Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.


Beach & Arthur of Indianapolis, Indiana made some of the most coveted party plates. Collectors love them due to their imaginative art and density of imagery. (To see some nice examples, please refer to pages 298-299.) Less known but just as exquisite are their other paper products like handled party cups. This listing is a good example of their output. 

I Have Returned

I've very recently returned from a wonderful road trip through California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Nevada, spending most of the time in Big Sky country. During this nearly two week stretch, I didn't have the capability to update my site. Thanks to the many people who checked in with me wondering when my next posts would appear. It is nice to know so many people follow my blog! I've just now posted comments on a few items. I'll also be adding items to my "For Sale" page over the next week, so please check back. 

Cindy Vogel's New Site

You must check out Cindy Vogel's fantastic new site wherein she is now selling quality vintage Halloween items. The site debuted today! I've already purchased a rare Gibson tally. Cindy, as most of you surely know, is a long-time seller on eBay who felt it was time to begin offering her great items via her own site. As a good friend, and someone I greatly respect, I wish her the VERY best. 

Please check the site out right now: Tell Cindy MBL sent you! 



Here's an example of a seller selling something via BIN who would have done better by offering these items via auction. The Luhrs' cat is forgettable but the witch postcard is one of a fiendishly difficult set to piece together. Although it has two spots on it that detract from perfection, it alone in this condition would have brought $35-40+. The key learning - as I've pointed out again and again - if you don't know the worth of something, NEVER offer it via BIN. 

Antique German Jack O' Lantern Halloween Humpty Dumpty

I've seen this imaginatively designed lantern several times in 30 years and it always makes me smile. Except for the blemish on a cheek, it is in better condition that the others I've seen. The shoes are typically trashed and the inserts are singed or gone. The inserts look right to me, although it is impossible to be sure short of a personal examination. This lantern was made in Germany, probably during the very early 1920s. You can't go wrong with this knowledgeable and nice seller. 

07/22 Update: I was happy to see this great item brought a strong $710. 

ca 1920s Halloween Invitation Card Shocked Witch Flying in Moon unused

This is an excellent bargain from a wonderful seller. This is a rare invitation with excellent graphics that should find a good home in any collection. There is no marking to indicate which firm produced it. I feel it was made by a regional firm with somewhat limited distribution. It is priced at an eminently reasonable $46 as a BIN. (If I didn't have one already, it would be already gone!) Someone needs to scoop this up pronto!

07/18 Update: I'm glad to note that someone followed my advice and bought this fine invitation a scant 19 minutes after my post. 

Halloween Placecard Unused, near mint, Witch Flies over Pumpkin House

The smaller companies like Henderson Line really had to try harder to break into the small paper market during its 1920s heyday. Dominated by the industry heavyweights like Dennison, Gibson and Beistle, these Davids had to be nimble to have even a modicum of success against the Goliaths. I think that Henderson Line's angle was to have many design styles in the marketplace at the same time. Look at this awesome place card offered by a fine seller that I've been happy to call a friend for many years. It is complicated in its imagery and given the many irregular borders it's a wonder it has survived intact. Contrast this great place card with two others produced by the same company around the same time shown on page 287. The one at the top has much finer detailing while the other is forgettably plain. This all-over-the-map design ethos didn't work for them as Henderson Line was a short-lived entity. 

1920s Halloween Noisemaker Squeaker Toy Germany Mechanical Die-cut Cardboard

The Germans produced many variations of this design in the early 1920s. What makes this stand out is that it still squeaks. Most of these fragile items fell silent decades ago. These were cleverly designed novelty items with their eyes changing when the mechanism is squeezed together. The ghost designs are among my favorite as they stand out in a display case. White really catches the eye when nestled among so many orange and black items. I appreciate this seller's careful and informative descriptions. 

Northcane Update

06/30 Update
The eBay seller, northcane, reached out to me via email during the morning of 06/27 to give me insight into why her auctions were stopped. I immediately wrote back with a synopsis of her email, asking her permission to post the synopsis. I received permission from northcane this afternoon via a very pleasant conversation. Here is that post, given with her permission: 

"The listings that were begun and then ended were a mistake caused by an estranged family member. She has spent 4-5 hours on the phone with eBay and is still in the midst of correcting this situation. Northcane hasn’t been active on eBay for some years due to illness, an illness that has now taken a turn for the worse. She regrets the situation and asks for your support in this trying time."
Let’s wish northcane well and hope for rapidly improving health!
Wow, I haven't received so many exasperated, borderline-angry emails since some under-informed bozos began claiming on Facebook that some of the rarest German diecuts were made through the 1980s! (If you believe that, then Elvis is really still alive, the moon landings never happened and Ringo is the most musically talented Beatle....but I digress.) 

The eBay seller, northcane, listed a high number of items on that site, many with pictures that couldn't be viewed properly. Today, all but seven of these listings have been cancelled, many with active bidders. From the emails I've received, these people are not happy. 

Interestingly, I spoke with a knowledgeable Halloween collector and friend earlier this week asking if she had a theory as to why this seller was listing so many things at once after a long absence. She responded that she didn't, but that she wouldn't do business with northcane anymore since the last time northcane listed, most of the listings were cancelled without explanation. 

Here are just three of the emails I've received this afternoon:

"I wanted to contact you about the seller Northcane on eBay who was putting up a shipload of Halloween items. I actually bid on a few items, now they are suddenly cancelling their auctions one by one. In retrospect I remember bidding on some items from this seller last year and the year before. I don't know what's going on, but they do this everytime. I don't see the point of putting these items on eBay ,let many people bid ,and then shut the auctions down. I have no idea who they are, but this is a very unprofessional and sneaky way to do business. I don't know what your take is, but it just seems very suspicious. I'm not one to make a big deal about stuff, but it does bother me that they do their business this way.I love your blog by the way and learn a lot."

"Soooo, I like to read your blog (avidly, I might add), and I noticed your comments about the person on E-bay who has recently flooded the Vintage Halloween market on E-bay. "Northcane" was dumping one heck of a collection ( and you were right, the mix-up with photo posting was not helpful to bidders) ! As many others, I am sure, I marveled at the quantity and quality of many of the items listed, and bid on a few. I continued to follow this lister, and the listings kept coming, most with the photo not visible. I thought that was strange, and even sent the person an e-mail pointing that out, and thought they'd figure it out, and re-post the ones with no photo, but that never happened. I have just received notice at approx. 7:30 p.m. EST that all bids on the items I had bid on were cancelled "due to an error in the listing ". I also went through my watch list, and most, if not all of those are cancelled as well. ... E-bay gave no other reason other than this basic notification. Do you know what's going on ?"

"So much for flooding the market ~ all of the items except for 7 (at this moment) have been cancelled. Maybe she will list them again with pictures..."


One of these rare games produced by Whitney during the 1920s last surfaced in July of 2014 and brought $318, so I feel this buyer got a good deal. I've seen one poor reproduction of this game offered for sale wherein the reverse was completely blank. So, be vigilant. If one pops up for sale, ensure that you check that the fortunes are printed on the reverse.