rare. It’ll be fun to see what this fetches. Its RSIN would definitely be a 1.

03/11 Update: Thanks to a fellow collector who may have the only compete example extant, I can relay what is printed on the placard that should be attached to this diecut: “Turn off the light And ghostly bright A grinning skull Glows thru the night.”

03/14 Update: This sold for an eye-popping $960! It wasn’t even complete. Irrational exuberance?

Antique Embossed Mini Die-cut Witch & Cauldron with easel back - Made in Germany

This is one of a set of at least five designs made both during the 1930s as well as right after WWII from 1945-1949. There is just a handful of German diecuts that will routinely surface showing a mark indicating a manufacture date during the late 1940s, but the set to which this design belongs is among them. Others from the set can be seen on page 185. In my view, this is the strongest design from the set. 

05/03 Update: This sold for an astounding $595. SGV is $250. 

Vtg 1920s 1930s Jolly Halloween Die Cut Party PLACE CARDS Bats Cats Cauldron

I'd not seen this awesome place card design prior to this listing. There doesn't appear to be a maker's mark. I know the manufacturer isn't Beistle, Dennison or Whitney and suspect that it isn't Gibson. Maybe Volland or Henderson Line? What I do know is that I like the design very much. If the buyer is a reader, know that I'd love to buy one!

03/08 Update: Thankfully, the buyer is a reader and will offer one to me once the lot is received. Thanks!

Vintage Halloween Witch Cauldron Place Card USA Dennison

This gem of a place card design was produced by Dennison and first appeared in their 1922 Bogie Book. Typically sold in boxed sets of six, these are surprisingly hard to find. The stock number was H-15. Aside from the name written on the card (used for the purpose intended...) this card is in great shape, with only some toning on the reverse. I like this seller and feel he offers things for a fair price. If you like awesome design, snap up this treasure! 

Vintage 1920s Halloween Invitation, Pop Up Witch, Cauldron, Cats, Ghouls, Unused

I sure have received a lot of traffic related to the ending price of this well-designed, colorful and very rare invitation. One long-time reader asked me what I thought. Here was my reply: "The sub-genre of small paper has been on fire for the last year or more. I see the trend continuing and strengthening. The high prices may be drawing forth heretofore unseen examples of the sub-genre. The item you mention is one I had never seen before. The lushness of the design and color evoked great interest. The springboard seems to have been at the $165 level. Three committed pursuers escalated the bids to the final level. Do I think that is a sustainable price? No. If others were to surface, I think the price would settle to $250 then be sustainable at $200." 

Thanks to the excellent memory of a long-time reader, I was reminded that two examples of this invitation were sold through Dunbar Gallery in 1997 at the second Hugh Luck auction. 


And the pleasurable avalanche of quality Beistle continues...It is great to see such a wealth of vintage Halloween being made available for sale this season. This favor basket, one of four designs of this size, doesn't come up for sale often. Issued by Beistle from 1927-1931, these survivors are hardy specimens as these favor baskets are inherently fragile with their honeycomb bases. Turn to page 225 to see all four to the set. 

10/23 Update: This sold for a surprisingly low price - $170.17. 

Rare Halloween Paper Mechanical Decoration "Sacred Be Ye Fire O Halloween"

This early mechanical was made in the United States by an unidentified firm with an interestingly distinctive design aesthetic. This witch at cauldron mechanical was one of a set of four made between 1910-1917. The seller states he/she has seen an example with an extant cat's tail. I have seen many of this design and have never seen one fully intact. The condition issues identified as pertaining to this example are precisely those most commonly seen. All in all, the buyer got a helluva bargain, scooping this up for $199.95, when the sustainable guide value is more than double that. I think placing such high opening prices deters activity, something that more sellers should take into account when deciding to sell on eBay, using an auction format. The more successful sellers of vintage Halloween items start their auctions at $9.99 or less and typically get very solid results. If you'd like to see the others comprising this set, please see page 284. 


This is a true variant to the design that one sees occasionally. The set to which this mini-diecut belongs is one of the most desirable around. (See the set on page 185.) Each of its members typically fetch between $200-$300, as did the cat and JOL design offered by this same great seller. What differentiates this is the reverse coloring and the additional embossed stars on the witch's cloak that are not present in the more-commonly seen design. I attempted to obtain this for the collection by putting in what I thought was an aggressive bid of $500, but was outbid by a wide margin. Even given the very high price paid for this item, I have to offer a hearty congrats to the prevailing bidder, whomever it is. 

FN Burt Halloween Witch & Cauldron, AUTHENTIC, RARE!!

This is a spectacular piece offered by a seller I thoroughly trust. This small pulp masterpiece of a witch tending to her cauldron was made by the F.N. Burt Company of Buffalo, New York during the 1930s. These don't surface much, and when they do they are often dirty, scuffed, marred in some way and missing their paper cup. (I've even seen a few painted!) This example has none of those deficiencies - or any other that I can discern. Bottom line - if you don't have one of these small treasures in your collection, you can do no better than buying this item from this super seller. 

Vintage Halloween Rare 1925 Beistle Witch/ Cauldron/JOL Honeycomb Basket- LOOK!!

It is such a pleasant surprise to see an exceedingly rare Beistle item on the rather sad selling platform that Ebay has become. (This decay began when their management chose to compete with Amazon rather than focusing on cultivating sellers of rare, vintage goods.) This favor basket was sold from 1927-1931. Beistle made four different designs, all measuring ~4" x ~4". All of them have an RSIN of 2. The condition issues on this example could be easily rectified by a careful, competent paper restorer. (I can recommend ACA Paper Restoration in Devon, PA.) These baskets almost never become available for sale, so it'll be fun to see what this brings. 

03/09 Update: Whomever was the prevailing bidder received a true bargain, snatching this up for less than $160. Bravo!