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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

SCARCE 1920's Embossed Halloween Jack o' Lantern Pirate Diecut Decoration

This seller priced this too low. This large pirate JOL face diecut was on eBay for only a few minutes before it was gone. (I saw it and clicked to buy it but it was already gone.) The seller referenced my book, pointing out that smaller yet similar ones appeared on page 181, yet oddly priced this at ~half of sustainable guide value. If it would have been listed with an auction format, I know it would have brought many more dollars.

Vintage Heavy Embossing Pulp Cat in Costume Halloween Decoration Germany 15.5"

I’m glad to see this not uncommon diecut garner such strong dollars, certainly due to its condition. I recently acquired a near-mint German fence diecut complete with four figures. This diecut is quite long, about 28” or so. It is exceedingly rare. I’ve looked for one for years, but never found one good enough to be part of the collection. I finally found one being sold along with many other fine things out of an old collection near Philadelphia. Its acquisition has caused me to begin planning for a massive overhaul of two large walls currently covered with diecuts. My intention is to deaccession about one-third of my German diecuts, keeping only the rarest and those in the very best condition. The overhaul will be a big chore, one that I haven’t been eager to start. When it is done, I think I’ll gain more satisfaction from having fewer diecuts spread a little farther apart. So, stay tuned. I’ll be selling lots of German diecuts in a few months.

Rare Halloween German Antique Diecut Witch 2 piece 3D effect Black Cat Crow 9”

It’s heartening to see rare diecuts like this surface amongst the vast array of crapola that has largely become eBay. I first saw this diecut when I acquired one for the collection in September 2015. I think it was amongst the designs made in 1935 for export to Canada. It is quite an eye-catcher with the white hair. The use of a crow is also unusual. As I type this, the price has been bid up to $392.79. I expect it to go much higher. Good luck!

06/12 Update: I felt this should have brought more. It ended at $1,312.

Very Fine Vintage Halloween Devil Bat Die Cut German Germany

The Germans were known to make subtle variations in their later diecuts. Notice how the teeth differ from the example shown on page 136. There are other variations as well. Can you spot them? This is arguably the most visually arresting design the Germans produced. I count this design amongst my very favorites. I’ve seldom seen a better example.

05/30 Update: This sold for $2,376.

Vintage Halloween Decorations From Early 1900’s

I’ve received a lot of emails about this listing, with many writers curious as to why it brought such a high price. Well, at least two sharp-eyed bidders saw the treasure in this lot and were willing to go high to mine it. The primo item is the exceedingly rare Dennison diecut of the witch and skeleton in a hot air balloon. (The one in the collection is shown on page 144.) The seller provided low-end, haphazard photographs. One of the underbidders asked for, and received, better photographs and detailed descriptions of the diecuts that really mattered: the aforementioned hot air balloon, the green cat and purple and yellow owl. All of these were made by Dennison around 1930. Dennison material, including small paper, from this period is exceedingly rare and highly desirable. I’m not surprised this odd lotting brought what it did.

Rare Vintage Dennison Halloween "Eats" Party Sign with Witch - 1930's

Here’s another rare and wonderful item from the same great seller referenced below auctioning the witch falling into cauldron decoration. This is one of my favorite Dennison diecuts for several reasons: the colors are arresting, the design is clever for a relatively compact wall hanging and it nicely demonstrates just how ephemeral such decorations were meant to be at the time of their production. I mean, who would have thought to keep a sign so clearly meant for a party showing the way to the best part of any gathering? This was sold with the odd stock number of H667 1/2. Condition is fine as the diecut is whole with bright colors and minimal creasing.

03/14 Update: This sold for an eye-popping $667.

Vintage Dennison Halloween JOL Traffic Cop Die Cut - Rare

This diecut was last offered for sale on eBay in May 2018 as part of a lot of three diecuts. Sadly, it was in horrific condition, yet still the lot brought $305. This example is in superb condition with bright colors and should easily eclipse that last price. This JOL-headed traffic cop diecut was produced by Dennison and first appeared in their 1930 Price List pamphlet. It was produced on the thin yellow-stock paper Dennison used often at the time. It makes a good companion piece to the Hallo' Inn diecut shown on page 142. I know of many collectors who have been waiting for this rare diecut to surface in this condition, so it’ll be informative to see what this sells for.

03/07 Update: Wow, this brought $597.99, tip-top dollars indeed.

Very rare antique witch die Cut

Beistle issued a trio of broomed witches diecuts during the late 1950s. This is arguably the best design of the three. (You can see the others on page 159.) This trio is almost impossible to find in collectible condition for some reason. They are large on thinner paper stock. I don’t think Beistle produced many of these in the grand scheme of things. A good paper restorer could probably work wonders on this damaged example.

02/21 Update: I almost keeled over when I saw that this damaged diecut sold for $510. I agree that a competent paper restorer should be able to make this look near-new, but that would cost ~$200, making the total investment over $700, significantly over what this diecut has sold for in near-mint, unrestored condition.

03/07 Update: This same diecut in better condition sold yesterday for the shockingly low price of $103.51. I have to chalk it up to the vagaries of eBay.

Vtg Halloween Dennison Witch On Broom Moon Owl Black Cat Die Cut 1950s

Here’s another mystery. This 1960-1970s diecut is in poor condition with far from memorable imagery and yet someone actually bid $125.50 on it. I know eBay has been a wasteland of late, but this result boggles the mind.

02/14 Update: This same seller has listed three more of these as of today.

02/21 Update: As expected, two of the three sold for less than $30 each. The third sold for $50. The person who spent $125.50 must be wondering what possessed them.

Vintage Halloween 1920s-1930s Die-Cut Scary Cat

I purchased a wonderful lot of these small late-1920s diecuts about 18 months ago. I long felt they were probably made by Whitney until I saw an identical image of one of the diecuts on a Hallmark tally card. So, it seems likely this was made by Hallmark. Each of the set of small diecuts has the central image outlined in orange, like this one. That may be a defining characteristic enabling one to attribute any future found such diecuts to Hallmark. I’ll be posting the diecuts now in the collection on the site’s new Acquisitions page at some point. If you haven’t yet perused the Acquisitions page, be my guest.

Vintage 1920s-30s Gibson "Cold Facts" Diecut Sign Decoration Halloween Skeleton

Now, this is one helluva freaky, fantastic diecut. When I first saw this Gibson listing, I prayed that it would be in collectible condition. I was disappointed when it fell far short of the acceptable threshold for my collection. This is precisely the kind of odd imagery and disorienting colors I eat up. I contacted the seller who stated this was the sole example of this diecut she had available. My decision was easy not to try for it. (The ending price of $610 blew me away. I sure am glad I began collecting 30 years ago, as collecting truly vintage Halloween is rapidly becoming a hobby for the wealthy!) I will add it to my very short “Holy Grail” list and hope one comes my way.

Vintage Saxony Halloween Die Cut Pumpkin Head Tuxedo Running Jack-O-Lantern

There were at least three diecut designs released in sets of four in glassine envelopes, produced by manufacturers in Saxony. You can see them at the top of page 170. This price of $205.50 for a single diecut is folly. If someone with deep pockets wants the trio of complete sets shown in the book, they can be yours for the bubblicious price of $3000, shipping not included.