Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

RARE Vintage Halloween Composition Devil Head Lantern W/ Orig Insert Formalite ?

I’ve received a number of inquiries as to my opinion of this item. I know the seller to be an ethical and affable person who has long been a collector of vintage Halloween memorabilia. I have much regard for him. That said, I don’t feel this lantern has much age to it. From what I understand, the Formalite process applied to items made from original F.N. Burt molds simply means a gesso-like coating over the typically used pulp, like shown in the second photo. I question why the bottom of the one up for auction is flat. If original molds were used, why wouldn’t the bottom be indented, like the one shown in the third photo? (Notice, too, that the lantern shown in the third photo is marked.) The lantern up for auction seems to be made from composition, not pulp. I suspect it was probably made off-shore sometime in the last 15 years.
My thanks to a long-time blog follower for supplying the second and third photos.



This magnificent lantern leviathan is a true showstopper. While I was scrolling through the listings I couldn't pass it by, the imagery is that strong. These huge lanterns were store displays and were made right around 1919 and then for 1-2 more seasons. I have seen three designs over the years - this devil, a witch head and an eerie JOL. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen this lantern. These are so rare that lantern collectors should be scrambling to be the prevailing bidder. I'll be watching! The bonus here is the seller, an honest person who strives to be correct in her listings. It would be hard to find a nicer seller. 

10/02 Update: This superb item sold for $2,550!