Monday, April 25, 2011

Hat Pins

As some of you already know, our antique club meets once a month to talk, eat and learn new things about the antique business. Last week at our meeting we had a guest speaker who has been a collector of hat pins for over 40 years.

When we first found out our speaker would be a hat pin collector, I will be honest, I was not to thrilled about it. However, let me tell you this. After listening to Carol speak, I am going to start a small collection for my bedroom...even though Bob says "No your not," LOL

Hat pins originated in the Edwardian Era. (1901- 1910) This is the period were women wore huge fashionable hats, and sometimes it took 3 to 6 hat pins to hold one hat in place. REALLY.

Some of these hat pins were actually considered a lethal weapon as they could measure up to 18 inches in length. In some countries a woman could be jailed for having a hat pin concealed in a bag and not holding their hat.

The lighting was not the best that night. Above are mourning hat pins. Women had to wear black clothing for a whole year when a family member passed on. Thus the need for these black pins. These that Carol had were simply gorgeous.

The pin holders themselves were used to sharpen the hat pins, and they too are pieces of art!

Charles Horner was the "Tiffany" of hat pin makers. Being a silversmith by trade, his hat pins were the most sought after. Today there are still some of his pins on the market and also displayed in museums across the country.

Now with the Suffragette movement, hat pins became smaller in length. Fearing that the Suffragette's would use hat pins as weapons, they were made to be trimmed down to 9 inches and they also had to tone down their hats to be legal. Thus the Suffragette's began wearing hat pins with an angel or a herald holding a trumpet. Plus the colors were a combination of purple, white and green. These tricolors were later changed to purple, white and gold; or even gold alone.

Unfortunately like most all antiques, there are fakes abound out there. Carol told us to look for any type of soldering underneath...even though it is quite possible a hat pin had to be repaired, she suggested to stay away from these as these a usually made by soldering an antique button to a metal rod. Also, every hat pin would have a bead soldered right under the jewel. Be vary cautious about buying online for hat pins, especially when they do not show a picture of the underside of the pin or one seller has many for sale...these should be a red flag to any buyer.

Owning a hat pin that is made out of ivory is not illegal, as these were made before the laws changed.

Most hat pin holders are very decorative. This one is made from silver with tiny holes and is a British made one. This picture does not do it justice.

Carol's most expensive hat pin was a Charles Horner which cost her $1500.00 which remains in her private collection....

I don't see me buying any thousand dollar hat pins in the near future, but I think a few will end up in my new bedroom redo. In fact, our antique club will be having a antique store jaunt soon, and I think that will be one of my items on the list....shhhh.....don't tell Bob.

Remember, we only need 17 more followers for my secret please tell all of your friends about my blog. Until next time, take care everyone. Janice


  1. Thanks for all the information. Very interesting to read. I have several of my grandmothers old hat pins and a few from my great aunt. Never have given them much thought. Might have to be on the look out for a pin holder and display them with my few vintage hats. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your secret is safe with me but I suspect Bob may read your blog in which case, I can't be held responsible if he discovers your plan to purchase pins at your next club jaunt!

    I loved all the info on the hat pins! Some of them are quite beautiful - but I will not collect them. I will not.... I will not....

  3. What a great history lesson....I have sold a few hat pins and now I wish I hadn't - I may have a new colletion to start....(big smile) !! Great Post - wish I could attend your club meetings!


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