What can you buy for two beaver hats?

This morning, i bought a Nantucket Nectars Half and Half.  It was delicious, as well as educational.  For example, I learned from the cap that Nantucket was purchased in 1692 for 30 pounds sterling and two beaver hats.  It makes me wonder who amongst the crazy islanders (aka English, who I assume are the ones most likely to traffic in English pounds) would buy an island or sell one using money AND beaver hats.  How much worth does a beaver hat really have?  It’s no longer a highly profitable pelt, and it’s nowhere near as fashionable or as warm as a coon skin cap.  What does a beaver hat even look like?

Evidently it was not so much the pelt of the beaver itself that was valuable, but the felt that could be made from it.  This felt was in vogue at the time, and versatile, being molded into a variety of shapes.  So a beaver hat could be a top hat, or a brown derby, or even a cowboy hat, depending on your inclination.  I wonder which shape was worth an island?  Eventually silk hats became popular and replaced beaver felt as the hat making material of the time.  Today, on eBay, such hats can range from $10-100 in a variety of shapes and styles.  So be sure to ask your local spinsterish haberdasher if the latest style is made of real, 100% beaver.

Egypt in modern times.

I was shopping for my little sister’s birthday present when I was struck head-on with the odd fascination English has with foreign words.  I’d already noted it here in regards to Aztec – today I found something from a more ancient culture.  Though Egypt and Egyptology has fascinated a variety of peoples and countries, usually this fascination is obvious.  Take the Egyptian-style theaters of 20s or the obelisks favored for a variety of monuments.  Take jewelry and the Art Deco ‘Egyptian style’.

More specifically, take the “Narmer Necklace“.   This particular piece of jewelry does not openly display its affiliation with Egypt, though there are some visible links to art deco style.  However, there is no real mention of who Narmer is or any indication of the two symbols that make up his name – a fish shape, and a chisel shape.  Narmer is considered to be the first king of a unified Egypt.  And now, his name gets to be a part of popular jewelry.  World conquest, here we come!