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Rare Hoyt Hats Company "Demon Hanover" Race Horse Hat

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Show and Tell - Share your treasures' started by HatsEnough, May 31, 2013.

  1. HatsEnough

    HatsEnough Registered Guest

    Maker: Hoyt Hats
    Model: Demon Hanover
    Color: Brown
    Ribbon: Brown, 3/8
    Crown: Diamond Bash
    Size: 7-1/8
    Sweatband: Leather
    Brim Size: 2-1/2, Ribbon Bound Brim
    Date of Manufacture: Late 40s, early 50s

    Demon Hanover Hat History:

    Haberdasher Harrison Hoyt became the first amateur driver/owner to win the Hambletonian. Charles Colburn, star of Green Grass of Wyoming which premiered that year, was on hand to congratulate Hoyt, his wife and their two sons, Harrison Jr. and Billy. Demon Hanover inspired a fashion trend of sorts when the Hoyt Hat Company offered Demon Hanover brand hats and ties. The snap-brim felt hat was sold in two weights and three colors (light tan, gray and medium brown) and was worn by many horsemen of the era. Demon Hanover would be syndicated for $500,000, the highest price ever paid for a trotter to date. The price equaled the half million dollars paid for the pacing stallion Adios.

    Original Box: This RARE orig. box has inscription on top: “Rep. Wm. F. Morgan House Seat 159” Likely William F. Morgan of North Stonington, New London County, Conn. Republican. Member of Connecticut state House of Representatives from North Stonington; elected 1948.

    The box is rarer than the hat. I've seen about 5 or 6 of these Demon Hanover hats in the last 5 years. But only TWO boxes. One box sold for $500... and it's just cardboard! I've owned a light tan Demon Hanover (sold it last year) and now own the medium brown one. I have never even seen a gray version.










    Story in Time Magazine, Monday, Aug. 23, 1948:
    The Happy Hatter
    Harrison Hoyt is a chunky, red-faced man who lives in Connecticut and makes hats. Unlike most fairly well-to-do men who own harness horses, he likes to race his own in the big time. At Goshen's Good Time Park last week, tradition was against him as he maneuvered his prize three-year-old into line for the start. No amateur had ever won the famed Hambletonian, trotting's Kentucky Derby.

    Hatmaker Hoyt was in a sulky instead of a saddle strictly by accident. Several years ago, he bought a saddlehorse named Louis Cobb, which had been a trotter. Just for the fun of it, he decided to put him back in a sulky. After four victories, Driver Harrison Hoyt was a wholehearted harness horseman (he even named a hat the Louis Cobb). He began to buy harness horses. At a Harrisburg (Pa.) yearling sale two years ago he paid $2,600 for a bay horse named Demon Hanover and got a bargain.
    Like all harness horses, Demon Hanover had to learn not to break into a gallop or canter, a process known as teaching a trotter "good manners." The Demon caught on beautifully. Last season, mostly on half-mile tracks, Demon Hanover won twelve races in 14 starts. Last week, Hoyt felt so certain of his chances in the big race that he closed up his Danbury hat factory for the day.

    Most of his 85 employees turned out at Goshen, N.Y. to pull for the boss: he had promised them their day's pay if he won. There wasn't much doubt about the first heat. Demon Hanover stepped along in front easy as could be, with the boss, in his goggles and cap, driving like a professional. Demon Hanover won the heat without straining. His time: 2:03 1/5. If he could repeat in the second heat, there would be no necessity for a third. In the second, Demon Hanover trotted even better (2:02), won the Hambletonian, the richest harness race in the world. His share of the purse—$32,500.

    Hoyt had already turned down $75,000 for his $2,600 buy. Now that he had won the Hambletonian, he might accept the offer, if repeated. And his 85 employees expected soon to be turning out a new hat called Demon Hanover.
  2. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix Trade Member

    :clapping: Thank you 100 times over for sharing this! I had not heard the whole story, only vague references many years ago and I frankly had forgotten all about it. The box is a real thrill. Is this from your own collection? :clapping: You are knocking me out with your hats!!!
  3. cmpollack

    cmpollack Trade Member

    What an enormous amount of history is packed into your hat and its wonderful box! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Out of curiosity: Do you ever wear the hats you collect? (I ask because I notice that this one is a "wearable" size by modern standards).
  4. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

    Great info! thanks for sharing. I had heard of the Hoyt hat company and that was it - everything else was new to me.
  5. HatsEnough

    HatsEnough Registered Guest

    Barbara: Yes, all the hats I post are from my personal collection.
    Carrie: I wear my fedoras every day... but I have about 200 of them so I only wear one at a time! LOL
    Suzanne and Jonathan: Thanks and you are welcome.

    This particular hat model is pretty rare. They can reach up to $300 if sold the right way. But because they are so rare and so out of the norm, even many collectors are unaware of them. That holds prices down in some respects because there isn't a ton of competition for them.

    Regardless, though, they are pretty rare. As I said, in all the years I've been collecting fedoras I've seen less than a dozen in private hands. And I've only seen about 5 or so that were up for sale.
    cotmyey likes this.
  6. joules

    joules Trade Member

    Rare and very cool, in my book!

    Enjoying your posts immensely, HatsEnough. Thank you!
  7. Robert M Smith

    Robert M Smith Registered Guest

    The story of Mr. Hoyt is a great one !. I am a harness racing historian of sorts and this is the type of story I simply love . I recently came across an ad in an old harness magazine for Demon Hanover hats and ties so decided to look a bit further and found this .Thanks for sharing
    The Vintage Merchant likes this.

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