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Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

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.

1930's PRINTED PAPER-FACED TAMBORINE w/TIN RIM-7" in Diameter

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.

VTG 1930's? HALLOWEEN PARTY INVITATION OPENS DIE CUT DOOR CAT WITCH UNUSED

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.

5 DIE CUT OUT HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS 4 WITCHES & ONE GHOST FENCE SNAKES PUMPKINS

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.

1930's Vintage Halloween Witch in Cauldron Die Cut - Rare Glow in Dark

This seller comes up with the most wonderful items! It’s nice to see some interesting items popping up on eBay, as there has been too much junk of late. As stated in the listing, this witch falling into a cauldron glow-in-the-dark decoration is a companion piece to the Jitterbug Jones decoration shown on page 293. I don’t know which firm produced this innovative item. I thought I had a photo of the placard that would have been attached to this originally, but I can’t find it. This is the best one (of the three) that I’ve seen for sale. I’ve never seen one in-person - they are that rare. It’ll be fun to see what this fetches. Its RSIN would definitely be a 1.

03/11 Update: Thanks to a fellow collector who may have the only compete example extant, I can relay what is printed on the placard that should be attached to this diecut: “Turn off the light And ghostly bright A grinning skull Glows thru the night.”

03/14 Update: This sold for an eye-popping $960! It wasn’t even complete. Irrational exuberance?

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?

Antique German Halloween candy container Witch on cat TINY!

This great seller rightly states that most such German compo items were cheaply made and cheaply sold so the molding isn’t the finest. That said, some were very finely cast indeed. Those items were expensive then (~1910-1914, then late teens through the mid-30s) and command quite a premium today. For what this is, the result is quite pleasing. The witch looks comfortable as she sits on a sturdy black cat with an enormous spring tail. This would have a home in any respectable collection. I do wonder if the candy box is original to the piece.

02/19 Update: I thought this would bring more than it did - $227.50.