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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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A Hat Pin with Seed Pearls in 14K
Sep 29, 12:00 PM EDT
A Hat Pin with Seed Pearls in 14K
by Alex Cooper
Est: $500- $700
$2500 Bids
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A baroque pearl and diamond hat pin, Paris, circa 1910
Oct 14, 2:30 PM CEST
A baroque pearl and diamond hat pin, Paris, circa 1910
by Sotheby's
Est: €7,000- €12,000
€7,0000 Bids
14K gold hat pins with rose diamonds set on silver and gold, ...
Oct 10, 7:00 PM CEST
14K gold hat pins with rose diamonds set on silver and gold, ...
by Van Zadelhoff Veilingen en Taxaties
Est: €1,800- €2,600
€1,8000 Bids
14K Tiffany & Co. Garnet Hat Pin
Oct 01, 10:00 AM EDT
14K Tiffany & Co. Garnet Hat Pin
by Concept Art Gallery
Est: $300- $400
$1500 Bids
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19th Century Gold & Shell Cameo Hat Pin
Oct 22, 9:00 AM MDT
19th Century Gold & Shell Cameo Hat Pin
by North American Auction Company
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
14k Rose and White Gold Sword
Oct 02, 10:00 AM PDT
14k Rose and White Gold Sword
by Taylor & Harris
Est: $150- $200
$1200 Bids
14k White Gold Sword
Oct 02, 10:00 AM PDT
14k White Gold Sword
by Taylor & Harris
Est: $300- $400
$2500 Bids
14k Yellow Gold Sapphire and Pearl Sword
Oct 02, 10:00 AM PDT
14k Yellow Gold Sapphire and Pearl Sword
by Taylor & Harris
Est: $120- $150
$1000 Bids
14k Yellow Gold Ram Head Sword
Oct 02, 10:00 AM PDT
14k Yellow Gold Ram Head Sword
by Taylor & Harris
Est: $200- $250
$1500 Bids
18k Yellow Gold and Lapis Sword
Oct 02, 10:00 AM PDT
18k Yellow Gold and Lapis Sword
by Taylor & Harris
Est: $400- $500
$3000 Bids
Hand Painted German Floral Hat Pin Holder
Oct 02, 5:00 PM CDT
Hand Painted German Floral Hat Pin Holder
by Asselmeier May Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$100 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Hat Pins


Taylor & Harris

Taylor & Harris

Sotheby's

Sotheby's

Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper

Concept Art Gallery

Concept Art Gallery