Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Small Vintage Halloween Jack O Lantern JOL Candy Container Pumpkin hj6020

I’ve received lots of questions as to my opinion on this lantern. Given that I owned the larger and one-of-a-kind parade lantern made by the same artist or artist’s collective from 1997 through 2017, I am confident that it is genuine, dating from 1908-1912. (However, short of personally examining it, this is only an opinion. Don’t rely on it for anything.) I feel that the mouth insert is not original. Please refer to page 129 for more on the parade lantern.

10/04 Update: This lantern brought $5600, significantly in excess of the $2500-3000 they’ve brought over the last 5 years.


It seems I haven’t seen one of these desirable four-sided lanterns being offered for auction in a while. Produced by the Knorpp Candy Company with a patent date of July 11, 1916, it was marketed as a Four in One Lantern. The imagery isn’t very complex, yet it resonates long after you see the four unique sides. Knorpp also issued four tiaras with each replicating one of the lantern’s four sides. Given the rough condition of this example, I am surprised it received a bid at the opening price. To see the one in the collection, the envelope and one of the tiaras, please turn to page 128.


This wonderful seller is doing it again - offering a rarely seen item in fantastic condition! This is a large lantern made in Germany during the 1920s. As I write on page 118, “This is an imposing lantern due to its sheer size and detailing, measuring 16” h x 8.25” w.” I think the seller is smart not to attempt to construct the lantern simply for the sake of photos. These things are nearly 100 years old! I treasure the one in the collection, and know you’ll treasure this, too!

08/28 Update: This sold for a strong $1728.99.

Antique German Halloween Devil Jack-O-Lantern, Compo Nose, Ears & Horns--Great!

I’ve never been particularly attracted to lanterns, but this would be one that would have a place of some honor amongst any collection. As with retailers today spanning the spectrum from Dollar Tree to Nordstrom, back in the 1920s there were the dime stores at the low end where most holiday goods were sold and posh retailers at the high end selling such things as this lantern. The Durante proboscis, the add-on horns and those ears all differentiate this from the garden-variety lantern. The seller is a collector well-known for his vintage Christmas collection and expertise. It will be fun to see what this somewhat sizable lantern fetches.

04/09 Update: This brought $1,862.87.


Beistle produced this colorful lantern during the late 1920s. You’ll sometimes find these identical lanterns marked in such a way that you know they were produced in Germany - an artifact of a little understood arrangement that Beistle had with German manufacturers during the 1920s. This example has its oft-missing bottom, enabling the lantern to stay open and actually function as a lantern. It seems to be in beautiful condition.

RARE Vintage Halloween Composition Devil Head Lantern W/ Orig Insert Formalite ?

I’ve received a number of inquiries as to my opinion of this item. I know the seller to be an ethical and affable person who has long been a collector of vintage Halloween memorabilia. I have much regard for him. That said, I don’t feel this lantern has much age to it. From what I understand, the Formalite process applied to items made from original F.N. Burt molds simply means a gesso-like coating over the typically used pulp, like shown in the second photo. I question why the bottom of the one up for auction is flat. If original molds were used, why wouldn’t the bottom be indented, like the one shown in the third photo? (Notice, too, that the lantern shown in the third photo is marked.) The lantern up for auction seems to be made from composition, not pulp. I suspect it was probably made off-shore sometime in the last 15 years.
My thanks to a long-time blog follower for supplying the second and third photos.


Beistle Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Cut-Out Puzzle (14 pieces) #1809

A long-time collecting friend of mine scooped up this exceedingly rare Beistle treasure for the laughably low price of $136.16. (The clueless seller had listed it in the Halloween Modern category causing people like me, who seldom troll those dispiriting listings, to miss this treasure. I’ll be adding a daily perusal of this category from now on.) The lantern this uninspired Beistle creation - a puzzle for simpletons - depicts, was produced in 1930-1931, so the enveloped set was surely one of the last items they produced with the diamond mark. So, at this point, I know now that Beistle used the stunning art of the lantern, which was made in two sizes, only on one other item - this puzzle.

Vintage Antique Halloween Jack-o-lantern Pumpkin cardboard Papier Mache style

This cute happy/sad 1950s slot-and-tab JOL lantern used to surface much more often than it has these last few years. I haven’t seen one with such deep green highlights as are present with this splendid example. I really like this coloration. The condition is really clean. The ending price was nearly exactly double guide, but I can see its attraction.

RARE RARE RARE German Halloween Match Holder? Candy Container?

I’m not sure what to make of this item. It bears a resemblance to the refined German railroad lantern candy container shown on page 59. This item isn’t gracefully designed and seems clumsily executed. It is smaller than the one that has been in the collection for nearly 30 years. The borders are so thick and claustrophobic that they obscure the central JOL face on each of the four long sides. I wonder if this could be something made in Japan? I know I don’t care for it.

10/16 Update: The broad collecting market must have shared my doubts about this item. It brought $720, much less than half than an indisputably German item would have brought.

One Sided Beistle USA JOL with Vented Body Construction 1950s

I’ve liked the look of these 1950s Beistle vented lanterns since I began collecting. Much of Beistle’s output during this time was uninspired. Granted, these are far removed from the memorable design heights they achieved during their Golden Age, but nonetheless I have always liked them. I applaud this seller’s many excellent photos. I wish all sellers took such care. Other designs from this vented line can be seen on page 35.

Antique Paper Mache Halloween Goblin Lantern / Candy Container Germany

This homely German candy container/lantern combo was probably produced during the 1930s, based on the decorative paper that lies at the base of the lantern head. The Germans used that kind of paper at that time as well as post-WWII. The BIN price seems high. Why not just start it at $500 and let the auction takes its course? For items that don't surface everyday, I don't understand the tendency to slap a BIN on something. 

1930s HALLOWEEN Dual Sided JOL LANTERN w Yellow Cardboard SIDES w Inserts

This lantern was produced by Beistle for the 1933-1935 seasons. It rarely surfaces. The seller measurements are a bit off since the lantern was made in two sizes: 11.5" x 4.75" x 12.5" and 10.5" x 4.25" x 10". The inserts were made with either green or orange paper. I found the one in the collection early on, probably around 1990. I didn't realize how lucky I was to find one. I've seen only a handful since. SGV is $300. Given this lantern's condition issues, it'll be instructive to see the ending price. 


It is great to see such a rare lantern listed on what has become the fetid swamp of eBay - at least in terms of a properly curated vintage Halloween category! This colorful item was produced by Beistle in the early 1930s in what was surely low quantities as they almost never come to market. Inserts were made in both orange and green, although today most green inserts have a blueish tinge. SGV is $275, so as of this writing it has exceeded that metric. It has been a long time since one of these was listed so it'll be interesting to see where it ends on Wednesday. 

03/15 Update: Due to two determined bidders, this rare Beistle lantern ended at $625. It appears that it otherwise would have ended at $325, very close to SGV. The seller stated in the listing that it was found at an estate sale along with many others. I see the seller has already listed another, albeit one in significantly lesser condition. 

04/02 Update: The same seller listed two more in much lesser condition. One sold on March 19 for $224.72. The last one listed so far sold on March 27 for $211.50.