Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage BEISTLE 8" Jack O Lantern Boy Honeycomb Halloween Original Pumpkin

It is great to continue seeing a smattering of quality listings. This listing of a Beistle roly-poly both raises and answers a question. The question it raises is this: Does it really measure 10.5” high? I’ve asked the seller to double-check the measurement. I just received a response saying she’ll do that by tomorrow. The more common set of Beistle roly-poly honeycomb figures measures 8” high. (Saying they are more common overstates it as none from the set are often seen. However, compared to the larger set of which I surmise this listing is part of, they are seen more often.) The four members of this smaller set can be seen across the tops of pages 226-227. Two of the larger set, including this one, run along the bottom of those pages. The question it answers is did this item have a stem? The one I purchased has no stem nor any evidence that there ever was one. This listed item clearly shows a stem, however denuded of surface paper it is. Sustainable guide value is $475 for this roly.

08/06 Update: Unfortunately, the seller inadvertently tore this rare roly in two. It does measure 10.5” high when complete.

08/13 Update: This sold for $280, strong dollars considering the restoration costs involved in getting it back together.


Beistle issued four roly-poly designs in this size during the 1930-31 seasons only. None surface often, and when they do they are in terrible condition like this one. Given the condition, I feel this was an excessive amount to pay. The four designs are a witch, a JOL-headed scarecrow, a seated black cat and an academic owl. (All can be seen on pages 226-227.) In terms of great imagery, that would be the same order I rank them. So, although I can understand why someone would want a compelling piece like the roly witch, the tattered condition should have acted as a brake on price. 

Antique Beistle Die-Cut & Tissue Halloween Goblin Spook Pumpkin Witch Decoration

Beistle produced what I call their ugly elf roly-poly for a single season, 1930. There were at least three designs comprising a full set of this honeycomb-based roly-poly table decoration size. Two are shown on pages 226 and 227. The third known design is of a sinister clown, which recently entered the collection. This is my least favorite of the three, as it is an acquired taste. SGV is $475 for one in much better condition than this one. 

03/23 Update: The seller has an interesting strategy here. The original listing offered this at $129.99 and received zero bids, no doubt to this example's poor condition. Undaunted, the seller has nearly literally doubled down by relisting it for $229.99. I find the stratagem almost quaintly cute. If you do too, resist the temptation to pay anything more than $100 for this staple-ridden ugly-elf. 

04/01 Update: There was definitely method to this seller's madness as this item fetched a BIN offer of $195 which was accepted. 

Vintage Beistle Halloween Roly Poly Scarecrow, Diamond Mark, Orange Honeycomb

This listing presents a minor mystery. This scarecrow roly-poly was one of four designs Beistle issued in 1930. (You can see all four on pages 226-227.) Beistle's own marketing material says this: "Assorted four designs, printed on cardboard both sides, in full Halloween colors. Stands 8" high and with heavy weighted honeycomb tissue ball bottom, 5" in diameter." Beistle issued all four of the designs with the same stock number of 692. My theory is that this one-sided item was a salesman sample. The handwritten notation references the stock number, a price and a price per gross. My theory is simply that. If someone has another insight, I'd definitely love to hear it. 

10/18 Update: This item only brought $105.50, much less than I would have thought.