Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Set of 10 vintage Halloween die cuts.

This is an interesting assemblage of diecuts. Although the condition of each is poor, the star of the lot is the hobo clown made by Hallmark. These were made as mirror images, so one may face right while another faces left. The effect on value is nil. The four others going clockwise from the clown were also produced by Hallmark. The cat face was not made by Dennison, but was almost surely an unauthorized item made in Japan. (The colors are wrong, the eyes differ and there is no "Dennison" craftily woven into the design at one ear.) 

08/15 Update: This lot sold for $78.77, about what I would have guessed. 


Original boxes showcasing the various ways German diecuts were bundled and sold are quite a hot sub-genre at the moment. I sold one in my May auction (I'll be conducting another auction on this site in May 2016, again only open to those who have purchased a copy of my third edition.) for $425 and this very energetic box fetched $488.14. I've only seen this box design twice in 25 years of collecting. This very box, identifiable from the written markings, was sold on Ebay in early 2013, according to the photographic archives I've assembled, and now once again in 2015. An identical box, in better condition, sold in October of 2013. Other than these two examples, I've not seen this box design before. Kudos to both the seller - one of my favorites - and the buyer. 

2 Vintage Halloween Decorations Witch & Bat Made in Germany Cardboard Die Cut

This was a solid score. Happily, good friends of mine snagged this pair of German diecuts. The sustainable guide value for the bat alone is $150. It always amazes me when sellers list something as a BIN without any knowledge of what they are selling. It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: "The sum of the intelligence of the planet is a constant. The population is growing." 


This is merely one example of the great bargains to be had this time of the year for Halloween collectors. (Although a great time to buy, it is a horrific time to sell, since the recently passed holiday seems to have sated collectors' appetites, a phenomenon that occurs regularly from about early November through late March.) My advice, unless you have to sell, just wait until early April to begin selling anything noteworthy.

Vintage ca. 1960 Beistle Halloween Kit

The very high reserve price was met only because the prevailing bidder, a good friend of mine, wanted this badly as it rekindled a childhood memory of her mother purchasing an identical decorating kit. Except for this serendipitous circumstance for the seller, this surely wouldn't have met reserve, languishing well below half of the ending price.  

A Group of 6 Early Die-Cut Embossed Halloween Figures, Germany, Cat Owl Bat

I think this seller made a poor decision to group these diecuts and sell them as one lot. The "wear" on the cat and owls isn't wear at all, but the highlighting technique the Germans used for a short time. I feel it is nearly always best to sell vintage Halloween items that are in fine or better condition singly. If this seller had done this with these items they would have surely reaped a much better overall return. 

Super Large Dennison's 1931 Salesman's Sample Book, 23 Halloween Decorations

These great salesmen sample books surface once or twice a year and are a wealth of information as to what was still being peddled in a specific year. They typically will fetch about what this one did. I received many questions about this listing, with the main question being, "What do you think it will go for?" My answer was around $500. Everyone thought that figure was much too low given the rarity of many of the diecuts contained within the book. However, when you look closely, many of the diecuts were truncated in some way or were otherwise damaged by being placed in such a book. All were affixed to pages, meaning that if you were successful in extricating them, some paper restoration, and the costs associated with such work, would have to be borne to bring the diecut up to a reasonable collecting standard. As a curiosity, these books are pretty awesome, but as a source of actual diecuts to be displayed outside of its pages, not so much. 

One additional note, many of these diecuts were originally produced before 1931. Their inclusion in the book only indicates that Dennison was still actively selling the design in the 1931 Halloween season, not that the design was originally produced in that year. 

All in all, I think whomever the buyer was got a fun item at an eminently reasonable cost. Congrats!!


This lot of masks and one rare-ish diecut was produced by Beistle, with most having long runs from 1938-1954. The witch face diecut is hard-to-find, and was produced only from 1933-1938. Given that this seller has smartly started the entire lot at a very reasonable $9.99, someone may be able to score a bargain if this lot contains items that interest you. 

St. Patrick's Day update: The lot sold for a very reasonable $65.00!

vintage halloween decorations

As I point out on page 145, most of the value for this set is in the box alone. The diecuts, two of which are missing from this lot, are so common and pedestrian that they bring $2-4 each on a good day. Given that the diecuts are not shown here completely, leaving you to your imagination as to their actual condition, and that the box is in less-than-mint condition, the minimum opening bid price of $49.50 seems high. I feel the seller would have been better off taking more complete photographs and starting the listing at no more than $9.99.