Among all forms of clothing, hats are one of the most versatile, fashionable yet functional. From the comfort of knitted fleece hats, to the practicality of hard hats, to the sheer swag of fedoras, hats are as fashionable as they are pragmatic. In addition, hats also occupy a ceremonial niche within organized religions, the military and numerous public and private organizations.
Hats have been in existence from the dawn of recorded history. The first form of headgear appeared in Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in ancient India; they are seen on several small hat-wearing terracotta figurines dating back from between 3,500 and 5,700 years ago. Since then, hats have undergone numerous transformations, deaths and rebirths.
While their place in society at large have suffered a notable drop since the 19th and early 20th century heydays, hats have continued to remain as important and relevant as they have always been. Even though top hats, bicornes and Paris Beau hats have all met their deserving deaths, they all depict a specific time in history when they were the epitome of fashion. Undoubtedly though, despite Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra’s stylish trilby hats, the most popular hats today are baseball caps and the kofia (variously referred to as kufi , taqiyahor and kopiah), a skullcap worn by Muslims around the world.
Hats are made using a wide variety of materials, and come in all forms, shapes, colors and sizes. Some need practically no effort to make, just a simple folding or twirling of cloths will do, such as turbans or scarf bonnets. Others, meanwhile, can take weeks or months to prepare because they sometimes are made of material such as animal hide. Then there are those that are crafted exclusively for the most discerning and selective buyers; hats that are so distinctive and extraordinary, they transcend any perceived practical value. When searching for a fashion accessory, feel free to sneak a peak at this list to see which hats have been recorded as the most expensive in the world.
10 Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean Fedora: $6,320
The fedora hat worn by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, during his live performance of Billie Jean at the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary television special in 2001 went under the block in late 2013 and was eventually won by a private bidder for $6,320.
The black fedora hat, which Jackson gave to his childhood friend David Gest, was among 17 other Jackson memorabilia that was auctioned off for a combined $49,473 by England-based Fieldings Auctioneer on November 16, 2013.
9 Honda Collection's Big Wing Hat Cap: $8,750
Japanese automotive and motorcycle giant Honda makes a surprise appearance on our list with the officially licensed Honda Big Wing baseball cap. The black cap, made out of breathable fabric, plastic and PVC, comes with a hooked adjustable Velcro fastener for the extra large or extra small heads. Distributed by its apparel arm, Honda Collection, the cap is produced using sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing process.
8 Optimo Hats’ Panama Straw Hat: $20,000
Chicago-based Optima Hats is one of the few remaining men’s custom hat makers in the city today. Operating from two outlets in the Windy City, the most famous product from its extensive range is the Panama Straw Hat. Made using finely woven Ecuadorian straw, the yellowish-beige hat sports the simple design that Panama hats are known for. A thin strip of colored silk or vintage ribbon around the base of the crown provides a break from the monotony.
7 Brent Black’s Montecristi Panama Hats: $25,000
Another Panama hat makes an entry into our list, courtesy of Hawaii-based Brent Black Panama Hats, helmed by 29-year advertising industry veteran, Mr. Brent Black himself. His personal love of the Panamas led to him establishing his own hat business, one that is now considered the most reputable in the industry. The finely hand woven Montecristi could have up to 2,200 weaves per square inch. This is why it is no wonder it takes as long as three months to create just one of these stunning hats.
6 Charlie Chaplin Bowler Hat: $62,500
Next on the list is the Charlie Chaplin Bowler Hat, originally owned by silent era icon Charlie Chaplin, who was widely considered to be the single most influential figure of the film industry. The actor, writer, director and producer gave the black-colored felt bowler hat of unknown manufacturer to wax sculptor Katherine Keller in 1936 after posing for her in a wax museum in Kentucky.
In 2012, Keller commissioned British auction house Bonhams to sell the hat along with a 33-inch bamboo cane that was also owned by the late Chaplin.
5 Brent Black’s The Hat: $100,000
Brent Black makes a second appearance on our list, this time with the “Holy Grail of Montecristi hats”. Crafted by famed Panama milliner Simón Espinal, who only produces between three and four hats a year. The hat represents the culmination of Black’s 20-year search for the finest Panama hat. Described by Black as being paper-thin and weighing at less than an ounce, The Hat (as he calls it) was woven using extremely fine Ecuadorian toquilla straw.
4 Princess Beatrice Royal Wedding Hat by Philip Treacy: $133,783
The world watched in stunned silence when HRH Princess Beatrice of York, niece to Prince Charles and fifth in line to the British throne, placed her hat for auction on Ebay in August 2011. The shock wasn’t because the winning bid for the hat was a staggering $133,783, but it had more to do with the way the hat looked.
Designed by Irishman Philip Treacy, the hat features a pink-colored shape that looks like a blend between a bow, ribbons and oval placed atop a small pink bun. Princess Beatrice wore the hat once, during the nuptials between her cousin Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011. The entire proceed from the sale went directly to UNICEF and Children in Crisis.
3 Deep Blue Sea: $890,000
Designed by Australian Ann Maree Willett primarily using hand-blocked wool felt and feathers, the 54-cm high bluish-color Deep Blue Sea is adorned with 26 gem-quality opals valued at over $890,000. The Deep Blue Sea, which was inspired by the Australian Great Barrier Reef, was introduced to the world in February 2007 during the Milan Fashion Week. After participating in several more runway shows, the hat was sent to the Bonham auction house where it was subsequently appraised and valued in the range of $150,000 to $200,000. Unfortunately, the hat remains unsold to this day.
2 Chapeau d’Amour: $2.7 million
It was a bizarre unveiling for the strangely-shaped Chapeau d’Amour (The Love Hat). The debut, which was staged at the gallery of Christie’s in London, began with a female model playing a flute, trailed closely by a second model throwing flowers along her path. Hollywood actress, the gorgeous Alicia Witt, followed suit, cheerily wearing the Chapeau d’Amour as guests and members of the press watched silently.
Made out of platinum fabric, the diamond and amethyst encrusted hat was crafted by famed couture designer Louis Mariette. Mariette explained that the inspiration for the hat came from a walk he shared with a mysterious lover in a field of bluebells near the forest of Cliveden.
When asked for her opinion on the Chapeau d’Amour, Witt stated that wearing the hat felt “incredible”, and left her feeling “a bit like a princess.”
1 The Pope’s Tiara: Tens of Millions of Dollars
Over the last millennium, all Popes have worn papal tiaras during their respective coronations. These tiaras were all donated to the papacy as a sign of respect, support and deference. However, the practice ended in 1975 when Pope John Paul I declined to wear the tiara during his coronation, a symbolic renunciating of earthly glory and power. Since then, the majority of the tiaras have either been donated or sold, with the proceeds used for the benefits of the needy.
Following Pope John Paul I’s decision, a group of Catholic bishops from the United States arranged for the Tiara to be displayed at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., where it has remained to this day.
The tiara has never been appraised, so its value is a matter of conjecture. However, even if we completely discount its enormous historical value, the tiara is still the most expensive hat ever created. The three-tiered tiara is adorned with 540 pearls, 11 diamonds, 33 rubies, 28 spinel gems, 22 emeralds, six aquamarines, eight sapphires, four hyacinth gemstones, 24 gold elements, nine garnet gemstones and single pieces of topaz and chrysolite gem. The street value of these gems alone will run into at least several million dollars!
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheRichest?Get Your Free Access Now!