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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage German Embossed Halloween Decoration Die Cut 1930s SKELETON PLAYING TUBA

What a pleasant surprise to see this exceedingly rare German diecut listed on eBay. It is one of the designs sold to Canada in 1935, so it makes sense the seller is in Canada. There are four diecuts to this desirable set. The others show a skeleton playing a violin, an accordion and a drum. I know of only a handful of collectors who own one or more of this set. The pale blue background, present on all four designs, is very unusual and sets these heavily embossed diecuts apart from others. This listing has only been active for less than one hour and there are already multiple bids. I expect this to fetch serious dollars. It’ll be instructive to see the result.

09/08 Update: This sold for $2,025, about what I felt it should bring. Congrats to the prevailing bidder.

Creepy 1899 date Skeleton Skull Antikamnia Cure Medicine Pawn Star Calendar Card

Although these items do not fall within the category of a vintage Halloween collectible, I thought I’d comment on this sale nonetheless. I began seeking to buy complete Antikamnia Chemical Company calendar sets over twenty years ago, well before interest in them began to soar. The firm, long defunct, sent calendars to doctors gratis as an advertising gimmick. The first calendar was 1897. From that year through 1900 each complete calendar consisted of 6 hand-tinted cards showing two months each. These mischievous skeletons were drawn by Louis Crusius. Although he died at a young age in 1898, Antikamnia had purchased enough drawings to publish and distribute these calendars through 1901. (The last year’s calendar consists of only 4 hand-tinted cards showing three months each.) I now own near-mint or better examples of each calendar page, numbering 28 in total. They look awesome framed together. I’m glad to see they are finally getting the exposure in popular culture that I feel they deserve.

VINTAGE 1960 Beistle HALLOWEEN SKELETON Riding Horse Die-Cut Party Decoration

One of these in better condition sold in October 2014 for $294.50. At that time I commented that this diecut was a divisive one with collectors aligned pretty evenly along the hate/love continuum. This was issued by Beistle from 1960-1962 when they were nearly out of gas creatively. They soon after began their descent into the mire of mediocrity. This excellent eBay seller has three of the harder-to-find diecuts from this era up for auction now. Like comic books at the end of a run generally being hard to get as the production numbers dwindle, Beistle made relatively few of these diecuts, and on typically thinner stock than earlier designs. Stylistically, these are less interesting being more "cute" than memorable. That said, I have one in the collection. I applaud the unknown artist for his color choices - if nothing else! 

02/06 Update: This sold for $400, significantly higher than expected. 

Fantastic vintage 1935 Beistle 57"" "Dangling Skeleton" with original envelope!!

This is a tough item to find in collectible condition. The seller is correct - this is a large, impressive item. The asking price is too high. SGV is $175. He has placed a "Make Offer" option to the listing, so he knows the asking price is aggressive. If you want this great item, I feel the outer edge of the pricing atmosphere is $225. 

09/06 Update: Someone with a deep pocket actually paid $345 for this, surely a new record. 

Wonderful Vintage Jointed Halloween Skeleton-Embossed-Heavy Cardboard-38in-EXCLT

The Germans issued three sizes of this deeply embossed articulated skeleton design during the 1920s. The size you will see most commonly is 27" high. This intermediate size is rarely seen, while the largest, at ~50" high, is exceedingly rare. Prices for the German diecut skeletons have been strong for some time. The seller has not provided enough photos, with none showing the reverse, so that will almost certainly impact the final price. Given that the most common size brings ~$150, this should bring somewhat less than double. 

Vintage Halloween Beistle Luhrs Full Size Jointed Skeleton w/ Original Envelope

It is great to see some nice items being offered this season. This large envelope containing "The Perfect Hallowe'en Decoration" was produced by Beistle during the early 1930s. The value for this set lies almost entirely with the envelope. It is one that rarely surfaces in this shape. Sustainable guide value is $175. 

10/16 Update: It may be that time of the year when most collectors have spent their vintage Halloween budget , as this fine enveloped item brought only $132.50. 

Rare - Vintage - Halloween Skeleton Noisemaker / Rattle - Metal Toy 1960's

I don't understand a lot of the auction results I'm seeing. This noisemaker, a very cool 1960s design by US Metal Toy, is not particularly rare, as it surfaces with regularity. It typically changes hands for $225. As is so often the case here, there were only two determined bidders driving up the price to this wholly unsustainable level. Unless the prevailing bidder offers it to the underbidder, I am certain this price will never again be obtained for this item. Collectors: have patience unless money is no concern. 

Vintage Halloween Cardboard Decoration Skeleton Beistle Dennison USA

This great set was produced by Beistle during the early 1930s. The gem of the lot is the packaging, because as with so much packaging, it was typically tossed out right away. For one to survive in the condition this new seller is offering is unusual and should be snapped right up. The package measures ~22" high by ~12" wide. Guide value for the set is $175. Skeleton diecuts have been on a roll lately, so it'll be instructive to see where this ends. 

Early Beistle jointed Halloween skeleton with orange background

This attractive skeleton diecut with its unusual orange background was manufactured by Beistle during the early 1930s. It has an RSIN of 2, which surely accounts for why this item, suffering from some serious head damage, still brought $35.77. I tend to think the guide value of $75 for a near-mint example is a tad low given the recent strength of the skeleton diecut sub-genre.

Vintage 1930s rare 14 inch HALLOWEEN Jitterbug Jones & WITCH 2 GLOW-IN-THE-DARK

I'd love to know the story here. When this lot ended at $636.99, I didn't believe it. I called a close friend and fellow collector to get her reaction. She said maybe it is time to sell our collections if people are willing to pay such a high price for items with such obvious condition issues. Not only are both items missing their placards, but the amount of wear, plus the presence of tape remnants, is a turn-off. However, the seller relisted the pair less than a mere two hours later. So, did the prevailing bidder get cold feet? These really shouldn't go for more than $200-$250 total. 

09/22 Update: I received an email from the prevailing bidder today explaining that she had inadvertently placed a mistaken bid amount by inserting a third digit in her haste to bid. The seller graciously accepted this explanation and didn't bind the bidder to the placed bid. Doesn't this truly indicate that the seller is fair-minded?