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buying on faith

scottyrocks

I'll Lock Up
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9,063
Location
Isle of Langerhan, NY
This has to have been covered here at some point, but searching has been very time consuming, so I am asking.

How do you all buy hats on faith?

I've bought hats on ebay. I've been happy with more than I've been unhappy with. But they've all been small dollar amounts, including my Royal Stetson, posted elsewhere in this thread, I think.

I want a Fed IV. To me, $100 or $150 is a lot of money. Will I be happy with either a standard or deluxe? Most likely. Will I be as happy with a standard as a deluxe? I think so but I have no real idea. Will the deluxe be worth the extra money to me? I have no idea about that either. If I would love a standard, I'd like to know that for sure by being able to compare for myself it to a deluxe. I have always hated not being able to do touchy-feely.

What I am getting at is: is there any way to see and feel these hats before purchase without going to where they are made, which is not an option for me.
 

jazzncocktails

A-List Customer
Messages
484
Location
Long Beach, California
scottyrocks said:
This has to have been covered here at some point, but searching has been very time consuming, so I am asking.

How do you all buy hats on faith?

I've bought hats on ebay. I've been happy with more than I've been unhappy with. But they've all been small dollar amounts, including my Royal Stetson, posted elsewhere in this thread, I think.

I want a Fed IV. To me, $100 or $150 is a lot of money. Will I be happy with either a standard or deluxe? Most likely. Will I be as happy with a standard as a deluxe? I think so but I have no real idea. Will the deluxe be worth the extra money to me? I have no idea about that either. If I would love a standard, I'd like to know that for sure by being able to compare for myself it to a deluxe. I have always hated not being able to do touchy-feely.

What I am getting at is: is there any way to see and feel these hats before purchase without going to where they are made, which is not an option for me.
Frankly, I'm not willing to buy on ebay, mainly because everything I've found there that I'm interested in has MANY interested parties, and the prices have been well above $50 or $60. For that kind of money, I'm not willing to take the risk. I've purchased two Johnnyphi hats because I know they'll be of good quality and vintage...but on ebay, you just don't know. So, I'd go for the Fed IV over the ebay risk. Check out your thrift stores or flea markets in your area for vintage lids...
 

Daoud

One of the Regulars
Messages
293
Location
Asheville, NC
Well, I don't think there is. I imagine the folks at David Morgan would let you fondle their hats.....but since they're in Seattle that's not terribly helpful to you.

I'd suggest this- try to reconcile yourself to the fact that there is ALWAYS something better to be had. Sure you could get the better grade of Federation- I am sure it is a lovely hat. But it's not the best hat in the world by any means. And whether it's worth the extra cost or not- to me it wasn't. I really didn't even seriously consider getting the Deluxe- simply because there are so very many people here who recommended the regular Fed IV. I'm a great one for second-guessing myself, but I love my Fed IV, and never once have I said to myself,"gee, I wish I'd gotten the Deluxe."

As far as eBay being risky, I don't agree. If you buy a hat from an eBay seller and the hat is Significantly Not As Described-i.e., is a different size or condition than the seller has stated in the item description, you can file a dispute with eBay and/or PayPal to get your money back. However, in most cases that isn't necessary if you communicate with the seller in a civilised manner. There are a lot of folks out there selling who know nothing about hats or hat enthusiasts....they don't grasp the fact that unless we're told otherwise, we assume the hat we're buying is pristine. And, clearly, that works both ways- we sometimes assume the seller is out to screw us.
So my point is, eBay can treat you well IF you know the rules, both for buying and selling.
 

HarpPlayerGene

I'll Lock Up
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4,682
Location
North Central Florida
Nuthin' wrong with the thrift store angle - they're some of my favorite places. And if you're in an area where they may actually have some vintage fur felt hats, that's great.

In my experience, here in the savage swamps of Florida, there's almost never a quality hat at our thrift stores. Further north in the union, sure, but not around here.

So, I've done the Ebay thing a lot and have only had about four real miscues. I also like to keep it cheap. Now, there were a couple I fought for past the $60 mark and beyond, but on average I spent about $30 per hat.

Here's what one should do to mitigate disappointment:

- Know your size (and whether you are regular or long oval, etc.) in inches circumference, centimeters circumference, American sizing, UK sizing, and Punti sizing.

- Know your style

- If you are not yet sure of your size and style be accepting of a sort of trial period where you zero in on it by making a couple purchases and trying things out.

- Know your budget

- Search a LOT

- Be patient

- Take the occasional risk. Some hats that look like a crinkled mess are actually gems that just need to be brushed off and steamed back into beautiful shape.

- Keep an eye on The Fedora Lounge Classifieds.

