More Paper Mache Halloween LanternsBy Mark Chervenka
More Paper Mache Halloween Lanterns
A group of six new Halloween lanterns are available in the market. The group includes a black round-shaped cat's head, an orange cat head/shoulders (Fig. 1), a devil head (Fig. 2) and three different pumpkin heads. All are handmade paper mache and have old appearing wire handles. All colors are spray painted. New retail prices were $29-$39; seller claims only 50 of each style have been made. The items have been found in the Internet auction system, antique malls and shows.
There are a number of ways to catch these new products. First, the new unpainted papier mache (at least in this group) glows bright white under long wave black light. You will see the bright fluorescence anywhere the surface is not covered with paint. The easiest place to look is at the holes punctured in the lanterns for the wire handle. Insides of most, but not all, of the new lanterns also fluoresce. This generally depends on how the inside is painted or sealed. Any scratch that goes through the surface paint also fluoresces.
The paper inserts that come with the new lanterns also fluoresce but they can be easily removed. Of the new pieces we've seen offered so far, all have had the new inserts removed. Staining the inserts can sometimes prevent black light detection. If your black light test is inconclusive, examine the printing. The inserts with the new lanterns is made on a laser color printer or copier which leaves a distinctive dot pattern. Old inserts should not show the dot structure found in modern color printing.
Once into the antiques market these new pieces can quickly be "enhanced" with forged marks like "Germany" or American design patent information. Anyone who can afford the price of a rubber stamp can make the marks.