Tips for selling vintage hats on line

Tips for buying hats on line

Collecting hats is often a solitary hobby - but it doesn't have to be that way. It's a lot more fun if you find a few hat collecting friends to share your latest finds with.  If you want to meet some other hat collectors from around the world, please join us in the Mad Hatters Society on Facebook. This group was initially formed by the co-authors of the ebook Hatatorium and their friends, and has expanded to include hat sellers,  professional milliners, millinery teachers, and authors of books and blogs about hats.  There is a lot of collective knowledge about hat history and hat collecting - and members are always happy to answer questions. All hat lovers are invited to join.

Hatatorium: An Essential Guide for Hat Collectors
projected release date before the end of 2012. The second edition is substantially longer, with more milliners & store labels profiled, an expanded styles section, and more information on materials, cleaning and restoration techniques. The second edition interfaces with the new Hatatorium gallery, which now contains over 5,000 photos. Watch this website for an introductory discount coupon.
Tips for Collecting Hats

(c) 2012 Brenda Grantland, updated 11/19/2012

Copyright notice: This website and the accompanying eBook, Hatatorium: An Essential Guide for Hat Collectors, are copyrighted and may not be reproduced, distributed, copied, or excerpted without the written permission of the authors. Copyrights to the images in the Guest Albums are held by the owner of each album, and permission to use the images in any manner must be obtained from that person. All other content on this website is copyrighted by Brenda Grantland.

If you love hats, history, art and antiques and like to collect things, you will find collecting hats to be a rewarding and potentially profitable hobby. A knowledgeable collector can frequently buy great hats at yard sales, auctions on on-line sites for a fraction of their value.

It takes knowledge of hat history and the hat collectibles market to recognize a valuable collectible hat from the huge supply of good but ordinary vintage hats. Researching a hat to determine its significance, era and value is half the fun. We must warn you though - hat collecting is addictive, and although you may be able to sell them for a decent profit, parting with them is very difficult.

Here are our tips for a pleasureable hat collecting experience:

1.  Define a focus for your collection.  Do you want to concentrate on a particular era or style?  Do you like a particular type of material, such as straw, felt, fur, or feathers?  What kinds of ornamentation do you prefer - beads, feathers, bows, flowers, fruit?  What milliners do you like?  Do some research. Browse the Hatatorium gallery for styles, eras and milliners you like, and use those names as key words when you search eBay, Etsy, Ruby Lane, etc. The Hatatorium eBook is a handy reference for learning about styles, materials and milliners. There are a number of other excellent hat books which you can buy on line or check out from a public library. If you plan to spend money investing in hats, it's a good idea to invest in a good hat book or two.

2.  If you plan to wear them, find out what kinds of hats look best on you and what size you wear.  Measure your head with measuring tape at the widest point above your ears, as well as the circumference where you would want the hatband to sit in the style of hat you are looking for.  Make notes of these sizes and measurements for reference when you're shopping on line. Measure again if you cut your hair or let it grow, because your hat size could change.  Womens' hat sizes in the U.S. are in inches, and generally the size will conform to the size in inches of the inner circumference of the hat.  Sometimes the hat has a tag saying it is a size 22, but the inner circumference may be smaller or larger than 22 inches. It may be that the milliner intended it to sit up on the head, but variations in manufacturing often cause size discrepancies. If you're buying on line, be sure to ask for the inner circumference.

3.  Remember vintage hats are old. Even if they have never been worn, and even if they look clean, you should always clean a vintage hat before you try it on (or else you may have to wash your hair immediately).  Unfortunately you can't just take hats to the dry cleaners that cleans your suits - they don't clean hats. There are specialty hat cleaners in some large cities, but the cost and trouble may be more than the vintage hat is worth.  Instead, you can just wipe the inside of the hat and particularly the petersham hat band with a slightly damp sponge or cloth. If the hat requires further cleaning, or has moth damage, odors or needs feather, flower or trim rejuvenation or repair, see chapter 2 of the Hatatorium eBook for detailed instructions on how to do that yourself.

4.  When you're not wearing them, store your hats inside boxes, wrapped in acid-free tissue paper, in a dark, cool but dry closet. Storing hats out in the open air for very long will run the risk of moth damage. Moths love felt, feathers, and many other things that hats are made of. If you display them in glass cases, make sure the sunlight doesn't hit the case or the hat may fade.