- Communicate with the seller about questions or addt'l info you need

- PM a fellow lounger whom you trust for an opinion. Include a link to the auction in your PM - but do not post those live auction links on a thread. I'm a size 7 so that'll give you an idea whether I might be competing with you on an Ebay hat or not. (Basically my collecting has slowed waaaayyy down because I have an almost embarrassing number of hats and no more places to properly store and display them.)

- Have the BA... I mean the courage, to politely but firmly refuse to accept an item if it was genuinely misrepresented through intent or by accident.
 

bobalooba

One of the Regulars
Messages
275
Location
near seattle
:eek:fftopic:
Daoud said:
Well, I don't think there is. I imagine the folks at David Morgan would let you fondle their hats.....but since they're in Seattle that's not terribly helpful to you.

I'd suggest this- try to reconcile yourself to the fact that there is ALWAYS something better to be had. Sure you could get the better grade of Federation- I am sure it is a lovely hat. But it's not the best hat in the world by any means. And whether it's worth the extra cost or not- to me it wasn't. I really didn't even seriously consider getting the Deluxe- simply because there are so very many people here who recommended the regular Fed IV. I'm a great one for second-guessing myself, but I love my Fed IV, and never once have I said to myself,"gee, I wish I'd gotten the Deluxe."

As far as eBay being risky, I don't agree. If you buy a hat from an eBay seller and the hat is Significantly Not As Described-i.e., is a different size or condition than the seller has stated in the item description, you can file a dispute with eBay and/or PayPal to get your money back. However, in most cases that isn't necessary if you communicate with the seller in a civilised manner. There are a lot of folks out there selling who know nothing about hats or hat enthusiasts....they don't grasp the fact that unless we're told otherwise, we assume the hat we're buying is pristine. And, clearly, that works both ways- we sometimes assume the seller is out to screw us.
So my point is, eBay can treat you well IF you know the rules, both for buying and selling.

David morgan's in seattle? I live by there. Do you know exactly where they are located?
 

Not-Bogart13

Call Me a Cab
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2,502
Location
NE Pennsylvania
When it come to ebay, and buying experiences like it, the only way to do it is to slowly build your way into a major purchase. Even if it's not hats, buying frequently on ebay teaches you what to look out for in terms of high and low risk. If you're not comfortable with that, just don't do it.

As for buying something like a new Akubra, Stetson, Dobbs, or even the high-end hats like Optimo and Art Fawcett; You have the perfect resource right in front of you. Maybe you can't physically see and touch these hats, but we all love talking about our hats. Ask questions, browse threads, and educate yourself about the things that concern you. This minimizes your risk. And it's not just about who likes what hat, but which hats have the qualities you want.

Put your faith in us hat-nuts. It's how I got from a lonely boy with a crushable wool outback hat to poor man with a closet full expensive fedoras (and few cheapies) that I adore.
 

Mr. Paladin

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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3,133
Location
North Texas
Daoud said:
- try to reconcile yourself to the fact that there is ALWAYS something better to be had. Sure you could get the better grade of Federation- I am sure it is a lovely hat. But it's not the best hat in the world by any means. And whether it's worth the extra cost or not- to me it wasn't. I really didn't even seriously consider getting the Deluxe- simply because there are so very many people here who recommended the regular Fed IV.

I agree completely. I bought the regular moonstone FED IV and I think it is a very nice hat. I buy a lot of Hatco Outlet seconds and with careful examination, they are great buys. I had to do the same as you though; buy the FED sight unseen. I had never handled or seen an Akubra before but I took a chance based on what i heard here. I'm glad I did and now have a Camp Draft also.
 
This is the dual nature of eBay. Though it has made vintage hats known to and available to a vastly greater number of people than even, say, 5 years ago (and consequently rocketed the prices into the levels of ridiculousness for an old hat) the caveat is always "buyer beware". This level of uncertainty leads some to not shop on eBay. For me, the sticking point these days is the prices.

I disagree though, that it's a total crap shoot. You can tell the age and quality from pictures in an eBay auction. You just need to educate yourself about what to look for: it's not hard. The only thing that is an unknown is the sizing. Most of the hats i've bought have been true to size. Unfortunately the culture of ebay has swung so far to the buyer that sellers are now being blamed when a labelled size hat turns out to have shrunk (I have been bitten on this myself). Sellers are not often experts on, or even interested in, men's hats. If the buyer doesn't ask it's his fault if it doesn't fit. Chalk it up to experience.

bk
 

Daoud

One of the Regulars
Messages
293
Location
Asheville, NC
Well, the dual nature of eBay is that buyers should ask intelligent questions, and sellers need to make themselves available to answer them- I saw a listing recently in which the seller basically said that he or she didn't have much time to answer questions.

