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.

Halloween German Miniature Diecut, Witch Stirs Cauldron, 1930s

This is arguably the very best design of the set to which this German mini-diecut belongs. Its intricacy while maintaining such a small form-factor is appealing. Prices this season have been extraordinarily strong, which causes me to wonder where all the money is coming from. Typically, at this point in the cycle, prices start to droop due to many, many listings and the depletion of the more casual collector’s monetary resources. I haven’t seen that repeated this cycle to the extent I forecasted. One theory is that our hobby is experiencing an influx of well-heeled new collectors. (Thankfully, I started collecting in the 1980s!)

Vintage Mid 1900s Halloween Paper Mache Witch

This rare pulp witch candy holder is a challenge to find in collectible condition for reasons that escape me. I added one to the collection during the last year when I saw one in great, although imperfect condition. (I had resisted acquiring one as condition was always problematic.) The seller neglects to mention height. This is impressively sized at ~8.25” high and makes a great display item.

09/08 Update: Glad to see this fine pulp figural brought $321.

Vintage Halloween Die-Cut Witch & Honeycomb Cauldron RARE

Beistle produced at least three table decoration designs that incorporated their signature honeycomb onto a diecut backdrop. They produced these only during the 1957-58 seasons. They were apparently not strong sellers. I don’t feel many were produced, and certainly few have survived the 60+ years since they were made. None of the three designs surface often, so this is a rare opportunity to acquire one. I’ve seen this table decoration maybe three times in 31 years of collecting. One has thus far escaped my grasp. It shows a bashful scarecrow near a honeycomb pumpkin. That can be seen on page 7 of Lasansky’s reference. The other to the set can be seen on page 228 of my third and final edition.

08/25 Update: This ended up bringing $182.49. Even though the condition of the honeycomb is problematic, I feel the buyer did well.

Vintage Metal Halloween Noisemaker Snaggletooth Witch 8"

You can confidently date this long-produced gypsy witch clanger to the 1950s. How? Earlier versions used wood balls for both sides. As with all tin litho manufacturers, T. Cohn had to find a way to compete in the cutthroat 1950s thanks to an onslaught of cheaply made Japanese products. One of their cost saving measures was to replace the wood balls with these unattractive flat-stamped pieces of tin. I prefer the earlier versions.

Rare Halloween German Antique Diecut Witch 2 piece 3D effect Black Cat Crow 9”

It’s heartening to see rare diecuts like this surface amongst the vast array of crapola that has largely become eBay. I first saw this diecut when I acquired one for the collection in September 2015. I think it was amongst the designs made in 1935 for export to Canada. It is quite an eye-catcher with the white hair. The use of a crow is also unusual. As I type this, the price has been bid up to $392.79. I expect it to go much higher. Good luck!

06/12 Update: I felt this should have brought more. It ended at $1,312.

Vintage HALLOWEEN Greeting Card Invite Black Cat Witch & Bat Mary Lyon School

I recently posted a photo of the one in the collection that was acquired in April 2017 in the Acquisitions section of the site. Prior to that time I’d never seen this Dennison invitation design. This is a sweet, intricate invitation. Based on the day and partial date written inside, this was sent out for a party in 1930. Here is what I wrote about this in the Acquisitions section: “This is one of the gems of the small paper collection. Beginning in 1929 when this was produced, Dennison was hard hit by the Great Depression, as were so many other firms making non-essential items. They responded by making fewer holiday items in fewer numbers - and lived to tell about it. (Dennison is still in business today, albeit through mergers.) Prior to acquiring this invitation I had never seen it before. I know of one other in a collection. It is unused. When opened, there are partial pine trees at the left and the right, with a lined area where a party host would delineate the party details. It measures 4” high by 3.5” across, closed. Acquired in April 2017. RSIN: 1”

05/21 Update: This sold for $247.16, lower than I would have expected.


The version shown on page 213 has a decorated rim whereas this one has a plain rim. I’m surprised there would be two versions of such an economically made design. I would love to know for sure which firm produced this tambourine. Several collectors have mentioned that they’ve found this tambourine design as part of a Collegeville “gypsy” costume from the 1930s, but I’ve never been able to independently verify that Collegeville included such items with their costumes.

Vintage Halloween Witch With Fire & Broom Celluloid Viscoloid Toy Rattle; Great!

Hands down, Viscoloid made the most memorable designs in celluloid. The array of stunning colors used and their unsurpassed molding sets Viscoloid items apart from all other makers. (Just look at those cheekbones!) I’ve not seen this particular witch before. It’ll be fun to see what price this fetches.

04/25 Update: I was staggered at the ending price of $2,938.88.


This incredible invitation is part of a set of at least three produced by Whitney during the early 1920s. (One shows a cat on the stoop, while the other has an owl on the stoop. This one is the most populated and, in my opinion, the very best.) As I forecast some time ago, small paper has become a white-hot market segment. This same seller sold another one of these in September of 2018 for $495. Most collectors I know have decidedly moved on from lanterns and many candy containers to concentrate on small paper (invitations, place cards, tallies and nut cups) made by a wide variety of manufacturers and diecuts made by Dennison, Gibson and Beistle. As the first generation of serious collectors leave the stage, defined as those who began collecting in earnest during the 1960s, the market will see a relatively large influx of lanterns and candy containers become available. Few first, second or even third generation collectors concentrated on paper goods, so few collections richly featuring such items will be coming to market in the near to medium-term. My analysis routinely indicates that certain market segments will slacken while others grow even more competitive. The small paper market segment, for one, will continue to see price increases that will outstrip, maybe far outstrip, price increases seen elsewhere.


This is a jumble of parts to arguably the very best interlocking centerpiece that Whitney ever produced. Each piece is quite a bit larger than pieces comprising other interlocking centerpieces. Some of these pieces measure up to 9.5” high. The lot on offer is missing a side while having duplicates of two others. Sadly, all look to be in regrettable condition. Look on page 274 to see the one ghost side missing. This may very well have been one of the few Whitney paper masterpieces they produced before shutting their doors in 1942.

04/02 Update: This jumble sold for $135.50.