Something Wicked, Scary and Valuable- this way comes!
Early 1900’s cardstock/cardboard machine-created cutouts (die-cuts) depicting characters or themes, can be quite collectible-especially Halloween-related. Collector’s will be pay top-dollar to own a particular die-cut.
Fond yesteryear memories of the macabre holiday called Halloween
My special yesteryear Halloween memories during the ’60s, were the best!
One of the things I remember about Halloween as a child, was feeling special when asked by the teacher to help decorate the walls, doors. huge windows and blackboards in our classroom and school halls with scary Halloween-themed, character cut-outs (die-cuts). These spooks and goblins cardboard die-cuts were colorful and fun, and they really helped us get into the Halloween spirit. (Not to mention-the costumes or getups, we were allowed to wear in school for just one day, or the Trick-or-Treating lines we formed into to go through the different classrooms.)
Who would of ever thought back then, that these various ghoulish Halloween cutout depictions could be quite collectible and valuable?
History of Halloween Cardstock Die -Cut Wall Decorations
It was the Beistle Company of Pennsylvania who first introduced holiday “honeycomb” crepe paper products- along with help from the Paper Novelty Company- they created Halloween cardstock, die-cut, wall cut-outs. Later on, during the early 1900’s, the company added other American holiday-themed paper-made products and catalogs gradually added to the public. This holiday paper merchandise, was affordable to the consumer and sold in stores, such as Woolworth’s and Kresge’s. Since the early 1920’s, over 1000 different special occasion designs and decorations have been added. Some of the earlier depictions were skeletons-then came the witches, jack o’ lanterns (i.e. JOL’s,) bats, scarecrows, owls, devil-faces, black cats, ghosts, spiders, and several other morbid creatures generated over the years.
From the 1920s-1930s, German artisans would also produce Halloween die -cuts. Unfortunately, with the onset of WWII, production had to be ceased due to the Third Reich.
It was the American companies: Beistle and E. H. Luhrs Company of Pennsylvania, and the Dennison Manufacturing Company of Massachusetts, who were mass-producers of low-cost, whimsical holiday party decorations and paper ephemera.
The rare ’20s and ’30s Beistle Halloween die-cuts can selling for well over a hundred dollars, and the die-cuts from the mid-century selling range being from $30- $100 each. (More, if found in original packaging-never used.)
How to date them?
Look for die-cuts with-Made in U.S.A and the name of the company (Luhrs, Beistle, Dennison) printed somewhere on the fronts, in small letters. Additionally, I would invest in a good Halloween Collector’s reference guidebook. Look online at vintage Halloween decor which sold for over $100 and note their appearance, color and features. It seems the earlier die-cuts used the primary colors of orange, black, yellow, white and bright green. (Some exceptions do apply.)
Remember-Rarity rules! It’s the earlier manufactured Halloween die-cuts produced in Germany, that lead the way in collectibility. Vintage German-made die-cut Halloween decorations, can sell for hundreds of dollars……EACH!
Note-the die-cuts produced in Germany will have a thicker cardboard and heavily embossed features.
So, get to digging, and find an absurd amount of cash in those holiday decoration storage boxes.
Watch for my next Halloween creature- featured article this week.