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Borsalino / Made In China ? Still Worth Big $$$$ ?

Messages
18,829
Location
Central California
It's a big risk buying Borsalinos online, even vintage. In saying that, I recently purchased a vintage borsalino but it needed a lot of work to restore as it was moulded so badly, it stunk out my entire home when I received it. It was also advertised with the wrong size so I gave it to my brother in law once restored and it's his favourite of his 3 Borsalinos.

Why risky? I have ended up with three bootleg fake replica grey market borsalinos over the years. The first one is a proper vintage replica. Ebay, Australian seller. It looks like a hat borsalino used to make, with the same tassels and is good quality. The labelling inside says Bosalin imitating the font and line that goes under. See picture. I wrote to the seller who replied "Hi, I'm very sorry with the sizing mix up and the branding. I purchased the hat from a deceased estate, I was told by the children that it was a hat that had been in the family from when their mother was a child, they were not sure who originally owned it."

The second fake I own I bought new and was sent from a seller in the USA. Its a good quality hat, the leather band isn't great quality but the logo looks convincing enough. It's lining is fairly convincing. The size indicator was the initial give away. See pics. It had a metal badge with the logo on the outside that was poor quality and fell off so I can't show you. I have since seen this exact hat sold in several colours as dobbs and stetson with different logo badges from another US seller. I wouldn't say these are Chinese, maybe, seem like better quality fakes to me, maybe Mexican or European.

I recently thought I'd risk buying from luxury brand boutique websites. I say risk because while these seem to have brick and mortar stores and guarantee authenticity, reviews are mixed and usually horrible. Some user reviews didn't seem to be complaining about fakes but about the expensive and problematic return procedure when these companies send you the wrong colour or size despite them boasting good return policies. Some customers swear their "gucci bags" are real comparing the tags to others they bought at a gucci store. (Bags and gucci as example). How naive. So I ordered from one of these sites, the price was just too good to pass up. Then I ordered another of the same hat from another site. Both arrived swiftly from Italy and were packaged so well in the branding of the luxury boutiques. Both were the same Chinese garbage, worth $5 at best. The quality is a joke.
The tags are convincing though and the band around the hat. My friend said he can tell right away with the band though. It says inside 100% straw. They are plastic/nylon I promise you that. So that's not convincing, but holding it side by side with an authentic hat, the tags seem legit. I'm trying now to get money back from these sites but so far it's been a lengthy process. They've promised me on the phone the items are authentic and in wordy emails. The one has now offered a partial refund of $15 and I keep the hat but I've refused that offer. I'll post pics of a genuine borsalino panama and the Chinese fake. The pics on the websites are of real hats, not the ones they sell.


I don’t find buying vintage Borsalinos online any different than other brands. If you know what to look for and what to avoid you can find real gems on the vintage market. I’ve seen several hats with similar names to Borsalino where they are trading on the reputation of the Borsalino brand, but I have only see a couple hats that I suspected were counterfeits. You can also find some real Borsalino’s that are garbage; I’m thinking of the hats made by Bollman in the US when they had the license from Borsalino.

I’ve recently heard online a lot about how the pre-bankruptcy Borsalinos are so much better than to post-bankruptcy hats. That might be, but the quality of the hats made in the last several years before their bankruptcy don’t come close to the quality of the older hats.
 

the hat guy

New in Town
Messages
3
I don’t find buying vintage Borsalinos online any different than other brands. If you know what to look for and what to avoid you can find real gems on the vintage market. I’ve seen several hats with similar names to Borsalino where they are trading on the reputation of the Borsalino brand, but I have only see a couple hats that I suspected were counterfeits. You can also find some real Borsalino’s that are garbage; I’m thinking of the hats made by Bollman in the US when they had the license from Borsalino.

I’ve recently heard online a lot about how the pre-bankruptcy Borsalinos are so much better than to post-bankruptcy hats. That might be, but the quality of the hats made in the last several years before their bankruptcy don’t come close to the quality of the older hats.

