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What's Selling on eBay: October 2015

What's Selling on eBay: October 2015

by Deborah Abernethy and Mike McLeod
$1,435 (27 bidders, 10 bids): Cut Tin Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Candle Holder on Wood Pole.
A very scarce late-19th to early-20th century antique Halloween cut tin jack-o-lantern on a wooden pole used for a light for kids while they trick or treat. A candle is placed inside for a light. The tin is about 8 inches in diameter.
(Photo: eBay seller Posters!.)

DBA:  Halloween is thought to have originated as a Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would ward off roaming ghosts by lighting bonfires and wearing costumes so the dead would not recognize them. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory II designated November 1 as All Saints’ Day, which incorporated some of the Samhain traditions. The evening before was All Hallow’s Eve, later called Halloween. (In 1000 A.D., November 2 was made All Soul’s Day.) In Colonial America, Halloween was celebrated primarily by harvest celebrations and stories of the dead. Trick or treating was thought to have originated with the Irish immigrants and English/Irish customs in the mid-19th century. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to prevent the ghosts from entering. Around 1900, Halloween molded into a celebration more about harvest festivals and less about ghosts and pranks and was for young and old alike. It became a child-centered event with the children dressing in costumes and asking for candy around 1950.

The jack-o’-lantern is an Irish custom. The fable goes like this: a drunken farmer named Jack tricked the devil, resulting in him being turned away from both heaven and hell after he died. As he was forced to wander around Purgatory, Jack made a lantern from a turnip and a lump of coal that the devil tossed him from hell. When the Irish came to America, they substituted pumpkins, since turnips were scarce.
This is probably a parade lantern. And this is the going rate for a circa 1900 jack-o’-lantern parade pumpkin.
$212 (24 bids, 9 bidders): Large Folk Art Halloween, Painted Lobster Claw, Witches & Warlock Ornament.
By the age of the cloth hats and the painted surface, I figure these two folk art lobster claw ornaments are from the early 20th century. You can see holes at the top of the dark grayish-black linen hats, showing these ornaments were hung. Including the hat, the larger claw measures 15 inches tall by 6 inches wide, and the smaller claw is 14 inches tall by 4.75 inches wide. In the smaller claw, some filler was added. I am sure that this was done when they were first painted. There are no problems or any restorations to these two folk art Halloween ornaments.
(Photo, courtesy of eBay seller wwolst12.)

DBA: I remember Halloween as being a holiday where children wore some form of home-made costume and trick-or-treated for candy. Adults stayed home and handed candy out and staved off the tricks. Decorations were old sheets cut-up and hung on the shrubbery and carved pumpkins, usually not professionally done.  Halloween has become a much bigger holiday than most of us remember and more commercial, so I had to dig around on the internet to find that there were collectors of Halloween decorations. This seems to be a retail price for vintage decorations, and I could find other similar objects.
$4,850 (22 bids, 7 bidders): Antique Pair 19c Devoursney Fire Truck Coach Lantern Lamp, Oceana I, Etched Glass.
Have been electrified, one cracked lens, looks like a replacement; dimensions 20 inches x 6 inches, 5 lbs. Each has a brass mounting but not sure if original.
(Photo: eBay seller antiqatony.)

DBA:  These are somewhat rare, and I could only find one selling at retail. The price was close to the eBay price received. At auction, I found them selling for much less. Compared to most auction prices, the seller got a deal.
“The firm’s name is A. P. DeVoursney and G.A. Ortmann, and they manufactured nothing but first-class goods, namely coach, hearse, landau, T-cart, buggy, phaeton, etc., lamps; carriage-mouldings of all sizes and designs, either in gold, silver, brass, or German silver; also nameplates, nut-caps, etc. Fire apparatus signals and lanterns are specialties with this enterprising firm. Bent, beveled and flat plate glass is a very important part of the business, as well as metal spinning in all its branches. In fact, they claim to have the most complete facility for turning out work by any establishment in the country.” (Taken from Google books, Finance & Industry:  The New York Stock Exchange 1886, Page 219.)
$3,150 (23 bids, 7 bidders): Man in the Moon Board Game McLoughlin Brothers, Antique Game 1901.
Very rare 1901 McLoughlin Brothers Man in the Moon game. It features a full-color, lithographed, bright yellow moon with a man’s head. Box is in sound condition with a clean playing field. Contains wooden playing pieces, not certain if 100% complete. In good to fair condition for being 114 years old.
(Photo: eBay seller oxfordmagic.)

DBA: For reasons that I do not know (as I spend little time playing board games), this game sells for more money than the other board games from the same era. A retail guide places this at $3,400. I did find some selling at auction for much less, but I cannot verify the condition of those. The game is like checkers, except that instead of jumping an opponent to capture it, a player must surround the piece on two sides. The object is to not become the “man in the moon.” The game was made in two versions, one with a very decorative box and one in a plain box. It is circa 1900. All considered, I believe the seller got a great deal, because the only other prices that I could find were in retail situations.
$6,600 (11 bids, 2 bidders): Antique John Henry Belter Sofa & 4 Chairs, 1800-1899, American, Rococo, Rosewood.
Rare find. John Henry Belter parlor set purchased by my family 150 years ago. One sofa, two matching side chairs, one matching arm chair, and one slipper chair with pierced carved back. Time to let someone else enjoy this treasure. Excellent condition for being over 150 years old.
(Photo: eBay seller mdf1987.)

DBA:  Belter did not mark his furniture, and it can be difficult to determine if he made a particular object. His work usually involved at least seven layers of laminated wood topped by rosewood with intricate openwork carving. This price is in line with most auction prices for similar sets. If you consider the retail market, then the buyer got a good deal. It can be considered a good deal for the seller as well when you consider the commissions usually paid for selling costs.
Deborah Abernethy is a certified appraiser with the International Association of Appraisers. She can be contacted at 404-262-2131 or Her website is

What’s Selling on eBay: October 2015