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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Continental Painted Porcelain Hat Pin Holder
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
Continental Painted Porcelain Hat Pin Holder
by Showplace
Est: $100- $200
$250 Bids
Victorian Hat Pin Collection
Oct 22, 9:00 AM EDT
Victorian Hat Pin Collection
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $100- $250
$250 Bids
Hat Pin Holders
Oct 27, 6:00 PM EDT
Hat Pin Holders
by Kodner Galleries
Est: $50- $100
$250 Bids
Filigree Hat Pin
Oct 17, 1:00 PM EDT
Filigree Hat Pin
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $45- $450
$450 Bids
9ct Rose Gold Victorian Continental Sabre Hat Pin
Oct 23, 11:00 AM BST
9ct Rose Gold Victorian Continental Sabre Hat Pin
by Cooper Barrington LLP
Est: £50- £70
£240 Bids
VINTAGE & ANTIQUE HAT PIN COLLECTION
Oct 17, 12:00 PM EDT
VINTAGE & ANTIQUE HAT PIN COLLECTION
by Burchard Galleries Inc
Est: $500- $750
$2000 Bids
Vintage Hat with Pins
Oct 17, 12:00 PM EDT
Vintage Hat with Pins
by Rose's Antiques
Est: $100- $200
$200 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Hat Pins


Burchard Galleries Inc

Burchard Galleries Inc

Cooper Barrington LLP

Cooper Barrington LLP

Kodner Galleries

Kodner Galleries

Keystone Auctions LLC

Keystone Auctions LLC