Money: Make a little pin money
Rare tie pins are stylish investments that are popular with collectors. By John Andrew
Wednesday 27 March 1996
There are simple but elegant gem set pieces, animals in plain gold, others studded with small diamonds, as well as fun pieces like the gold footballer kicking a pearl ball, an aeroplane, and an enamel and baroque pearl pin deigned as a bagpipe.
Estimates start at pounds 250 for a couple of racing-related pins and range up to pounds l,200 for a late Victorian, crescent-shaped, rose-cut diamond.
Sadly, the tie pin is no longer a popular form of male adornment in the UK, though there are signs of a revival on the Continent. Our ancestors began to decorate their neckwear with decorative pins in the 1700s. In the second half of the 19th century, their popularity increased. Indeed, they remained an essential feature for the well-dressed man up until the 1930s.
Gone are the days when neckwear is a drab piece of cloth knotted round the collar. The tie pin is definitely not required today to provide a touch of light relief to dull attire.
However, when good pins appear at auction, there is a steady demand, which has resulted in a gradual increase in prices in recent years. Twenty years ago, a gem set pin that retailed at a little over pounds 10 would sell today for a figure approaching pounds 200. However, the largest price increases have been for quality novelty pieces. In December 1994, Sotheby's at Billingshurst, West Sussex, offered a gold-enamel pin of "Punch". Estimated at a modest pounds 250, it found a buyer at pounds 2,185 (including Buyers Premium of 16 per cent). Last September, Sotheby's in New Bond Street offered a gold-enamel monkey dressed as a footman. Estimated at pounds 300-pounds 400, it climbed in price to pounds 3,220 before the hammer fell.
As David Lancaster of Christie's South Kensington comments, the price differential for a tie pin of an unusual design and one that is good but quite ordinary can be immense. The market for tie pins is small, but, nevertheless, collectors use their financial muscle to secure the unusual. However, for every astounding price secured, there are thousands of good examples that sell for more modest sums.
The beauty of tie pins is that they can be purchased for quite modest sums. For example, last year I purchased a charming late Victorian gold heart enamelled in royal blue, its borders set with half-seed pearls. The price was pounds 75. It is certainly quite possible to secure stylish pieces below pounds 200, though prices move upwards with the size and quality of the stones. For example, an old cut, brilliant, one carat, solitaire diamond pin can sell for pounds 600-pounds 800, but if the stone is of the top quality and colour and modern cut, it is likely to sell for around pounds 6,000.
As with all areas of jewellery, there can be many pitfalls and plus factors. The plusses are quality of workmanship, condition, style and, of course, the quality of the stones. The original box is desirable but not essential. The pitfalls are modern reproductions, damaged items or pieces that have been converted from earrings or other jewels. Most tie pins are not hallmarked or signed by the maker. However, pieces signed by Faberge, Cartier or Tiffany naturally sell at a premium. Indeed, a Faberge imperial presentation pin in its original case is likely to sell for up to pounds 4,500.
Auctions are not necessarily the cheapest source for material. Antique centres, shops and fairs as well as jewellers are also good hunting grounds. Before you buy, go out and look and learn. It is only by handling pieces and talking to auction house experts and dealers that you learn about quality. By comparing prices, you will also learn to spot the good buys.
As to whether tie pins prove to be a good long-term investment depends on the price you pay today and future demand. Apart from an increasing interest from the continental male, women have also discovered that a tie pin is ideal for lapel wear. A period costume drama on TV could perhaps result in its return to popularity for the adornment of the British male. If not, there will always be an interest from collectors.
- 1 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 2 Council bans use of word ‘Commie’ – but ‘fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ are fine
- 3 The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
- 4 The poorest pay the price for austerity: Workers face biggest fall in living standards since Victorian era
- 5 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Java De...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: PHP Developer (Web Developer, MyS...
£55000 - £75000 per annum + 28 Days Holiday: Harrington Starr: Flex Developer ...
