New powder compact hatpin plus others
A new hatpin with a powder compact top was once featured in Points, the newsletter of the International Club for Collectors of Hatpins and Hatpin Holders. Founder and editor Lillian Baker forwarded the photos and information at the time of publication.
Baker advised that one of the best ways to catch the fakes and "marriages" is to study the way genuinely old hatpins were made. Vintage hatpins were made to be handled and perform a specific job. That's why originals are sturdily made of strong high quality parts. Two full pages of original findings are in Baker's Hatpins and Hatpin Holders (Collector Books, Paducah, KY).
Baker explained that most new and married hatpins are put together on crude heavy brass shanks. If you see a display of hatpins that all have brass shanks of the same length, beware. Original shanks are made from a variety of materials of various lengths and will usually all appear different due to varying degrees of normal wear.
Fig. 1 Basic parts of a hatpin: The head is the decorative piece mounted on top of the hatpin. Findings hide joints between the shank and head. This is a vintage hatpin.
Fig. 2 Close up of shank and finding with decorative head removed. Note the fairly massive prongs which secure the head. This is a vintage hatpin.
Fig. 3 New married pin
Fig. 4 New married pin
Figs. 3 & 4 Both hatpins have been assembled from bits and pieces. Large bevel edged stones such as these were virtually always protected and supported by strong bezels in old pins.
Fig. 5 A simple bezel is just a flat band of metal that surrounds the base of a stone/ornament. The metal band is pushed in to secure the stone. Shown in cross section on the right of Fig. 5.
Fig. 6 In a reverse bezel, the stone/ornament is put into place from the back. Metal tabs are pressed in to secure the stone. Shown in cross section on the right of Fig. 6.
Fig. 7 New compact vanity hatpin
Fig. 8 Top view
Fig. 9 Compact closed
Figs 7-9. New Vanity powder compact hatpin. Compact itself in gold toned metal. "Pat. Pent." missing from bottom of compact; no rim to support net which covered the powder. No convex mirror. Mounted on heavy brass shank identical to shanks on the other new pins shown in this article.
Collection: Doris Gaston Photo: Dave Hammell
Fig. 10 Original Inside marked "Pat. Pend."; gilded brass body. Convex mirror in lid; rim for netting. Lid fits tightly against body. Attached to old pin shank with old finding (decorative bead or tubing) to conceal joint between mounting and joint.
Fig. 11 Recently "married" hatpin with old setting fastened to new brass shank. The head of this pin is actually a brooch. You can see the loops where the pin's hinges were at the long arrows. A soft bendable piece of wire (broad arrow) is used as a bridge mounting. This is unlike any original bridge or arc mounting.
Fig. 12 Close up of the other side of Fig. 11. Beware the genuinely old setting soldered on a new shank and then offered as hatpin. Be sure to check the shank and findings to make sure they match the age the seller is claiming.
Fig. 13 Original bridge and arc mountings are solid and heavy as the examples shown below. These mountings are stiff and not easily bent or twisted. From Hatpins and Hatpin Holders, Lillian Baker.