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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Halloween Pressed Paper Hanging Decorations Large OWL, small cat & small bat

It’s pretty rare that I am able to get a bargain on eBay outside of the mispriced BIN listings. This auction-format listing actually ran for a full week. I put in a bid significantly higher than what I ended up paying for this lot - a relative pittance of about $110 with shipping. Lots of collectors were asleep at the switch or were inundated with the avalanche of listings that materialize at this time of the year. Although the owl is quite nice, it was far eclipsed by my interest in the two mini-diecuts - both rare enough that I’ve never seen them. Although the bat is not in the condition normally required to become part of the collection, it is energetic and full of personality. I have a similar cat with the tail demurely by its side, but not this great design. For once - an auction bargain!

Later Update: Well, not so fast. A good friend pointed out to me that the mini-diecuts I was so excited about look to be cut-outs from two of the set of six German diecuts of characters with crescent moons that you can see on page 184. I don’t know how I didn’t see that before. So, the only person asleep at the switch was me. The lesson here is that even someone who has been collecting for 31 years can be dumb enough to waste money on remnants! Very good catch, CR. How I wish I would have had your wise counsel before bidding on the lot!

early vintage Die Cut OWL 9"x14" mechanical USA

These were originally sold in one envelope as “Mechanical Hallowe’en Silhouettes” by Beistle. They were produced in the early 1920s. The owl is in rough condition yet still brought an unsustainably high price. The bat seems to be in significantly better condition yet brought a bit less. These results are a result of two apparently deep-pocketed collectors escalating the price beyond reason.

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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.

6 VINTAGE 1920's-30's Dennison HALLOWEEN Party Cut-Out Decoration OWL on branch

This set of six Dennison owl cut-outs was sold in a glassine envelope for a single year, 1922. For that year, the stock number for the set was H-48. Beginning in 1923, the same cut-out in the same quantity was sold in a slide box with a different stock number, H-99. Subsequently, I’d say this glassine envelope form of packaging would be significantly harder to find than the slide box packaging. You can’t go wrong with the seller, one of the finest purveyors of vintage Halloween on eBay.

04/23 Update: This sold for a relative bargain: $128.50.

Halloween Die Cut Owl Moon Spooky Vintage

This is one of six “rocker favors” that Beistle produced from 1930-31. They were sold as an enveloped set with a stock number of 760R. Each can be flared at the bottom enabling the rocker to stand. These Beistle rockers haven’t surfaced much over the last 2-3 years.

03/28 Update: This sold for a reasonable $45.

Vintage Beistle Company Halloween Honeycomb Die Cut Decoration, 1925

Wow, people were asleep at the switch here, including me. This is one of those increasingly rare, true bargains for a great piece of truly vintage Halloween memorabilia. This is one of four favor basket designs Beistle produced from 1927-1931. (I think it is the least interesting of the four designs. The best is the witch wearing a skull-festooned dress.) You can see them all on page 225.

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

This Gibson party sign diecut with their classic signature slanted exclamation point went for FAR more than I would have guessed. Prices tend to moderate at this stage of the season, but I haven’t seen much evidence of this usual trend this year. This seller had several wonderful diecuts - all of which sold for astronomical prices. Given the final photo in all of her listings, I am curious how many of each will be on offer over time.

"EXCEEDINGLY RARE"--MINI-- EARLY 1930'S GERMAN HEAVY EMBOSSED OWL-GREAT ITEM

Wow, the eBay listings now are an embarrassment of riches after a long drought of mainly common, lower-end items. The various German mini-diecut sets are amongst my favorite to collect. The artistry in such small form factors always amazes. Look at this owl managing to look angry and befuddled at the same time. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen this item. The condition is as amazing as the seller, who has my full confidence. Others from this set can be found on page 185.

Halloween German Owl Accordian Decoration

I love that this fine seller included a photo of the 1920s German hangers she has in her collection. She is selling the owl with black accordion paper. I have never seen the JOL and the Brownie before. I once had a small collection of these but found them too challenging to display. (Anything part of the collection must be displayed - a primary rule for me.)

EXCEEDINGLY "RARE" 1930"s BEISTLE MECHANICAL OWL NUT CUP

This great seller is correct - this is one of a complete set of four mechanical nut cups that I know are exceedingly rare. Beistle issued the set for one season only in 1938. They slightly adapted already existing artwork to produce the set. (So many firms were hurting then due to the lingering Great Depression that cost reductions were more important than ever. Beistle wasn't immune, hence this set.) I had the good fortune of buying several complete and unused sets and then several singles out of an estate in Massachusetts in April 2015. I kept the best one, auctioned the next best one for ~$1800 and sold everything else over the next few years. (I am never in a hurry to sell anything.) Beistle printed these on surprisingly thin paper stock considering their intended use. Few survived unscathed. Few exist overall - so when an opportunity presents itself to get one, especially from such a wonderful seller, don't let it slip by. 

06/14 Update: This sold for a modest $119.50.