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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Halloween German RARE Tiara Diadem Diecut JOL Clown Black Cats Antique 1920’s

This German tiara is so minty! Given how they were meant to be used, referenced in the listing itself, this is in surprisingly excellent condition. The Germans made twelve designs comprising a full set during the 1920s. They were marketed as diadems, although tiara has become the way in which these kinds of items are referenced. All designs are rare. Some designs have more oomph to them. In my view this one, the pirate JOL, the cat in a feathered hat and the owl trio are the best.

Vintage 1920-30S Gibson "Wise Up! This is a Party!" Diecut Sign Halloween Owl

Gibson diecuts, once definite also-rans to those made by Dennison and Beistle, have been rapidly escalating in value these past 2 years. Collectors have woken up to their rich colors and designs, their eccentricity and most of all to their scarcity. This is one of my favorite of their diecuts. Few of Gibson’s diecut designs surface regularly, especially not in this condition. I’d love to know how many of each design comprised this drugstore find. Guide value is $175, but since this market segment has moved much faster than I ever expected it to do, I expect the final price to exceed that figure. This was made during the early 1930s.

08/08 Update: This sold for $372.

RARE Vintage Halloween 20s Black Cat Waving Walking Die Cut Germany N. MINT HTF

I love this heavily embossed German diecut. It has so much energy and personality. It’s one you don’t see very often. The bonus is that it is being sold by one of the good guys. The seller is knowledgeable, honest and a true collector in his own right. Don’t hesitate in doing business with him! This particular item appears to be in exceptional condition. I appreciate and value the minimalist description. I wish more sellers would just stick to the basics rather than going on and on in their descriptions. This diecut is “2” on my RSIN and was produced during a short window in the 1920s.

08/06 Update: I’m so glad to see this gem sold for $251.50.

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.

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.