Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

VTG 11" BEISTLE Halloween Black Cat Pumpkin Bat Honeycomb ORIG CT

It’s great to finally see some quality items on eBay, a forum that has lost much of its luster due to its lackluster policing of the categories, its practice of automatically listing and relisting the same crapola without requiring sellers to lower prices, its disparate treatment of sellers versus buyers and the seemingly endless increases to fees.
This rare hat produced by Beistle only during 1930-1931 is an example of the stuff I’d like to see more of on eBay. Beistle produced a limited number of inspired designs for their band hats during this interval. This is one of their best designs. (You can see others on page 240.) Although this isn’t in near-mint condition, I haven’t seen one for sale for so long that it may not make that much of a difference.

08/18 Update: This brought $202.50. Condition did seem to impact the bidding.

Vintage Halloween Party Hat, 1920,s Made in U.S.A

Beistle issued three “domino hat mask” designs between 1926 and 1931. Most of the time they were just stand-alone masks as shown on pages 236-237, but occasionally they were stapled to a random band hat, as in this listing. The entire bottom section of the mask is missing, so this is more of a substantial remnant than anything else. Virtually all of its collectible value has been eliminated due to its poor condition.

11/13 Update: …And yet this sold, in these bubbly times, for $86!


Beistle sure made some “out-there” designs. This demon frog hat from 1931 certainly fits the bill. The eccentric and memorable design reminds me of the coveted art done by arguably the finest folk artist working in the Halloween medium, Matthew Kirscht. The condition issues of the hat, detailed no nicely by this stellar seller, really weren’t material. I wish I had seen this listing. I would have been a player for more than the reasonable ending price.

Antique Vintage Rare Halloween Witch Hat Aleinmuller

I have seen a handful of Aleinmuller hats for sale during the last 30 years but all save this one had significant condition issues. The paper used was of thin stock that simply hasn’t worn well through the decades. Most of the time there are significant chunks missing, major tears and/or creasing. This Aleinmuller hat is in the best condition I’ve ever seen. Hats like this are hard to display unless you have ample wall space - something I no longer have - so it isn’t for me. However, if you’ve coveted a colorful, busy Aleinmuller design, you mustn’t let this hat escape your grasp.

09/27 Update: This changed hands for a surprisingly reasonable price of $203.50.


Here is another result that defies understanding and will never be repeated. I think the pop-up 1920s German hat has superb graphics, but not $500 worth. Looking at as much of the bidding history that eBay now allows, it is apparent that two collectors with deep pockets were vying for this. I'd say the one who walked away without the hat is better off. There are at least three pop-up hat designs. They typically fetch a sum in the range of $150-200. I am shaking my head as I type this. Ridiculous....

1930s Halloween Pressed Cardboard Skeleton Head decoration

Here is an excellent example of a rookie seller leaving quite a bit of money on the proverbial table. This exceedingly rare German diecut was offered for the pittance of $98. SGV is $525. The Germans made a common skull and crossbones diecut without a hat, and at least two variants with hats. (The other can be seen on page 178.) Both of the hatted skulls are really tough to find, especially in the decent shape this offering appears to be in. Why wouldn't the seller have simply listed this in the auction format? 

Vintage Halloween RARE Honeycomb Scary Black Cat Continetal Hat Plume BEISTLE

Beistle made two designs of what they called continental hats with plumes. The mate is a JOL with better artwork on either side of the central figure. (You can see it on page 238.) The vertical stripes flanking the cat face do grab the eye, but there is no doubt that it seems Beistle rather shorted this particular design. Made from 1925-1931 only, sustainable guide value is $195. 


eBay has been a desert with nary an oasis for the serious collector in sight for seemingly too many months, but then comes along this rarest of Beistle hats. Although the condition is poor, any member of this set of four hats made by Beistle is impossible to find. Beistle marketed the four collectively as New Moon hats, producing them from 1933-1937. Two prominently feature a black cat and moon while the other two prominently feature a witch and moon. I own only half the set and have been hungrily searching for the other two for years. (YEARS!) Quantities were probably limited by the Great Depression. (Turn to page 239 to see the two in the collection.) It will be instructive to see at what price this ends. 

02/14 Update: This sold for $405. 

BEISTLE HAT? Halloween printed headband with paper hair

I feel this was a tremendous amount to pay for such a damaged hat. This band hat was produced by Beistle from 1930-1931 only, so it is rare. Beistle material from their Golden Age has done very well this year. This result continues that trend line. The ending result would have been more understandable as a one-off had the condition been near-mint or better. Given the hat's unfortunate condition, the buyer did pay dearly. 

Vintage Halloween Cardboard & Honeycomb Party Hat - Black Cat

This plain, almost forlornly so, hat was produced by Beistle during the 1950s. By this time, Beistle's artistic creativity was nearing a bottom. (Compare this design to any of their designs produced during the 1920s and 1930s and you'll immediately see what I mean.) There isn't much demand for this hat. The seller has it starting right at SGV. 

10/31 Update: It sold with one bid at $24.99. 

Vintage Halloween Party Hat made In Germany Orange Pumpkins

I've noticed a sustained uptick in the prices of these thin-tissue paper hats produced by the Germans in the 1920s in a wide variety of designs. Just ~18 months ago these typically wouldn't bring more than $10-15. Now they seem to be settling in around the $25-30 mark. This example is actually one of the milder designs.