£50000 - £90000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Core Ja...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom Grade II-listed mews house with vaulted ceilings and roof garden
A spacious Grade II-listed family home with annexe and equestrian facilities among four acres of land in Itchingfield
A four-bedroom home with exposed brick walls and open fires in the picturesque village of Northill
A Grade II-listed property with five bedrooms and unique tower, overlooking Hastings Old Town
A charming five-bedroom detached family home, set within half an acre in Kew
A two-bedroom maisonette set on the top two floors of a period building, close to Kentish Town Tube.
Take advantage of the extra space provided by former stables and outbuildings at this five-bedroom farmhouse.
This three-bedroom Victorian terrace is near to Queen’s Road Peckham station, Nunhead station.
A five-bedroom modern house with terrace, swimming pool, Zen treehouse and large carp pond
An unexpected gem with four bedrooms, remarkable vaulted reception and a galleried study area
A five-bedroom house in one of Lymington's most sought after tree lined avenues, moments from the marinas and sailing clubs
A grand early 19th century B&B close to the historic harbour, with four en suite bedrooms
A four-bedroom, 17th century home with walled gardens, a landscaped terrace, cellar and open fires
A six-bedroom house with five bathrooms and four reception rooms spread over 4,000sq ft of luxury living space
A stunning three double-bedroom apartment with two decked terraces in the exclusive gated community, Bromyard House
A 10-bedroom period, family home amid beautiful surroundings in the centre of the Wentworth Estate in Longcross village
A stylish three-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and private landscaped garden, moments from Fitzroy Square
A Grade II-listed Elizabethan barn with landscaped gardens, exposed elm beams and four bedrooms, all with lovely views
A six-bedroom family home, dating back to 1280 with four reception rooms, barn, swimming pool and tennis courts in Harwell
A spacious two-bedroom flat, refurbished to a very high standard with private landscaped garden, close to Kentish Town station
An exceptional two-bedroom apartment with balcony and underground parking in the centre of Richmond
A one-bedroom, luxury, duplex apartment in the grand landmark building, Imperial Hall
Run a fabulous boutique shop, live above it in a one-bedroom flat and let a second one-bedroom flat that comes part and parcel
A Grade-II listed, thatched cottage in Hundleby village, with five bedrooms, a coach house and three and a half acres
A spacious two-bedroom flat in the heart of Hoxton Square with wooden floors and roof terrace
A five-bedroom family home with stunning pool and gym complex set among two acres of land
A six-bedroom period house with heated swimming pool and a separate two-bedroom annexe cottage in Townlake, £795,000
A spacious and contemporary two-bedroom flat arranged over three floors, with garden patio close to St George Square, £600,000
A one-bedroom flat in a beautiful Regency building opposite the beach in Kemp Town, £190,000
A two-bedroom flat with London skyline views close to Surrey Quays. £395,000.
A seven-storey tower with three bedrooms and a stunning roof terrace. Guide price: £850,000.
A 16-bedroom country pile with nine reception rooms, four self-contained flats and a 13th century Peel Tower. £850,000.
A classic six-bedroom Victorian Manse house 10 miles from Edinburgh. £495,000.
John Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool to be sold at auction. Guide price: £150,000-£250,000.
A six-bedroom detached period property with secluded gardens, ample parking and a double garage in Rye, £675,000.
A large split-level property with three double-bedrooms and roof terrace, close to Crouch End Broadway, £625,000.
A charming barn conversion in the picturesque Cotswold village of Ilmington with three bedrooms, a detached garage, workshop and beautifully manicured gardens £675,000.
A three-bedroom new build, ground-floor flat with two bathrooms, close to Bermondsey tube, £445,000.
A three-bedroom house in an enviable new development moments from Oxshott High Street, with secluded garden and decked area, £385,000
A two-bedroom split-level flat with stunning south-west facing roof terrace in the popular Brondesbury Conservation Area, £549,950.