Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Rare Vintage Halloween Place Card in Mint Condition

I love this little gem of a place card. As the seller states, there is a lot going on within its borders. I have never seen this before, so I know it is rare. I am impressed with its eccentric design elements. I know it isn't Beistle or Dennison. Gibson was generally consistent in marking their items, so I rule them out too. It may be Whitney, but I think it was produced by one of the myriad small-market players like Volland, The Henderson Line, etc. What I do know is that if you don't jump on this now, you may never see another one - especially in this pristine condition. 


Tin has been one of the coldest genres in the hobby for well over five years. Mint tambourines and the most unusual tin litho items are the sole things commanding substantial dollars, by and large. This exceedingly rare item surfaces perhaps once every two years. Unmarked, the graphics are whimsical and fun. The design is odd in that the handle is plain Jane. All of the effort and money was put into the two clapping disks. Made during the 1920s, sustainable guide value is $275. 


What a nice surprise to see this exceedingly rare diecut being auctioned. This is the smaller of two similar designs. (The other can be seen on page 136.) Each is breathtakingly rare. The seller describes this as being in fair condition, but it seems better than that to me. Yes, the bends in the legs are somewhat off-putting, but the separation between the tail and the wing could be easily mended. The last time one was listed was almost exactly one year ago and it fetched $3,100. It was a mirror-image of this one and was in better condition and was much brighter. The Germans made this very late in their production of holiday items for the export market before WWII. These "last year" designs were almost exclusively exported to the population centers in eastern Canada and are among the most interesting, out-there designs the Germans made before WWII - and arguably ever. 
Take a moment and read the questions and answers posted as part of the listing. They all ask for a BIN price to be added, fair game for collectors eager to get a dream piece without the uncertainties of the auction process. The seller is smart, saying basically no - there is too much interest. Read the pathetic question posted by a "Michael," who bangs on about how he wants one and then makes an eye-rollingly low-ball offer of $70. What a schmuck! I kind of hope he never gets to own one of these. 

03/18 Update: I have heard from an avalanche of collectors since this auction ended last night, most stating that if they knew it was going to be sold for such a pittance, they would have bid. The moral of the story is always to place a bid for the maximum you'd want to pay, because sometimes you might score a bargain like whomever this prevailing bidder was. It sold for only $913.99. 

1930's-1940's Halloween die cut Skeleton head with pirate hat

I don't believe I have seen this variant before. The seller incorrectly attributes this to Beistle. It was made in 1935 in Germany. I have seen the basic skull and crossbones diecut with three different hats before seeing this one, so there were at least 4 designs, but more likely a total of 6 designs. If the damage wasn't so obvious, it would be a candidate for acquisition. 


Please see the item directly below, as it is of the same ilk. The seller, who writes that they have been collectors for over 40 years, inexplicably puts this very desirable German suit case (or purse) candy container made from 1916-1921 up on Ebay with a BIN of $75, a fraction of what this would have brought using the auction format! The size is somewhat smaller than the iteration more commonly seen, so who knows what it may have brought. Wow! Kudos to the buyer who was a fast mover, surely disbelieving in their incredibly good fortune.