Although the purpose of hatpins is to keep your hat fastened to your hair, they are often used as decorations. Instead of ribbons, the wealthy wore the pins. It became a sign of style and distinction for the upper class.
It was in the early 19th century when hatpins began being decorated with elaborate designs. From the 1830s to 1920s almost every women of class owned their own collection of hatpins.
In the 1930s hair styles changed and the use of hatpins slowly began to diminish.
If you seek hatpins you will find a large variety. They were made in metals like gold and silver. They were also made in plastics and enamel. Every material that could be made into a hatpin was made into one. Your search will certainly find quite an interesting variety.
Today, hatpins are worn by few and often those worn are old. There are, however, many reproductions. That is something you need to be aware of if collecting hatpins interests you.
Often hatpins were converted from earrings. Many people did that recently as the hatpins are more valuable than an earring. Search for glue, rough spots and anything that doesn’t look like it naturally belongs on a hatpin. After you see enough of them you will see when something looks suspicious.
Many hatpins feature some type of stone or pearl. They are often colorful although some are clear. Most often they are rhinestones although you may find something more valuable on one.
I recommend purchasing the book “Hatpins and Hatpin Holders: An Illustrated Value Guide” by Lillian Baker. She is the founder of the first club for collectors of hatpins and hatpin holders. She has several other books on hatpins as well out there including “Baker’s Encyclopedia of Hatpins & Hatpin Holders”. There were over 34,000 hatpins found during a quick search on eBay. Only 3,400 were described as vintage. Bakelite as well as 18k gold, Tiffany and Chanel hatpins were fetching the highest prices at $400 to $650. There were also pieces and even collections going for as low as 99 cents. Of course, those were opening bids, but a look at completed auctions showed that was the going price for some. Hatpins can be found everywhere if you look hard enough. Antique malls and flea markets are probably your best bet. Obviously eBay is always a good place to start. The key is learning and that only comes in time. Don’t overlook hatpin holders. I did not write much about them, but they are growing in popularity. Most are porcelain or ceramic. They are good to have even if they are only for storing your pins. Who knows? These collector items may soon become something that will stick with you for a long time.