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Collecting 2008 Update
Halloween collecting has changed dramatically since we wrote our first Halloween Collecting article about nine years ago. While much of what we wrote about collecting what you like has not changed, the kinds of items that are becoming more collectable has changed.
But Halloween is about to take another turn. Department 56 announced in November that it will discontinue much of its line including Halloween production. Department 56 has been the leading creator of unique items from cider servers, candy dishes, ornaments, fondue pots, and lots, lots more. They brought to the forefront many designer's products from Patience Brewster's Krinkles, to Steve Brown's Glitterville, to Poliwogg clay sculptures. There were many more, but these are just a few. Without Department 56, it leaves the marketplace wide open for a new designer.
Certainly it goes without saying that older Halloween collectibles from earlier in the 19th and 20th century still hold firm as the mainstays of Halloween collecting. If you can find them at a reasonable price, go for them, by all means.
But what’s new and highly collectible? Halloween has become such a hot commodity that everyone is jumping on the ship. You can run down to your local discount store and find loads of cute Halloween items. You may even find a few that say they are produced in limited quantities. But that doesn’t necessarily make them collectible. Even in the face of this economical adversity, it was announced that individuals spent more money, in the billions, on Halloween this past 2008 Halloween than ever before.
||We have arrived at some sort of categorization of Halloween products over these years. There are the Gore categories, that include gory masks, costumes and props, and then there are the fun Ghoulish home entertainment type of collectibles. We tend to feel that the latter of home entertainment presents more collectible status simply by its virtue of being regularly available to families and children. And that factor creates a lot of the collectibility factor. People tend to collect childhood memories. If it is something you enjoyed as a youth, you’ll typically want to bring back those fond memories. The problem is, and always will be, what happens when those products are no longer available? With the marketplace of Halloween products shrinking, only certain online collectors may have what you are looking for.|
Department 56, as a large producer, was one of the leaders in the industry. From their Halloween villages to their annual cider servers, salt and peppers and other fun serving items, nearly everything they produced was popular. Over time, Department 56 has signed artists from Poliwoggs, Glitterville, and more. Those have come and gone. But Dept 56 items remained as popular as ever. Note: As of 11/08 we now refer to Department 56 in the past tense. They have made a corporate decision to downsize and discontinue the production of many holiday items, including Halloween. We think that after they purchased Lenox, it must have swallowed up some of their potential. Dept 56 will continue their village, and will only produce limited edition items. What a shame. So what you see on our website is the end of stock that we will ever have.
Replacing them at the high level of popularity, may very well be Bethany Lowe which produces reproductions of antique looking collectibles. Their attention to detail is fantastic. They have several artists working for them and each one has a unique approach to their designs. The original designs are sent overseas and reproduced for mass sale here in the USA.
We tend to lean more towards the unique designers who create original designs. They sign their work and date it, but don’t even need to proclaim that it is a limited edition and number it, because it is ONE OF A KIND.
Boardwalk Originals use to air brush plywood Halloween designs. They signed and dated those originals. But they sold their designs and authorization to K&K and now they are massed produced on particle board. We have a very limited number and now realize the value of them. We no longer sell those unique originals
Andy Faye was another favorite. Her work was even in museums. Her original pieces of clay art were fun and exciting. But she no longer produces for the open market, and we have retired her pieces to our own personal collection.
This year we discovered AR of Spookylvania Studios, and were astounded that no big producer has signed her. We’re glad they haven’t discovered her yet. She buys old clocks, lamps and the like, takes them apart, paints them, and voila – makes old look new again. But not just new! Her attention to detail is remarkable. Unless you have ever tried to paint the designs she creates, you have no idea of the painstaking time it takes to completely redesign something from scratch.
