Cryptic Collectibles

Cryptic Collectibles: Five Decades of DARK SHADOWS Memorabilia!

on May 7, 2012 | 26 Comments

Though it’s been 41 years since the cult daytime drama Dark Shadows originally left the airwaves, the coffin never really remained shut on vampire Barnabas Collins and the show’s cast of other creepy characters.  Between spinoff movies, syndicated repeats on television, yearly fan conventions, a 1991 remake series, merchandise and numerous home video releases, interest in the gothic sudser has remained strong throughout the decades.

To celebrate the May issue of Rue Morgue and our coverage of both the original 1966-71 television classic and the soon-to-be released film version from Tim Burton (out this Friday, May 11), here is a look at some of the various Dark Shadows collectibles that have been produced over the past 46 years.  

The following is just a small sampling of some of the hundreds of items that have been released bearing the Dark Shadows name or featuring the familiar fanged visage of Barnabas Collins. Although a great deal of merchandise was produced during the height of the program’s popularity in 1968/69, there has also been a steady release of collectibles over the years, with numerous items having been released during this past year.

With only a few exceptions, much of the recently released merchandise shown here can be found in stores and from such online retailers as and In the case of vintage memorabilia, many of the items can be easily found on eBay. And for those who enjoy the experience, garage sales, flea markets and used bookstores may also yield some results. Prices and links are included for select items that are still available for sale from their respective sites.

Now, without further ado, here’s a look at some fangtastic Dark Shadows memorabilia …


This vintage mail order ad for Dark Shadows tie-in novels was featured on the back cover of a 1969 issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland. When Barnabas Collins (portrayed by the late Canadian stage actor Jonathan Frid) became a hit with television viewers, companies were keen to cash in on the interest generated; as a result, the majority of Dark Shadows memorabilia – both vintage and recent – features the character’s familiar fanged visage.


Here are a few of the thirty-three tie-in novelizations (some of which are featured in the above ad) published by Paperback Library from 1966-71. Written by Marilyn Ross (in actuality, Dan Ross), these particular volumes were printed between 1968 and 1971.


The Dark Shadows Original Soundtrack LP, released on the Phillips label in 1969. It sold several million copies and spent a number of weeks on the Billboard charts.


This is the 11×22 inch double-sided poster of stars Jonathan Frid and David Selby (who played ghost/werewolf/zombie character Quentin Collins) that was included inside the Dark Shadows Original Soundtrack LP.


Various Dark Shadows comic books published by Gold Key Comics between 1969 and 1971. The comics initially featured photo covers; these were later replaced with illustrated covers.


More Gold Key Dark Shadows comic books. These volumes were published between 1973 and 1975.


The popular Barnabas Collins Dark Shadows Game, manufactured by Milton Bradley Company and released in 1969. A previous DS-themed game had also been released by Whitman the year before.


Among the contents of the Barnabas Collins Dark Shadows Game were a miniature Barnabas casket, cardboard scaffolds, a spinner, several mini wooden stakes and glow-in-the-dark bones.


A Dark Shadows trading card wrapper, featuring an ad for Barnabas Collins mail-in ring promotion. The ring, which could be obtained with 50 cents and five wrappers, is now a rare collectible and can sell for up to hundreds of dollars. The cards were manufactured by the Philadelphia Chewing Gum Corporation and released in 1968 and ’69.


A vintage 1969 comic book ad for the MPC Barnabas Collins and Werewolf plastic model kits. The company also released a kit of a hot rod-styled “Barnabas Vampire Van”. Among some of the rarest Dark Shadows collectibles, mint condition specimens of these kits have been known to command prices of hundreds of dollars apiece. They were re-released last year by Round 2, a hobby company specializing in retro-themed model kits.


Dark Shadows was showcased in numerous magazines, including this October 1974 issue of Monsters of the Movies, published by Magazine Mangement Co. (Marvel Comics). The series was also featured in the first issue of the 1970 satirical comic book, Spoof, also published by Marvel.


The 1991 prime-time remake series starring Ben Cross and Barbara Steele spawned a small number of collectibles, including this short-lived but beautifully illustrated comic book line by Innovation, published from 1992-93.


A 2003 ad for MPI Home Video’s Dark Shadows DVD Club. Note the offer for the free Barnabas Collins bobblehead figure.


