Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Halloween Theme Party Noise Maker, early 1950's

Chein produced this hard-to-find noisemaker during the 1920s, patterned directly after their party scene tambourine. There are subtle differences between the two aside from coloration. Because blue and yellow are not colors traditionally associated with Halloween, collectors sometime overlook this little gem. This particular one is in rough condition, so hold off for a better one. The seller may have found it in a box with a 1950s date, but this was produced ~25 years earlier. 

Antique Beistle Die-Cut & Tissue Halloween Goblin Spook Pumpkin Witch Decoration

Beistle produced what I call their ugly elf roly-poly for a single season, 1930. There were at least three designs comprising a full set of this honeycomb-based roly-poly table decoration size. Two are shown on pages 226 and 227. The third known design is of a sinister clown, which recently entered the collection. This is my least favorite of the three, as it is an acquired taste. SGV is $475 for one in much better condition than this one. 

03/23 Update: The seller has an interesting strategy here. The original listing offered this at $129.99 and received zero bids, no doubt to this example's poor condition. Undaunted, the seller has nearly literally doubled down by relisting it for $229.99. I find the stratagem almost quaintly cute. If you do too, resist the temptation to pay anything more than $100 for this staple-ridden ugly-elf. 

vintage 1931 Halloween HALLOWE'EN SUGGESTIONS Bogie Book by Dennison's

Given my comment on the importance of condition in the post below, I was surprised to see this tatty old thing actually vacuumed $129 out of someone's pocket. SGV is $95, but this item's condition should have put off collectors at the BIN price level. I feel a value in the $50-65 range would be more understandable. By the way, the JOL policeman drawn on the front cover's lower left corner is one of the most difficult Dennison diecuts to find. I bought the one in the collection decades ago when I didn't quite understand the relative scarcity of things. I've only seen one other ever offrered for sale and that had a date written in ink across the front. 

Vintage Glass Hand Painted Halloween Jack o Lantern, VGC

These cold-painted glass JOLs are not particularly rare, but what sets this one apart is the condition of the paint. Made in the teens and into the early 1920s, these typically have severely deteriorated paint. Often they are cracked and missing the threaded top. This seems to be one of the nicest examples I've seen for some time. I think a price up to $200 is reasonable. 

03/21 Update: Someone snagged themselves a deal, picking this up for a relative song at $154.63. 

Vintage 1920s Halloween Invitation, Pop Up Witch, Cauldron, Cats, Ghouls, Unused

I sure have received a lot of traffic related to the ending price of this well-designed, colorful and very rare invitation. One long-time reader asked me what I thought. Here was my reply: "The sub-genre of small paper has been on fire for the last year or more. I see the trend continuing and strengthening. The high prices may be drawing forth heretofore unseen examples of the sub-genre. The item you mention is one I had never seen before. The lushness of the design and color evoked great interest. The springboard seems to have been at the $165 level. Three committed pursuers escalated the bids to the final level. Do I think that is a sustainable price? No. If others were to surface, I think the price would settle to $250 then be sustainable at $200." 

Thanks to the excellent memory of a long-time reader, I was reminded that two examples of this invitation were sold through Dunbar Gallery in 1997 at the second Hugh Luck auction. 

Vintage Halloween Catalog "Dennison's Bogie Book" 1915 w/Mailing Envelope

This listing featuring both the 1915 Dennison Bogie Book itself plus the exceedingly rare 1915 enclosure is the third time this has surfaced within about seven months. Guide value for the duo is $775. The duo listed in July 2016 fetched ~$838. The duo listed in August 2016 fetched ~$810. Comparing condition of the two from last year to this one, this is in third place, the least best. Both the envelope and the Bogie Book have much more wear showing. SGV is $775, but the condition here may work against this listing from achieving that sustainable level. It'll be fun to see where this ends. 

03/14 Update: As I suspected, this set in fair condition ended well below SGV - at $556.99. Condition is so important that there was almost a 33% decline in the money this brought compared to the only previous two examples sold on eBay. 