Agreed. And I have found some gems. Just a pity the latest one was too big for me, but at least my brother in law appreciates it and can love it.

In saying that, I am pretty good at vintage shopping but would have avoided this purchase if the seller wasn't so cunning. Luckily I have decades of experience restoring Borsalinos, stetsons, akubras etc, I'm always up for a challenge and this beauty did not end up on the trash.

The new hats may not be as glorious as hats from the glory days, as they say about most things "they don't make 'em like they used to" but Borsalino arguably still make the best hats on the market, unless you are into more bespoke hat makers that will make you something custom, and there are a handful. The price tag may be in borsalino beaver range though.

I must say, I would rather pay top dollar for an artisan fedora than even more dollars for a non stylish cotton bucket hat with a gucci, prada or other luxury brand label on it. A top shelf Borsalino any day over a tacky Burberry baseball cap at three times the price.

If there is someone out there looking to buy a bors but needs to impress their friends with the big brands (lame, no offence) check out the why es el website (I did that cos I'm not trying to promote or endorse them). They did a collab with Borsalino and have a blue or black fedora for sale. Looks like they've only sold one so far. They're wool, not rabbit so not the best but are genuine Borsalinos though. I have a wool hat and I prefer all my fur hats. But you can sport both brands if that's your thing. Legit.

Otherwise, Borsalino do ship worldwide and have 40% off some styles on their current winter sale. I've never seen prices like this. But, sale or not, limited sizes. Can guarantee authenticity buying direct. And if your are unsure of your size or what matches your face, always best to walk into a brick and mortar store.
 
Messages
18,829
Location
Central California
Agreed. And I have found some gems. Just a pity the latest one was too big for me, but at least my brother in law appreciates it and can love it.

In saying that, I am pretty good at vintage shopping but would have avoided this purchase if the seller wasn't so cunning. Luckily I have decades of experience restoring Borsalinos, stetsons, akubras etc, I'm always up for a challenge and this beauty did not end up on the trash.

The new hats may not be as glorious as hats from the glory days, as they say about most things "they don't make 'em like they used to" but Borsalino arguably still make the best hats on the market, unless you are into more bespoke hat makers that will make you something custom, and there are a handful. The price tag may be in borsalino beaver range though.

I must say, I would rather pay top dollar for an artisan fedora than even more dollars for a non stylish cotton bucket hat with a gucci, prada or other luxury brand label on it. A top shelf Borsalino any day over a tacky Burberry baseball cap at three times the price.

If there is someone out there looking to buy a bors but needs to impress their friends with the big brands (lame, no offence) check out the why es el website (I did that cos I'm not trying to promote or endorse them). They did a collab with Borsalino and have a blue or black fedora for sale. Looks like they've only sold one so far. They're wool, not rabbit so not the best but are genuine Borsalinos though. I have a wool hat and I prefer all my fur hats. But you can sport both brands if that's your thing. Legit.

Otherwise, Borsalino do ship worldwide and have 40% off some styles on their current winter sale. I've never seen prices like this. But, sale or not, limited sizes. Can guarantee authenticity buying direct. And if your are unsure of your size or what matches your face, always best to walk into a brick and mortar store.


For me personally, I just don’t see the value in a new Borsalino. I bought out a large part of a hat store’s inventory after they went out of business (Hat Guys in Oakland, Ca. I had 60ish Borsalinos along with a couple hundred hats of other brands. My Borsalinos included those marked “Beaver.” I was generally not impressed. With any of them, at least not at their prices. I sold them all and most went for ¼ or less of their MSRP tagged price and they were all in NWT condition. The felt was nice on the higher end new Borsalinos, but the blocking, build quality, and trimmings raged from underwhelming to disappointing. They were still orders of magnitude better than the US made Borsalinos. What a disaster that was.
 

the hat guy

New in Town
Messages
3
For me personally, I just don’t see the value in a new Borsalino. I bought out a large part of a hat store’s inventory after they went out of business (Hat Guys in Oakland, Ca. I had 60ish Borsalinos along with a couple hundred hats of other brands. My Borsalinos included those marked “Beaver.” I was generally not impressed. With any of them, at least not at their prices. I sold them all and most went for ¼ or less of their MSRP tagged price and they were all in NWT condition. The felt was nice on the higher end new Borsalinos, but the blocking, build quality, and trimmings raged from underwhelming to disappointing. They were still orders of magnitude better than the US made Borsalinos. What a disaster that was.
Do you have a store?
 

