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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

ANTIQUE HALLOWEEN TIN PARADE JACK O LANTERN, EARLY 1900'S TIN PARADE LANTERN

In reading this seller's clear description, I saw where someone was questioning whether this was old or one of the Bethany Lowe reproductions. It is, of course, a truly vintage item. The Lowe reproductions are flimsy looking and have none of the gravitas the truly old tin parade lanterns have. The seller stated that she wasn't sure if this had been repainted. It looks all original to me, based only on the photographs. The starting price seems to be one that fully values the item, a strategy that is one I wouldn't have chosen. 

Early 1900's Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Co. Toledo,O. Tin Parade Pumpkin-Nice!

I don't know whether the "this-was-taken-home-by-an-employee-unpainted" story is true. It looks too uniform and pristine to me, given that it is ~115 years old. I've had a number of readers contact me to say it looks like a paint removal product was used to give it this look. I can't say anything definitive about it, except that the marketplace had its doubts too, as this fetched only $1136.11. What I did find cool and truly unusual was the base with the impressed information. I don't recall seeing such a base before. 

A reader kindly shared the photo below in response to this post. The key question is whether the parade lanterns in the photo are painted orange or are they unpainted. If unpainted, it does further call into question the concept of an employee taking unpainted lanterns home, but reinforces the concept that perhaps these tin parade lanterns were sometimes sold unpainted. Thoughts? 

RARE Antique Halloween Parade Pumpkin Lantern w/ Original Sticks! 1800s JH

It irritates me that so many of these have been popping up on Ebay with sellers claiming they are vintage parade lanterns. These are not vintage! They were made about 7 years ago by Bethany Lowe. I have one in my seasonal displays. Please, readers, contact this seller and educate her. However, if the past is any guide, the seller will remain blissfully wrapped tightly in their ignorance. 

Tin Halloween Jack O' Lantern Parade Pumpkin Lantern Vintage

Several others have posted about this on the FB Vintage Halloween group, conveying their knowledge to the seller that this is a reproduction designed by Bruce Elsas and manufactured by Bethany Lowe about 7 years ago. The seller has refused to alter the listing in any way. I, myself, just sent an email to the seller (through Ebay) repeating what others have conveyed, plus letting them know it would be the subject of a blog post. I'd like to think that the seller is simply a naif rather than someone with ill intent. I'll monitor this listing. If nothing changes, I'll assume the seller is more of the latter than the former. This item, made in China, has decorative value only. DO NOT BE FOOLED!

08/08 Update: The seller never responded to my email, nor have they altered their listing in any way. The seller, regkel4, appears to be brazenly dishonest. 

08/12 Update: Some poor schmuck wasted $445 on this item, made by Bethany Lowe about 7 years ago. SHAME ON THIS DECEPTIVE SELLER! 

Tin jack o lantern circa 1880-1900 approx.

This design was made in Toledo, Ohio starting in ~1905. It is the most common of the designs. Denuded like this, the sustainable value isn't more than the current bid level. (Since the profiling of one of these on American Pickers, prices have greatly risen, but I don't feel this increase is sustainable.)

08/02 Update: This item ended at $404, quite strong for something in this denuded condition. 

tin halloween parade lantern jack o' lantern

This seller has angered a number of collectors who have repeatedly contacted him/her to tell him this was made by Bethany Lowe within the last few years and has zero collectible value. This seller refuses to accurately describe this lantern or list it in the Modern category. The dodge he/she uses is so old...stating that the age is unknown. It isn't. He/she simply refuses to be educated. 

06/17 Update: I feel for the buyer who dropped $632 on what is merely a decorative item. People: Do your research before dropping serious cash on things like this. 

