Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Halloween German RARE Tiara Diadem Diecut JOL Clown Black Cats Antique 1920’s

This German tiara is so minty! Given how they were meant to be used, referenced in the listing itself, this is in surprisingly excellent condition. The Germans made twelve designs comprising a full set during the 1920s. They were marketed as diadems, although tiara has become the way in which these kinds of items are referenced. All designs are rare. Some designs have more oomph to them. In my view this one, the pirate JOL, the cat in a feathered hat and the owl trio are the best.

RARE Vintage Halloween DEVIL Tiara Diadem Diecut Decoration. Germany 1930s

This seller has four of the better tiara designs listed for sale right now. Overall, condition seems to be quite good. The Germans issued these as a set of 12 during the 1920s. I feel individual designs were also sold separately. Given the recent sale wherein another tiara design brought an unsustainable price of $1608.14, I felt we'd be seeing others flushed out by the frenzy generated by a relative handful of determined, deep-pocketed bidders. What I didn't expect was to see some of the best and rarest designs being offered is such fine condition. The Halloween market seems to be too frothy right now. It'll be interesting to see what prices these tiaras bring on September 3rd. 

09/04 Update: The devil tiara brought $790. The seller's other three tiaras brought $1782.12, $1982.12 and $2182.12. These are astounding sums. I will sell any of my tiaras - I own all 12 - for an average of these last three prices! :) 

Vintage Old German Halloween Devil Satan Face w Black Cats Die Cut Pressed Paper

The Germans produced a total of twelve tiara or diadem designs during the 1920s. All of them are hard to find in collectible condition, but this is arguably the toughest and the most eye-catching. This devil design brought only an ~18% premium to sustainable guide value, smaller than I would have forecast given that one hasn't surfaced in some time. Undoubtedly, if this had been offered for sale in August, it would have fetched far more. 


I was on the road for nearly one week with two close friends, who also happen to be collectors, scouring many antiques shops in California as far south as Orange up to Modesto, attending the Alameda Point show and having the privilege to visit a number of private collections. (I also made time to attend Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland for the third consecutive year. If you haven't done so, make time for it. Very fun...) What I was reminded of through all of these adventures was just how hard it is to find any vintage Halloween for sale, aside from the hard plastic and common US JOLs one sees regularly. It is frustrating and perhaps helps explain why some hard-to-find items bring nose-bleed prices that are far afield from sustainable guide values. This tiara, or diadem, is an example. Yes, it is in great condition, but the buyer will surely not see this price attained again. 

Antique 1930's German Die Cut Halloween Diadem ( Tiara) w/ Original Bag

This is a notable listing - so good to see on Ebay. The Germans produced 12 different diecut tiaras, or diadems, during the 1920s. Although packaged as a set, as illustrated by the envelope present, they more often were sold individually, accounting for their varied rarity and value. On page 188 of my newly published third edition, the seated cat is valued at $275. The envelope is exceptionally rare. The last one listed had with it about 6 tiaras and fetched several thousand dollars. 

01/12 Update: This listing ended at $1,331.77, a completely unsustainable result. The tiara typically fetches $275, so is the tattered sleeve worth over a thousand bucks? I don't think so...

RARE NOS Vintage German Die Cut Diecut Halloween Diadems in Orig. Bag Skull Cat

A faithful reader asked me to comment on this auction. These tiaras, or diadems, are rare enough that when several come up in one lot in near-mint condition, with an original envelope to boot, no matter how beat up it was, fireworks were going to be seen. There was MUCH chatter about this listing amongst my friends during its run, so the ending result doesn't surprise me. (Another reason for my lack of surprise is that I was the underbidder, at a hair under $3,000.) Although I didn't need any of them per se, I would have upgraded several in the collection and probably would have kept the tattered envelope. I have several diecuts that have the same notation of "Shadowlawn" on their reverse sides, so re-uniting them at this far remove of time would have been gratifying. Whether these are truly worth over $3,000 is open to question. A part of me was absolutely OK not being the prevailing bidder. (In my view, the star of the lot was the witch. I've been trying to upgrade mine for many years.) 

Knorpp Halloween Nightowl Paper Tiara 1916

If you check out my post just a few down the page, you'll see the lantern from which this tiara derives. First off, it is nice to see a few truly rare items being listed on Ebay rather than the schlock that has been clogging the site's auction arteries seemingly for forever. 
Make no mistake about it, this tiara is rare! I have seen it precisely twice in my nearly 25 years of ardent collecting. So, what's the story on it? 
As my post below indicates, the Knorpp Candy Company made a hard-to-find four-panel lantern. What is less well known is that they made a tiara based on each side of the lantern. The tiaras are made from a medium stock paper that didn't hold up well given their intended use, no doubt partially explaining these tiaras true rarity. (Another reason is that I don't think they sold well, so were almost surely manufactured for a season or two with limited distribution.) I own only the devil. I have seen the owl twice and have yet to see the cat or the ghoul. 

06/08 Update: This tiara brought a solid $271.66.