Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Theodore Roosevelt: Personally-Owned Top Hat. High quality "beaver silk" covered hat owned by President Theodore Roosevelt. TR was known as an elegant dresser and there are photographs of him wearing identical hats. This particular one is still housed in its original deluxe, silk-lined, leather carrying case which measures 14.5" x 11" x 9.75". The area below the lock plate is gold-stamped "T. R." in bold Old English characters. The case has light wear and a moisture line encircling the bottom, but is remarkably well-preserved. The silk liner of the hat has the trademark of "Dunlap & Company" of New York. The sweatband has the gold-stamped logo of John B. Stetson Company of Philadelphia. Additionally, and most importantly, it is gold-stamped "Theo. Roosevelt" in Old English characters. There is no size indicated. There are also some stamped and hand-written inscriptions on the liner and interior sweatband, all hidden from view, likely internal company inventory and quality control notations. The leather sweatband is partially detached at one end and there is some light "case" wear to the outer edges of the grosgrain-accented brim. There are some minor creases to the hat band. The case also includes two lateral "hidden compartments" that house hinged boxes for accessories. It is obviously a top-of-the-line custom order from the "Cadillac" of hat makers at the turn of the 20th century, in keeping with the status of its owner, a life-long New Yorker.

    It is accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity from High Noon Western Americana, dated September 26, 2019. That firm has handled many historical and celebrity-owned vintage hats and is often called upon to vet material. "The Dunlap hat company was the premier chapeaux vendor of the Roosevelt era and this hat was absolutely 'top of the line' in class, cost and design for that particular manufacturer. Theodore Roosevelt was known to be a customer of Dunlap & Co. and a Top Hat like this would be very appropriate for a man of Theodore Roosevelt's stature... Theodore Roosevelt was photographed wearing top hats many times. This Top Hat appears identical to other top hats Theodore Roosevelt wears in multiple verifiable photographs." The letter also concludes that the personalized gold-stamped inscriptions were "factory applied". The "choice of the initials 'T.R.' suggests a level of familiarity that one would expect on a period item owned by, ordered and personalized by Theodore Roosevelt himself or someone very close to him."

    Provenance: The Ray Bentley Collection.

    Heritage has previously sold examples of Presidential hats, including William McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and others. All have been well-received, but this may "top" them all!


    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    February
    3rd Monday
    Auction Dates
    February
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    7 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 391
    Auction Type
    Signature®:  Heritage Live®:After Internet bidding closes, live bidding will take place through www.HA.com/Live. Your secret maximum bid placed prior to the live event will compete against the live bids. To maximize your chances of winning, enter realistic secret maximum bids on our site. Many of our proxy bidders are successful at winning lots in these auctions, and usually below their secret maximum. You can also place last minute bids directly with us by e-mailing Bid@HA.com or calling 1-866-835-3243. (Important note: Due to software and Internet latency, live bids may not register in time, so enter realistic proxy bids.)

    Signature® Floor Sessions
    Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 24 hours before the live session begins and continues through the session. During the live auction event, bidding in person is encouraged, and Heritage Live includes streaming audio and often video during the event.

    Track Item