‘Tis the season, the Halloween Season. One of my personal favorites in the collectibles arena has always been Vintage Halloween. It’s mystical and almost taboo, and there are lots of reasons it’s sought after. Let’s start first with the “good stuff.” The golden era of Halloween production ran from about 1920 to 1949. The postcard artwork, the iconic die cuts featuring black cats, witches, jack-o-lanterns and bats all conjure up great nostalgia. These items are very collectible and still popular, plus original pieces are quite rare. Mainly due to the fact it was not widely accepted to decorate with, as it is today. It was also moving through the onset of the depression era, so money for these collectibles was not abundant, and again, kind of taboo for the time period and most likely made you “the weirdos on the block.” Which is very unlike today as I see monster blow ups from Lowes and Home Depot in every one’s lawn.
The Golden Era is the most copied and reproduced so finding out if you have the genuine article can be a bit tricky. As I always say, if you really want to know, contact an expert. Some of the paper die cuts can fetch several hundred dollars. A 5-inch 1920s Moon and Owl die cut brought $250 at a recent auction. Not bad for a little round piece of paper. I bring this up as decorations are some of the most common things people tend to throw away when cleaning out “Grandma’s house.” They see paper or cardboard and think it’s not worth anything. I once rescued about $5,000 from a dumpster. A family in Quakertown, Pennsylvania decided to clean before we got there to pick up their parent’s antiques for an auction. I just happened to mention “it’s a shame you don’t have old Halloween decor” to compliment mom’s old Christmas, when the informed me, they threw a bunch of old Halloween decorations away. I said where, they said, “in there” and the rest was a dumpster dive. Not my first, nor last, I am sure. Again, this job is one of the reasons I always tell people, don’t throw anything away until you have an expert come over.
As the 1950s and 60s came, it became more popular, call it the silver age and it moved in to everything. Toys, lights, costumes, motion-ettes, those awesome orange plastic classics, also now copied and so much more. Some of the 1960s Halloween themed tin toys are quite collectible too. Noise makers, lithographed tambourines and the like. We do find these articles to have a seasonal market. Being hot now through Halloween and then the prices tends to soften. All the seasonal collectibles do this. Demand increases when it’s top of mind for people, and so do prices. There is a collector base for seasonal collectibles, but it tends to be very volatile after the holiday as people are packing up and putting away their holiday displays for the next holidays. In my experience, Halloween has a stronger year-round appeal for some reason than say, Christmas. I believe it’s just the rarity versus your Christmas options. Anyway, I hope you find this helpful or interesting. Or, maybe scary and haunting. Until next article, boo.