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Same But Different Vintage Bandanas

Dating not-so-old but still vintage bandanas is a bitch! Bandannas (or anything else) need to be at least 20 years old to be genuine vintage. I make every effort to be sure that what I’m calling vintage actually IS!! This leads to hours of research, observation and intuition. The same few companies from the 90s (if the RN’s are accurate) are still producing bandanas today but if you look carefully you can see clues in the fabric, construction & corner marks to help you with their dates.

Last week I was ironing bandanas (50!!) getting them prepped for photos and realized that I had several identical red ones, all probably from the 1990s. At first glance I thought that would make it easier since I’d just list them as having several available to buy. BUT it wasn’t so easy; the condition of each was different and when I looked closer I realized that each one has a subtly different maker’s mark all from the same company. Yeah, these are fiddly details but I wanna be right, right?!!

#1- Paris all cotton, colorfast, RN13860, made in USA of imported fabric lower left corner. The print is wonky, unevenly applied to the fabric. Narrow machine hem is sewn facing the wrong side.

#2- marked all cotton, RN13960, made in USA, Paris, still lower left corner. narrow machine hem.

#3- marked all cotton, RN13960, made in USA, crafted with pride in America, lower right corner, narrow machine hem.

In each example the RN is the same but the rest of the the identifying corner marks are different. #1 is probably the most recent one of this bunch, maybe the beginning of the end for bandana production at that mill, or maybe was a Friday bandana, right?! Heck- they even sewed the hem in the wrong direction OR printed it on the wrong side. Note the fabric sourced from elsewhere and printed crooked (lack of quality control?) but the bandana was still printed at their US location.

This is just one example of how dating bandanas is a challenge for this seller. I’m in the process of writing a page about how to date vintage bandanas based on my experience. It’s a work in progress now and will be edited as needed. Please feel free to contact me with (please be nice) comments, suggestions and info.


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