How to Search for Antique Tie Pins

Written by linda stamberger
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How to Search for Antique Tie Pins
Tie (tie image by CraterValley Photo from

Tie pins were worn from the 1900s on and kept a man's tie neatly in place. A tie pin was a sign of a distinguished gentleman--one who kept up on his appearance and attention to detail. Tie pins were reservedly plain, gold-tone and sometimes made decorative for fancy occasions. If made from real gold, the tie pin was sometimes encrusted with diamond chips.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Magnifying glass to examine marks on antique tie pin

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  1. 1

    Go to thrift stores. Look in the clothing section of the thrift store for old ties. Sometimes vintage ties still have the tie pins attached. Look in the jewellery case, often located near the cash register checkout section of the store. In many thrift stores, there are showcases where jewellery is displayed among the small, expensive and antique items, with the top shelf reserved for jewellery. Look at the pins; antique tie pins might be mixed in with woman's pins.

  2. 2

    Ask the worker behind the counter of the thrift store if they have a separate section for male jewellery. If not, compare the different pins. An antique tie pin will be thinner and resemble a single bar across. If there is a design, it will be to the far end of the pin, sometimes off centre, so that when attached to a tie, the design part of the pin shows and is not obstructed by the tie itself. An antique tie pin may or may not be marked. Prices in thrift stores for antique tie pins range from 50 cents up to £1.90.

  3. 3

    Look over an antique tie pin and compare it to a lady's bar pin. Sometimes an antique lady's bar pin can be mistaken for a tie pin because they are both long and thin. Tie pins measure about 1½ to 2 inches in length. They have a masculine look, with simple geometric designs, unless decorated with sporting themes. A lady's bar pin looks feminine. For example, a lady's pin may have flower decorations. Tie pins will be shorter than woman's bar pins. Turn the tie pin over and look for an old makers mark. If there is a makers mark, it can be researched in guidebooks for time period and value.

  4. 4

    Go to garage sales and look at miscellaneous jewellery for sale. There are sometimes antique tie pins mixed in with a mess of tangled jewellery for as little as 25 to 50 cents per pin up to 60p. People who have garage sales often sell items at inexpensive prices because they want to clear out old stuff, and this is a real advantage for buyers.

  5. 5

    Go online and look at auctions for antique tie pins. This is a great way to learn about antique tie pins by reading the auction description. Usually the seller will provide information about the antique tie pin. Buying antique tie pins online is fine, but antique tie pins are best found in person. It is better to examine the antique tie pin because a lot of gold-tone pieces are prone to tarnishing.

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