Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Rare Vintage 20s 30s Japan Halloween PAPER & JINGLE BELL Witch Face Tambourine

This item was one I’d not seen before. The way it is constructed is exactly the same as how I feel its companion piece was constructed. That item sports a devil face - much more interesting and memorable than this rather pallid-faced crone. I felt it should have brought more, but perhaps the imagery worked against it. Turn to page 198 to see the devil tam companion.

1930 rare sexy flying witch Halloween tambourine

This rare tambourine might very well have brought a stronger price if the seller, seemingly new to eBay, had posted numerous, clear photos. Simply posting one blurry photo and providing a skimpy description was a poor effort on the seller’s part. This Deco witch flying over a cityscape tambourine noisemaker is rare enough I’ve never seen one in good enough condition to acquire. It was produced by T. Cohn during the 1930s.

I just received this email from the buyer - an informed and savvy collector: “… looking forward to your upcoming auction. I have been looking for a mint condition version of this tambourine for my collection. After many requests for additional pictures with no results I was able to get the seller to tell me it is in mint condition.  I took a chance and paid $300 for it. I will let you know if I made the right decision.”  

03/12 Update: The acquiring collector turned out to be thrilled with his purchase. It turns out the tambourine was in near-mint+ condition. I wonder why the seller didn’t bother posting several clear photos?

Vintage Kirchhof "Life of the party" tin tambourine l930's-40's

Whenever you see a tin litho item marked "Life of the Party," you know two things immediately: Kirchhof produced the item and the item was produced during the 1950s. Even if this witch face tambourine wasn't marked, you should deduce it is of more recent vintage by the bright colors used. Contrast it with one made with muted colors during the 1930s shown on page 215. 


The best item in this trio is the tambourine. I've been looking to add one to the collection for years but cannot find one in good enough condition. (There is another iteration using a different color scheme that you can see on page 216.) Made by an unknown US manufacturer during the 1930s, the simplicity of the design is compelling. SGV is $225. 

1920's Halloween Tamborine Noise Maker

This unmarked printed paper tambourine with a decorated tin rim was made during the 1930s. As I write on page 213, "Several collectors have said they have found this tambourine sold as part of a "Gypsy Woman" costume boxed set issued by Collegeville in the 1930s."

Vintage Halloween Tin Litho Tambourine Noisemaker T. Conn

This seller obtained very nice results across the board for his tin litho offerings, a genre that has been flickering back to life. This tambourine is quite rare. I've been wanting to acquire one for the collection, but this one escaped my scrutiny as I was traveling. Produced by T. Cohn during the 1930s, this design has that motion and energy the best Art Deco designs were meant to convey. 

Vintage Halloween Black Cat Drum Decoration

I believe this item is something handmade, not commercially produced. (It is for this reason I place this post here rather than in the "Fakes, Etc." section.) Although the photos show an item that looks like it has some age to it, I can't be certain. What I do know is that this has zero collectible value. 

01/31 Update: Someone liked this well enough to have paid $34.99. 


There are a couple of quick ways a collector could immediately determine this tin litho tambourine was manufactured during the 1950s. First, this Kirchhof noisemaker is marked, "Life of the Party," a mark only used during this time. Second, the colors are much brighter than the original design. (Look at the bottom of page 215 to see the original design issued during the 1930s.) The price of this older tambourine design tends to hover around $60, whereas the "Life of the Party" releases tend to bring less, sometimes much less. 

01/19 Update: This brought $39.88, about the right amount. 

Vintage Halloween Tambourine - U.S. Toy Co. - Jack-O'-Lantern with Witch

Too bad there is so much rust on this rare tambourine, one of the better designs out there. This Art Deco inspired noisemaker was manufactured by T. Cohn of Brooklyn, New York, sometime during the 1930s. It has an RSIN of 2, so you know it doesn't surface often. Guide value in near-perfect condition is $375, but I doubt this well-loved piece will approach that figure. 

J. Chein Halloween Tambourine (tamborine) Halloween Party Scene!!!

These tin litho tambourines are common enough that they should be purchased for inclusion into a serious collection only if they are in stellar condition. (The percentage of such tin litho items is quite small, heightening your chance of price appreciation if your collecting interests change and you decide to deaccession it.) This particular example of a classic Chein scene appears to be in eminently collectible condition. The BIN price is a tad high, but submit an offer for $250. That should be accepted. 

08/17 Update: A reader let me know she followed my advice and is now the proud owner of this super tambourine!