Price variation in Panama hats is mostly about (or should be mostly about) the quality of the material. It is a huge understatement to say that not all Panama are the same.
The amount of work required to prepare the straw (from the plant Carloduvica palmata) and to weave the hat bodies can vary from hours to many months.
Here you have what is widely regarded as amongst the finest Panama hat bodies in the world, the Montecristi Finos from Manabi Province, Ecuador.
These hat bodies are imported to Italy by Borsalino Hat Company where they are blocked and finished as you see pictured here (I envision an Italian movie director strolling down the Via Veneto wearing one of these).
Back again to the Western Hemisphere they come, to The Village Hat Shop-next stop the end user. The center pinch crown is 4 1/4 inches high in the front.
The brim is 2 5/8 inches. The Borsalino Italian Hat is trimmed with a black grosgrain ribbon that is 1 1/4" wide. The inside sweatband is a beige grosgrain ribbon. Available color: Natural only.