Vintage Halloween Collectibles Wish List

Do you love Halloween Memorabilia? Do you wish all the money in the world belonged to you so you could buy Halloween collectibles? Join the club!

I adore the vintage Halloween style. I especially love old Halloween antiques, but true Halloween collectibles are pricey, leaving many of us out in the cold. Interest in Halloween yesteryears has spawned a growing sidearm in the Halloween retail industry, replica vintage Halloween décor. Beistle Company, which started out in 1900 making paper products, was one of the very first companies to make Halloween decorations and party goods. Today, they make replica items of their very own designs! Pretty genius.

There is one downside however, and that’s if you’re a serious collector who wants real vintage merchandise, you might have a tougher time finding authentic vintage memorabilia. Those who wish to get into collecting vintage Halloween items, you need to do your homework. Learn the business, the items, the creators, the prices, even the people who deal in collectible market. Many of them are quite nice and always willing to answer questions or help out with their vast knowledge of Halloween history.

There are tons of guides out there. Two of my favorite comprehensive guides are Vintage Halloween Collectibles, 3rd Edition by Mark B. Ledenbach, and the newly published, Vintage Hallowe’en: Tricks, Treats & Traditions authored and created Robert S. Pandis and Heidi Pandis.

 

Everyone has different preferences in the type of Halloween collectibles, they’d like to own. Below is my own personal wish list.  Feel free to chime in on the comments below or hit me up on Twitter and Instagram and let me know what’s on your list.

Vintage Postcards, 1910s
($5-$100) **

Vintage postcards and other ephemera can be found at paper shows and antique shops. Prices vary based on condition and rarity of the piece.

 

Beistle Embossed Die Cut – Black Cats and Moon,
($20-$100) **

Authentic Halloween Die Cuts  are usually thick cardboard and embossed, always check the back. Prices vary based on condition and rarity of the piece.

 

Gurley Novelty Co. Halloween Candles, 1950s
($15-$80) **

I posted a pic on Instagram on October 8, 2019 that shows the solo black cat below, but in really bad shape. I’d love to get another one and more like it.

 

Dennison’s Bogie Book, 1920
($30-$150) **

This is a pic of the original Hallowe’en, Harvest and Thanksgiving party planning guide. There are many Bogie Books from Dennison’s floating around. The 1920 version is supposedly in public domain, which means anyone can copy, reprint and sell them. If you just want the information, cool, but understand, you’re not buying an antique.  I’ve seen authentic originals sell upwards of $150.

Dennisons Bogie Book Collectible 1925

Anton Reiche Dresden Witch or Pumpkin Chocolate Molds, 1930s
($25-$350) **

If you’re a chocolate lover, you might enjoy checking out this history of chocolate molds from Germany, at http://www.chocolatemoldsmuseum.com/history/chocolate-molds/    Friedrich Anton Reiche from Dresden made lots of chocolate molds for several holidays, including these two below for Halloween.

 

Rosbro Halloween Snowman Candy Container, 1950s
($75-$250) **

There are hundreds of collectible Halloween candy containers from either Rosen/Rosbro or Kokomold to search out if you’re looking to get into collecting those (I hear the Kokomold witch rocket on wheels are extremely rare and valuable), but I particularly adore these Halloween Snowmen.

vintage halloween snowman

Vintage Horror Movie Posters, 1930s
($1500-$435,500) **

According to this Guardian article from 2012, The Mummy film poster from 1932 comes in as the second most expensive film poster of all-time, behind the Sci-fi thriller, Metropolis from 1927, which recently auctioned off for $1.2 million, along with other memorabilia in a bankruptcy deal.

Mummy Film Poster 1932

**All prices are only estimates from the lowest to highest auctions that I’ve seen.

Tuesday Terror – The Black Cat

The Black Cat (1932)
“Did you ever hear of Satanism, the worship of the devil, of evil?”

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Today’s black and white classic is the horror-thriller The Black Cat from Universal Pictures. Horror icons Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff square off for the first time in a movie about a traumatized doctor with a cat phobia named Werdegast and an American newlywed couple, who seek medical aid at the home of the doctor’s nemesis, Hjalmar Poelzig, the dark high priest of a devil-worshipping cult. The doctor’s original plans of revenge on Poelzig are changed when it is revealed the priest plans to sacrifice the young bride at the dark of the moon.

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Produced by Carl Laemmle, Jr., the young studio head believed in director Edgar G. Ulmer’s vision enough so the man had free rein over the pic. Although presumed to be loosely based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe, there are not too many similarities here. It’s a bit strange really because the movie is good enough to stand on its own merits. This perhaps one of my favorite classic films. The story is excellent, with strong performances from the entire cast. David Manners and Julie Bishop pile on the melodrama with their romance, which is now part of the charm in some of these old films, but let’s be honest, they weren’t who we’re here to see anyway.  Lugosi playing the tortured Werdegast against Karloff’s evil Poelzig in a battle for screen supremacy is one of the best horror face-offs ever found in horror. I’d say Lugosi is the clear winner, due to a more fully fleshed-out character and more dialogue to offer, but Karloff does manage to say quite a lot with just a creepy stare. Madness and secret motivations are the whole reason why this film is so scary. Clearly, something evil has hold of these men.

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The film escaped the Pre-code guidelines but Ulmer’s first cut of the film, which included several scenes of satanic worship and skinning alive of Herr Poelzig, was deemed too dark and violent for the Laemmles (father and son). Between that and Bela Lugosi’s complaints that he appeared to be too villainous, Ulmer reshot several scenes,  downplaying the gruesome last scene, and added some sprinkling of humanity in the tragic Dr. Werdegast. In a touch of irony, while cleaning up the film’s ending, Ulmer snuck in some extra shots of Poelzig’s necrophilic menagerie. Already heavy with a dark look and satanic theme, studio execs managed to miss The Black’s Cat’s seriously taboo subject matter, or perhaps they ignored it.

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The eerie movie score runs 80 minutes contains many classical selections, including the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, only the second time a horror film featured the now cliched song.  The set of Poelzig’s mansion is considered somewhat of a masterpiece in the industry, part art deco, part haunted house. In contrast to The Old Dark House, this film is well-lit, casting defined shadows in a way that you’re unsure if you’re watching a horror film at all.

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The Black Cat is considered to be the first movie to use psychological horror, capitalizing on public interest in psychiatry at that time. Despite the audience’s distaste for the dark subject matter, it was the biggest box office hit for Universal that year, due in part to the popularity of its stars.  What didn’t work then is exactly why it works now. The Black Cat is creepy, scary, and a masterclass in great classic horror.

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