Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

RARE Vintage Halloween GIBSON ART Paper OHIO BLACK CAT Candle Light Transparency

Wow, I never imagined a world where this delicate and rare candle transparency would have sold for $450! I love the photos this fine seller included, as I’ve always had difficulty imagining how this was supposed to be used. The one in my collection appears on page 44. It is in near-mint condition. I’d be thrilled to sell it for $375 plus shipping. Any takers?

Antique Beistle Steeple Witch with Cat and Bat and Moon - 1930's, Scalloped edge

This very large diecut was produced by Beistle beginning in 1932. It is exceptionally hard to find in near-perfect condition primarily because of its size and irregular border. Based on close scrutiny of the many photos provided, I feel this is one of the very best ones of this design I've seen in many years, if not ever. The colors look undimmed and the borders appear perfect aside from that bit of tape at the hanging hole. Wow! 

05/03 Update: This sold for $634.99, roughly double SGV. 

rare 1930s beistle large owl embossed

This large perched owl diecut was produced by Beistle for numerous seasons beginning in 1932. It is one of the set of large, scalloped-edged diecuts they issued. (Others are a broomed witch flying over a town, an arched-back clack cat, a seated black cat and the very elusive skeleton walking through a graveyard.) All except the last one listed surface enough that sustainable guide value is not often exceeded and then by modest amounts. SGV for this embossed item is $180. Be careful not to overpay except, at times, for very rare items or items in near-mint or better condition.  


This is a great image and part of a set of five scalloped-edged, sizable diecuts Beistle began producing in 1932. Given their large size, these typically surface in poor condition. This one seems pretty nice. (Tape residue on the reverse doesn't bother me at all.) The rarest one from the set of 5 is the skeleton walking through the graveyard. It has been several years since one has surfaced. It sold for ~$3400. 

XL Halloween Cat On Green Grass Superb Condition Diecut 18" X 12"

I saw that this seller had a number of these scalloped-edged diecuts up for sale and immediately wondered if the ever-so-elusive skeleton in the graveyard might have been one of them. Alas, it wasn't. However, this particular one of the arched-back black cat was in remarkably clean condition, yet sold for only $120. (The listing showed that an offer was accepted on the original BIN price of $150. That offer was $120.) The buyer got a very good deal! 

JUMBO 18 1/2" Halloween black cat, embossed die cut w/ easel back, USA - NR

Given the enormity of this diecut and its scalloped edges, the condition issues the seller points out are insignificant. Beistle made a group of five of these large, scalloped-edged diecuts beginning in the early 1930s. (This cat, a broomed witch, an arched-backed cat and an owl all appear on pages 149-150.) Of the five, one design almost never surfaces - the skeleton in the graveyard shown on page 137. Even though all five were marketed for many years, the skeleton is so coveted that the last time one surfaced, in October of 2014, it sold for ~$3500. I have yet to hear a theory as to its rarity that makes sense. 


HOLY TOLEDO, BATMAN! I almost fell right off my chair when I saw this come up. This is, for many, many collectors THE holy grail Beistle diecut. Instructively, in just the few hours since its listing, the price has reached $710. I project it will zoom much, much further into the stratosphere. Here is what I have to say about this superb diecut in my third edition, made at the zenith of Beistle's creative powers:
A touch of mystery swirls around this object. All the catalogs I have examined, Beistle publications and the many ones put out by wholesalers over the years, indicate this embossed diecut was sold as one of a set of four. There were five large diecuts with scalloped edges made beginning in the early 1930s. (The other four can be seen in Diecuts.)  Some catalogs show that at times this skeleton in the graveyard was sold with the seated cat while others show it was at times sold with the arched-back cat. The others, owl and broomed witch, remain constants. The point is that the skeleton in the graveyard is itself a constant in these publications, so why doesn’t it ever turn up? I finally landed the one in the collection quite reasonably when it was improperly lotted in an auction in 2010. Two have popped up on Ebay, both quite damaged. Other than that, zilch! This is a large, colorful and eye-catching design measuring 18.5” h x 11.75” w. Look at how the branches of the Wizard of Oz-like trees end in creatures. Dark and creepy! This killer item is valued at $1,800 to $2,000

10/03 Update: I'm still reeling by what this ultra-rare and eminently desirable diecut brought - $3,350 - far eclipsing sustainable guide value. Like with anything else, if another in this condition were to surface in the short/medium term, the price would be notably lower as the number of players at this level is relatively small. Bravo to both the seller and buyer. What a ride watching this auction was!