How Do I Choose the Best Vintage Hair Comb?

Alicia Sparks

To choose the best vintage hair comb, determine why you’re purchasing the comb, how much effort you can dedicate to maintaining the antique, and how much money you’re willing to spend on the kind of comb you’re interested in. Browse various online and offline shops, and compare the combs you're interested in from one shop to the next. Consider asking for help from knowledgeable antiques dealers, and remember that certified antiques appraisers can help you pay the right price for the comb’s quality, condition, and rarity.

If you don’t feel confident with your knowledge of vintage items, consider bringing someone who has experience with antiques.
If you don’t feel confident with your knowledge of vintage items, consider bringing someone who has experience with antiques.

Your intended purpose for the vintage hair comb will play a significant role in the selection you make. For example, if you collect antiques and simply want to add the comb to your collection, you might be willing to choose older, more fragile, and even more expensive pieces. Ideally, such a piece would be protected from accidents and the elements. On the other hand, if you plan to wear your vintage comb, you might opt for a more durable, less expensive antique comb. You might still protect such a comb when you aren’t wearing it, but it would still be a comb that could withstand at least mild use.

Wood combs are more expensive than plastic ones but considered healthier for hair.
Wood combs are more expensive than plastic ones but considered healthier for hair.

The condition and quality of the vintage hair comb will also determine the comb’s required maintenance. Once the comb is yours, you will be responsible for maintaining it, so it’s important to look at types of combs you’ll have plenty of time to properly care for. While all antiques require a certain amount of maintenance, older items require more upkeep, or at least a stricter attention, than newer ones. Too, certain materials require more care than others. For example, certain kinds of silver combs require regular polishing.

You might think that the higher the price tag, the more valuable the vintage hair comb, but this isn’t always the case. Various factors affect the cost of a vintage comb, and such factors may or may not be relevant to you. Age, condition, and availability often affect the cost. For example, it’s possible for an old comb in excellent condition to cost less than a newer comb in poor condition, if the newer comb is rarer than the older comb. Research the specific antique comb you’re considering and find out details such as its year or the era it was produced, how prevalent it is, and the condition many of its counterparts are in before determining whether the price seems fair.

Search a variety of locations for the best vintage hair comb, and compare the combs and their prices from one location to the next. Antiques shops are common places to find vintage combs, but don’t overlook unconventional places like pawnshops, yard sales, and estate sales. If you don’t feel confident with your knowledge of vintage items, consider bringing someone who has experience with antiques, or shopping only with stores who have certified antique appraisers on staff. You might even browse online shops, though it’s best to check these shops’ return policies. Shopping online doesn’t allow a thorough inspection of the vintage piece, and the item’s condition might be misrepresented or an appraiser might determine your purchase isn’t authentic.

Vintage combs should be durable enough to withstand regular use.
Vintage combs should be durable enough to withstand regular use.

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