Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles: Disney Pins

I have been having computer problems for the last few days, so please enjoy this oldie-but-goodie Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles that is very appropriate to the month of October, as every October is the anniversary of the Disney Pin Trading hobby.

For those of you new to the blog, Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles are my thoughts about what may be destined for vintage collectible status in the future. 


Disney pins, like many things made by Disney, are destined to become collectibles someday.  Basically, collectors buy or trade Disney-produced pins that feature Disney characters, attractions, and other fun images.

I happened to stumble into the world of Disney pins in 2004. Of course, you have to pick up the right kinds of Disney pins if you are hoping for them to have have value in the future.

October marks the official 10th anniversary of Disney Pin Trading, a hobby that began in October 1999 at Walt Disney World and is now available at every Disney theme park and resort.

I wear a lanyard when I go to the park; here is my 50th Anniversary lanyard with a few of my pins attached:

Disney Pin Trading pins come in three main types:  open edition, limited edition, and Cast Lanyard Series / Hidden Mickey.  Open edition means that millions will be made, and limited edition is self-explanatory.

Sometimes pins are made in very small quantities, such as editions of 100 or 300.  Pins are gold-backed with a "mouse ears" pin closure and a "Disney Pin Trading" logo:

This is called a "spinner," as the teacups and the base spin independently.
Note that it was made in a limited edition of 1,000.
"Cast Lanyard" or "Hidden Mickey" pins are those pins that can only be obtained through trade with a Disney employee with a lanyard or hip belt of Disney pins.  They were called "Cast Lanyard" pins prior to 2007, and are now called "Hidden Mickey" pins because they have a silver mouse ears icon on the front of the pin making them easy to indentify: 

The silver Mickey icon can be found on each pin

These are the pins that you really want if you are serious about collectibles.  Sometimes obtaining pins is simply a matter of serendipity(!), or being in the right place at the right time. I happened to be standing in the Tower of Terror line with a friend and we were handed the two pins pictured below by a cast member; the Tower pin is a Cast Lanyard pin:

I showed you a Disney lapel pin on July 4th of this year. Although it is not an official Disney Pin trading pin, it is still special. I happened to visit a nearby Disney Store on September 11, 2002, the first anniversary of 9/11, and these were handed out at the door:

  1. You may have noticed a certain theme in my Tomorrow's Vintage Collectibles series.  By now, you should know to seek out limited edition items over mass produced items.  This is also true for Disney pins.  The fewer produced the better.
  2. If there is a Disney factory outlet store nearby be sure to purchase pins there for the lowest prices. Many times you will be able to find limited edition pins that were produced in larger quantities (e.g., 2500) or pins that were produced solely for the holidays to add to your collection.

  3. On a related note, buy pins before you leave for a Disney park at the Disney factory outlet store to trade in the park.  Better yet, purchase the Disney lapel pins that aren't meant for pin trading to trade with Cast Members only

  4. Pin trade early in the day.  Cast Member Lanyard / Hidden Mickey pins go fast.
Finally, here is one of my latest acquisitions.  It is limited to an edition of 1,000 and I had to have it, because anyone who lives in Southern California knows exactly what the phrase "June Gloom" means (smile):

If you are interested in Disney Pint Trading read the Q-and-A on the official Disney site that will give you a general explanation of trading, and if you're heading to one of the theme parks, be sure to read the official pin trading etiquette guidelines as well.

Questions and comments are very welcome!

Tenth anniversary pin image courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. It is so crazy that become collectable! These are cute, though. I love Disney!


I love to read your comments! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

If you have a question for me or would like a personal response, be sure to allow email replies in your Blogger profile or just leave your email address in your comment.

Have a great day!