Pin trading history

Pins have always been present at Disney parks, but it wasn't until 1999 as part of the Millennium Celebration that Disney Pin Trading at the Walt Disney World Resort was introduced. This was following an Odyssey of the Mind function at the resort in which pins were being traded, inspiring the pin trading idea. The next year, the craze spread to the Disneyland Resort, which has become the home of most Pin Trading events but is most popular in Disney World. Since then, Pin Trading has spread to Aulani, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Disney Cruise Lines with each location creating their own pins and traditions. Although the trading of pins has been suspended in Tokyo Disney Resort, pins are still offered as prizes at carnival games, and a relatively small number of pins are available.

 Cast lanyard and Hidden Mickey pins

The WDW Cast Lanyard Collection was introduced in 1999 to encourage guests to trade pins with cast members. The first series of Lanyard pins consisted of just under 100 pins. Previews of the next year's Lanyard pins are at each September Event, with the pins officially distributed a few weeks later. "Disney's Cast Lanyard Collection" is on the back stamp of each pin in the first two series. Beginning with the third series, pin designers placed Hidden Mickeys on the pins after guests complained that it was difficult to discern Lanyard pins from the other pins on lanyards. In 2007, with the release of the fifth Lanyard series, the name of the series was officially changed to the Hidden Mickey Collection and a collection of 94 of the most popular earlier designs were reissued. When asked about the change the Pin Team responded: "The name change is based on the current identifier found on Hidden Mickey pins, a small Mickey Mouse icon. Those icons of Mickey Mouse, commonly referred to as a Hidden Mickey, are also incorporated into many attractions and locations at Disney Theme Parks and Resorts. We felt this change would compliment something fun many Guests were already seeking."

In 2007, the second WDW Hidden Mickey set was released as a collection of 75 new designs, followed by the third Hidden Mickey set in late 2008. Disneyland Resort has had their own Lanyard Pin Series since 2002. DLR Lanyard Pin Collections have fewer styles than the WDW series, with most DLR series consisting of around 50 pins. Additionally, sets of 12 Hotel Lanyard Pins have been released biannually to DLR hotel guests who receive two pins at their time of check-in to trade. For the 2007 and 2008 Hidden Mickey Collections, pins have been released monthly by series. Scrappers of past DLR Hidden Mickey pins have appeared on the secondary market months before their official release dates. In an effort to combat this practice, designs for the 2008 and 2009 series, although previously shown at DLR Pin Trading Nights, have been released monthly.

  Pin terms
  • Artist Proof - Artist Proof pins (or AP pins) are created during a manufacturing run to verify quality. AP pins have an AP stamped on their back. Generally 20-24 AP pins are made of each pin per run. Some collectors may value AP pins more than others.
  • Back Stamp - A pin's back stamp contains information about the pin and can include copyright information and edition size.
  • Chaser - A pin in a series that is rarer or more difficult to acquire. They can often be colour variants of a known pin.
  • Cloisonné - A French word meaning "partitioned." It refers to a style of pin in which the surface decoration is set in designated sections, one color at a time. Cloisonné also refers to a pin type in which crushed minerals and pigments are used to create coloring on a pin.
  • Dangle Pins - Dangle pins have an extension to the base of the pin that dangles (hangs) from one or more small loops or chains.
  • Die Cast - Die Cast pins are cast from brass zinc alloy using high-quality hand engraved dies which create an eye-catching, three-dimensional image.
  • Epoxy Coating - Epoxy coating is a glassy, opaque substance used as a decorative or protective coating. When the coating dries, it forms a smooth, glossy surface.
  • Flocking - A flocked pin has an area that is fuzzy.
  • Hard Enamel - Hard Enamel is sometimes called the new cloisonné. It not only retains the characteristics of classic cloisonné, but also provides a much wider selection of colors. Just as with cloisonné, each pin is hand-crafted in a process that begins with a flat piece of brass which is die-struck and then filled with enamel colors. The surface is then hand polished to give it a smooth finish.
  • Lenticular - A Lenticular pin has two or more images that can change when it is tilted back and forth
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  • Light-Up Pin - A Light-up pin has lights in its design that flash when activated. The Light-up element has been used less in recent years due to difficulties in battery replacement and metal corrosion.
  • Pre Production/Prototype Pin - Pre Production/Prototype pins (or PP Pins) are received by product developers prior to a pin being manufactured. These pins sometimes contain different coloring, fills or features than the final production pin. The number depends on what the final product will be, as these pins may be different in size, texture, color, etc. The developers use these "test" pins to determine what the final product will be. Pin from late 2007 - now will contain a PP stamp on the back. Pins prior to late 2007 may contain a Pro Products label signifying it is a pre production pin. Some pins may contain no identification that it is a pre-production pin at all.
  • Scrapper Pin - A Scrapper pin is an unauthorized pin. Many of the molds Disney uses to make pins are not destroyed after the creation of its pin order, and bootlegs are created. This practice has flooded the Disney parks and secondary markets like eBay with cheap imitations, mostly of Cast lanyard pins and mystery release pins. Some are sold on eBay or found in the parks before the real pins are even released.
  • Slider Pin - A Slider pin has a movable piece that slides back and forth across the base of a pin.
  • Spinner Pin - A Spinner pin has a spinning mechanism that moves a piece of the pin 360 degrees.
  • Soft Enamel - A soft enamel pin has the design stamped into the base metal. These pins are filled with enamel colors and baked for durability. A final clear epoxy dome is applied to protect the finish. Typically a thinner pin than cloisonné pins.


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