Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Halloween Porcelain Devil Ashtray RARE

Outside of the complete set I’ve owned since 1991, this is the first time I’ve seen this ashtray. (You can see the set on page 130.) I bought the set from a show in North Carolina in 1991. When I began to research what it was all about I found a book on “country store collectibles” that had the plate, humidor and match holder shown, but no ashtray. The photo’s caption said it was from the collection of Mary Lou Holt. I found a way to contact her to ask about the ashtray. Her initial response was that there wasn’t an ashtray. I offered to send a photo - and did so. Maybe a week later Mary Lou called to say how excited she was to now know there was an ashtray as part of the set. She told me that there were only ten plates made and speculated that there were only 10 ashtrays made since she had never seen one before. Mary Lou and I became friends. She was a great source of knowledge on many collectibles topics, including vintage Halloween. She passed away a number of years ago. I miss her still.

04/18 Update: This brought $201.50.

Antique German JOL Halloween Children's Tea Cup

I don’t believe this item is from any vintage porcelain tea set - German or Japanese. It looks amateurish, especially the teeth. I think this is the result of someone with a modicum of talent copying the features from an authentic cup, perhaps for their own amusement. It doesn’t have collectible value in terms of vintage Halloween.

02/22 Update: I’m glad no one seemed to be fooled by this fake. It sold for $58.00.


This exceedingly rare double vase certainly went for a lot of money, mainly due to my bidding. I was the underbidder, actually content not to have had to pay my top bid of $3215.15. I placed the bid, thinking there may be a very few collectors more crazed than I who would pay such money. I was right. Although I would liked to have it as part of the collection, in the final analysis, the price was too high, so I was not unhappy to have been outbid. Congrats to whomever the prevailing bidder was.

My German Porcelain Collection

Someone asked me to post photos of my German porcelain collection. It is probably my favorite segment of the vintage Halloween market. It has taken me 30 years to gather together these wonderful items. Enjoy!


Vintage German Halloween Pumpkin Jar

If I were to sell my collection, this segment of the market - the German porcelain Halloween tea set and its sundry assorted delights - would be the last to go. Made in two grand phases, 1908 through 1913 by Craemer & Heron, then by unknown manufacturers from 1913 through 1932, the diversity of their designs delights me. I’ve never seen this handled jug. The price paid was hefty, but there surely are a mere handful of these in existence, especially in this pristine condition. Check out pages 119-121 to see some very rare examples indeed.

Halloween JACK-O-LANTERN Pumpkin Wastebowl with Face German Childs Tea set

If I had to select one segment of the vintage Halloween collectibles market that I love the best, the German porcelain items would be my choice. They are getting harder to find with each passing year - probably true of most great items. The Germans were stupefyingly creative in coming up with fairly outlandish items to supplement the basics like the teapot, creamer, lidded sugar, cups and waste bowls. (Check out pages 119-121 to see what I mean.) This is a somewhat better than basic piece since some waste bowls are faceless. Made from 1908-1932, this little gem was made at a later point in that range given the mark. SGV is $150. 

Small Vintage Ceramic Halloween Pumpkin Jack O'lantern Made In Germany

This is a coveted waste bowl from the German porcelain Halloween set produced from 1908-1932. The seller was a true oaf to offer it as a BIN with scant knowledge of what they were offering. This reminds me of a favorite quote: "The sum of the intelligence of the planet is a constant. The population is growing." Instead of netting out $15-16 for this, if run as an auction it surely would have fetched four to five times as much. People - use the auction format!

ANTIQUE HALLOWEEN - mini JACK-O-LANTERN pumpkin cup & saucer RARE

This is a doubly great item. The diminutive cup has a handle and the saucer is exceedingly rare. Although unmarked, these items are German-made. The Japanese made rather crude reproductions of only the basic items like the teapot, sugar and creamer. The Germans produced a wildly inventive range of these porcelain wares from 1908 through 1932. If I had to pick my top three segments of the vintage market, this segment would be amongst them. SGV for the handled cup is $125. SGV for the saucer is $175. The saucer was also produced with an orange and burnt orange finish. 

