1 Examples of primitive combs have been found among the discoveries of archeological digs in all corners of the world, with the earliest reportedly dating back 5,000 years.
2 A Sea Holly hair comb, circa 1900, made of horn, silver, gold, glass, and signed by Rene Lalique, measuring 3 3/4 inches wide by 5 1/4 inches long, sold for $170,000 through Treadway Toomey Auctions in 2015.
Functional fashion accessories
3 Antique and vintage hair combs are a prime example of top choice functional and fashionable accessories. Examples of decorative hair combs have reportedly been identified among artifacts dating back to the Stone Age.
4 Within a cache of more than 9,300 gold decorative items found in 2016 in the ancient tomb of a Scythian tribal leader, located in the Russian Republic of Tuva, was a gold hair comb weighing 10 ounces.
5 Sometimes it’s not just about the design or presence of an object that draws attention, it’s the provenance of a piece. In November 2017, a gold-plated hair comb, featuring fluted shell-like accents, rose to $3,000 at a Julien’s Auctions sale. The comb was reportedly worn by 1940s actress Ann Blyth during her performance in the film “Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid.” The piece measures 5 1/2 inches long.
6 Over the centuries, various materials have served in the construction of decorative combs. This includes, but is not limited to, wood, ivory, bone, alabaster, tortoise shell, onyx, and celluloid.
7 A couple living in Alaska since the 1950s turned their home and collection of more than 3,000 antique and vintage combs into a tourist destination: The Miller Comb Museum.
Attractive hair combs bring attractive prices
8 Good things come in pairs, just like the tortoise shell hair combs shown, which feature pearls, rose-cut diamonds with keen details and blue enamel. The Edwardian period pair measure 4 1/4 by 1 1/2 inches each and weigh 23.7 grams. As a single lot, it sold for $1,300 through Fortuna Auctions in December 2017.
9 As was often the case with period jewelry, even decorative combs provided a platform of sorts for sentimental personalization. For example, a 19th-century French hair comb, which sold for $572, included a line of attractive cameos. Cameo profiles of a man, a younger man, a woman, and several children set in gold mounts atop the comb.
10 In March 2018, a ladies 18kt gold hair comb, boasting filigree gold vines set with red coral beads above spiraled teeth, measuring approximately 3 1/4 inches in length by 3 inches in width, sold for $900.
Compiled by Antoinette Rahn. Sources: LiveAuctioneers.com; mongolschinaandthesilkroad.blogspot.com; www.bustle.com; https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/miller-comb-museum