American Pickers Appraisal - Backstory

Many of you may have seen the new episode of American Pickers shown on History on May 13th called, "A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall." About 15 minutes in, the segment that I filmed with Danielle in LeClaire, Iowa on January 20, 2015 begins. It lasts about 3.5 minutes, winnowed down from a tad more than 2 hours of actual filming. 
Here's some background. In December, the show's Supervising Field Producer, Ben, contacted me through my site asking for me to call to help him better understand a pick Mike Wolfe had made in Maine. After our initial contact he sent me some photos and we spoke again. I told him about the parade lantern, sketching its history and where it fit in the overall sweep of that early period in the commercialization of Halloween. That same day, he invited me to come to LeClaire to film a segment in January. 
The specific date to film was January 20, not too convenient since I take a trip to Las Vegas for three nights every January. This year's trip was scheduled for January 16-19. Ben said there wouldn't be a problem flying me in from Las Vegas on the 19th and flying me back to Sacramento on the 20th. So, after three days of Las Vegas fun staying in a suite at my favorite hotel, the Four Seasons, I traveled to Moline, Illinois. Unfortunately, I had a distracting cold at the time so I was pretty bushed when I landed at the very small airport and found a cab able to take me to the Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport, Iowa, where I stayed for the one night.  
I was asked to be in the lobby at 9:30 to meet the car that Ben had arranged to drive me both to and from Antique Archaeology. The elevator stopped at the third floor and who walked in but Danielle and the manager of the LeClaire location, Emily. (Danielle lives in Chicago and is not in LeClaire on a daily basis.) Stepping in, Emily was saying that the day would involve interviewing a Halloween expert. Danielle replied that she didn't want to know anything more as she wanted to approach the shoot fresh. I decided to introduce myself anyway and was greeted warmly. They left in Emily's car while I got into the hired car and proceeded to LeClaire. The driver pointed out local landmarks as we made the ~20 minute journey to the set. 
It was somewhat surreal seeing Antique Archaeology in person. I've watched the show since its inception and was surprised that the lot was as small as it is and that it was located on one side of a residential area. The original building had sheets over the roll-up door and a sign out front saying it was closed due to filming. (There were many tourists all during the 3.5 hours I was there. One even boldly walked in wondering what was going on!) The newly built structure is to the left of the original building as you view the lot from the street and is much closer to the original structure than I would have thought. There isn't much for sale in either structure except tourist swag like tees, books and other souvenirs. I walked in to what looked to be a converted garage and was immediately greeted by Danielle and Emily. Turning right, I went into the large open space where there was much activity. 
Many people were scrambling around setting up for the shoot. Look at the second photo. From left to right are Ben, the Supervising Field Producer; Jeremy, sound engineer; Tyler, cameraman; Cory, production assistant and Mike, cameraman. Jeremy immediately wired me for sound and Ben let me know how they wanted to shoot the sequence. 
Now, I was not coached in any way as to what to say or what value to reach. The only artifice was that I was told that the conceit of the show is that the show doesn't exist. I wasn't to let on that I knew that Mike or Frank have anything to do with the business, that I knew who Danielle was or that I knew anything more than I was "in the area having been asked to look at a vintage Halloween object." So, the opening of the segment when I walk in and ask if Danielle is Danielle is completely staged. 
That opening segment was done over 5 takes. The first three had me walking in the door, whereas the final two have the shot starting with me already inside. I believe that the take shown was the first one. Ben felt I was too stiff the first time, so proceeded with the second take that was marred by the door clomping closed behind me. The third take was rendered unusable as a passing train blew its whistle just as I opened the door. A separately shot segment shows me walking into the main room where the parade lantern awaited. 
The appraisal segment was filmed over about 1.75 hours and was really fun. Danielle was witty, friendly, and totally into the segment, being a fan of vintage Halloween herself. She kept the atmosphere playful, as did the people working to get the segment filmed. The cutaway shot shown wherein I introduce myself was filmed last as part of a question and answer session Ben filmed right before I left for the airport. 
The parade lantern was, in Mike's words, roached. It looked worse in person than it looked on the program. Given the condition, I appraised it for $600, but feel a better valuation would have been $600-700. Except to someone wanting something actually shown on TV, it should not sell for anything above that. As you know, these are not uncommon. 
Bottom line, I was treated like a king. The flights were convenient, the hotel superb and the car a real luxury as I didn't wish to worry about renting a car or driving in snow. (As it happened, there was just a hint of snow on the ground then.) They paid for everything! Danielle was gracious, supportive of my expertise and presence and just nice. The crew was the same. It was a very fun and satisfying experience. 
Up until the segment aired on May 13, I was concerned that I'd look like hell having had virtually no rest while in Vegas and being afflicted with a bad cold. Although at times I feel I looked like Gollum on a good day, overall I was pleased with the amount of information the editors allowed to be conveyed in the nearly 3.5 minute segment. 
The first photo shows Danielle and me at the end of the shoot. The second shows the crew. The third shows the original building where the filming took place taken from the door of the new structure. The fourth shows the new structure. The fifth shows Danielle's desk with a copy of my third edition! The sixth shows the view of Danielle's desk as you walk in. The final photo shows the main area of the original building. The stairway leads up to a loft where tubs of swag are stored and where Emily's desk is located. It is a comfortable space with a couch and another work station. 

History's American Pickers: Parade Lantern Appraisal Will Air May 13

I've been alerted that the segment showing my appraisal of the parade lantern on History's American Pickers will air tomorrow, Wednesday, May 13. The name of the episode is, "A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall." Below is the verbiage from my original post on the subject from February 20: 

I watched The Maineiacs episode of History's American Pickers when it aired Wednesday and was excited to see the Mike Wolfe’s discovery of the tin parade lantern. I was honored to have been asked to provide an on-air appraisal of the item with Danielle Colby at the Antique Archeology location in LeClaire, Iowa. This appraisal was given on January 20th. The entire experience was a great deal of fun. Danielle is just as warm and gracious as she appears to be on camera. The appraisal segment will air in the near future. I’ll be sure to give you all a heads-up as to when that airing will occur. Given that they say the camera adds 10 pounds, I’m both excited and apprehensive at the prospect. Once it does air, I’ll share some behind the scenes experiences and some photos I took during my time there. What I can say now is that the American Pickers’ team, both in front of and behind the camera, is professional, fun and made this writer feel very welcome and valued!

History's American Pickers: Parade Lantern Discovery

I watched The Maineiacs episode of History's American Pickers when it aired Wednesday and was excited to see the Mike Wolfe’s discovery of the tin parade lantern. I was honored to have been asked to provide an on-air appraisal of the item with Danielle Colby at the Antique Archeology location in LeClaire, Iowa. This appraisal was given on January 20th. The entire experience was a great deal of fun. Danielle is just as warm and gracious as she appears to be on camera. The appraisal segment will air in the near future. I’ll be sure to give you all a heads-up as to when that airing will occur. Given that they say the camera adds 10 pounds, I’m both excited and apprehensive at the prospect. Once it does air, I’ll share some behind the scenes experiences and some photos I took during my time there. What I can say now is that the American Pickers’ team, both in front of and behind the camera, is professional, fun and made this writer feel very welcome and valued!