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Advice for a New Pin trader/collector

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  • Advice for a New Pin trader/collector

    Hey everyone!
    I just got back from another Disney visit and this time I took the plunge! Although my wife was reluctant and wanted us to wait until we had kids to have an excuse for collecting pins, our guest who is a friend of hers purchased pins as a gift for us, so she just couldn't say no!

    So, I'm pretty excited. Right now we only have 4 pins and none of them are really pins we would trade, as we picked out pins that we really like and knew we would want to keep. So any advice for us now that we are into the Disney Pin family?

    Are those big lots that people sell on Ebay worth buying to aquire some bulk to trade? Should I look out for anything? What pins tend to carry the best value? How do you find out about pin trading events? How does trading with a cast member work? Do cast members ever have any of the really good pins, or just the more common ones?

    Any advice you guys could offer would be great!

  • #2
    Re: Advice for a New Pin trader/collector

    My biggest advice is to pick a theme and stick to it. That was my rule to keep myself from going crazy with it (thought I still did). Like for example, collect only Mickey themed pins or only pins themed around attractions at the parks etc. etc.

    My personal feeling on eBay is to stick to only getting the single pins you know you want... unless you just want to get as much as you can, in any theme, in the shortest amount of time. See above. LOL

    The pins that carry the best value tend to be like anything... the limited editions are always a good start as are the CM only pins (which I love). I don't do the events but I do love to trade with CMs and try to stick to the ones I recognize as being CM only or fit within my themes etc. To do it, you just walk up to a CM wearing pins and ask if you can look at them. If you see one you want, you tell them which one and chose which one to give them in trade. The only "rule" is they won't trade for a pin they already have. And, to answer the question, on occasion you can find valuable pins on CMs... you just have to know what you're looking for.

    Regardless of all that jazz, pin trading can be a lot of fun. You just have to be able to control yourself.

    Sometimes all you need is a reminder that out there lies a better place... a better world... a Walt Disney World.
    Visited In: 1983, 1988, 1989 x2, 1991, 1992, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 (passholder), 2007 (x2 x3), 2008, 2009 (x2), 2010, 2011 (x2)
    “Detail is there to make you believe in the reality of the story you’re immersed in.” - Joe Rohde
    Avatar Image Used with Permission from °O°Joe


    • #3
      Re: Advice for a New Pin trader/collector

      Makes sense to me. I have a theme and try to stick to it. Every now and again, I'll pick up a pin for a character outside of my theme that I liked. Ebay is great if you're going to be trading at the parks. You can pick up a nice random assortment of throw-away pins for a decent price. Then take those down to WDW and trade with cast members as you find ones you like. Good luck with the hobby.
      Please visit my new DISNEY AUTOGRAPH website to check out my autograph collection!

      Really Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.


      • #4
        Re: Advice for a New Pin trader/collector

        My tip would be to check out the trading options at the resorts. Most of them having books either in the gift shop or at the conceriege desk. Some also have special pin trading meetings.
        Also, be prepared with extra backs, and be careful because they like to slide off. If you really want to save one with no chance of trading, buy some locking backs.
        They are great fun, and both the kiddos and adults in our family love trading them. It especially is a nice distraction for long lines, when cast members working the lines have a lanyard. Good luck and have fun!

        This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good

        The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing- Walt Disney

        There is no one on the planet to compare with moi.- Miss Piggy

        TEN Trips... And counting!


        • #5
          Re: Advice for a New Pin trader/collector

          Pin trading is so fun, I am glad you started.

          Yes, it is a good choice to buy bulk pins on eBay just to trade away. The pins you will receive probably wont be that good of quality so I wouldn't keep many though.

          When trading you want to look out for bad quality pins, like the ones you will order on eBay. Not all pins are bad quality but many are. If you look closely at the pins, you can see the quality. Examples would be pitted or dipped paint or sunken in parts. The coloring is off or missing in places. It is really easy to see the difference when compared to a nice quality one.

          Pins that are Limited Edition, Older or Hard to Find Characters, AP or PP pins, or large 3D pin on pins, usually have the higher value.

          The cast lanyard pins, while fun to collect, aren't worth much and are very common.

          To find out about pin trading events, go to Official Disney Pin Trading Website/Disney Parks( just type in ODPT). This is Disney site and will announce all of the upcoming events. You will see events, and when you click on that you can pick which Disney Park (Disney World, Disneyland, etc.). The Pin Trading Shows at the Contemporary are Super Fun!

          Like stated above there are only a few rules when pin trading with a cast member.
          • The pin must say cDisney on the back and be made of metal.
          • You can only trade 2 pins per cast member per day.
          • No personalized pins with names on them.
          • Trading on a green/teal lanyard are for kids 12 and under only. Ours are the black ones.
          • You can't trade a pin if it is already on their lanyard, and don't touch their lanyards please.
          The good pins. Yes cast members have them. I have found over 50 AP and/or PP pins on lanyards over the last 3 years. An AP pin is an Artist Proof pin and if you look super closley, it will be marked on the back AP somewhere. A PP pin is a Pre-Production pin and will also be marked on the back with a PP. It is usually very, very small so look at your pins closely. The value for these pins are usually $25.00 and up, some times up to $100.00 depending on the pin.

          If you look closely or enlarge this picture you can see the AP stamp on the back right below the pin post. All of the vinylmations that I traded in the picture above ended up being AP pins.

          Always remember to trade for pins that mean something to you, or that you like. Don't trade pins just because you think they might be worth something.

          Have fun!

          Disney World is our Backyard! Read about our life & adventures -> HERE


          • #6
            Re: Advice for a New Pin trader/collector

            Welcome to the pin trading family! I agree with most of the advice here, especially picking a theme. There are so many pins out there that it's easy to end up with pins you sort of like when you could have pins that you truly love. I've been collecting pins for about 8 years and it has been a blast. I'd stay away from the big pin lots you see on ebay as they tend to contain "scrappers" which are pins that are of low quality and were discarded and not sold by Disney. These pins are not good for trading because they end up on cast lanyards and could be traded for by kids who will end up with a bad pin, and that is seriously frowned upon in the pin community! There are a number of websites that are a great resource for info about pins and pin trading. allows you to keep up with your collection and trade through the mail with pin collectors all over the world. is also a great resource where you can buy/sell/trade for pins with some very knowledgeable and passionate collectors.

            As far as trading in the parks goes, my tip is to keep an eye out for managers who are wearing lanyards because they tend to have some good pins. Also something that isn't very well known is that the guest services at the front of each park has a pin trading book, which also usually has good pins. Just walk in and ask if you can see their pin book, and they'll be more than happy to let you browse!


            • #7
              Re: Advice for a New Pin trader/collector

              Hi ya.
              Havent collected pins in a long while. Wondering if the pin collecting has changed, or what not?