What Makes Some Hats Cost More?
Is it the size, style, color, or label?
When I first started collecting hats, I wondered why some hats were reasonable and others cost so much. I would start bidding on a hat and put the the price I would pay up to $40 and loose the hat because it closed the auction at $150 or $200. Wow, was I off the mark! What caused that hat to go so high? Was it the fancy way it was made? Was it the rich color? Or was it popular with bidders for some unseen reason? I didn't know much about hats and quickly realize I needed to do some studying about vintage hats. I bought several vintage hat books on ebay and soon found out,not all hats are created equal.
What exactly Makes a Vintage Hat more Valuable?
If you look at all the hats displayed on ebay for sale, you will realize there are probably over 2500 hats available to bid on. What makes some hats sell for $2.00 and another sell for $400? I found out that the looks of a hat will catch the attention of bidders, so if I really liked it, so did a lot of people.
Then I realized that if the hat had a famous label it could bring more.
American hat designers, like Jack McConnell, Adolfo, Hattie Carnegie, Lilly Dache, Mr. John, Frank Olive and Sally Victor seem to bring higher prices than the average. These designer's hats were flamboyant high impact stunners.
The French names, like Agnes, Chanel, Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves St. Laurent also would bring high prices. Their hats were also dramatic and dazzling.
Hats with labels from high-end department stores like Gumps, I. Magin, Marshall Field & Co, Wanamaker, Bergdorf Goodman, Bowwit Teller and Franklin Simon brought high prices most of the time depending on how they were displayed. These famous stores had their own brand of hats and they often brought record prices from well heeled fashion women in that era. You might expect to pay more for them today. They are elegant and sophisticated.
I discovered that Victorian hats from the 1800's with lots of plumes could easily go up to $300 or more. And then there are the "Feather Fantasies" which seem to be the Rolls Royce of hats because they left you breathless and the prices sometimes going in the $300 - $400.
It is exciting to watch hats on ebay. You can mark some of your favorites in your "ebay watch list" and track the bidding.
When you look through the hats displayed on ebay and a certain hat catches your attention, go ahead and bid, it may sell for a price that suits you perfectly. Sometimes a hat isn't described well, or doesn't show well in the photo and it could be the "buy of the day". I think that is why hat collectors enjoy bidding on ebay so much. You win some and you loose some, but one thing for sure you have great fun. And.... when you get that special hat for a bargain price, you feel like jumping for joy.
Some of the books that I recommend for learning more about vintage hats. I found mine on ebay.
High Fashion Hats, 1950 - 1980 by Rose Q. Jamieson & Joanne E. Deardorff
1,000 Hats by Norma Shephard
Women's Hats of the 20th Century for Designers & Collectors by Maureen Reilly & Mary Beth Detrich
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