for my money, anything after the 60's is just meh. The past decade or so has seen the nice growth of independent hatters raising the bar on quality. But even top of the line customs barely scratch the quality of the best vintage hats. To be clear, vintage hats were made in a dizzying array of felt weights and qualities, so caveats abound to the generalizations herein. Not every vintage hat is automatically nicer than the custom work being done today. But, the thing about vintage felts is that they seemed to have been processed more thoroughly leading to a denser felt that is more pliable than modern felts. Pre-war hats are the most coveted for good reason. In the US, the use of mercury during the felt production process was in use up until the 40's (I wanna say 41, but don't quote me on that). Beaver felts tighter than rabbit fur, because the individual hairs on beavers have microscopic barbs on them which allow the fibers to grab onto each other like velcro. The use of mercury during the felt making process creates similar microscopic barbs, thus allowing cheaper furs, like rabbit, to achieve higher density. This is one way in which vintage hats are objectively different things than modern hats aside from considerations of style and proportion. One other area is the sweatband. I'm contrast to the 'miraculous' shrinking sweats on Akubras, higher quality vintage hats had 2" high quality leather sweatband. Still supple after more than a century. No "genuine" or bonded leather here. We were also discussing trim the other week in the ask a question thread. Attention to detail was overall much higher. Here's the edge binding on my modern Stetson, its...ok. Here's a vintage Stetson derby...almost invisible, especially from the top. Anyways, that's a crash course in vintage vs modern.