And here is the Barnabas bobblehead. The figure, along with others in the series, can be purchased at a discounted rate from MPI Home Video at


The fantastic-looking Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins 12-inch figure, produced by Majestic Toys in 2006.

This highly-detailed Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins 12-inch figure from Majestic Toys not only sported an amazing likeness of star Jonathan Frid, but also came with a cloth costume and several accessories, including a wolf’s head cane, stand and changeable heads and hands.


This nicely detailed 8-inch Barnabas Collins figure was released by Spectre Toys in 2010. The figure, which was produced and packaged in the style of 1970s “Mego” action figures quickly sold out, but another run of the figure (along with a second line that includes Quentin Collins, Barnabas’ doomed fiancée Josette DuPres and servant Willie Loomis) is slated to be available this November. All are available for pre-order from Entertainment Earth.

The 8-inch Chris Jennings Werewolf figure from Spectre Toys, released in 2010. A figure of witch Angelique Bouchard was also made available. Both are for sale at $19.99 from Entertainment Earth.


The reissue MPC Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins plastic model kit, released by Round 2 in 2011. For years, if you wanted to own one of the original kits from 1969, you had to pay up to a couple of hundred dollars or more. This reproduction version will set you back a mere $24.99. Available in select speciality stores and online at:


Here’s a peek at the contents of the reissue MPC Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins plastic model kit from Round 2. Included are optional glow-in-the parts, a base, numerous creepy accessories and instructions for assembly.


The reissue MPC Dark Shadows The Werewolf plastic model kit, released by Round 2 in 2011. It also has a SRP of $24.99, is available in select stores and at:


A peek inside the reissue MPC Dark Shadows Werewolf plastic model kit, released by Round 2 in 2011.


Included on the underside of the box packaging are these colourful, removable product inserts showing how great the kits look when they’re professionally built and painted.


The reissue MPC Dark Shadows Barnabas Vampire Van (SRP $24.99) plastic model kit from Round 2 and released in 2011. Available at:


Detail of the humorous packaging for Round 2′s reissue of the MPC Dark Shadows Barnabas Vampire Van plastic model kit.


Another view of the packaging for Round 2′s reissue of the MPC Dark Shadows Barnabas Vampire Van plastic model kit.


Those contemplating dressing up as Mr. Collins this Halloween will want to pick up the recently released Deluxe Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins Inverness Cape from Elope. This high quality, standard sized replica (made of a wool-blend fabric) carries a SRP of $82.99 and is available from Entertainment Earth.


You’ll also want Elope’s Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins Deluxe Adult Wig ($20.99) and the Barnabas Collins Ring ($4.99), both of which are available at Entertainment Earth.


Here’s a close-up of the fully adjustable Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins Ring, Elope, 2011. It’s a great-looking replica of Barnabas’ black onyx ring from the TV show.

And for the finishing touch to your costume, there is the Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins Cane (available in both a sturdy plastic version for $19.99; and a deluxe wooden one for $76.99); and Barnabas Deluxe Fangs ($7.99), all of which are slated for release in July. They can be pre-ordered now at:


Dynamite Entertainment has a new Dark Shadows comic book line available ($3.99 per issue), featuring gorgeous art that perfectly captures the likenesses of the original TV series actors. The company has also recently released trade paperback compilations of the issues. The line is available in bookstores, comic shops and numerous online retailers.


MPI Media Group recently released this numbered, limited edition 131 DVD set of the series (SRP $599.99), which includes all 1225 episodes, plus documentaries, bloopers, a personally signed postcard by Jonathan Frid and more. It has since sold out, but the company is putting out another run (slated for July release) minus Mr. Frid’s autographed card. It can be purchased from and numerous other online retailers.


The company has also released single disc compilation releases like the The Greatest Episodes Collection – Fan Favorites. SRP is $14.99 and it’s available from stores and numerous online retailers like


And finally, a number of items from the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film will soon see release, including this Original Score CD from WaterTower Music.  SRP is $9.99 and it’s available as both a download and CD from





Tags: Barnabas Collins, Barnabas Vampire Van, Ben Cross, collectibles, Dan Curtis, Dark Shadows, David Selby, Dynamite Entertainment, Elope, Gold Key Comics, johnny depp, Jonathan Frid, Majestic Studios, Marilyn Ross, Milton Bradley, MPC, MPI Home Video, MPI Media Group, Robert Cobert, Round 2 Models, Spectre Toys, tim burton

Responses to Cryptic Collectibles: Five Decades of DARK SHADOWS Memorabilia!

