Extensive hat collection to be displayed, sold

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - A collection of vintage hats will go on display at a southern Indiana history center this fall and then be auctioned to benefit the facility.

Helen DeSawal has been collecting the items for 35 years, and many of the items were inherited from her mother, who purchased hats in Washington, D.C., while serving with the U.S. Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service Program.

DeSawal said she decided to donate part of the collection, which filled a 40-foot trailer, initially for the Monroe County History Center’s annual garage sale.

“I’m just getting too old for this collection,” DeSawal told The Herald-Times (http://bit.ly/1r5XGqp ).

Monroe County History Center volunteers decided to display the items then auction them instead because of the value of the collection, which include a Jack McConnell modified pillbox hat made of black feathers. It is a red feather hat, meaning a red feather is placed under the maker’s label to indicate that it is one of a kind.

Sue Bowman, a history center volunteer who helped appraise the hats, said red feather hats can be worth up to $1,800.

Bowman said DeSawal’s collection is one of the largest donations the center has received. It’s also in the best condition possible and doesn’t require any refurbishing.

The collection will be displayed for a short time, then auctioned in November. The date of the auction hasn’t been set.

Proceeds from the auction will help fund the center’s operations.

Although her collecting days are over, DeSawal said she still gets a thrill from passing the items along.

“It makes me excited,” DeSawal said about collecting. “I appreciate these things and want to pass them along to someone who would appreciate them. They just would have been tossed out.”

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Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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