Most importantly, though- the seller needs to take time to insure that item descriptions be as detailed as possible, including measurements when apparel, including hats, is involved. Many sellers do this but many do not. I know that I personally have been guilty of running ads in which I gave only the marked size of the hat, but I've always been able to go back and revise the ad. Then again, I spend a lot of time with my ads- to me they are a direct reflection of me and of my business/life philosophy.

It seems that this thread has veered off-topic to some degree- but eBay is a primary source of hats for many of us, as well as a valuable means, for some of us, of marketing our unwanted hats.........I think it's important to discuss these things, especially when newcomers to this demi-monde are involved.
 

scottyrocks

I'll Lock Up
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9,063
Location
Isle of Langerhan, NY
Thanks, guys. I had mentioned ebay, but it was not my primary concern because I have been shopping ebay for about a dozen years, and dont have too much in the way of problems with it, mainly because of the less expensive nature of the items I buy there.

I have read the thread(s) on comparisons between the Fed IV standard and deluxe, as well as occasional comments on these hats in other threads. Each hat has advocates, and no one that prefers the deluxe has really trashed the standard. Even so, this will be an important purchase for me, and I want to get it right.

Thinking about it further, some (most?) of my hats are probably (significantly?) below the quality of a Fed IV standard and I'm happy with them. The hat on my head in my avatar is rather thin, the sweatband is leather, but nothing fancy, but I love it. So I'd probably be just fine with a standard. Still, I've got to read and reread and think about it some more. Yaaaanngh . . .
 

Tango Yankee

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2,434
Location
Lucasville, OH
scottyrocks said:
The hat on my head in my avatar is rather thin, the sweatband is leather, but nothing fancy, but I love it.

Scotty,

This sentence really caught my eye when scanning your post. I'd like to make a couple comments regarding it.

First, you note that the hat is rather thin. I assume you're referring to the thickness of the felt? I don't know what kind of hat it is, but you should know that some of the finest hats I've come across (and I'm sure many here will agree) were made of thin felt. It's the quality of the felt that matters.

The most important thing, though was this:

scottyrocks said:
...but I love it.

It doesn't matter if your hat is the finest made by Stetson, Borsalino, or even one of the fine hat makers we have here in the Lounge or a cheap wool "Official Indiana Jones" hat, as long as you can say "I love it."

Enjoy your search. As others have indicated, you'll get better through experience and learning from what others have to say here. That's how most of us have learned. Yes, sometimes I still blow it when making an impluse buy, but that is one of the risks of eBay. It's generally my own fault, an impulse buy without reading/looking closely, or taking a chance hoping it's just a badly-done listing.

Above all, have fun!

Cheers,
Tom
 

Carlisle Blues

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3,155
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Beautiful Horse Country
My only experience with ebay was buying a Montecristi from a seller who, after I questioned, identified himself. I did some background checking. He was who he said he was. Actually a person I respected. He was a businessman with an excellent reputation. Further, he gave me a seven day money back gaurantee with him paying the shipping.

He should have charged me more, and I even suggested this, but he just wanted to get rid of his beautiful hat. He thought it carried bad luck.[huh]

I did not have the same experience in the classifieds in the lounge.

Recently, someone was selling an Optimo. I was more than happy to buy. It turned into a circus. He didn't want to post pics, people wanted him to. I was very serious, but, it was totally one sided in terms of communication let alone, terms of sale (which we never got to).

I let go of that one real quick. :rolleyes:

After doing exhaustive research on the Akruba Federation and recommendations from loungers as to quality I bought a brown Fed Deluxe IV.

I liked it so much I wanted another. I asked Mr. Palidin to describe the Moonstone color to me. He did so with precision and vivid detail. I bought the Fed Del IV in Moonstone. Again, perfect hat and color for me.

Remember it's just a hat no more no less.;)
 

HungaryTom

One Too Many
Messages
1,204
Location
Hungary
Scottyrocks,

The very first time when I bought a Montecristi and a pure beaver felt hat I was totally relying on faith since I knew absolutely nothing about how they would feel and turn out.

It is like a jump in the dark - or a blind date. This is why I approached reputable hatters and did not focus on the price rather went for the safety and quality of a renown representative of the trade.

Since these choices worked out - I stick to them.

I know e-bay only from indirect experience I translated menacing letters of a fellow in 2005 who bought car spare parts from a German seller who just recollected his 1500 USD and never sent back anything. Maybe he thought that Hungary is far away and he can do this since the courtmarsh would cost even more. This is why I never did anything with e-bay.com which is overseas.
 