Daniele Tanto

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,079
Location
Verona - Italia
Do you have a store?

Nope. I sell to friends and online…mostly online. I usually have 15 to 40 hats for sale at any one time
Brent has a bi-weekly rotation, or nearly so, of very interesting and some fantastic hats.
Even some Borsalinos, but if I were you, I would ask Brent for some of the fantastic hats made in the USA he found on the market ;-)
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,709
Location
London, UK
It's a big risk buying Borsalinos online, even vintage. In saying that, I recently purchased a vintage borsalino but it needed a lot of work to restore as it was moulded so badly, it stunk out my entire home when I received it. It was also advertised with the wrong size so I gave it to my brother in law once restored and it's his favourite of his 3 Borsalinos.

Why risky? I have ended up with three bootleg fake replica grey market borsalinos over the years. The first one is a proper vintage replica. Ebay, Australian seller. It looks like a hat borsalino used to make, with the same tassels and is good quality. The labelling inside says Bosalin imitating the font and line that goes under. See picture. I wrote to the seller who replied "Hi, I'm very sorry with the sizing mix up and the branding. I purchased the hat from a deceased estate, I was told by the children that it was a hat that had been in the family from when their mother was a child, they were not sure who originally owned it."

The second fake I own I bought new and was sent from a seller in the USA. Its a good quality hat, the leather band isn't great quality but the logo looks convincing enough. It's lining is fairly convincing. The size indicator was the initial give away. See pics. It had a metal badge with the logo on the outside that was poor quality and fell off so I can't show you. I have since seen this exact hat sold in several colours as dobbs and stetson with different logo badges from another US seller. I wouldn't say these are Chinese, maybe, seem like better quality fakes to me, maybe Mexican or European.

I recently thought I'd risk buying from luxury brand boutique websites. I say risk because while these seem to have brick and mortar stores and guarantee authenticity, reviews are mixed and usually horrible. Some user reviews didn't seem to be complaining about fakes but about the expensive and problematic return procedure when these companies send you the wrong colour or size despite them boasting good return policies. Some customers swear their "gucci bags" are real comparing the tags to others they bought at a gucci store. (Bags and gucci as example). How naive. So I ordered from one of these sites, the price was just too good to pass up. Then I ordered another of the same hat from another site. Both arrived swiftly from Italy and were packaged so well in the branding of the luxury boutiques. Both were the same Chinese garbage, worth $5 at best. The quality is a joke.
The tags are convincing though and the band around the hat. My friend said he can tell right away with the band though. It says inside 100% straw. They are plastic/nylon I promise you that. So that's not convincing, but holding it side by side with an authentic hat, the tags seem legit. I'm trying now to get money back from these sites but so far it's been a lengthy process. They've promised me on the phone the items are authentic and in wordy emails. The one has now offered a partial refund of $15 and I keep the hat but I've refused that offer. I'll post pics of a genuine borsalino panama and the Chinese fake. The pics on the websites are of real hats, not the ones they sell.


Facebook ads are absolutely rife with fake products using stolen photos and such, though they usually give themselves away with as a rule the price being too low to be legit. I did once get caught out with a Grail Diary repop, but Paypal refunded my entire bill and didn't require me to return anything. Otherwise it's hard to know with websites outside the platform that provide buyer protection. One drawback of shopping online, alas, being that it can be harder to spot a fake. Hope you get it sorted out.
 

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