When I first saw this ratchet noisemaker at an estate sale, I almost passed on it. It was in a bag of other miscellaneous junk for $4 and frankly, I have enough noisemakers.
I came back the next day (50% off) and it was still there, so I went ahead and bought it. I assumed it was just another New Year's Eve noisemaker, but when I got a closer look at it at home, I noticed the imagery was a little different.
Given the Jack O' Lantern lantern (that's redundant), moon and owl motif, it turned out to be a Halloween noisemaker.
It has a wooden handle, so it is probably pre-World War II. The art style leads me to believe it probably dates from the '20s or '30's.
As cool as it is, I decided to put it out on eBay. As I've said in the past, I do need to sell things to avoid becoming a hoarder as well as to fund future sales. I started the bidding at $19.99 and by the last hour of the auction it was sitting at $36. In the last few minutes of the sale, 3 bidders got into a war and drove the price up to $108. I was worried there might be a little buyer's remorse, but the winner of the auction was very happy when they received it.
Vintage Halloween items have skyrocketed in value in the past few years and are at an all-time high based on what I've observed with not only this noisemaker, but other items on eBay. Mark Ledenbach, vintage Halloween authority and author, has noted this trend on his blog halloweencollector.com. He calls these "unsustainable values" and Halloween collectibles could be the next bubble to burst like so many other collectible fields.