We have exclusive rights to some of her most creative work. Many will be retained in our personal museum of Halloween collectibles. Over the years we have seen a lot of Halloween collectibles, but it is AR’s ability to create fun, useful items such as clocks, lamps, trays, and even art prints, that makes us feel like she is the Georgia O’Keefe of Halloween. Take a look at her pages of items and you’ll understand why we select her as having the potential of being highly collectible, now and in the future.
In her Spookylvania Studios, AR creates one of a kind Halloween collectibles by taking old items and making them new and collectible again. Clocks, lamps, gourds, prints and more. She applies numerous coats of paint and then the fun begins. The first time we saw one of her creations, we were hooked. The colors, the characters, the spooky little eyes, the pumpkin vines, and more. Each piece amazes us because she takes a new approach to each collectible. AR also creates miniature collectible prints, and a few larger ones 9' x 11', ideal for framing. Having collected signed, limited lithographs, we realize the value of miniature prints. Her attention to detail on even the small prints is fascinating.
This is one artist to watch. Like many artists, you never know when the artist may switch to another genre and then, suddenly, those few items become scarce and highly collectible in their own right. We are excited to feature her work.
are other artists that are similarly exciting to collect. Many have
been picked up by companies such as Bethany Lowe.
Bethany Lowe is a self-taught artist whose love of antiques and holiday traditions has led her into the world of design. Beth began her career as an artist in 1987 when she created her first Nicholas in “the Nostalgia for Nicholas Collection.” Since then her line has expanded rapidly and is marketed through specialty shops, museum shops and galleries throughout the world. Many are based upon folk art legend characters from around the world. However, her most popular designs have been inspired by her own imagination and life experiences.
Bethany offers a collection of artists who all began on their own, and because their work was so fascinating, they were signed to work for a company. Their dinner plates (at right) are the best. This collection includes dinner plate, salad plate, cup and saucer, and now they added candlesticks, bowls, and platters. Watch for this set to climb in value over the years. There is nothing else like it on the market.
few of our favorite artists with Bethany at this time are ......
“Hobgoblins” from the vintage collection of Bruce Elsass
Bruce Elsass is never more excited than when he has found rare holiday pieces of ephemera in “mint” condition! His love of unusual and unique vintage decorations has taken him cross-country through antique shops, flea markets, garage sales and collector’s events for the past 30 years. All of the “Hobgoblins” designs, which include Valentine’s Day, Easter, Americana, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, are based on these items from Bruce’s extensive collections.
Growing up in the small farm town of New Knoxville, Ohio, Bruce has fond memories of celebrating holidays with his family - especially Halloween. His creative parents encouraged him to dress up and have innocent fun trick-or-treating throughout the town. Those childhood memories have expanded into a lifelong passion for collecting vintage Halloween and other holiday decorations.
Scott Smith of “Rucus Studio”: Inspired by the magic of the
holidays, Scott Smith enjoys creating a cast of characters that rekindle
childhood memories. He focuses on the lighthearted feeling a child might
experience each year when the family decorations are displayed. This is
a memory Scott cherishes and hopes to pass on to others.
finish this conversation without discussing Stephen Brown and Bryan
Wilkerson of Glitterville. For the past few years they designed and
produced for Department 56. Their
backgrounds in costume design and fine arts allow them to bring their
whimsical holiday creations to life. Their unique glittering figures and
ornaments have enlivened holiday windows on New York's 5th Ave, Chicago
Now they have moved on to a new company called 180 Degrees. Their colorful work provides a whimsical view into childhood fantasies. And now with their new company they have delved into an eerie world of black and silver Halloween items that are unique in their own approach to the holiday. Adorned with silver skulls, the serving trays, punch bowls and other useful party accessories will delight the Halloween spirit in you..
|As soon as we wrap up this update on collectibles, we always know that someone else is going to come along that will produce other enjoyable Halloween collectibles. But until that time, we hope you have enjoyed this collecting update.|
Ghoulish Gifts & Frightful Decor
Quantities are extremely limited, especially as we get towards Halloween. Order early to make sure you get what you want!