The seller is offering this not uncommon Beistle game for $149.95. SGV is $60, so I don't feel anyone will be interested at that price. The seller is offering a "make offer" option, so I would advise $45-55 is the right price given its condition. Beistle secured a copyright for this game in 1935, but didn't actually produce for distribution until 1938. Production continued for many seasons thereafter. 

Vintage 1920s Beistle Halloween Favor Basket, Ghoul, Jack-O-Lantern, Cauldron

Beistle produced four different honeycomb favor basket designs. Although the four designs surface with roughly the same level of frequency, this particular design is the hardest to locate in collectible condition. (Why, I don't know...) What I do know is that the condition on this one, by a fabulous seller, is the best I've seen in some time. SGV is $325. With over five days to go as of this writing, the price is on-track to attain that pricing level. This design is, without doubt, the most eye-catching one Beistle produced.

03/07 Update: This desirable Beistle favor basket ended up fetching a very strong price of $425. The second underbidder stopped at SGV, while the ending price was as a result of two determined bidders. 

03/21 Update: To illustrate the importance of condition, another one of these sold on eBay on 03/20. It was in fair to good condition and fetched only $73. 

XL Halloween Cat On Green Grass Superb Condition Diecut 18" X 12"

I saw that this seller had a number of these scalloped-edged diecuts up for sale and immediately wondered if the ever-so-elusive skeleton in the graveyard might have been one of them. Alas, it wasn't. However, this particular one of the arched-back black cat was in remarkably clean condition, yet sold for only $120. (The listing showed that an offer was accepted on the original BIN price of $150. That offer was $120.) The buyer got a very good deal! 

Rosen Valentine Mechanical Box Sheds Light

OK, why in tarnation am I profiling a Valentine's Day item on my Halloween blog? The answer, faithful reader, is that I have long been puzzled and bothered about the fantastic and ultra-rare Rosen mechanical "Pops" boxes you can find on pages 116-118. For what purpose were these sold? Because of their rarity and the number of suckers each could hold, I thought they must have been retail countertop displays. However, I suspect now, thanks to this Rosen Valentine Pops box, that reasonable conclusion is wrong. 
Some good friends acquired this box. Like virtually all of the Pops boxes I have seen, the graphics are interesting and the mechanical feature fun. One spins the dial at top and possible names of your Valentine appear in the small space at the end of one of the boy's hands. (One of the dog's eyes change, too.) While spinning, instead of the constellation of old-timey names like Ethel, there is one blank space. Now, look at the photo taken of the bottom of the box. You can see that it suggests, "If your pal's name does not appear on Dial, you can print the name in blank space." This instruction would not appear if the Valentine Pops box was meant to be a retail countertop display. Based on this, I think all similarly constructed Rosen mechanical boxes were meant to be sold to the end-consumer, not to be used as a retail countertop display. 
Unfortunately, this find sheds little light on when these boxes were produced. I am still assigning a production date of the mid-1930s to the earliest boxes. 

Lot of 12 Vintage Halloween Invitations & Envelopes Unused Pumpkin Black Cat Owl

Bidding was hot and heavy on this lot. I can somewhat understand why - the invitation is well done, energetic and nicely colored. I think that $29.75 each was a bit much, especially considering that one of the twelve has a serious discoloration to the upper right front. This seller certainly scored some great small paper, selling with overall strong results - results consistent with the trend I've been noticing these past months. When bidding on a lot containing many duplicates, paying top dollar is something to be avoided. It'll be interesting to see if singles begin to appear for sale. 

Vintage Dennison Halloween Ghost Invitation, Victorian Couple, Unused w/Envelope

Dennison excelled in small form factor ephemera. This tri-fold ghost invitation first appeared in the 1922 Bogie Book. Everything is exquisite about this item from the unsettling expression on the ghost or ghoul to the distended lettering. Given how hot this sub-genre of collecting is right now, I'll be surprised if the ending price doesn't blow past the guide value of $65. The condition is near-perfect, as is the seller! 

I am not surprised this  fetched $154.50. I don't feel this is a sustainable price, but do feel the guide value is too low.