Halloween is one of the most popular holidays with collectors. People often collect because they have positive memories of something from the past. Apparently, wearing a Disney character or superhero costume as a child and having neighbors give you candy has left many collectors wanting Halloween related memorabilia.
The History Channel’s website states that trick or treating has been a tradition for about 100 years. Ancient Celtic festivals, early Roman Catholic holidays and medieval practices may have influenced trick or treating. Halloween itself derived from the Celtics holiday of Samhain. Over 2,000 years ago the Celts would light bonfires and offer sacrifices to the dead.
Postcards and other Halloween memorabilia can be found from the early 1900’s. On his website halloweencollector.com, Mark B. Ledenbach writes that some of the best Halloween decorations were German made from 1919 to 1935. He considers this period to be the zenith of production in both variety and quality of design. Ledenbach and many other collectors seek vintage decorations. He focuses on objects from the 1950’s and earlier.
One of the top Halloween collectibles are candy containers. German paper mache circa 1920’s candy containers featured characters made of pumpkins and other vegetables along with black cats and other Halloween figures. Because they were easily damaged a 1920’s candy container in great condition might bring you a figure in the $1,000’s.
Die-cuts are popular with Halloween collectors. Die-cuts from the 1920’s including witches, jack o’ lanterns, devils and skeletons can bring $100’s or more. Although Germany produced many of these high quality pieces, companies in America were also making them. Dennison Company of Framingham, MA and the Beistle Company of Shippensburg, PA manufactured Halloween decorations that collectors of today desire.
As with other antiques and collectibles, display pieces always attract buyers. Although not strictly related to Halloween horror movie posters can bring astronomical prices. A 1927 “London After Midnight” Lon Chaney poster was just reported to have sold for $478,000 at auction. Even posters from “spook shows” which featured horror movies and magic in local movie theatres from the 1940’s to 60’s are collectible. Bidding went into the 100’s for one that we sold at auction several years ago. A circa 1950’s Hostess Cupcake poster with a Halloween theme brought a similar price at one of our sales despite damage from nail holes.
Many other types of Halloween antiques are also collectible. Rare items like early 1900’s tin parade lanterns can sell in the $1,000’s. German paper mache jack o’ lanterns and other figures often bring figures in the low $100’s. Halloween costumes in good condition are also desirable. This includes older hand made costumes that are well made along with some vintage manufactured costumes. Tin noisemakers featuring Halloween decorations also always have willing buyers. Even antique photos of children in their costumes are collectible. Collectibles continue to bring strong prices for what Mark Ledenbach calls “the quintessential American holiday”.
We are currently making pickups at estates throughout the region and accepting quality consignments for our next live antique estates auction which is scheduled for January 28th.
Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services www.centralmassauctions.com (508-612- 6111), firstname.lastname@example.org