Disney Pin Collecting & Trading

*Note: I am a newbie so feel free to correct me if the need presents itself.  I don’t want to give people false information.  Please & thank you!

Hello hello hello!!  It feels like forever since I’ve written a post, but in reality it’s only been 9 days.  I am back with a very interesting subject to discuss.  Ever since my first trip to a Disney park in 2002, I have been a Disney pin collector.  I buy at least one pin to commemorate each of my visits.  I was aware that other people were collectors like me because so many pins are available to the public.  However, I didn’t know there was another large part of the Disney pin world: Disney Pin Trading.  I’ve seen cast members with pin lanyards, but I assumed those were for show.  I didn’t realize people could bring pins into the park and trade with cast members.  There are also numerous pin boards (boards with pins) located around Disney parks.  There is a limit per board and cast member, usually 1-2 pins, and any pin can be traded regardless of the value of the pin being acquired.  What do I mean by that?  Pins have different values based on characteristics such as release occasion and rarity.  For example, when trading with a fellow trader, exchanging a Mickey Mouse rack pin for a Hunchback of Notre Dame pin with an LE of 300 would be ridiculous and unfair to the person receiving the Mickey pin.  It is fun to trade outside of Disney parks, but many people prefer trading inside because no rules apply regarding value.  You can buy an inexpensive set of pins and potentially trade for a limited edition pin.  What a deal!  Cast members and the majority of traders do their best to keep the pin flow pure, but fake pins have unfortunately made their way into the mix.  I will go into more detail about fake pins later in the post.  Now let’s go over some important pin trading terms.

• Artist Proof Pin (AP) – A high quality pin made during the manufacturing process as a test run.

• Fantasy Pin – An unofficial pin made in the likeness of a Disney character or scene, usually something that is not available in the official circle of Disney pins.  Disney is not associated with fantasy pins, and these pins are not allowed to be traded within the parks.

• Limited Edition Pin – A pin that was made in one and only one batch.  An LE of 300 means only 300 pins exist.  An LE of 1500 means only 1500 exist.  And so on…

• Limited Release Pin – A pin that is available for a limited period of time.

• Pre Production Pin (PP) – A pin made during the creation process to test design.  These pins may differ from the final version.

• ProPin – Disney pins made in Germany.  They usually have gunmetal gray backs whereas most American pins have gold or silver backs.

• Rack Pin – An open edition pin sold on the racks of Disney stores.  They are neither limited edition nor limited release.

• Scrapper – A pin that is fake.

This vocabulary list is by no means extensive, but it is enough to get you started.  Now let’s look at some procedures for identifying scrappers.

1.  Scrappers are made at low prices so the paint is low quality.  The colors should be vibrant and true to the characters.  Any color that looks dull and/or odd may indicate that the pin is fake.

2.  The text, no matter how small, should be legible.

3.  Most of the time, there is one or two prongs on the post that keep the pin from spinning.

4.  Official pins have a stamp of the pin trading logo on the back.  The stamp is often faked so look at the sunburst, the border around the stamp made up of triangles.  A fake sunburst has sharp lines, and a real stamp has soft edges.  The only exceptions are pins sold at locations outside of Disney parks such as the Soda Fountain in Los Angeles; those pins have the logo of their respective store.

5.  Disney pins are made of metal so they should be thick and heavy.

6.  The pattern on the back of pins is called a waffle pattern.  There are different variations; the ones I know of are ice cream cones, Mickey Mouse heads, and sorcerer hats.  The pattern should go off the edge of the pin; there should be no border around it.

7.  Pins should have a glossy finish.  If a pin lacks shine, it could be fake.

8.  Pins should never have rough edges.

9.  If the paint job has defects, your pin might be fake.  This is not a surefire method because older pins could have been mishandled or dropped.  But, keep in mind that Disney wouldn’t sell new pins that show sloppy craftsmanship.

10.  PinPics.com is a database full of Disney pin pictures and information.  The numbers and images provided are helpful for identifying authentic pins and scrappers.

Scrappers have evolved therefore one method is not enough to tell if a pin is fake or not.  It is better to do an exhaustive investigation and use every method you know of.  Another way to fight against the scrapper business is not being a part of it.  It is frustrating to buy or trade for scrappers, but don’t turn around and sell or use them for trade.  Help yourself and your fellow collectors and traders by keeping them out of circulation.

Here are some other links that might interest you:

• The Disney Pin Tag by ImSarahSnitch, the video that introduced me to pin trading:

• Everything Disney Pins, the company that fueled my love for Disney pins

Youtube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/DisneyPinsFacebook

Website – http://everything-disney-pins.com

• eBay is a good source for pins, but make sure you do your research.  Many pins on eBay are fake so check the seller reviews and product photos.  On top of that, be aware that any purchase is a gamble.  I would like to take this time to address eBay sellers.  If you are vigilant in inspecting pins and feel confident in your status as a legitimate Disney pin vendor, PLEASE provide more than one photo of the pins you are selling.  Images from different angles would make your customers feel more comfortable making a purchase.


• Pin Pics


• I made a Youtube video about collecting & trading Disney pins.  Give it a like & subscribe to support my channel.  Please & thank you!

To those of you interested in Disney pins, I hope this post was helpful.  I have a couple more Disney pin posts headed your way in the next few weeks so stay tuned.  Now I send you off into the pin world.  Go forth and collect/trade with valor & honor readers! ;)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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