Viper Man

Banned
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860
Location
Stone City, IL
Some good advice in here. If you are lucky enough to be a size 7 or smaller you can get great vintage hats for pretty cheap. Being a 7 1/4, I feel lucky to get a great vintage hat for $50 and usually expect to pay around $100 or more. The most I have paid for vintage on ebay was about $160 for a mint/NOS hat. Now, I have had some great deals and scored hats for $15-25 but that's a rare occurence for my size. You certainly have to be diligent and patient.

Also, IMO, the Akubra Fed is a great hat but it doesn't hold a candle to my better vintage lids.
 

scottyrocks

I'll Lock Up
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9,063
Location
Isle of Langerhan, NY
Tango Yankee said:


First, you note that the hat is rather thin. I assume you're referring to the thickness of the felt? I don't know what kind of hat it is, but you should know that some of the finest hats I've come across (and I'm sure many here will agree) were made of thin felt. It's the quality of the felt that matters.

Cheers,
Tom

Yes, 'thin' referred to the thickness of the felt. I like a hat that doesnt feel heavy on my head. I think, though, that this depends more on fit than the thickness of the material or actual weight of the hat (to a point).

My avatar hat that I referred to above is a Stetson Imperial (actually it says, 'The Imperial Stetson'), a name that I dont often see anywhere - not on ebay, on seller-shops' websites, and now, here. I bought it at JJ Hat Center in NYC in 1982.
 

hulkamad

Familiar Face
Messages
73
Location
Tulsa, OK
How do I buy on faith?

I'm still a noob around here and I currently have only one hat to my name, but it is a Akubra Federation Deluxe IV in moonstone. And I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

You ask how I buy on faith, and I would reply that I didn't make the purchase completely blind. While i never had the opportunity to get a tactile feel of an Akubra, (or any other hat for that matter) I did spend quite a bit of time shadowing around the boards, (This one and club obi-wan) and I first learned as much as a could from the fine folks around here who overflowing with info. From their testimonies I made the decision to take the plunge, go for the akubra and went for the deluxe. For me it was a big purchase (and if I told my non-hat wearing friends the price, they'd probably flipout)

But then it arrived in the mail, I opened the box, shaped it as best as a newbie could, and that was that! It feels great. It looks great. I love it. My friends love it. I couldn't be happier with it.

The one draw back is now I have the fever! One hat is not enough! I just purchased another hat thanks to a gentlemen in the classifieds section and am eyeballing two or three more on the ebay.

If I were you, I'd take the advice of all the experts on here, learn as much as I can, and make your decisions based on that. It worked for me.

And if you get a hat you don't like? Don't feel terrible. You could always resell it on ebay or to someone on here... *hint, hint*(I happen to be a size 7....lol!)

Good luck!
 

Daoud

One of the Regulars
Messages
293
Location
Asheville, NC
Hey, homes! ( I used to call Tulsa home) That's a helluva first hat. And you're right- Feds of any variety are very popular, and if you keep it looking good you cab always sell it without taking too much of a beating.
 

hulkamad

Familiar Face
Messages
73
Location
Tulsa, OK
Hey Daoud

Always glad to hear from a former Tulsan!

Also after my previous post, I realized I actually do have other hats (they just aren't felt. They don't have the penache or style of the fed) I guess I had a brainfart. :eusa_doh: My other so-called hats are all leather or mystery matterial. [huh] Perhaps, I'll start a new thread and post pics of them... They are pretty ragged and don't compart to my first "real" hat, the Fed IV.
 

Dewhurst

Practically Family
Messages
653
Location
USA
Buying hats on "faith" is just something you have to do these days unless you luck out by living near a manufacturer or in a city that actually has hat shops.

I'm lucky, I live in a town with three or four different western stores, and although I strongly dislike western things in general (excepting movies, of course), westernstores have some very nice hats. They usually have a person who measures heads and whatnot as well.

Anyway, buying on faith has been largely a matter of reputation for me. I typically purchase hats manufactured by companies with a good reputation. Yes, it has cost me more, but I have some great hats that I am very proud to own.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention. Most of the decent online hat stores have great refund/return/replace policies. So, you if buy a $170 dollar hat and don't like it, you just send it back with your return slip that they sent along with the hat in the first place, and you're good to go. True, you lose an extra 10 or so bucks on the return shipping, but it gives you the opportunity to correct your misapprehensions or mistakes. Did the size wrong? Send it back and get the next best size. Just plain don't like it or were misled by the pictures? Send it back for a full refund and buy a different hat entirely.

Takes a little time, obviously. But this takes a lot of the "faith" out of it.

Also, alot of faith is unnecessary when you ask people like everyone HERE on The FL what a certain hat is like. We buy A LOT of HATS, and chances are that at least one of us on here has either seen the hat, has heard something about it, or actually owns the sucker and can go to the closet and give you a full rundown on it, including pictures of their own ugly mug wearing it (for reference, of course!:) .
 
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