  1. Ty O'Neal says:

    I have really enjoyed this article, however I am surprised that the Signed, limited edition portrait print of Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins was not mentioned.

    We have had ours for a number of years and were wondering what it might be worth.



  2. James Burrell says:

    Hi Ty,

    Thanks for the comment and I’m glad that you enjoyed the piece.

    Is it the approximately 18×24 inch (limited to 500) print that you are referring to? If so, a completed auctions check on eBay reveals that it has been selling recently from between $260-$360. I hope that helps.


    • Ty O'Neal says:


      Thanks for the information.

      I’m glad people at least know about it. It looks really great.

      I’m so glad to know that Barnabas Collins and, “Dark Shadows” are not Dead! ;-)


  3. Ty O'Neal says:

    BTW: Any idea when the Pictures that were taken at the Frightmare Weekend in Dallas will be posted? (These are the ones that put your face on the cover of “Rue Morgue” magazine)


  4. Trevor Tuminski says:

    Hey Ty…those pictures from the Rue Morgue/T-Shirt Bordello promotion won’t be posted here but we’ll be sure to let everybody know where once they are later this week. Thanks!

    - T.

  5. Claire says:

    I have some original scripts from the show. I’ve tried to find out how much they might be worth, but could only find copies for sale……………Do you know where I could search for that info?

    • James Burrell says:

      Hi Claire,

      Thank you for the comment. My apologies for the late response.

      That’s fantastic that you have some of the original Dark Shadows scripts! If they were used by a member of the show’s cast or crew, I’m thinking they could be quite valuable.

      I too have tried to track down information on possible values, but unfortunately could only locate reprints sold on auctions sites like eBay.

      As scripts are not really my speciality, I recommend perhaps contacting Stuart at the Dark Shadows News Page. He is one of the foremost experts on Dark Shadows and may possibly be able to provide you with a valuation for the scripts, or put you in contact with someone who could. The address is:

      Take care. Good luck!


  6. Darlene Van Riper says:

    Hi There my name is Darlene, i’m looking for anything of Dark Shadows, i’m looking for a Josette Music Box if you have anyone that have has one For Sale i’m really really want this Item, I really Miss Johnathan Frid. I’m a huge Fan Of his Movies and his Plays he did and Dark Shadows tv series .. Thank You Darlene

  7. James Burrell says:

    Hi Darlene,

    Yes, the item that you’re looking for – a plastic replica of Josette’s Music Box – is arguably the most sought-after of all “Dark Shadows” memorabilia. The item was originally released in 1970 by a company named Paul Randolph Associates and was sold only for a brief time through mail order. Due to the fragile nature of the box, very few of them still exist nowadays.

    However, a reissue of the item was released in 1996 by MPI Home Video (who put out other items like a replica of Barnabas Collins’ onyx ring). Though they have long been sold out, the music box can still often be found on eBay. They are not cheap though, and often sell for hundreds of dollars.

    Though I don’t own one of these or know anyone who would one for sale, I did do a search on eBay, and found an auction for the music box that is presently taking place:

    Thanks for the comment, and I hope this info helps. Take care.


  8. Keith Patterson says:

    Did anyone ever make or issue a Dark Shadows Lunch Box?

  9. James Burrell says:

    Hi Keith,
    No, strangely enough, there was never a “Dark Shadows” lunch box issued. One would think that with all the other kid-friendly merchandise produced, that a box would have been made as well. But with all the retro-themed TV collectibles being marketed, I wouldn’t rule out such an item being released in the future.

  10. Lynne Luca says:

    I have an original Barnabus Collins ring which I am considering selling. I heard they are pretty rare. Do you know how much they are going for, and best way or place to sell it?

  11. James Burrell says:

    Hi Lynne,

    When you say original ring, do you mean the one from the late 1960s that you could get by sending in five trading card wrappers and 50 cents? If so, yes, they are now quite rare. As for current value, I can’t give you an exact amount, but I have seen it sell some time back in the $200-$300 range.