07/19 Update: This super combo sold for $344. 

Vintage Child's German Halloween Tea Set Pitcher Germany Jack o lantern pumpkin

When I first began collecting 30 years ago, pieces from this set were among my favorite finds. All these years later, I still love the inventiveness of the German artisans in fashioning the many interesting items in so many sizes that comprise the Halloween porcelain tea set market segment. (To see many more, turn to pages 119-121.) I'm glad this outstanding seller received such a strong price for the creamer. He is on my recommended dealer list. 

Ceramic Pumpkin Jack O Lantern Halloween Candle Holder - Vintage Germany 1970s

Whomever scooped this breathtakingly rare porcelain candle holder up for $29.99 should be thanking sweet Jesus they were trolling through the listings when this popped up. This is arguably the most coveted single item from the many the Germans produced for their porcelain tea set service from 1908 through 1932. Prior to this listings I had seen only two examples in the same large lot that was sold to me many years ago. One has been in the collection ever since, the other, heavily damaged and missing pieces, was sold. I have a long list of people who really want this. I sure hope whomever got it was on that list. The seller was foolish. She obviously had no idea what she was selling, given that she describes this as being from the 1970s. She basically robbed herself of thousands of dollars as I have zero doubt this would have sold for significantly more than SGV given its rarity and how many collectors want it. The lesson to be learned here is simple: If you don't know what you are selling, never list it as a BIN - always use an auction format. 

Halloween Germany Child's Tea Set, Handled small Tea Cup Saucer, 1908-1912

It is good to see quality porcelain tea set pieces surfacing right now. This handled cup and saucer is from the smallest set created by the Germans, called the child's tea set. (There were both medium-sized sets and adult-sized sets made as well.) Both elements of this listing are hard to find. Many more small non-handled cups survived relative to their handled brethren. The saucer's are much more difficult to find for some reason. Together they make an eye-catching addition to any display case. 
I gravitate most strongly to certain genres more than others, surely like all collectors. I like paper items like diecuts, table decorations, centerpieces and boxed Dennison and Gibson items. I also covet small-paper items like invitations, tallies and place cards, plus love these German porcelain items. I have grown lukewarm on lanterns and candy containers and have never been interested in pulp JOLs, German JOLs, costumes, treat bags and hard plastic. 
I project that over the next 10 years many collections from long-time collectors will come to market. Most of these collections are heavily weighted toward candy containers and lanterns, so it stands to reason that these genres will see a medium-term dip. From all of my travels and invitations to see the collections of those who began collecting in the sixties, seventies and eighties, I can say assuredly that it was the rare such collector who collected much paper. I am projecting (and actively acting on my projections) that the market for paper and small paper will remain strong while other genres cyclically fade over the next ten years. 

Vintage Halloween German Porcelain Jam Pot

This superb item was made in Germany between 1908 and 1932, with a bias toward the earlier time frame. The seller is correct in stating that the top edge is typically rough and cannot be considered a flaw. I personally looked this very item over some years back and can attest to its quality. In my opinion, the leaf repair can be done better. A qualified restorer could make this jam pot's lid leaf look nearly as good as new. The RSIN on this item is a "1," making it exceedingly rare. If you collect German porcelain - and what discerning collector wouldn't want to - snap this item up. 

09/19 Update: This sold for an astounding $1,225!

Antique Vintage German Halloween Child Pumpkin Tea Set Anthropomorphic Pitcher

It is difficult to differentiate German and Japanese porcelain tea set items from photos alone. We know that the Japanese copied a limited number of items from the more competently made German porcelain line. We also know that there is no evidence that the Japanese output was ever contemporaneously marked. I feel this creamer is likely one made in Japan for three reasons. It has a plethora of knobby protrusions. The lip of the creamer is inelegantly large. There is an open area where the handle ends inside the creamer. The German made creamers do not have this opening. Given that this is likely a Japan-made item, be cautious when bidding. SGV for the German creamers is $175. One made in Japan should bring substantially less. 

05/25 Update: I wasn't surprised this creamer fetched $132.50, as these Japanese porcelain items typically fetch far less than their German made counterparts.