Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.


This is a jumble of parts to arguably the very best interlocking centerpiece that Whitney ever produced. Each piece is quite a bit larger than pieces comprising other interlocking centerpieces. Some of these pieces measure up to 9.5” high. The lot on offer is missing a side while having duplicates of two others. Sadly, all look to be in regrettable condition. Look on page 274 to see the one ghost side missing. This may very well have been one of the few Whitney paper masterpieces they produced before shutting their doors in 1942.

04/02 Update: This jumble sold for $135.50.

Vintage Halloween Witch Centerpiece Whitney Co. Ma. Late 1920's Diecut

eBay has been a real desert for months, so it nice to see a few really nice things pop up these last few days. This wonderful four-sided centerpiece fence comprising two designs was produced by Whitney during the 1920s. I have an envelope this set was sold in, so know Whitney assigned it a stock number of 2477. As I write in the section showing various fence centerpieces, "The presence of all tabs for each interlocking section significantly increases the value of the overall centerpiece." Sustainable guide value is $200, which has already been exceeded. It will be interesting to see where this ends. 

02/14 Update: This sold for the phenomenal sum of $379.99!  

1940's Halloween Black Cats on Stockade Fence Cut Outs Stand-Ups Interlocking

These fence table decorations, largely made by Whitney, are nearly impossible to find in mint condition. This complete set of four pieces was made during the late 1920s and sold with stock number 2348. This set has the typical weakness to the section hooks, plus appears to have some color toning issues. Still, overall this is a very desirable decoration that has a SGV of $275. What makes it more desirable than some others is that each section is different. To save money, Whitney often produced fences with either identical sides or with only two different designs per four-piece set. The seller has started this low with no reserve. This augurs well for ending at or above SGV. 

02/08 Update: The listing ended well below SGV - $209.50. 

Group of 6 Different Antique Halloween Placards with Moon and Black Cat

This well-designed complete set of six place cards was made by Whitney during the 1930s. I have long appreciated the differences in each one of the six including the different expressions of the moon. In order to make it easy for each to stand on a table, the sides of each card bend inward - a nice touch. This set used to surface more regularly than now. It is a tough set to find with no extraneous markings or missing pieces. Sustainable guide value is $185 for the set. 

01/17 Update: The set brought $227.50, a nearly 23% premium to SGV. One hasn't surfaced in some time, so if another were to come up for sale in the same condition, I would expect the price to normalize to the $185 SGV. 

MINT Rare Whitney Halloween 4 Piece Table Decoration JOL Vegetable People Fence

09/09 Update: Unfortunately, this turned out to be a complete fake! The buyer contacted me when he received it, concerned that it didn't seem right. I asked him to ship it to me for my personal examination. I received it today and his concerns were justified. Here is what I wrote to the buyer: 

I received the package this morning containing the fence and its envelope. I just now carefully examined the contents. They are, without a doubt, fake.

The envelope is the clumsiest part of the fake. The forger took pains to make it look old with ersatz staining and portions missing from under the flap. The wear and the missing portions are inconsistent with true age and true usage. The forger is not good – and we should be grateful for that. You can actually see a blue line along the left obverse side like they decided to repurpose some other paper. The weight of the paper is inconsistent with every truly genuine Whitney envelope I possess and have examined. The greater size of the numerals, 77, is inconsistent with every truly genuine Whitney envelope I possess and have examined.

The four fence sections are also poor copies. They are on paper weight that is much too thin. The colors are washed out. There is a lack of the detailing that my authentic set possesses. The trimming done on the fakes is poor and inconsistent with authentic examples.

The fakery is consistent with the garbage I’ve seen two eBay sellers pawn off as genuine on unsuspecting buyers for years now: shadowtown and curiousimp.  

I am distressed that another nice vintage set has been faked! You cannot be too careful these days!

Importantly, I have spoken with the seller who, I completely believe, was duped himself when this item was purchased some years ago. He immediately refunded the buyer's purchase price. He and his wife are long-time generalist antiques collectors who, like the rest of us, can't be expected to know a lot about every collecting genre. I only wish other sellers, when learning they had been duped, were as upstanding and as responsive as this fine seller. 

Vintage Halloween Party Table Decorations - Witches & Black Cats - 8

It was interesting to see what this lot brought. The lot consists of two four-sided light cardboard interlocking centerpieces, one comprised of four different vignettes showing cats on fence sections while the other is comprised of two different sides showing witches. Both were made by Whitney during the 1920s. These four-sided centerpieces seldom surface, and when they do they are invariably damaged in some way, most commonly by missing or creased tabs. Of the two, the cat centerpiece is more desirable and marginally more rare. Guide value for both together is $475, so these brought what I would have expected. 

Original Halloween Multiple Cats On Fence Centerpiece & Envelope

This sub-genre, Whitney fences, is a particular favorite of mine. This was made in the later 1920s out of light-weight cardboard delicate enough that you assemble then disassemble at your peril. Bottom line: Put it together the way you want it and never touch it again except to gently move it to dust underneath. (That is assuming you dust at all!) Different from so many Whitney designs, each of the four sides is completely different. Somewhat later they got lazy and either had 2 and 2 designs or four identical sides. The last thing to look for when buying these fences is that all the tabs are present. This example meets the test. 

Shiverbones Kirscht vintage Beistle Halloween Inspired "Frightful Fence" die cut

I am so glad that some smart collector snapped this up right away. Matthew Kirscht is one of the most talented contemporary artists working in the Halloween genre today. (I would argue he is the most talented.) Matthew, a long-time friend of mine, designed and laid-out my third edition. To all of those who have expressed your deep satisfaction with the look of the new third edition, swivel your eyes Matthew's way. I was lucky enough to grab one of the original large fences several years ago and it now adorns the side of a large dollhouse I use to house 30-40 German Halloween candy containers. Matthew needs to produce similar diecut items. I have often told him I will take one of every such thing he makes! 

vintage Halloween Black Cats diecut fence conecting centerpiece & Cat Stand Up

These items were all produced by Whitney of Worcester, Massachusetts. Four singing black cat sections comprise a full set. These would link together to form a rectangular shaped table centerpiece. You can see this and other four-sided table centerpieces by Whitney on pages 274-275 of my newly published reference. 

10/10 Update: The buyer did not make a good buy, paying $239.50 for an incomplete singing cat fence centerpiece. 

Vintage Halloween 1920's Gibson Dancing Cat Centerpiece with Original Envelope

You know the season is upon us when great items like this pop up on Ebay. This Gibson interlocking table decoration was made in the later 1920s. Typically, these kinds of items are missing one or more of the "end hooks." This looks to be complete and in awesome condition. These typically trade for around $175. 

09/05 Update: It seems that this is the year for pre-1935 Beistle, Dennison and Gibson table decorations and diecuts. Prices have surged this season. This great centerpeice fence fetched $237.50. 


I love these table centerpiece fences. Most of the time, when they surface at all, they are missing one or more of the tabs that interlock the sections of the fence. There are four sections to this fence. Made by Whitney in the later 1920s, this particular decoration was sold with stock number 2477. This great item can be seen on page 275 of my newly published third edition. 

08/14 Update: The buyer got a real bargain scooping this great fence up for $140.27!