    There was also a reproduction of the ring that MPI Home Video put out around a decade ago that is also climbing in value. It’s housed in a black box with white satin interior with the “Dark Shadows” title imprinted inside. Here’s a recent eBay listing of the item from a couple of months back, which shows that it sold for $122.50.

    As for how to go about selling your ring, I would probably suggest listing it on eBay. You’ll have a chance for “Dark Shadows” fans from all over the world looking at (and hopefully) bidding on it.

    Hope that helps. Take care and good luck!


  12. Catrina says:

    We inherited a housefull of things and in that we have a Barnabas ring. I’m wondering how do you know if it’s an original from the mail in bubble gum wrappers or the MPI…or more current even? Ours is housed in a black box with the white satin interior that has Dark Shadows imprinted inside as well as Dan Curtis productions. That is then in a box that has Dark Shadows Barnabas Ring Dan Curtis productions stamped in gold. I almost just threw it away but decided since I like Dark Shadows that I wouldn’t. I’m glad i didn’t but still would like to know what I have. Thanks

    • James Burrell says:

      Hi Catrina,

      From what you’ve described, you have the MPI version that was released around 10 years or so ago. It’s still worth a decent sum, and can sell nowadays for around $100 or more. Hope that helps.

  13. I have an autographed original script and the “vampire stake” used on the show, as well as a letter from the Phila. Inquirer to me (where I got the items). No idea how to go about selling them. Ideas? Karen

  14. James Burrell says:

    Hi Karen,

    With pieces such as original props and cast or crew used items like scripts, your best and easiest option would probably be to list them in an online auction. The most popular online auction sites by far is eBay, but there are also various consignment services available such as Heritage Auctions which deal a lot in TV, movie and comic book-related items. Here’s the Heritage link:

    With eBay, you will be able to reach a large number of collectors from around the world, and the fees will likely be lower than a consignment service. Of course, you will have to list, photograph, write up a description, pack up and ship off the items yourself. So, it can be a bit time-consuming.

    Alternately, you could bring them to a local collectibles show in your area, or even one of the upcoming Dark Shadows conventions that take place in the US. The Dark Shadows News Page has info and listings on various DS conventions taking place:

    Good luck!


  15. Doyle Hinds. says:

    I have a16x4 black desktop plaque with a white plate in the center that says Dark Shadows June 27, 1966- April 2, 1971 Dan Curtis Productions Inc. Can you tell me what is it used for , and what is the value. Thank You Doyle

    • James Burrell says:

      Hi Doyle,

      I did a bit of a search on the item you have, and I could not find any information or photos about it online. I actually don’t think this is a licenced DARK SHADOWS product, but rather something that someone had created themselves – a faux grave marker, so to speak, (with both “birth” and “death” dates) that pertain to the original 1966-71 television airdate of the program.
      - James

  16. James Burrell says:

    A note from the post’s author, James Burrell: I thank everyone who has read and commented on this post over the past two years. However, going forth, please note that I will NOT be responding to any any further requests for information or valuations on DARK SHADOWS items.

    Please refer to online sites like eBay (both current and completed auctions) for information and values on DARK SHADOWS collectibles and memorabilia.

    Thank you very much for your understanding.


  17. joel wells says:

    loved looking at the ds stuff I have the game with the cartoon vampire on cover in very good condition and a complete set along with the glow in the dark poster of barnabus I was wondering what these might be worth I am really bad with this computer stuff so I hope I sent this to the right people thanks joel

    • James Burrell says:

      Hi Joel. Thanks very much, I’m glad you liked the article. The DARK SHADOWS game with the “cartoon” picture of Barnabas on it tends to be the more difficult of the two games to find. I’ve done a bit of a search and while asking prices can vary quite a bit, it looks like it is currently selling at around $25 to $40 or so in used condition. If it’s in very good or better condition with all pieces present, it will likely be worth more. If by a complete set, you mean the trading cards, the pink boarded cards can sell for $120 to $200 for a set; while the green ones can fetch $90 to $140 for a complete set. As for the glow-in-the-dark poster of Barnabas (featured in ads in monster magazines), it seems to be pretty rare, so I’m unfortunately unsure of its value. Hope this helps. Take care. – James

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