I love vintage costume jewelry. Actually, I love all jewelry~the good, the bad and the ugly~and it doesn't have to be costume. I just love jewelry. I have several books on the subject and just picked up another last weekend. This one is about plastic jewelry and though it is copyrighted quite some time ago, it helps in identification and is enjoyable to read. One can pick up these guides for a fraction of the price at second hand stores. Often times collectors will purchase a newer version and sell their older version. I have several up-to-date books for valuing and pricing but older ones help in identification and colors, etc.
Thumbing through the book I found a section about "pins," i.e., hatpins. I have a small collection of hatpins and two hatpin holders so I was interested in this section. I found it very interesting that a pin-making machine was invented in 1832 and after that pins became very popular. Prior to the invention of the pin-making machine, people were taxed to pay for the Queen's pins! Another anomaly was that if caught stealing a pin, a person would be hanged! Yikes! Pins were so treasured and valuable they were bequeathed in wills and could only be purchased on New Year's Day. Have you heard of "pin money?" Yep, hatpins.
I also learned that there is a difference between hatpins and hat pins. Hatpins are pins used to anchor a hat to a woman's head. A hat pin was a badge or type of ornament worn by men on their hats if they were a prominent man. When a man met another man, he could tell by the hat pin whether he was of lesser station than the other and would therefore tip his hat first.
Do you collect hatpins? You might be interested in the American Hatpin Society. Click the name and go to their website.
Are you worried about buying fakes? Learn from the American Hatpin Society about fakes by clicking here: article on fakes at American Hatpin Society.