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Hat Pins

Hat pins, usually between 6 and 12 inches long, are used to pin a hat to the head by securing it to the hair. Typically worn in pairs, they are both functional and decorative and made of any available material including plastics, paste, bone, precious metals, and gemstones.

Hat pins were worn by women in Europe and the United States throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In the early 1800s, they were used to hold wimples and veils in place. British hat pin makers could not keep up with local demand, causing French versions to be imported for sale until 1832, when a machine was invented in the United States that facilitated mass production. Demand for hat pins reached its peak between 1880 and 1920, when bonnets went out of fashion and hats became the norm, necessitating the use of pins to keep women’s simple and elaborate head gear in place. A great variety of hat pins were available, and many women also bought hat pin holder boxes to house their collections of these hair accessories.

In 1908, laws were passed in the United States that limited the length of hat pins in response to the fear of suffragettes using them as weapons. Despite these concerns, hat pins remained ubiquitous during the early 1900s, due in large part to actresses Lillian Russell and Lillian Langtry, both of whom wore fantastical hats decorated with exquisite hair pins. Hat pins continue to be prized today by collectors for their beautiful craftsmanship and important role in women’s fashion.


Quick Facts

  • On April 28, 1996, Christie’s Hong Kong sold a Qing Dynasty imperial jadeite hair pin for $400,802
  • In ancient China, hair pins were worn by both men and women to secure their hair buns and reveal their social status
  • During the '40s, women used hair pins to create finger waves, a popular hairstyle at the time

Recommended Items at Auction

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Hatpins standard with 18 hatpins, gold / silver.
Mar 06, 11:00 AM CET
Hatpins standard with 18 hatpins, gold / silver.
by Goudwisselkantoor Veilingen
Est: €120- €200
€801 Bid
Lot of 10 hat pins including silver.
Mar 06, 11:00 AM CET
Lot of 10 hat pins including silver.
by Goudwisselkantoor Veilingen
Est: €80- €160
€600 Bids
Australian Opal Koala Bear Hat Pin
Mar 01, 9:00 AM MST
Australian Opal Koala Bear Hat Pin
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$100 Bids
Bakelite Hat Pins, Ca. 1940, L 3"-7", 3 pcs
Mar 14, 11:00 AM EDT
Bakelite Hat Pins, Ca. 1940, L 3"-7", 3 pcs
by DuMouchelles
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
Antique Essex Crystal 14K Yellow Gold Horse Bar Pin.Hat Lapel
Mar 12, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Essex Crystal 14K Yellow Gold Horse Bar Pin.Hat Lapel
by Intervendue
Est: $1,100- $2,000
$4000 Bids
Hatpins standard with four hatpins, gold / silver.
Mar 06, 11:00 AM CET
Hatpins standard with four hatpins, gold / silver.
by Goudwisselkantoor Veilingen
Est: €50- €100
€500 Bids
Four Antique Ladies Hat Pin Holders with Hatpins
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Four Antique Ladies Hat Pin Holders with Hatpins
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $1,000
$100 Bids
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Vintage Collectible Souvenir Enamel Hat Pin, Neuschwanstein
Mar 03, 2:00 PM EST
Vintage Collectible Souvenir Enamel Hat Pin, Neuschwanstein
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$100 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Hat Pins


Goudwisselkantoor Veilingen

Goudwisselkantoor Veilingen

DuMouchelles

DuMouchelles

Premier Auction Galleries

Premier Auction Galleries

Lion and Unicorn

Lion and Unicorn