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Determining the age of a Sombrero?

Levallois

Practically Family
Messages
676
I've been looking for a vintage sombrero for my collection as I’ve been reading about the Mexican Revolution and studying various photos from between 1910-1920. I did a search for this topic and came up with bupkis . I did see a great discussion here from 2022 about sombreros being worn by members today and references to Bob Mitchum and Willie Nelson in the movies but nothing about the old ones. I got this sombrero recently and while I paid more than I wanted, it was a type that seemed rare in this category. Most of the old sombreros that are for sale are made of straw. This one is made of felt but is plain - no modern mariachi embellishment at all. It looks old but with no headband or liner, it’s just a WAG on my part. Is anyone out there collecting/studying sombreros that might have an idea of when this one was made? Thank you for your time.
John

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Levallois

Practically Family
Messages
676
t. jones - I appreciate the reply. I’ve been in conversation with Yahoody. He thinks my hat is a charro styleFrom the 1960s made from beaver felt. He thought it looked well made and the felt was of good quality. Of course, he admitted these were guesses and it would be better if he could see the hat in person. Also, that if it was him, he would get it rejuvenated and have a headband put in it by a good hat repair shop so it could be worn on occasion.. I don’t know if we have one in Phoenix anymore but there is still a good shop in Tucson.

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Yahoody

One Too Many
Messages
1,104
Location
Great Basin
What is this?
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You have a very high quality and by comparison a very expensive fur felt Sombrero. Very likely a beaver felt. Still a very common hat sold in Mexico to Charros and true Vaquero horsemen. The big difference is the high quality of the older felt. Quality of the trim and hat band are typical of a high quality felt sombrero. No sweat as mentioned but it is the felt body that makes it valuable. Sweats are commonly replaced in any good felt hat. Very likely made after the Mexican revolution (1920) and about the time big felt cowboy hats (10 gallon) became the fashion in Hollywood (20s through the 30s). Not that the two or the date mean the hats have anything in common, they don't. Size of the hat body (blank) and quality of the felt at the time does.

Al is correct, asking at RJ's FB page will get you more info and correct me if I am wrong on the date.

FWIW you are wearing it like a Gr-in-go. ( Who knew that word was banned here?!) Sugar loaf sombreros are supposed to fit on the top of your head and aren't made to wear/fit like a cowboy hat. And very likely why the sweat was removed so the sombrero would fit a bigger head. Of course I wear minelike a gr-in-go. RJ who makes a similar sugar loaf but a much older, historically, two piece style.

Yours is a Mexican Charo's sombrero. A true Merican horseman's sombrero.

The Mexican Revolution.
Outerwear Helmet Beard Hat Art



"And just like that, they turn into heirlooms..."
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Levallois

Practically Family
Messages
676
Yahoody - thank you for the replies. I need to find some sombrero reference material and educate myself.. Sugar loaf sombrero? i wasn’t aware of such a style. And yes thanks to your input I realize my sombrero is a lot more recent than the Revolution. Finding one from that time period would be difficult and very expensive.

I did find an auction site that had Mitchum’s original movie sombrero for sale with a good photo. Sold for $2500 And probably worth every penny.

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Yahoody

One Too Many
Messages
1,104
Location
Great Basin
Fun stuff. If you look into it you'll find that very likely the most common hat that went up the trail from Texas to Montana in the 1870s was a Sugarloaf sombrero. Tough as nails, cool in the heat, warm in the cold.

After 2000 trail miles, eating dust from a herd, everything from saddles to guns were plumb worn out, including their hats and clothing.

Mercantile stores from Kansas to Montana were booming businesses out fitting the worn out drovers, with pay day jingle in their pockets.

The current generation and worse yet the ones prior, might think it was all "Texas cowboys" that drove those cattle north. Truth is far from it. Vaqueros and Black cowboys did a good portion of the work and deserve the credit as well. Didn';t matter who you were, you might be wearing a Sugar loaf sombrero if you could afford one.

Cowboy hats, as we know them today, came late to the party.
Stetson's, Boss of the Plains, was a pretty tiny hat by comparison.

No cowboy had a lot, but a good sugarloaf sombrero was a prized possession. It is why you don'tt find them in decent condition today. They got used.

I have a couple of good Sugerloafs, that RJ made for me and some stunning, and expensive 100% beaver hats. No question which will last the longest in actual use. ;)


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Last edited:

Levallois

Practically Family
Messages
676
I may need to have one made……..
Fun stuff. If you look into it you'll find that very likely the most common hat that went up the trail from Texas to Montana in the 1870s was a Sugarloaf sombrero. Tough as nails, cool in the heat, warm in the cold.

After 2000 trail miles, eating dust from a herd, everything from saddles to guns were plumb worn out, including their hats and clothing.

Mercantile stores from Kansas to Montana were booming businesses out fitting the worn out drovers, with pay day jingle in their pockets.

The current generation and worse yet the ones prior, might think it was all "Texas cowboys" that drove those cattle north. Truth is far from it. Vaqueros and Black cowboys did a good portion of the work and deserve the credit as well. Didn';t matter who you were, you might be wearing a Sugar loaf sombrero if you could afford one.

Cowboy hats, as we know them today, came late to the party.
Stetson's, Boss of the Plains, was a pretty tiny hat by comparison.

No cowboy had a lot, but a good sugarloaf sombrero was a prized possession. It is why you don'tt find them in decent condition today. They got used.

I have a couple of good Sugerloafs, that RJ made for me and some stunning, and expensive 100% beaver hats. No question which will last the longest in actual use. ;)


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