Saturday, March 3, 2012

Disney Pins, What to Collect

Disney Pins, What to Collect

I’m not a Pin Shark or even a real collector of those shiny little bobbles you can find to purchase or trade in the parks but I do have more than a few pins.

When I started my collection I asked my friend, who collects pins what should I collect. She laughed and told me to collect what I like. “Whatever strikes your fancy.” I believe were her exact words.

If you are just starting out collecting I suggest you start simply. Do you have a favorite character? Maybe it is a ride that interests you more than a character. Sometimes it is an event you that starts your interest. Whatever it is stick to that.

We started off collecting Tinker Bell pins. The feisty little pixie caught our attention and hearts. Then it was some special events. Christmas pins are beautiful and that was what we wanted. The Disney Cruise was the next type of pin we chose to collect. Again we don’t necessarily go for sets. We go for the pins that catch our eyes.

Our first “set” of pins was the Timon and Pumba ride safety pins. One pin was hard to find and we actually spent almost two years looking for it! The only way we could complete the pin set was looking at all the cast members that had lanyards on. Every time we saw a lanyard we would stop and look.

I’ll be honest, don’t go into collecting for making money or investment. That kills the fun. Enjoy the fun of trading. Enjoy making new friends as you trade pins. Here is one of the things that is most fun for us to do. I carry a little bag with a few pins. My husband will pull out his book to trade pins (he is the collector not me). I’ll stand back and watch. If a child comes up and wants a pin but has no pins to trade he will tell the child to, “Go to my wife and tell her that her husband needs a pin to trade.” If the child walks over I’ll give them a pin out of my bag. When the child goes back to my husband he thanks them and tells them they may either keep that pin or trade it for any pin in his book. This is what we enjoy doing the most.

Watch out for the pin sharks. Oh you don’t know what a pin shark is? You will usually find pin sharks sitting at tables or other areas that have been set up outside pin shops in the Disney Parks. They usually have books of pins to trade. Many of them “swim” together so you often find them in groups waiting to feed on the unsuspecting guppy trader. Pin sharks will look at your pins gaging if you have any pins they may sell on ebay to make money. They will gladly trade one of their lesser pins for your quality pin. Their goal is to collect as many of each limited release or highly sought after pin to limit it’s availability driving up cost. If it is not the money it is a obsessive need to collect and have what others may want.

The best way to avoid the pin sharks is to trade with the cast members that have pins. The rules for pin trading with cast members is simple. You may trade any pin you have for any pin they have. You can trade two pins with one cast member then you must move on to another cast member. You can return a few hours later to trade again if you wish. We usually only trade with cast members or kids.

Now here are the basic pin trading rules for inside a Disney location (park, cruise ship, resort or Disney Soda Fountain).

Trading with Guests

1.     When you see someone displaying pins on a hat, lanyard or in a book you are free to ask if they wish to trade.

2.    If someone you ask says they do not wish to trade then walk away.

3.    You may ask for any pin they say they are willing to trade. (Most people only display the pins they wish to trade.)

4.    They will ask what pins you have and ask for the pin they wish to have.

5.    At this point you or they may agree on the trade or either may say, “No thank you.” If the answer is no then move on. No one is required to trade and accept a pin they don’t want.

6.    You may make as many trades with another guest as they want to make.

Trading with Cast members

1.     Many cast members have pins to trade. They will display them in several ways.

a.    They may have a lanyard.

Black lanyard means the cast member trades those pins with any guest.

Teal/green means they only trade with children under age 12.

Red means they trade with anybody but they are a supervisor.

b.    They may be standing next to a frame display at of pins and they trade with anybody. These framed displays are usually only in the stores and at a few of the carts that sell pins around the parks.

2.    Unlike other guests a cast member must take whatever pin you wish to give in return for whatever pin you wish to have. (This is what we usually do. If we have a pin we don’t wish to trade we tuck in into a bag out of site while at the park. We don’t leave it in with the pins for trade.)

3.    You may trade 2 pins with a single cast member at one time. You can’t just keep coming back and cleaning out a single cast member for all the good pins they have.

You may be wondering how much it costs to pin trade or collect pins. It can get expensive. Pins at the shops in the parks can run from $7-25 each and higher for packaged sets. If someone you see trading has a pin you want and you don’t have a pin you can to a store and purchase a pin to trade. This works great for trading with cast members but sometimes other guests will refuse the pin you purchased as something they did not want. Another way to have pins to trade is find a shop or person that sells “traders” in bulk. You can get them for around $1-2 each depending on the seller and the number of pins you purchase at one time.

Here is the online store I usually go to when I need traders. He delivers them quickly and they are perfect for trading. He sells them in grab bags of 10, 20 or 50. The more  you purchase at one time the less expensive they are per pin.

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